Friday, September 01, 2006

Thurs night swim, "maintenance" phase, and falling asleep tips

Took a late afternoon nap yesterday. So bad but felt so good. Woke up and dragged myself to the pool. I'm so glad I did. I had a great swim. It's great swimming the last hour before the pool closes because I took fewer breaks, trying to get in as many laps as I could before quitting time. (Stupid pool closes at 8; how lame is that?)

I warmed up with a nice, relaxing 50m each of breast, free, back (x3). Then did some drill work to get back to basics and think about form. I'm much stronger and more balanced on my right than on the left. On the left, I tend to sink more. Plus, I'm trying to work on recruiting my core muscles when I twist to give me a little extra propulsion through the water. On the right, this works out well; my body seems to know what I'm talking about. On the left, it's not quite there; I actually jerk backwards a little before twisting forward from the hips. I'm going to have to work on body positioning a bit more on this side.

Followed drills with a set of 500m free at medium pace. Felt easy and strong. Then, did a stroke counting drill where I swam to the right 25 meters, back to the left 25 meters, and then repeated trying to take 1 off each time. Counting every time my "breathing" arm hit the water, I was able to manage 9 to the right, and 9.5 to the left. Again, gotta work on the hip twisting thing.

Finished with a very short sprint set--3 laps (150). It was awesome. Definitely the most fun. I focused on long, sleek strokes and gliding through the water. I remembered watching the pros for some championship on t.v. last weekend and how high they rode on the water, as if they were on top of a wave. I tried to find that wave and propel my body just on top of the swell, letting the water carry me through. Again, to the right, the swell was slightly more pronounced than the left but the overall feeling was amazing. Like a a dolphin.

I would have liked to do 2 more sets of this but everyone else had gotten out and the 2 lifeguards were standing over my lane, waiting for me to get out. It really creeped me out so I finished up and got out. Sigh. The best part was how fresh I felt at the end. I couldn't believe it.

Since my season is just about over, I'm trying to hold back and go into a "maintenance and recovery" phase. I'm still working up to a half marathon in October but I feel my base is solid enough that I won't have to work too hard to get through it. I want to be well rested and fresh when I start thinking about next season so right now, I'm trying to hold back and enjoy myself. Do a workout 6 days a week and have fun with it. Then, I'll reassess draw up new goals, and begin working on my weaknesses during a long base phase for the off season. I think it's a good sign I'm rarin' to go but I'm holding back after my long illness.

On a side note, that damn nap I took really made it difficult to fall asleep last night. Let's review falling asleep tips:
1. no caffeine late in the day (that includes soda and many power drinks or gu).
2. no naps!
3. wind down an hour before bedtime.
4. get things cleaned up and organized for the next day so it's not "hanging over your head."
5. journal for 5-10 minutes to clear your head.
6. take a hot shower or bath to let your core temp drop.
7. sip some hot chamomile tea spiked with skim milk (not too much or you'll be peeing all night).
8. turn off the t.v., dim the lights, and read for 15 minutes before turning off the light and drifting to sleep.
9. if you find your mind racing, I do the following exercise:
Picture the colors of the rainbow individually, starting with red and ending in violet.
Focus on one color at a time and only that color. Other thoughts may drift in and out but they are only
background noise.
Let that color fill your mind until it is so vivid, you are surrounded in it and feel as if you can reach out
and touch it.
To help, think of objects that are that color--for red--an apple, cherry, or fire engine.
Let the objects fade and the color bleed over and fill up the empty space of your mind. Let your mind
soften as you would let your vision soften to increase peripheral vision, and the color should grow very
You may fall asleep before you reach violet, and that is okay. If your mind begins to drift, let it. You're
trying to fall asleep so that's okay. The color focus exercise just stops your mind from racing.

Okay, since I have falling asleep down so well, can anyone out there tell me how to wake up? I have such a struggle...even with an alarm clock!


Anonymous said...

I thought you might enjoy these freestyle swimming clips:

Note the insane kick and the bend in his arms. He's sprinting so not as much body roll.

Ian Thorpe Freestyle (slomo)

Ian Thorpe Freestyle (real-time)

As for falling asleep, I wish I could do that before midnight. Let me know if you find out any tricks about how to wake up! :-)

JeffM said...

I wish I had read this post before my swim today. I want to try your dolphin, I'm not sure I know what you mean.
As for sleep- number one on your list solved my problems, 5-6Pm cutoff time for caffeine no exceptions for me.

Chris said...

Waking up... hmmmm. Have you tried putting your alarm clock outside of your reach? Or can you just not hear the alarm while it's going off??

If you have any on how to *stay* asleep, I'd appreciate those! I've been waking up in the middle of the night these days just wide awake. Ugh.

Jodi said...

Thanks for the falling asleep tips. I need to try those tonight.

As for waking up, my only advice is: Get a dog. You will have no choice but to get up when you have a 100 pound hungry beast licking your face. Works for me every time!

qcmier said...

Hmm, I wish I knew my secret to waking up. If I did I would patent it and be a millionaire. I almost always wake up naturally before my alarm. I usually only average 6 hours a night, but I guess my body thinks it is enough and wakes me up automatically. I guess I have a pretty good internal clock.

Yeah I'll have to work on my swimming too.

Cliff said...


Looks like u have a blast doing your swim drill.

I have to go back to the basics as well. I rarely do sprints but my coach make us swim 12 stroke fast 12 stroke normal when we are in open water. I am going to incorporate that in the pool as well.

Mike said...

Nice tips there..I have a big problem falling asleep myself...waking up in the am really sucks!

Mon said...

yawn, that really works, I'm sleepy now. But seriously, that did sound very relaxing!

Anonymous said...

However, you forgot the most fun ways to get tired before going to sleep!