Archive | December, 2011

Lifeboat Swim – Week 10: The Big 50 & Bigger 25!

19 Dec

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Season’s Greetings!

The mulled wine may be flowing and mince pies a’going (?!), but all is still on track here at ‘Lifeboat Olympic Swim Challenge’ HQ. In fact, just last Friday I reached a significant milestone, as you can see from my progress board. That’s right, 50 miles completed! On my virtual swim route that means I’ve so far made it down the coast from Grimsby and all the way across the Wash. However, the past few weeks have thrown up a few hurdles (just swim under them!).

For two weeks out of the past four I’ve only been able to fit in three days swimming, having been on training courses and a short holiday. Thanks to some planning ahead this hasn’t been a problem as I’ve been able to pick up the slack the week before and after. As it turns out, one of the training courses was of significant benefit to my swimming. The course was about building confidence and I learnt that if you believe you can do something, there will be subconscious changes in your body and behaviour that will assist you. This is all part of the ‘ideomotor response’. The popular example is if you hold a key on a piece of string if front of you and will it to move, it will. This isn’t magic, it’s your subconscious making slight movements in your hand to make the key swing. So, how does this help with swimming? Well, often before I swim I watch a short clip of Olympic swimmer Jono Van Hazel (Mr Smooth!) on my phone, then when I’m swimming I imagine that I’m him in the clip. I’ve found that through this visualization, my conscious and subconscious are able to pick up on the obvious, but also the more subtle movements he makes. I find this area of psychology fascinating (as the amount of books I’ve bought on the subject recently testify to).

Oh yes, there’s another piece of news to tell. Quite a big one in fact. I have a new PB for a mile…

25.55

Yes, just last Thursday I achieved my goal of breaking into the 25s by xmas! I was very surprised considering I’ve been getting over the lurgey recently. My plan of attack was to set my tempo trainer on 24.5s a length, rather than the 24.3ish time that, if kept consistent, would result in a sub-26 time. My reasoning was that I tend to go off well, struggle in the middle, then pick up pace towards the last third. If I was on 24.3s, I knew I’d end up being behind the beep midway and start struggling to catch up again. It seemed better in my head to be ahead of the beep, drop back to being on it, then see how far ahead of it I could get. In terms of pacing this is probably not the best approach, but it seems realistic considering my history of mid-mile slump. I’d be interested to hear what any fellow swimmers think about this.

Anyway, it’s been a great way to end the year, particularly considering how modest my goals at the start of the year now seem.

Merry xmas to you all and here’s to more PBs in 2012!

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