Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Beginner Swimmer Tips

I now have a summer of swimming under my belt.  As a beginning swimmer with no experience in a lap lane to now a seasoned beginner, I thought I'd share a few things I've learned.

  • It's ok to be the worst one out there.  You'll get better.  The first day I nearly panicked, but I managed to swim a few laps.  With a bit of instruction and practice I eased my fears.  And p.s. all my instruction was online.
  • Don't be embarrassed by your speed.  You'll probably be surprised at the variety of swim experience in the pool.  There will be the lady swimming only breaststroke quite slowly and fluidly.  There will be the woman swimming 100s in a minute flat.  Then there will be people like me, someone who slowly but surely gets there and back, there and back.  
  • When you arrive at the pool, and find you need to lane share, take time to observe the lanes to see where you fit in.  Don't over or underestimate your abilities.  If you find you got into the wrong lane, then just switch.  No biggie.  
  • Every time I go to a new pool or at a new time, I'm afraid there will be too many people in the lanes.  I've found that most people are happy to lane share.  Even with several people in a lane, if you pay attention, the swim will go quite smoothly.  I shared with a handful of people today and didn't even notice.  It didn't go any differently than if I had my own lane.
  • I'll say it again cause it's so important.  Don't worry about your speed or ability.  Just try.  You will get better and more confident with time, but that's only true if you try.

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Final Review: Run Less, Run Faster (long overdue)

OMG.  Run less, Run Faster is frickin' hard!  But it works.

Now for the good, the bad, and the ugly.

I actually had to bow out of the plan early.  I pulled my hip flexor muscles and was in quite a bit of pain for a few weeks, so I don't have 10k results to prove the plan.  However, I do know that my easy pace is now quite a bit faster than it was at the beginning of the plan.  Easy pace was closer to 10 min/mile and now easy is 9 min/mile.  I can chat away for miles and miles at that pace now, when that used to be my tempo pace.

I really liked the track workouts.  It was especially nice having the paces written out.  All the guess work was gone.

Now for the bad.  Ugh.  I really hate having all hard workouts.  I really love my easy days.  I really, really loved chatting with friends.  If running is a social thing for you, then this plan will not work.  You will probably have a really difficult time sticking to it.

I do think that I will continue with the speed workouts when my hip is completely healed.  I will remember to do my tempos and my hills.  BUT I will also make plenty of time for the fun, easy stuff.

Running, to me, is as much as about building relationships and maintaining good mental health as it is about working out my body.  If you feel the same as me, then take Run Less, Run Faster with a grain of salt.  If you are just looking to run fewer days and meet your goals.  This might be the right plan for you.