The new year brings all the fun and excitement of resolutions. Unless of course you had set your ship in motion a while back, and this is just another month.
Overall, it was good to get back to the 7 days in a row schedule. There had been some disruptions due to the holidays, and some more to come as we finish a project at the house. With that said, getting the time on the bike to complete 56 or more miles this early in the season is confidence building. It helps get past the mental trap of thinking too much about the distance.
The weight continues to come off, which is a nice side effect of the increased frequency and stress of the early season workouts. It will be very interesting to see what my race weight is come end of May. I started the year at 169 lbs, which is only 3 lbs heavier than race weight at the Hawaii 70.3 last May.
Lastly, never discount what you hear from some random guy at the pool. I hadn’t made mention of it before because I didn’t think much of it at the time. My coach has never really forced me to focus on turnover in my stroke. He’s told me to do it at a higher tempo, but I never took from it that it was a critically important thing as he doesn’t harp on me about it.
A few weeks ago, at the gym where I swim, this guy comes up to me while I am still in the water and starts talking. At first I wasn’t paying any attention because he was on the deck. When I did, I pre-judged him as some older guy wanting to talk shop. Many people at the pool like to ask what you are training for and then talk about their past, their training, or talk about how hard Ironman racing must be.
In any event, I asked the guy to repeat himself, and he said, “your turnover sucks. You look like you are out for a Sunday stroll. You should be going faster.”
I was a bit taken aback at his bluntness with a complete stranger. I was about to inform him that I had a coach, was all set, blah blah blah, but something in my head suggested he wasn’t nuts. So I asked him to explain – and what he explained made intuitive sense once I heard it. I coast on my stroke. I was trying to glide through the water. He explained that I was tearing up my oxygen and muscles basically starting and stopping my motion with each stroke, and instead I should focus on high turnover in my stroke so that I wasn’t changing speed so much.”
I only managed to get a “thanks” out before he started walking away. And that’s when I saw it. He had Olympic rings tattooed on his ankle. I have never seen him at the gym, and not sense. I have no idea what his name was. It would take stones of galactic proportions to get a rings tattoo if you hadn’t earned it, so I took his feedback to heart.
The net result. All of the sudden I am swimming faster and with less effort. No joke, 10+ seconds per 100yds faster over distance for similar effort. I dropped 15 seconds from my 200m CSS test – almost 10% improvement. Insert forehead smack here. My first order of business in my monthly meeting with my coach will be to ask “what other things are you telling me to do that I am not paying enough attention to?” Whoever you are, thanks for the beta. Much appreciated.