Monday, June 2, 2014

The Self Examined Swimmer: Part II

In case you didn't read ahead last week, here's Part II of Dave Fisher's swimming advice for triathletes:

"The Road to Good - Becoming Your Own Science Project"

In part one of this series, you left behind Adult Onset Swimmers Anonymous and started swimming in clearer waters. Well, maybe not clearer, since the average rec center\YMCA pool is over-chlorinated and full, maybe we shouldn't focus on that so much. Let's leave it at "I'm glad I'm fit and healthy and have such a strong immune system to fend off anything".

Have a good look in the proverbial mirror and look at your stroke. Look at it! Wait, you can't? On the bike, you have a speedometer, cadence sensor, possibly a heart rate sensor, maybe a power meter. On the run you have a stopwatch, maybe a pace watch, GPS, heart rate, elevation, calorie counter. You use these tools to create workouts that focus on areas that require improvement, plan a schedule that includes these workouts, and over time you see improvements. In the pool you have...a stop watch? A method to count laps? Your way of improving is to look at the clock and compare the last interval to the previous one, or worse yet, against some goal time you set for yourself. More symptoms of AOS Anonymous. Good news, you're not a member anymore, you're a swimmer, so the game is changing.

If you're going to get better at swimming, you're going to need a way to measure progress and a way to assess issues. You could certainly hire a coach or teacher, and there's nothing wrong with that. In fact, there's a lot of great things about that, and it works for most people. However, if you're like me (lucky you, you awesome dude!) you have a full time job that starts early, no weekday free time until about 8:30, and a weekend made up of shuttling kids to activities and taking care of the honeydew list. This schedule doesn't jive with any of the coaches in my area, so I was forced to be my own coach. How? Well, that's the point of the article.

Punch onto and buy yourself a handheld waterproof video camera. There are several models available for well under $100. That's less than the price of a coach and I promise will be as valuable to you as anything you've ever bought for triathlon. Now hop over to Wal-Mart or Target and get a suction cupped plastic soap dish for a couple of bucks. This is your camera mount. I made a cutout in the bottom of the soap dish that allowed me to squeeze my camera in there and hold it in place. Use the suction cups to mount your rig to the pool lane wall. Congratulations, you now have the ability to assess your stroke. I'll bet your stroke doesn't look like you thought it did, does it?

You tell me what your average (not your sprint) time is and we'll figure out what to look for in your video. Paging the Amazing Kreskin...

1:30-2:00\100 yards:

Good news first, which is that there is some low hanging fruit on your stroke tree. 

Continue reading here!

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