Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Getting Past Swimming Tired

All my posts about Martin Strel make me feel guilty whenever I feel tired in the pool. Since Feb 1st, he's covered over 1,000 kilometers in his record breaking Amazon River Swim! Sure there's a strong current! Nevertheless, this post is about swimming when you're tired (with no current - try that Martin!). No, this post is not a rant about being careful. It concerns watching your style when you are fatigued - the result of boredom, a hard day, etc. I'm finding that getting fatigued when doing laps can be a vicious circle that saps my progress - the result of all sorts of mechanical flaws that come up. Here's how it generally happens for me. First - following the fatigue - I lose focus, then I stop keeping my form, and soon I'm working harder than I should be. I know. It's all is in my head! If I stay alert and keep my form, following all my self-imposed, self-help rules (see many of my prior posts) I glide through the water with seamless effort. If I lose focus, it's not unusual to find stupid things I'm doing like opening my palms (thumbs extended - a big no no) leading to water flowing past my hands rather than staying captured for the big pull, or I'm not pulling through to my thighs, or worse, I'm bending my torso (aaack!). In such cases, I may be better off just getting out of the pool. What's that? No way! When I see this happening, the best thing to do is to get focused again. I try a quick 50 - 100 meter sprint. It focuses me and forces better form. With better form, I start making better progress, and that fatigue generally goes away since the required effort to stream through the water has become easier.

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