My swim notes, a little messy but very telling.
For the past 2 months I have been very committed to my swimming.
Over time I have drifted away from planning my own swims, though I have written many swim practices for the athletes I coach, I got slack on writing out my own. This triathlon season I decided I would experiment on myself by planning my swims, writing out my practices, incorporating the tempo trainer (cadence), writing down the results pool side, and then reviewing the results. My intention for these practices was how I feel when I swim.
My big shift in my swimming for this season, beyond writing things down, is from thinking about my swimming to feeling it.
Over the months I played with fast and slow tempos, and long and short distances. I did swims in a 50 meter pool, 25 meter pool and 25 yard pool. Though I had variations in the distances, pool length, and tempo, I was always dialed in on how I felt. Okay well not always, but I really had to pay attention. It wasn’t always easy, sometimes it was challenging to stay focused and sometimes I felt a little funky in my movements. But I didn’t resist it. Though I did have to pay attention to the shenanigans of the mind wanting to wander, the chattering mind, the mind wanted to think, drift, I stayed with how I felt. To deepen my feeling sensations as I swam, I would occasionally close my eyes to feel my body more. To feel the sensation of water on my arm, to feel any drag, to feel the stretch in my torso, to relax the neck…basically to stop trying so hard, I had to feel from the inside out and closing my eyes helped.
During this morning swim I had an unexpected, but very welcome shift. At the end of todays practice, I swam 100 yards in 1:35. It was exciting because I felt so relaxed, calm, smooth. The speed came without my trying to get faster. And this came at the end of my 1800 yard practice. It was such a fun surprise that I had to swim another 100 yards. When I started this experiment back in March, my 100 yard time in the same pool at this effort level was 1:50. So to swim feeling as I did and at this time was a bonus.
How I got to this outcome was not trying to get faster but letting the speed be a secondary experience. I made such things as feeling relaxed, supple, loose, and calm my primary experience. On the way to maintaining feeling smooth and relaxed, long and tall, connecting hip and hand, swimming through a narrow hole in the water, etc., as I played with tempo, and distance, I got faster. But, I was also consistent AND I went with the flow. I was consistent in showing up at the pool, recording my swims, writing things down, reviewing them, and letting go of those days that seemed like nothing was happening or no progress was being made.
It was the ultimate practice in sticking with the process while also letting go of outcomes