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Triathlon Training: May 30, 2023 - A new swimming group


After not swimming well the week before in the Max Performance New England Season Opener Sprint Triathlon when I panicked shortly after I started swimming, I decided that I needed to work harder and smarter on my swimming. During the swim, the distance looked too far. My heart rate did not settle down and I swam over to a lifeguard in a kayak for assistance. The lifeguard gave me a floatation to hold onto. 


I became determined, after I controlled myself. Then, I was able to complete the swim. The swim should have taken me about 10 minutes. Instead, the quarter-mile distance took me 16 minutes.


My problems were a combination of not enough time in the pool and not enough open water swimming. Each time I went to swim at the indoor pool, I would swim shorter distances than I should and that the training plan said that I should. The plan was great. However, I would tell myself that, since I was running and I was fit, I could also swim for a similar or less amount of time. Also, simming outside was not as convenient as running or biking. Therefore, I did not do enough of either indoor or open water swimming. I was amongst the very last to get out of the water.


In retrospect, it seems unreasonable to panic over something that should take less than 15 minutes to complete. However, using an analogy, jumping from a high distance is quick and can also cause panic.


I had to get better at swimming!!


Using social media, I found a group of outdoor swimmers that swam about a half-hour from where I lived. They accepted me into the group and were very supportive when I arrived. One swimmer, now a good friend, stayed with me for the first  few swims. He and the others all understood what I was going through and the challenges that I would face to get better.


Two swimmers offered to swim with me. Only one person was necessary. The group would swim to many different location on the pond and had no trouble swimming the entire length. My new aquaintence brought me to a dock within 1000 yards of the beach where they started.


I was a real drag on his swim time. Swimming for a stretch and then rotate to my back, when I tired or lost some confidences. Later I would learn that it is easy to get off course when swimming on my back and, therefore, adds both time and distance to the swim. Now, I stay looking forward and breast stroke, if needed.


We stopped when we met our destination near a dock. I had invested in a swim bouy for safety. The bouys are also used to hold onto just for rest. We rested and talked and then made our way back to the beach. I thought to myself "slow way down" while I took my strokes or "glide, glide, glide" as a way of slowing my heart rate. I was also telling myself that swimming would be more like a marathon for me than a sprint. It helped. But, I had a long way to go to improve and still do today.


The swimming group and the open water swimming would help build my skill and confidence for the rest of the summer. We would also start to integrate swim, bike and run. After we stopped for many coffees and breakfast sandwiches to get to know each other better. The group would also offer much advice and observation for swim improvements and nutrition advice for triathlon training.


Finding the group and joining them would be one of the best decisions of the year!!


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