Monday, March 1, 2010

On Swimming Frequency and Running

First order of business: tomorrow will be the February round-up and number totaling.

I know Brandon mentioned it in the post below, but his roommate Tim came out for the weekend and we went for a run. The run was a variation of the run I did in this post, including running up that damn hill. I've run up Timberline a few times; each time with having to walk. This run, I was noticeably behind Tim and Brandon, but I was able to keep running.

That's right; I never stopped running. I also found out that adding another little bit to the run after the hill gave me a little more energy and helped me feel better. Typically, after I crest the hill, I keep running down Timberline until home - which is mostly a gradual downhill with a few minor rises. With Tim, however, we added another bit on to extend the route to just over three miles. Doing so, as I said, made me feel better. I don't know if that little bit helped purge some of the lactic acid out of my legs (i dunno how that works exactly; it doesn't make sense in my mind that it would work that way, but who knows). I also don't know if it's the fact that I can't really feel good under three miles these days. Either way.

Another thing that I started thinking about was training in Colorado. I'm a Colorado girl, born and mostly bred. I love the beauty in my state and I don't think I take it for granted, but Tim got me thinking that sometimes I do. As we turned the corner out of the neighborhood, Tim about dropped his jaw with the view of the mountains that we got. He also kept commenting on the view and the weather and everything, really, every couple of minutes.

I've done work outs in this state that have inspired awe in me, but my usual daily runs do no such thing. Tim got me thinking that you know, maybe I should again.

He also got me thinking that I shouldn't really care so much about my times. As Brandon mentioned, Tim was shocked that our time on our run was so "slow" (normal for us; slow for him). He felt like we had run a lot faster than we did. We told him that running here, especially on all the hills, can be deceptive. Brandon and I have learned to never trust a feeling on how a run went because it is rarely accurate. I'll just continue running here and eventually plan to run all my races on flat terrain at sea level. ;)


Second thing I wanted to blog about was this article from EverymanTri. The article, written by Patrick McCrann, says that for the age group triathlete (so basically me and everyone else who isn't a professional), swimming year round is a waste for three reasons.

Reason One: Swimming is a massive time suck.
Reason Two: You don't have enough available time to get really better.
Reason Three: Returning is learning all over again.

I do get his point on number one ... to a point. It can be a time suck going to the gym, changing, etc. I get around this for the most part by going and doubling up a swim workout with something else. At this point in my early season training, I'm not doing ridiculously long swims so I almost always double up a swim workout with a stationary bike or a lift.

On point two, I understand where McCrann is coming from regarding the good triathlon swimmers being people who have spent eons of time in the pool in their youth training. And, for us mere mortals to catch up to them, we would have to spend comparable time and really, that just ain't happening. Still, all I have to do is look at my own times; I've cut around 10:00/mile off my times over the past two years ... and I don't swim nearly as much as I probably should! So once again, Mr. McCrann, I respectfully disagree.

The third point I just dislike the whole concept of. I don't want to take four months off and basically have to relearn how to swim again. Screw the thought of that making it more fun or more of a challenge. I've taken significant time off in all the sports I've played. The only one where it's not a major pain in the ass to get back into it? Softball. Time off from hockey sucks ... on the second skate back. Time off the bike sucks. Time off running REALLY sucks. Time off swimming sucks too.

Ultimately, though, I think the reason I prefer not taking time off from swimming is because it's such a good form of exercise on its own. It's extremely low impact and is a great cross-trainer to go along with the running. Plus, I'll get moments of zen in the pool that I wouldn't give up in the technical triathlon off season because I sure as hell haven't gotten one in season yet.

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