Want to suck at open-water swimming? Here are five tips.
What if I told you, you could dramatically increase your heart rate, stress levels, muscle strain and overall race time?
Unbelievable, right? Wait, there’s more! At the same time, you also can decrease the amount of enjoyment you derive from swimming, competition and the sport of triathlon.
I know. Your mind = blown.
Well, everyone knows the swim is the easiest leg of the triathlon. But what this article presupposes is, maybe it isn’t.
Keep reading to learn five ways to help screw up the open-water swim at your next triathlon.
I don’t care who you are, what you do, or how you like to spend your free time: smart planning, working hard to follow through and turning setbacks into opportunities will make you successful.
And if you’re dreaming of dominating an Ironman triathlon like I am, sticking to a smart training regimen is crucial.
But the funny thing about plans is that they almost always change. As much as we try to cover every angle, account for all hours of the day and avoid surprises, Life will inevitably distract us with a few curve balls to jumble up our schedules: an urgent project at work, a spontaneous trip to Vegas, a family emergency, an injury or my upcoming binge on the next season of Arrested Development (I’m fine with that).
So what’s the point of planning if the times always be a changin’?
Because the value of planning lies as much in the process as it does in the product.
How my posterior tibial tendon dysfunction could have been avoided, and why it don’t always gotta be the shoes.
My feet used to be awesome.
After nearly two years of strong, minimalist running, they developed nice high arches, flexible toes and could happily handle all the bludgeoning that endurance and strength training threw their way.
Running used to be my strongest sport, and when I registered for Ironman AZ 2013, I was so jacked up to go out and dominate that I could barely sleep in the days that followed.
Excited, I kept training hard, set the course for the coming year and started to design my training plan.
But now, only a few months later, everything has changed.
If you talk to anyone who has completed an Ironman, they’ll tell you three things:
1. It’s the best thing I’ve ever done.
2. It’s addicting.
3. It will take over your life.
Since I have yet to complete my first Ironman, I’ll refrain from speaking to the first two statements. All I will say is that simply committing to train for an Ironman is by far one of the best things I’ve ever done, and I can only imagine how I will feel once I cross that finish line. I can, however, speak to the third point. Training for an Ironman will take over your life.
For the past seven weeks, I’ve been eating, sleeping and breathing my training plan. I consult my training schedule and goals when deciding whether or not to go out drinking with friends, go on a trip, eat that candy bar, or stay up an extra couple of hours to watch The Bachelor. I get down when a training session doesn’t go well and I obsess about how I can make things better.
Basically, I’m dating the Ironman – and he is the neediest boyfriend I’ve ever had.
Do you know how to properly stretch? We’ve all done it. You’re getting ready to head out for a run or play a game of flag football with buddies and you start to do the typical torso rotation, twisting your hips a couple times, leaning over to touch your toes, arch that back and look up towards the sky, swing the arms back and forth a couple times. Okay. Good to go!
If you were to visit my townhouse, you’d probably think it’s a nice place, but nothing all that spectacular.
It serves me well as a low-maintenance base for the moment, but the ceilings stand low, carpet is nearing replacement, most walls are blank and I don’t have surround sound or cable.
I like the quiet, tree-lined street I live on and occasionally wrestle with simple projects to step the house’s game up. But you won’t see it featured in any home-design magazines.
However, the house does boast one undeniably spectacular feature: the couch.
When I show up to the gym, I’m on a mission: to challenge myself, accomplish goals and complete that day’s workout quickly and efficiently.
My triathlon training incorporates about three strength-training workouts a week, and on these days, I try to spend as little time in the gym as possible. I’m not rude, but I’m not there to socialize. And given my affinity for obscure footwear and ragged, free exercise apparel, combined with facial expressions that say, “I’m about to puke,” or “Aaaaaggghhhh,” not many people stop me to chat.
And even though I’m OK being weird at the gym, this approach isn’t for everyone.
For some, the thought of making a plan and dominating goals may seem like too much work.
Perhaps working smarter, not harder sounds boring, and at the gym you’d rather focus on things like meeting someone, getting huge and hogging the mirror.
Then you – my friend – would be much better suited for the alternative, longer-lasting, less-intense and more vocal workout routine of That Guy.
I apologize in advance for the randomness and fragmented nature of this post, but since registering for Ironman AZ back in November, that is exactly what has been happening in my mind. All day, every day, a continuation of fragmented thoughts ranging from “OMG I’m so PUMPED. Cecily Fuller YOU ARE (ALMOST) AN IRONMAN!” to “OMG I want to cry, where do I go next?”
The thought of Ironman is always there. That M-Dot symbol is there when you wake up in the morning; you chase it during each training session; it’s the seasoning on your breakfast, lunch and dinner; and it’s that bitter flavor you taste with each sip of an IPA. Friends of mine who have completed an Ironman of their own warned me that once you take the plunge and officially register, it’s all you will think about for the following year. The reality of this hits me as I sit here with a pile of anatomy flashcards to study and it’s all I can do not to break into the stack of Ironman/tri training books I just borrowed from a friend. The inner turmoil continues. So, instead, I will do neither and I will sit here and pour my feelings into my Ironman blog. I call this a happy medium.
If you’ve been following our #triforles training tweets, you already know we’re going full steam ahead.
And even though the race is still 11 months away, it’s never too early to map the route and jot down smart goals to set us on the right path.
So I laid out the key checkpoints on my road map to Ironman AZ to give a big-picture look at how I plan on dominating my goal: to finish Ironman AZ in 12 hours or less.
Here are the races I’ll be competing in this year:
Each week of training brings something new. A new PR, new approach, new ache, etc., etc. The past two weeks have been especially full of take-aways for my own personal growth in training and I think much of what I’ve learned/decided to set in place moving forward can be applied to anyone at the starting lines of their own training adventures. So, without further ado, here are my key headlines from the past two weeks:
Make a plan
Obvious, right? Of course it’s important to have a training plan set in place not only when going after a long-distance race like an Ironman, but even if you’re training for your first 5k, half-marathon or sprint tri. Regardless of experience level, we’re all starting somewhere. If your goal is to get off of the couch and complete your first 5k race, or you’re working your way up from sprint distance to Olympic distance triathlons, you have to have a plan for how you are going to get from point A to point B – and it can’t be something you just throw together day-to-day or week-to-week on a whim. Do your research. Map out each month. Set benchmarks. Set goals. And most importantly, establish your support system. We’re all going to have “down” weeks when we’re just not feeling into it and we need to be reminded why we’re doing all of this. Make sure you have someone to tell you “hey, you wanted to do this for a reason. Let’s get some ice cream, and then suck it up and push forward to your goal.”