I love my swimming. There are definitely times it feels like a chore too, but usually once I’m in the pool I’m good. I love the feeling of being in the water and the strength of my body as it pulls me a long.
I was swimming last night and was thinking how I am very much focused and in the present while I’m swimming. I committed to the Take 10, Take 15 and Take 20 series, but didn’t keep it going as I had to fit it in. Whereas it has occurred to me that several hours a week I am fully in the present, concentrating on my breathing, counting lengths and strokes and listening to how my body feels. It is a form of meditation for me. It was quite nice to realise this last night. It is more than just fitness for me.
As I swim I focus on stretching my body lengthways to gain the full amount of power I can get from my arms. I try to breathe bilaterly while doing front crawl, which keeps me balanced (and is good for my shoulders) and focused by counting to 3 or 5 then breathing. I focus on my head position and keeping relaxed to glide through the water. I also like focusing on the feeling of the water on my hands and arms as I pull as it gives you a good perspective of the other muscles you use (or could use) to pull you a long. I am very much in the present while I swim.
Saying that it is hard work. I swim anywhere between 2500m and 4000m per session depending on the session it is. On the weekends I do two 60 minute sessions and on Tuesday I do a 90 minute session. I did go up to 4/5 times week, but it became a chore and I didn’t want to go to any session, let a lone all of them, so I took it back down to 2/3 sessions a week. This works well with my running and gym work.
Last night’s session was a good one = 3800m in 90 minutes 🙂
- Warm Up
- 600m front crawl, back crawl and IM
- Pre Set
- 8 x 50m front crawl with fins
- 4 x 50m front crawl pull with pull buoy and paddles
- 4 x 25m fly with fins
- Main Set
- 8 x 200m alternate 100m front crawl and 200m IM
- 4 x 50m breaststroke
- 4 x 50m front crawl up and back crawl back
- Post Set
- 200m freestyle
- 3 x 100m reserve IM (Swam as cool down) – 3800m total
- Additional Cool Down of 200m to make up 4000m session
There are also words like ‘sprint’ in there, but I am a distance swimmer and sprinting to me just means a little bit more effort 😉
In the shorter sessions we do basically the same, but take out the 8 x 200m and replace with less. I like using all the strokes as there is nothing like a few lengths of fly to get your heart pumping and improving overall fitness. Having a mix also helps with my shoulders. if I spend too much time on only front crawl my shoulder starts to get tired and become tense, which leads to injury.
This also show why I find triathlons annoying. The swim will be my strongest part, but is always the shortest. Also the shorter triathlon swim parts are usually less than my warm up! As a distance swimmer 400m to 750m is not longer enough for me to get into my stride. It also means I need to work on my sprint work to be able to go faster over a shorter period – that is what probably is annoying me the most!
Swimming is something I have always enjoyed, but it has to be on my terms. I am useless at going to public sessions nowadays as people do not swim in the right speed lanes and are not willing to let you pass if you are faster or switch lanes if they become too slow! Also I’m rubbish at going with friends swimming as getting in for 30 minutes to do 30 lengths is my idea of hell – I would probably burn more calories taking a nap! Okay rant over I promise 🙂
I suppose last night just made me realise that I don’t need to make changes to all aspects of my life to get well. I just need to look at each aspect in new ways and appreciate what I have and what I get from things already.
Swimming makes me happy. It is hard work, but it is also calming and a time when I am fully in the present with my mind and body.