I’ve never been much of a swimmer. I mean I like swimming and love being in the water, but swimming laps I’ve never done much of, and when I have it’s always been breaststroke – I just get too pufffed out doing freestyle!
Anyway, I decided this year that I should start swimming to try and improve my breathing. My reasoning behind this was that when I run, my breathing gets tired before my legs, so if I can improve my breathing then I should get better at running.
So I’ve been swimming once a week in our aquathon training with the girls. The run before and after are nice and gentle as I run with one of our daughters – so then the 30min swim in the middle is my workout. I’ve been swimming 1km – trying to add more freestyle laps each week to replace some of the breaststroke. A few weeks ago I got up to half breaststroke and half freestyle. 500m of freestyle is more than I’ve ever done and I was really happy with that.
Then this weekend just gone, I took part in a 24 hour swimathon with our eldest daughter who is a star swimmer (at just 9 years old). She and I did our rostered hours together (including 2am – 3am!!), and did it in relays of 100m each. I think over the weekend we swam about 4km each. I did all of mine breaststroke, and found I had very achy breastroke muscles yesterday as a result!
Right at the end of the weekend, someone gave me some advice about my breathing when swimming freestyle. He said to only take half breaths rather than big full breaths each stroke. I tried one lap at the very end of the 24hr swim, concentrating on smaller breaths, and was amazed at the difference!
So today (2 days later) I went to the pool and gave it a go swimming only freestyle. I managed 1km!!! Yes it took me 45 mins, and I had lots of breaks between laps – but that’s double the distance I’ve ever done before in freestyle so I’m very proud!
Now I just have to get my head straight in terms of swimming. I think I need to learn to get into a rhythm when swimming freestyle. I was stopping every lap to completely catch my breath before setting off again. I think that this somehow is like running laps of the track and stopping after each one to catch my breath before the next one. I wouldn’t do this in running, yes I’m breathing hard after a short distance, but I keep going and find my rhythm.
So my next step is to get swimming freestyle again but try to keep going and get into a comfortable breathing rhythm!
Of course I want to run up hills and do long runs, and do Spartacus…. I’m on a roll and feeling fit and healthy and WANTING to exercise! I just have to find the time to fit it all in!
Best of all with the swimming today was that I did something that only a few days ago I didn’t believe I could do! It’s such a good feeling to achieve something like that! Gives me inspiration to see what else I can do that I have doubts about now…