Thursday, January 25, 2007

Practice makes...

Where, oh where, during my mere 30 years on this planet did I forget that the old saying "Practice makes perfect" really is true??? Well, sortof true...I don't think it really makes "perfect", but no doubt it makes improvement. Perhaps they were searching too hard for a word that begins with letter "P". Practice makes improvement. Without a doubt.

Let me catch you up - Sunday and Monday, I took off, as you know if you read my last post. It was the right decision. I feel comfortable moving forward now. So Tuesday morning, bright and early, Briar and I hit the gym before school/work. He's getting back in shape for a 5k happening here in Manchester that's called "The Sweetheart Run" on February 10th. It's couples or Mother/Son or Father/Daughter teams, and the lowest combined times will win. Briar is going to be my sweetheart. So he ran 2 miles on the indoor track with me and then shot basketball while I ran 2 more. We discussed the need to go see the new Rocky movie while running. Hopefully we can make that happen this weekend. So anyways, back to the point of this post, we went back to the rec center Tuesday night for swimming - Briar had swim team, I had a 3600 yard swim on the schedule, and Bo wanted to play in the pool. My 3600 yard swim was comprised of:

WU: 500
3x100 on 20" rest - build each 25 to go faster.
3x100 on 25" rest.
5x300 on 30" rest. Try to make each one faster from 1-3, then 4-5.
200 easy.
6x100 w/paddles on 20" rest. Make each on faster again with #6 being faster then #3.
CD: 200

This is part of the 8 week "Swim Focused" triathlon plan I've been following from It's got me swimming 4 - 6 times a week. I haven't actually made 6 days yet, but I've done 4 and 5, and the yardage is much more than I have ever done before. In the past, 90% of my swim workouts consist of a couple laps of Total Immersion drills, then a 1750 yard(I round that to a mile) aerobic swim....and that's it. So this is a huge change for me. Granted, my run and bike are probably just barely being maintained, but I had come to the point where I could no longer move forward in the sport of triathlon being such a terrible swimmer. I couldn't find a swim coach (that since may have changed - more on that later), so the only thing I knew to do was to try this swim focused plan. My lack of progress in the pool up to this point is probably because of the lack of practice. My judgment on this had been clouded by all the articles and things I have read that talk about swimming being all about technique, and how "just putting in the laps" wouldn't make you a better a swimmer. And I didn't want to waste a lot of time swimming the "wrong" way. I have read the Total Immersion book, but I haven't been sure that I've got the technique down since I have no one to critique it. Coach Dan, an accomplished masters swimmer and who used to coach Briar's swim team, gives me tips when I see him, but only swimming twice a week just hasn't been getting the job done. I have heard him say you need to swim atleast 5 times a week. I haven't done that in the past because I didn't want my bike or swim to suffer. But since this seemed like a good time to do the 8 week swim-focused plan, I have finally been able to put in that kind of time in the pool....and whoa-can I tell a difference!!! It is amazing. I don't know that I'm that much faster. Actually my times are a little faster, nothing really huge...just a few seconds per 100 yards. But the way I feel in the water is totally different. Like, I may not be that much better yet, but I feel like at this point, I'm capable of getting better. I feel more like a fish, instead of a human being trying to force my way through the water. I am totally comfortable with my flip turns, now...instead sucking water up in my nose and coming up spitting it out like whale on about every fifth attempt at one. I am actually enjoying the workouts, instead of suffering through them. I really can feel the difference.

Practice makes improvement.

It's no different than anything else. I mean, there was a reason that, when I was 10 years old, I stood out in the back yard every spring afternoon until dark shagging fly balls or picking up grounders hit to me by my dad.

Practice makes improvement.

There was a purpose for the countless times of dribbling the basketball down and back up the driveway all summer long. For the hundreds of layups and hundreds of jumpshots out in the hot sun.

Practice makes improvement.

And lets don't forget 800 and 400 meter intervals involved in my marathon training plans. Or the every weekend long run. Or the day in, day out running. How else would I have continued to PR?


And what is it that I constantly remind Briar of when he wants to play a video game or watch television instead of shagging fly balls, dribbling/shooting, or getting in a run? I always tell him "That's fine. But you remember that while you're not practicing, somebody else is. And they're getting better. Are you?"

"We talking 'bout practice, man." That's right, T.O., and I'd probably retire if I had to coach you, too.

Note: I am a pro football fan, so if you didn't get that last comment, don't had nothing to do with triathlon or running.


Joe said...

Good for you! Swimming a variety of sets in a workout is certainly a lot more fun than just doing a continuous 1750 yard swim.

Cliff said...

That's a good set of swimming.

I only cut my swim short when I am too tired to do the drills properly.

If you want to self critque, see if someone can video tape you while you swim. You can really tell whether u are swimming or not.

Triteacher said...

I love it when I hear that someone else has been bitten by the swimming bug, cuz I've got it bad. Welcome to the club and congratulations on your "improvement." :)

Neese said...

interesting about the "practice makes perfect" phrase being an appealing alliteration more than a practical/factual saying..I think you're on to something there

RunBubbaRun said...

Congratulations on the swim. I'm glad to hear that the 8 week focus plan actually works.

Yeah, I'm still trying to figure out how to do those TI swim drills correctly, and I actually have a TI coach.

Michele said...

Glad to hear the swimming is working out for ya. I can also feel some improvement by increasing my swims to 3 times a week.
I hope that the swim class can make us faster.
It was great running with you this morning, made the time fly by.