Tuesday, January 27, 2009

The Harsh Reality of the Swim

Yep, it is the truth. You don’t win an ironman with the swim but you can definitely lose it in the swim. This is the vicious reality of triathlon. One must train swimming. Last year, I convinced myself that my swim training wasn’t the problem. It was that I simply needed to learn how to swim faster in a race. I can legitimately say that I swam a 26 minute ½ IM last year though the truth is that every single person PRed in that race meaning my time was bogus. Once again, I convinced myself that a 26 minute ½ IM time equates to a 55 minute full iron swim and my swim training was right on target. Well, this year I did some unconvincing. What this means is that my swim times are sadly only a little above average for an age grouper and horrible for a Pro. If I want to race with the big girls than I better be swimming with them.

What did I do for swim training last year? Well, it is more like what didn’t I do. For whatever swim talent I have, I relied on it. I was lucky to swim 10k a week. Most of the time, I swam 2,000-3,000 yards straight and called it a day. Occasionally, I threw in some crazy swim sets mostly the ever intense 50s on 45-50sec. That was it. Appalling. I know. I am truly ashamed of my 2008 swim habits but I am a changed woman!

I have a list of about one hundred 2009 goals and a top that list is to become a swimmer. Yesterday, I officially swam 5200 yards including 50x100s rotating between 1:40, 1:35, and 1:30. Laugh all you want at the times but I was alone…in a cold pool…with no light to the outside world.

I have officially discovered the three keys to swim training.

1. Swim on the clock. That means actually doing swim sets and challenging yourself with
2. When possible, swim with better swimmers. Train up. Not down. Faster swimmers
make you swim faster…go figure
3. Swim more than 3 times a week. Get your ass into the pool. Hardest part

I am a swimmer.
I am a swimmer.
I am a swimmer.