Category Archives: Swimming

Triathlon Training

Today is Day 3 of a 20 week full Ironman triathlon training program that I am doing to prepare myself for the 70.3 REV3 triathlon in which I will participate on September 7th. Why a full training program for a half event? Well, as you know I am not the best swimmer and am still meeting with a coach who I have dubbed “The Minnow” on a weekly basis.  I may even extend the coaching sessions another 10 weeks just so I have someone pushing me through the summer.

I am doing the 20 week program so I will be more than prepared (doubly prepared actually) to jump into lake Erie in September and swim for 1.2 miles.  Because if you are running and you get tired then you walk, if you are riding and you get tired then you coast, but if you are swimming in the middle of lake Erie and get tired then you drown…I don’t want to drown!

So far I love the Ironman training.  Monday was a rest day followed by a bike and swim Tuesday morning.  This morning I was technically supposed to do a swim followed by a 40 minute easy ride, but the pool heater at LA Fitness is broken so I’ll just sub in my swim coach session tonight in lieu of a morning swim in the ice water. Friday is an interval run day (albeit an easier one as I have a half marathon this weekend too).  The weekends will see endurance rides and endurance runs with some other type of  exercise following to work on transitions.  This Sunday is supposed to be a 6 mile run followed by a 1000 yard swim.  Sunday is the day after my half marathon so it’ll be a recovery run for me….and then a 1000 yard “recovery” swim.

Sprints…in the Pool

As I wrote on my Facebook Page I love running intervals on the track or the treadmill.  400s, 800s, 1Ks, 1200, mile repeats, even 3200s all are a great interval challenge! I’m not super fast, but I can hit the 7-min mile pace for 400s and 800s. I really enjoy interval workouts as you get in, get the mileage done fast and get back out again with time to spare for corn flakes!

On Thursday “The Minnow” decided I needed to do sprints (intervals) in the pool.  She asked if I wanted to do 25 yards or 50 yards for distance.  I chose 50 yards as I wanted to push it. Yep, I am an idiot! Halfway back on the 2nd 50 yard sprint I had no kick left. I was going as fast as I could and just wore myself out in two sprints. I told The Minnow that I needed to switch to 25s. She agreed and told me that I only get 30 seconds rest instead of 45 seconds…great.

I went for 25 yards, rested, went back another 25 yards rested…then The Minnow said that since I was changing my mind that she’d change her mind too.  I was doing two 50s followed by four 25s then two 50s followed by four more 25s…again…great.

By the end of it I had nothing left. I was spent. I had zero kick. I was breathing (barely) like the first time I had tried to run a mile back in 1994. I could feel every inch of every muscle fiber in my triceps muscles. My legs were two noodles in the pool.

BUT WAIT! There’s more!  We have 10 minutes left?!?!?

Says The Minnow, “Go get this 10 pound brick off the bottom of the deep end. Oh, and since we are at the wrong end of the pool you can do one more 25 yard sprint to the other end of the pool!”

The Stupid Brick
The Stupid Brick

I swear if I survive this then I am buying her a 10 pound brick for graduation so she’ll have an extra and I can quit diving to the bottom of the pool to get one. I’m not joking…they cost $35.

After a couple tries I finally got the stupid brick and lesson #3 ended. I really hate that stupid brick.

Happy Training!



Stupid Brick

Today was my second swim lesson. I started last week and was paired with a young high school swimmer as my swim instructor.  We’ll call her “The Minnow” to protect the innocent.

If you need a quick catch up remember that I registered for my first triathlon later this year in September.  So I need to learn to swim better as I am severely under trained for the swim portion of the triathlon. I mean if you can’t ride a bike anymore then you pedal slower or get off and walk the bike, if you can’t run anymore then you walk, however, if you can’t swim anymore then you sink to the bottom and drown…hence the swim lessons.

Also, you may recall that I don’t swim.  I mean I can swim, but I haven’t really done any real swimming outside of splashing around in a high school pool since junior high. See, I’ve never really been comfortable in the water.

For one, don’t forget that I was a fat kid growing up so I had to endure all the usual teasing whenever we went to the pool, but all that is behind me now and those assholes work for [insert worst employer imaginable for low pay] in my fantasy world so they don’t bother me anymore.

Second, I had a brother who was a bit of a bully to say the least so any time I went near water he thought it was fun to grab me and hold me under. If you are wondering how this affects a person’s love of oceans, lakes, pools and bodies of water in general I will let you know that I just see big open expanses of beautiful deep blue death!

Friend: Hey Brian! Want to go to the beach?

Brian: You mean the sand next to the deep blue death?  I’ll pass, but thanks though!

So anyway, last week The Minnow thought I needed to retrieve a 10 pound black rubber brick from the bottom of the pool…the deep end…the 11 foot deep end.

The Minnow explains it.

Minnow: It’s easy! Just go down to the bottom of the pool and get the brick. Then swim back up…simple!

Brian hears: Waaaawaaawaaawaaa bottom of the pool of death, grab the WaaaWaaaWaaaa from the bottom of the pool of death and then WaaaaWaaaWaaaaa from the depths of the pool of death…simple!

Long story short, I didn’t get the stupid brick last week though I did get well acquainted with getting near the bottom of the pool of death and then making a quick exodus to the surface of the depths of the deep end of the pool of death.

The rest of the lesson was treading water and working on my head position when breathing during free style. I told you I needed lessons!

This week I opted to try and get the stupid brick before treading water for 10 minutes. The first couple times I missed it but got close, but finally I got fed up and just jumped off the side of the pool to get to the bottom quicker, grabbed the stupid brick and then came back up.  I retrieved it three more times from the depths of the pool of death before treading water.

I also found out that unlike Michael Phelps,  my arms and legs do not move in a coordinated effort…quite the opposite. In fact there are times when what I believe that I am telling my legs or feet to do have no effect on what they actually do!

The Minnow had me grab a kick board so I was using nothing but my legs to go through the water.  Apparently, my legs can help me go about 12.5 yards before running out of propulsive power, awesome! Only 2,099.5 yards to go for my swim in Lake Erie in September!  Did I mention the deep blue lake of death for my triathlon is Lake Erie? Wow, can I pick ’em or what? The only great lake with a scary name! Let’s do this!

So there I was stuck in the middle of the pool, kicking to beat hades and going no where. I turn my head in time to hear the life guard on the stand say, “Dude, you need to relax.” in what had to be the best impersonation of Ted from Bill and Ted’s Excellent Adventure that I have heard since 1989.  My thoughts, “Easy for you to say from that chair…I’m the one in the pool of death!”  ….then I realized where I was at and just put my feet down.

The Minnow had me finish up with a couple sets of 50 yards on pull and standard stroke. All in all I am realizing that I have a decent amount of fitness for a mid-pack recreational runner and I am finding that this level of fitness in no way helps me swim.

Abs Abs Abs will be my focus as The Minnow told me that the abs tie the upper and lower body together and make swimming a whole lot easier. Learn to love abdominal work she says.

Thanks Minnow! See you next week!

Happy Training!