Making the most of what you got dealt. We could all be better, faster, lighter if if if…. I blame my short legs for so many things. Sitting down next to my old swim friend Mark Foster and we are the same height. It could have been me on Strictly doing equally as bad. I am usually the tallest guy when we are all sitting down on a train or plane. I can see the confusion when everyone gets up to disembark and people are saying ‘hey where did that tall guy go?” With a reasonable turn of speed for a distance guy and great endurance since the 1500m was my event it was a shame the 10k Openwater was not available in 1992 when I was at my fastest. I am sure it would have been my event.
All the Woulda-Coulda-Shouldas
Layin’ in the sun,
Talkin’ bout the things
They woulda-coulda-shoulda done…
But those Woulda-Coulda-Shouldas
All ran away and hid
From one little did.
So when it comes to training this Winter have a think about making the most of what you have. Is something really stopping you? Could you build on what you do have?
Maybe you don’t have a 6 litre lung capacity but you could train more effectively breathing every 3rd in order to race relaxed every 2nd with a balanced stroke. Your VO2 max not as high as you’d like? losing a few pounds would enhance it. Maybe you don’t have a 6 beat leg kick and a big sprint finish, which you don’t really need. But, you could work this winter so that you can swim faster than you can pull. Maybe you can’t bench press nearly 300lbs like Adam Peaty but you could ensure both your left and right arm perform the same movements, take the same pathway under the body with the same angles at the elbow and accelerate at similar rates. Sometimes it is easy to see why you are not swimming in a straight line.
Your streamline off the wall might lack the flykicks of Phelps to 15metres but we should all get to the first set of flags before engaging the first arm pull. You might not have size 14 feet like the Thorpedo but turning yours in a little will help maximise the surface area are you do have. Big toes tapping, can you feel them lightly brushing? ‘On pointe’ will be well beyond most of us lacking Carlos Acosta genes but a little ankle flexibility could help our streamline. Ian Thorpe kicked a sub 5min 400m once upon a time, how about a kick that does not take you backwards being an aim this winter?
No, no, no, don’t clench and cup those hands, scooping the water with those little hand paddles. We want big hands, a few mm of daylight between your fingers and feel the body travel over the anchored hand. They are anchors not paddles, holding the water so the recovering arm can launch forwards as the body rotates.
You love your neoprene nappy you wear all the time but shouldn’t it be a crutch for that tired swim at the end of the week <post big bike ride> rather than your new swim technique that can’t cope without. It is highly unlikely a race in the UK will be non wetsuit next year but maybe. Many Ironman are. Austria, Switzerland and Germany often flag up. Why not prepare now for a non wetsuit swim and reap the benefits? if you do get to wear it great! alternatively the stress if you can’t and not being prepared is the last thing you need with another 138miles to go. The latest wetsuits are coated in special layers to help minimise drag, why are you undoing this with a big ‘cycling’ leg kick?
It is nearly November, can this extended break really continue? Could you not build some momentum ahead of the big inevitable break over Xmas. With the bike and run to factor in no we can’t swim six times per week but we can swim more than once. Surely?!