I have be experiencing a whole range of health problems in the last week or so.
My immune system is wrecked following two successive courses of antibiotics. This has left me vulnerable to illness and infection.
What I thought was the beginning of an infection in my respiratory tract seems to be the result of allergy to pollen and air pollution.
My problems breathing however have contributed to a build up of tension in my shoulders, which explains how I came to strain my shoulder swimming.
though minor this has meant I’ve had to take a rest from training for a few days. A few days without training feels like weeks!
The most worrying symptoms I have are akin to chronic fatigue syndrome which is where no matter how much rest or sleep I have I feel exhausted and weak.
I think this might be triggered by stress. I have had this condition before, several years ago, for a month I was unable to stay awake.
It passed after I changed my diet and stopped eating pasta, milk and wheat bread
I need to fix this fast !
No more stress!
I have done two two hour continuous swims in the last couple of days.
I mention these swims because it’s actually been quite some time since I last swam without stopping. Since the summer time I’ve got into the habit of doing short sprints and lots of drills. This is the kind of training Tim recommends – interval training, which is all about beating the clock – doing the same distance but at higher speeds.
The problem for me however, has been that mentally I’ve been feeling somewhat out of tune with distance swimming and I’ve been struggling to swim more than 200m at a time. So these longer swims are intended to test my stamina and concentration.
During the swims, to counter the onset of boredom and fatigue, I found myself cycling through different styles of front crawl every 50 to 200 metres. This allowed me to rest and stretch different muscle groups and test and refresh connection with the water. Changes in my stroke were largely prompted by having to do lengths. Turns can interrupt ones rhythm but also offer the opportunity to reboot and rethink ones stroke. It was quite an enjoyable swim and I’m pleased not to have injured myself. Also I think I have reduced the amount of splash I create on hand entry. I hope this is the case and I wasn’t imagining it.
In the course of long swims one needs to continually test and correct ones form in order to maintain an efficient stroke.
The swims were useful in building my self confidence and made me think that I need to do at least two or three long swims a week in addition to my interval training. This will help me assess the impact the interval training on my speed and form over a longer course.
Will speak with Tim about this tomorrow.
Also need to stay hydrated and time my swims!
Time is important Iacono! The faster you swim the quicker you can get out of the water, which for a channel swim is particularly important.
Slow swims increase exposure to cold and increase risk of hypothermia-
Stay warm – swim fast!
Tim had a look at my stroke on Sunday. Apparently my left arm (or is it my right) swing out really wide on the recovery and I am over extending in the catch phase, wasting a lot of energy and placing unnecessary strain on my shoulder by pulling through with a straight arm.
The wide stroke, obviously contributes to drag, which I need to avoid. Narrowing my profile, making my body streamline, as if trying to thread it through the eye of a needle is the way to go. So I need to practise.
My main challenge at the moment is not over extending in the catch phase of the hand entry, but entering the water closer to my shoulder.
My stroke was much better about three years ago, but has deteriorated, possibly as a consequence of overtraining and fatigue. By over training I mean swimming excessively, often without adequate hydration, nutrition or rest. Also failing to stretch and do regular dry side exercises.
The advantage of using a high elbow catch is that it encourages better shoulder rotation, engagement of the lats and shallow pull. This keeps the body shallow, i.e. on the surface of the water as opposed to under the water and reduces drag.