Half-Marathon Training (Week 10)

Week 10 Marathon Training Monday Morning Run

Another week gone by, another week of half-marathon training done and dusted! And check out the beautiful view above – this is why I love river runs! Just half an hour before I took this picture, I was actually on that other side, getting my first few kms in!

This is what I did this week:

March 10th to 16th:

Monday: 6.5km run
Tuesday: 20 minutes swimming
Wednesday: 6.5km run
Thursday: Rest Day
Friday: 10km run
Saturday: Body Pump
Sunday: 45 minute swim

I’m getting fairly used to running 6km for my short runs lately and they are feeling gooo-oood! My legs are definitely getting toned and lean like they were a year back before I fell into my fitness slump!

I’m also psyched this week because I finally got my breathing right for swimming! Mind you, when I hit the pool on Tuesday to get a little swimming practice in ahead of my Sunday class, I was still struggling. Can you guess why I only did 20 minutes? I was so tired of swallowing water and standing up to gasp and choke, I left pretty quickly! I was kind of discouraged then, but I went home and googled stuff like ‘freestyle breathing techniques’ and ‘swallowing water while swimming’ to try and figure out why I was having so much trouble with my breathing.

I thought I’d share some of the links that helped me – the Freestyle tips from this Swim Club website and Swimsmooth’s Freestyle Breathing Techniques are articles which helped me figure out some of the things I was doing wrong. Also, looking at some videos like Michael Phelps’ coach, Bob Bowman, explaining the freestyle breathing technique and Marc Evans explaining how to breath freestyle really helped tons.

I didn’t manage to get back to the pool  for the rest of the week to practice before my Sunday class but I kept trying to visualize this breathing technique. Naturally, when I hit the water on Sunday morning, things didn’t turn out quick as I’d visualised and I still ended up choking on water the first time I tried it! But I tried to remember some of the things I was doing wrong, like actually trying to take a breath within the first or second stroke which actually slows you down and remembering to exhale or blow bubbles when my head’s underwater. I also practised blowing bubbles a few times while standing and putting my head underwater! Then I took a deep breath and started again, this time concentrating on exhaling for the first few strokes then took a quick breath before putting my head back down for another few strokes. Suddenly, I was a lot more comfortable with my head underwater and I realised I was actually swimming freestyle properly for the first time! And without the aid of flippers or a kickboard! Hooray!

Some of the things that helped me with getting the breathing technique right:

  • Remembering to exhale or ‘blow bubbles’ while I’m underwater.
  • Getting a few strokes in first while blowing bubbles before I actually turn my head to take in my first breath of the swim.
  • My swim teacher (who is much younger than all of us adult students in the class but she knows a hell of a lot more than we do!) corrected my left arm stroke which was actually spinning out to the side rather than keeping the arm going straight and close to my left ear, and that was what prevented me from getting a bit of height to take a breath on my right side. When I remembered to keep my left arm bent and close to my ear during strokes, that helped a lot whenever I turned my head right to catch a breath.
  • Looking back or, as some people say, looking towards your armpit, when your head is turned to take a breath. That helped heaps!

Some things I need to remember/work on next:

  • Remembering to keep my toes pointed and legs together when I kick. When I’m concentrating on breathing, I forget all about the kicking!
  • At the moment, I’m just breathing on one side but when I’m confident enough about that, I wouldn’t mind trying bilateral breathing to see if that is an improvement.
  • Seeing if I can master the ‘keeping one goggle in the water while taking a breath’ technique so I’m not actually lifting my head too high out of the water to take a breath.

But at the moment, I’ve actually got the rhythm of my breathing technique right and I’m just happy to keep working on that!

Next week – we’re going into a deeper pool to learn how to tread water! I’m pretty nervous about having to go into water too deep to stand in but I’m psyched because treading water is something I’ve been wanting to learn for ages!

Looking back, I remember being discouraged a couple of weeks ago and continually thinking, I’m never going to get this swimming thing right. But having persevered and swallowed what feels like an entire swimming pool of water every week, it feels good to know I’m finally getting it at last! And maybe even one day be able to do a triathlon! *fingers crossed* 😉

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