Wow! The month of June feels like it escaped me, and it’s been a while since I’ve been able to jump on here because well, I’ve been one busy fit mama! And some of that busy has been continuing my triathlon training for The Columbia Threadneedle Investments Boston Triathlon.
For the past month, along with my normal running routine, teaching classes, training clients and everything else, I’ve also included swimming into my schedule. And holy moly you guys, it’s been humbling. I had never taken swim lessons or learned proper technique in the water, so my first time in the pool I felt anxious and like I was constantly gasping for air. I’m so conditioned to use my legs to power my body in everything I do, but I learned quite quickly that in swimming, kicking is not what’s supposed to power you to move forward through the water. My first swim practice I was kicking a ton which in return wastes a ton of oxygen which kept leaving me completely out of breath after every 25 meter lap. It took a few sessions with my coaches to finally get my body to slow down my legs, start driving my body with my hips and pulling my body forward with my arms. I’m happy to report that in one months time I’ve made great strides, and my coach said I’m adapting quickly and doing extremely well.
My last swim-sesh this past Wednesday was a one on one with my coach, and it left my traps, lats and rear delts feeling quick sore and my heart hungry for more. I think it’s the first time I got out of the pool truly looking forward to jump back in and continue my swim training, which I’ll be taking to the open waters very soon.
I’m not the only runner in the world who’s taking the plunge and training for my first triathlon, and I surely won’t be the last. So I wanted to pass on a few tips for all the fellow runners out there looking to crossover.
- Get in the water! If you’re a runner wanting to do your first triathlon, the best piece of advice I could give you is jump in ASAP and get swimming. Trust me!
- RELAX! If you’re anxious in the water then the water fights back. One thing that’s helped me do this when I start to feel my nerves creeping in is to hum, this also helps me regulate my breathing.
- Hire a coach. If you’ve never taken swim lessons before and you’re not a swimmer, then I highly recommend hiring a coach who will not only analyze your swimming, but who will help you develop proper technique. The two coaches I’ve been working with have both given me drills, analogies and workouts that are improving my technique and increasing my strength in the water.
- Get your gear. I showed up to my first swim practice without a cap or goggles. Luckily, my coach had extras, but I made sure to go out and buy my own. You also need a wetsuit and tri clothing. Like sneakers for a runner, these are things you need as a swimmer. PS, nothing makes me feel more ridiculous than wearing a swim cap – embrace the ridiculous!
- Have fun! Admittedly, I found myself dreading my first swim practice and wishing that I was going for a run instead, but then once I got in the water and started swimming I realized I was having fun pushing myself to do something different and being out of my comfort zone. It really didn’t take long at all for me to start enjoying it!
I’m undoubtedly a novice swimmer, and I’m A-OK with that. As a runner, swimming has felt like a total switch in gears for me, but in a good way. It’s teaching me how to relax my body and slow down a bit – in and out of the water. It’s teaching me how to relax my breathing and be friends with the water and not fear it. It’s teaching me once again that I’m capable of doing something that I never thought I’d be able to do. It’s teaching me to trust myself and my physical and mental strength. It’s teaching me how to continue to pull myself forward, literally and figuratively. And last but not least, it’s teaching me that it’s OK to be a beginner, and to enjoy the journey of learning something new and expand my boundaries.
So until next time kids, I’ll just keep swimming… and running and biking too, of course! Because if there’s one thing I’m for certain, it’s that I was definitely born to move!