ZC sports therapy

Training & Nutrition blog


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Come on in the water’s lovely…

Lesson: Do not ask a former Ironman if he can help you swim faster.

Result:  A swim training plan that looks more like a cross channel training programme.

So, this year saw me compete in several Aquathlons. That for those who don’t know, that is a triathlon without the bike.  Usually you have a swim either in open water or in a pool, followed by the run. Sometimes the organisers get nasty and make it a swim-run-swim.

Now I would like to point out that it is actually much harder for the body to cope with the transition from swimming to running, than it is from cycling to running.  For a start you are horizontal and completely non weight bearing whilst swimming. Gravitational forces are pushing downwards on the anterior part of your lungs, and the body’s blood flow is working in a different plane.  That would explain the dizziness and inability to use ones legs when exiting a swim into the run! Blood rushing downwards to the feet and away from the head, makes for an interesting stagger to transition.

My swim was always weaker than my run, and I was aware that time was ticking by meaning I had more work to do on the run leg. I wanted to improve on my swim time, so that I could have a better overall finish time. My goals were to be able to swim 750m in 13-14 minutes, 800m in 14-15 minutes and 1k in 17-18 minutes.

So I asked a former Ironman to help me achieve this.

Previously I had been swimming a grand total of 1k a week. Now I was faced with 3 training sessions, swimming an average of up to 6k a week. That was quite a shock.

The swim sessions were structured into warm up laps, drills, timed laps and warm downs. Hidden in the training plan was a Critical Velocity Test. Three different distances, timed and with heart rate monitored. Not too hard you may say, except I had to sit and wait by the side of the pool for 30 minutes in between each distance. Yes, half an hour. I did think coach was taking the p*ss to be honest and was this a massive wind up. When he told me to take a dressing gown into the poolside I did wonder if this was all a joke. But, no, it wasn’t.

I am nearly at the end of the months training plan, with one swim left to go. My technique has vastly improved thanks to the video swim analysis that I took part in earlier this year. Where I was snaking my way down the pool, and swimming on average a further and unnecessary 5 or so metres with the ‘snaking’ style I had, I now am swimming straighter, more relaxed and with less rotation. I’m still no Phelps, but with the “glide and thumbs” “zipper” and “flexible ankles” ringing through my ears, I hope when it comes round to race season next year, to be able to exit the pool in a quicker time than before.

I spent quite a while cursing the ‘coach’ whilst endlessly going up and down the cold pool, but when I see the changes made and feel how different my swimming actually is, it’s worth it.

I await next month’s plan. I expect it to be more ‘interesting’ and varied. Maybe swimming with leg weights or swimming blind fold? Who knows!

The last session of this month’s plan is today, so I better leave you now and get the bag packed! The plan sees you swim for three weeks out of four. A whole week of no swimming.  No. A few ‘easy’ swims I have been told will be expected of me. That doesn’t seem like a week off to me, but then I trust the coach.

If you’re thinking of taking on a training plan, you have to be dedicated to spend a lot more time than you had imagined in the pool. When it gets a bit grim, and it will, stick with it. I would advise though you regularly send berating text messages to ‘coach’ reminding him that whereas he may have done full Ironmans in the past, you are not of that league and therefore please consider that when planning the schedule!

 

 

 

 


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Been a long time, been a long time…

So I have not written anything for about a month. Not since week 4 of the Low GI Sports Nutrition plan. Well, It’s been an educational roller coaster of a ride.

My first question is, why did I not know about the Low GI way of eating, and why did I not grasp the concept of ‘Eating Clean’, some 20 or so years ago?

I could have been such a great runner, if only I’d known! Well, I’m not doing too badly considering I’m the wrong side of 35 and making up for lost time.

Week 8 of the Low GI way of eating; I no longer call it a diet, is coming to a close at the end of this week. My whole view-point about food has done a complete 360. Food for fuel, food for sustenance and food for enjoyment. It would be a complete impossibility for me to revert back to the ‘old way’ of eating, not now I feel this great!

It amazes me how people I know have tried out various ‘diets’ that promise to make them lose weight. Bizarre fad style eating that sees people exhausted and looking like something from a left over Halloween party. What’s the point of that?

Low GI and Eating Clean makes perfect sense to me. I eat every 3 hours, and I continue to shed the unnecessary fat, getting leaner whilst feeling stronger and fitter than I ever have done. Along with a new way of eating I have started to become more clever in the way I train. Being specific about what I want to achieve and not just forcing myself to go out for a run or swim because “I really should”.

I have a client who is a Triathlon coach. With his help I have set specific goals for 2013. I want to be a better, more technical and faster swimmer. I enjoy Aquathlons and don’t want to be at the back of the swim pack. So clever training in the pool along with other training sessions carefully spread out over the week, mean a less tired me and more focused me.

I would say the hardest thing about cleaning up my diet and the way I see food, has been other people’s response to the ‘new me’.  For the most part people have been very positive about what I am doing and have given great affirming compliments, which has really helped me. However, others have reacted differently to the fact I barely drink alcohol any more, and have cut out a lot of food I used to eat. I suspect my new-found passion for nutrition has made them look at their own drinking and eating habits, and perhaps it makes them feel uncomfortable?

Most people are interested in what a low GI way of eating is, and what is Eating Clean? I love to talk about it because it’s only two months old in my life, I am no expert and so am learning every day.

I totally accept that I may never be asked to someone’s house for a meal again, faced with having a dinner guest who has turned a corner and will not be happy with a plate of old slop covered in cheese. After all, that is what vegetarians eat, isn’t it, plates full of pasta and cheese? Actually you may as well give us veggies a plate of potatoes, white pasta, white rice and pour a load of white sauce over the top of it. We’ll be happy with that. Oh and we’ll have some white sliced bread with it whilst you’re there. Thanks. Sorry to be a nuisance.

(I am more than aware that this blog update in turning into a bit of a rant.)

I am able to make informed and educated decisions about what I eat. If my choices upset you, or you think I am ‘fussy’ or ‘being difficult’, thanks for the offer to supper, but I shall decline.

The inches lost and the energy gained from this way of eating, makes me a total convert. It makes so much sense. It’s not a diet or a fad. It’s so simple. Yes you need to be organised and carry food around with you all the time, but for me, it’s the way forward.

Thanks for reading. Sorry if I ranted a little too much!