Saturday, February 20, 2010

A duathlete masquerading as a triathlete

Sometimes, we need reminders of how bad we are at something before we start taking the necessary measures to get better at it.

For me, that reminder came a few days ago, when an attempt to break up my recent monotony of running by swimming turned into a 30-minute embarrassment of clumsy kicks, flailing limbs and exasperated lungs. There may have been a point during my time in the pool where the YMCA lifeguard legitimately thought I was drowning.

To be fair, it has been a long time since I've donned a pair of swim trunks. The last time I can remember going swimming was for the 1/3 ironman triathlon that I did last August in Waseca. Incidentally, the 1-mile swim that I did for that race also featured a lifeguard wondering whether or not I was drowning, probably due to the fact that my poor technique had me zig-zagging the swim course like a drunk driver careening across the highway. My overall time in the race wasn't bad, but that's mostly because my biking and running abilities came to the rescue.

As you can probably tell, I'm no Michael Phelps when it comes to swimming. I am competant enough not to drown, but that's about as far as I go for water prowess. Swimming has always been a struggle, even after 8 years of lessons and countless hours spent in Hiniker Pond last summer.

The solution to this is about as obvious to me as it is for anybody else: practice. It doesn't always come easy, but practice always makes perfect. Most people who do triathlons aren't good at all three events right away; they have to work at it to get better.

For myself, improvement might require practice in the form of coaching or classes from people who, unlike me, actually know how to swim.

The Y is offering Triathlon Training 101 class from March until May. I haven't decided if I'm going to sign up for it. The cost is relatively nominal ($47 for members, $94 for non-members over 8 weeks), but the classes are at 6:00 a.m. Mondays and Wednesdays (a little early for me) and I'm only REALLY interested in the swimming portion of it. I've attended some of the other aquatics classes sparingly, but those are generally more focused on aerobics than technique. Besides, there is something a little off-putting about being the youngest person in a fitness class by a solid 30 years.

In other words, I haven't yet figured out how I'm going to get better at swimming, but the struggles recently have convinced me that it's something that I need to address.

No comments:

Post a Comment