13 December, 2011
Swim Training Rant
To All the Fish Out There,
Let me start by saying I honestly have all the respect in the world for the fishes of the world, those who seem to happily swim endless lengths in pools the world over. I'd even say I am envious of your swim speed, your training work ethic, not to mention your ability to endure the mind-numbing routine of it all.
I need help figuring out how to like swim training more. At its best, swimming is as cool as it comes. On a longer swim - typically, for me, this just applies to OWS - there are those zen-like moments where I can really feel like I am in the groove & soaring through the water (even if it's just barely under 2:00/100m) and it is a great feeling. I like that, except it happens pretty rarely, and just about never when training. This is frustrating, because I am almost always happy when I anticipate, execute, and recall just about every run and ride that I have.
The facts the way I experience them:
If I want to run, I put on my shoes and head out the door & go & go until I can't go any more. I breath in the fresh air and see the sun, while doing intervals, taking it easy... whatever I want/need to do. When finished, I am revitalized; it's usually one of the best parts of my day.
If I want to ride, I put on my shoes, head out the door, throw my leg over the seat & go & go until I can't go any more. I breath in the fresh air and see the sun, while doing intervals, taking it easy... whatever I want/need to do. When finished, I am revitalized; it's usually one of the best parts of my day.
the Point Richmond Natatorium, Point Richmond, CA
(I swam there when it was in colour)
If I want to swim, I get in the car (which, to operate, costs money and pollutes), drive to the pool (if it is open when I am free), strip naked in front of others (I mean once in the change room, not the parking lot), lock most of my crap in a pay locker to keep others from stealing it, furtively wet myself for health regulation purposes under a scalding hot non-adjustable shower that I have to keep switching on because the timer button lasts for 4 seconds, gather up my other, non-locked-up crap together and march out onto the deck past air exchangers that blow my skin cold enough for goose bumps, wander about the one end checking out lanes trying to get a sense of where some others of similar pace/effort are swimming so that I can intercept them to discuss my needs and reach a truce for lane sharing, go & go until I run into the feet of one of them and have to stop or one of them runs into my feet and I have to stop, continually evade the tools who swam a fast set but now do slow-mo breaststrokes for cool down without switching lanes, stare at a line on the floor of the pool the entire time, try to get my intervals in without compromising my pace/timing or that of others, climb out and reverse the whole cold/hot/nude-fest/locker/drive-in-traffic process. I've been in Zone 2 or above for, at best, one third of my time invested. Almost every "fish" I have ever come upon maintains that I need to do this at least five or more days/week if I am going to acquire that mystical "feel" for the water and see real improvement. Huh. Sorry, but I've "felt" enough water to know that - unless I am missing something here - I will content myself with coming into T1 and having an easy time finding my bike, if you know what I mean. I haven't even addressed the post-swim itchy skin and congested sinuses, not to mention swimming through others' pee.
So what am I missing? Just the fact I wasn't doing this as a kid? Bad genes? Not wanting to offend, but, for me, it is just too sad a way to spend solid chunks of five or more days per week trying to get a better "feel" when it will only yield me a handful of minutes of improvement per tri. The compromise to make it otherwise would cost too much in my quality of life. This sounds like the sour grapes of a pool newdle; it's not that serious - like I said I really do think the act of swimming itself is very cool - it is just that the training sucks!
Gawd that felt good.
The Water Foul [sic]