Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Confession: I Can't Do a Flip-Turn

Workout: In running news, yesterday I took notes from Ali On The Run and copied her speed workout (because I have no imagination and no desire to do speedwork, ever) of 3 x 1 mile repeats at 5k pace.  Why is it if I can run a 5k at that pace that running 1 mile at 5k pace is So. Freaking. Hard?  It defies science.  I did 6 miles total in 51:29 (AP: 8:34) and the mile splits were: 7:33, 7:31, 7:37.  I wanted to die but I'm glad I toughed it out, I really didn't think I'd finish the 3rd one!

Pinned Image

On to bigger and better things!  I have a confession to make.  I cannot do a flip turn.  On Friday I swam 52 laps (2,600 yards!) at the pool, including 32 (1,800 yards) without stopping!  A new record!  I wanted that full mile without stopping so bad but it was not to be - I could no longer tolerate the intense brain-cells-dying headache and was forced to stop.  But during those 52 laps, and therefore 104 opportunities of touching the wall, I did not perform a flip turn one-single-time.

That's definitely not me.  I'd be all sideways.  source
Clearly I've done flip-turns before, in fact I must have done it adequately hundreds of times during my brief stint on the high school swim team in 2000, however now everytime I try I end up all-crazy-sideways, gasping for breath with water often up my nose, and too terrified to even TRY in the shallow end (hello, why would I want to knock myself unconscious and ultimately likely drown before those 14-year-old lifeguards notice me!).  Flip-turns ARE important though, if only because I look stupid not doing them and not doing them gives me extra rest that I need to learn to go without.  After a quick google search I uncovered this diagram of how I'm supposed to flip-turn.  I like his speedo.
While I'm thinking about how to become a better flip-turner, I also wondered about how I can become a better swimmer.  Part of me wants to not care, after all, my focus should be on RUNNING.  Ricole Runs, remember?  I am swimming to be a better runner, not vice versa.  Sometimes I worry I try to do too many sports semi-well (like tennis), and end up doing all of them mediocre (instead of excelling in one).  But I digress, that's for another post.  So if you, like myself, are dying to do a better job of not drowning, Fitness Magazine has three tips on how to become a better swimmer:

"1. Focus on form: When swimming freestyle, look at the bottom of the pool, pressing chest down and keeping head, hips, and feet at the surface. If your head and chest are too high, your legs and hips will drop, creating drag. As you take a stroke, reach forward just under the surface, extending your arm from your shoulder when your hand enters the water. Pull the water toward you, then keep elbow high as you pull your arm back. Try to maintain a constant strong, fast, small kick. Begin by kicking from the hips (not the knees), keeping your ankles floppy and relaxed.

2. Breathe better: The smoothest swimmers practice "bilateral" breathing, or breathing alternately on right and left sides. To do it, turn your body to either side every time you take a breath.

3. Roll with it: Avoid lifting your whole head to breathe. Instead, roll your body on one side so your chest faces the side of the pool as your arm pushes down and leaves the water. Keep your ear in the water as you take a breath and the corner of your mouth at the surface."

Cooper says this post is over.  The end.

Any triathletes or swimmers out there?  Do you have any swimming or flip-turning tips for me?  Do you have any amazing speed workouts I should try?