I still can’t bring myself to write about the cross-country ski lessons. Instead, here’s another picture post.
I’m in the base building part of the triathlon season. That means plenty of low-intensity work focusing on endurance and form. Over the last week and a half, I’ve done lots of swim drills. I’m trying to imprint better technique by repeating specific actions; when I do the whole stroke, I’ll be able to each part efficiently by habit. What I’ve discovered is that doing all the parts of the full stroke together hides a lot of inefficiency in each part. I get through the water without a problem when I keep my arms and legs moving the whole time, but take away the pulling part of my stroke, and my legs can barely move me. Meanwhile, when I do a drill that focuses just on my streamline, I notice that my legs drop a lot when I raise my head to breathe. And when I do a single-arm drill, I have a tendency to over-rotate . . . to the point of accidentally winding up more than once on my back.
Getting better is a process. The drills are the process.
Doing drills requires stuff. I take two bags with me to the pool. Here is the cat inspecting them:
The red bag—which I got at a color imaging conference some years ago—used to be the only one I took to the pool. It holds my towel, toiletries, a little bit of “oh no my BG needs a snack before/after swimming” food, some clothes, a silicone swim cap, and optically corrected goggles. It also has my swim pass and an expired USAT membership card. (In case there’s a triathlon emergency, I guess?) This is all of my dry stuff.
The other bag holds all of the stuff I’m going to take onto the pool deck. The mesh bag by Speedo is enormous, and I feel like a dork carrying it, since my pool-mates are all very minimalist. Oh well.
Going clock-wise from the lower left:
- Pull-buoy. A flotation device I use to concentrate on the upper-body portion of the stroke and to help develop arm strength.
- Speedo BioFuse swim fins. I first used fins during the OMG-Early! swim technique classes I did last year. They’re invaluable for streamline drills.
- Finis kickboard. Unlike a typical kickboard, this helps keep a normal body position while doing kicking and single-arm drills.
- Swim socks. Yes, I wear these neoprene socks in the pool. I discovered the hard way that it doesn’t matter which size of fins I wear, I’m going to get two blisters in two very predictable places on my left foot without them. So far so good with these “attractive” accessories.
- Pace timer. A beeping, waterproof metronome that I put under my swim cap to work on my pacing during long endurance swims. I set it for 28-ish seconds and try to time each 25 yard length so that I’m pushing off the wall when it chimes. Going out too fast is easy. Catching up after going out too fast and then slowing down, that’s hard.
- Swim Workouts for Triathletes. This spiral-bound, waterproof book has lots of great swim workouts for the self-coached swimmer.
What do you take to the pool?