Nov 5, 2009

Spend the winter doing what you suck at!

For me, it’s officially been the off season for more than 6 weeks. Like most over achieving triathletes, I am starting to feel a little bored. I really want to get back into those miles, but I know that my mind needs several more weeks of unstructured training. So what to do?
 With another winter approaching in Cleveland, it is the perfect time to do something you suck at!
Although I didn’t grow up running or cycling, those sports were much more natural to me. When I started racing triathlons, I was no different than most people. The swim was purely survival. I’m still not the greatest swimmer, but I have come a long, long way. And, I owe it all to Cleveland’s nasty winters.
 Two years ago, I decided that I was going to spend the bulk of the winter trying to get better at swimming. I decided that I wasn’t going to keep swimming like a triathlete. I was going to swim like a swimmer. This meant going to masters swim practice, learning to read the clock, flipping at each wall, and swimming EVERY stroke. I’ve met a countless number of triathletes that don’t flip turn, only breathe to one side, and can only swim freestyle. Triathletes that don’t embrace the swimming lifestyle will never swim fast times. Becoming a 3 sport athlete instead of a triathlete is the philosophy I adopted a few years ago. Many triathletes think that it is okay to be triathletes. Trust me, it isn’t. When I first started running seriously, I started working at a specialty running store. I could have worked anywhere, but I wanted to learn to run from runners. By adopting the running mentality, I was able to progress much faster. Triathletes have used this strategy since the beginning of the sport. The Big Four, Tinely, Scott, Allen, and Molena, started this sport based on this strategy. They swam like collegiate swimmers, cycled liked roadies, and ran like marathoners. This was the only way they knew how to train, and it worked.
So, this winter don’t train like a triathlete. Train like a swimmer, a cyclist, or a runner. Do something you suck at, and do a lot of it. I decided to swim 6 days per week until I move to Tucson in January. My goal is swim masters 25-30k per week. I’ve done this kind of focus for 3 winters straight and it always helps my summer swimming. The winter is the perfect time to get good at your weakness. So, when it’s cold and shitty out, head out to the pool, or hop on the trainer. Next summer, you’ll thank yourself for it.

1 comment:

  1. Jeez, that is one heck of a lot of swimming! No wonder why you are so well rounded!