We Have to Work on Mind Training

Posted: July 25, 2012 by writingsprint in Triathlon
Tags: , , ,

Tonight’s going to be a short post. I’m inundated with work as I get ready to go on vacation, but tonight I made time for one more training session before I go away on vacation. We’re going up to New Hampshire, where we’ll spend a week by a lake and hopefully I’ll get some open water swimming in!

Anyway. First Holly had me swim ten strokes, as fast as I could.

Huh? 10 strokes?


Then she had me swim eight. The eight strokes were almost as far as the ten. Huh! That was a surprise.

Then she had me swim six. Those were almost as far as the eight.

“This is exactly what I wanted to show you,” she said.

“What the heck is going on?”

“You’re reaching farther and pulling harder when you have less strokes to do. Every stroke you do should be like this. We have to work on mind training for you. You need to think about doing one stroke at a time, not 40 laps.”

I half-coughed as I kept from protesting. I have to make sure I have enough gas left in the tank! I’m not good enough! I don’t know… I mean… pffft….

A wiser part of me knew that everything I wanted to say was everything I had to get past. I knew that what she was saying made sense. I would love to have a longer, smoother stroke and a looser rhythm when I swim. If this is what it takes, I’ll trust her.

The next part of the workout was to swim a series of laps that way. If I became too winded, I was allowed to flip over on my back and kick until my breath came back, but the important thing was not to stop. One of the highlights of the night was when during my second round of kicks, when I got fed up, rolled over and started swimming freestyle again; I thought I heard Holly say, “Attaboy!”

Then I repeated the whole thing.

The last, strangest swim of the night was an exercise in building lung capacity. I took a deep breath and kicked as far along the bottom as I could. The first time I flopped between the top and bottom like a fish out of water. Every time I came up, I came to a dead stop. Holly eventually stopped me and emphasized along the bottom of the pool. Something clicked and I got my inner fish on. I made it half the length of the pool and probably could have gone farther!

I don’t know how I’m going to swim 800 yards when I’m reaching as far as I can, pulling as hard as I can. I’m trusting that it all makes sense. Maybe the only difference between a marathon swim and a sprint swim is how fast you stroke, but it’s all the same stroke in the end.


I’ll figure it out. In the meantime, it was a really good night at the pool.


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