In Part One Chris discussed his experience with training and preparing for a triathlon, and how after a grueling triathlon debut, he decided to pursue another!
Chris – who at one time didn’t consider himself an athlete at all – continues his story on how he trained and improved his swimming performance and his plans to keep up the training and try for even more triathlons.
Time to improve my swimming skills!
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In the three weeks between Nantwich and Dorney I had a swimming lesson from Jenny’s swim coach – Hayley Morris. She immediately spotted the many things that were wrong with my approach.
Number one, was that I tended to swim in an unstreamlined way.
It is something that is common to most people who can swim but aren’t really swimmers as such. Being bent somewhat at the waist with my lower body at an angle of some 45degrees to the surface meant I was not contributing much to propulsion but adding loads of water resistance.
Blindingly obvious now I think about it, but I suspect I have been swimming in this attitude ever since I made my first entrance into Tooting Bec lido in about 1961.
I made several visits to a local pool to put Hayley’s ideas into practice and I felt I was ready when the day of the Dorney triathlon came.
How hard can it be?
The complacent days of ‘How hard can it be?’ were well and truly behind me.
I improved my swim performance to such a degree that the average speed was about 30% quicker than Nantwich. I was still pretty near the back of the field on leaving the water, but that was not what mattered to me personally, my aim was to improve and I was pleased with the strides forwards that Hayley’s streamlining and other tips had brought me.
The cycle and the run proved less pleasant than I’d hoped – not the exercise involved, which was fine, but the weather, which really wasn’t.
I really don’t recommend cycling into a cold, strong headwind while its raining, occasionally switching to hailstones.
The exercise was needed to warm me up, for I have seldom felt as cold and wet as I did during the fast bits of the ride.
As I expected, I improved my position substantially during the cycle and run, and ended the event ahead of all other males over 55. I no doubt benefitted massively from the advice and presence of Jenny, who did this course three years earlier and took control of all the race-day logistics.
More triathlons lined up
I’m keen to do some more triathlons – perhaps heading for that elusive Olympic distance next year – but will need to devote some serious training time to the swim first. But will I follow in Jenny’s footsteps and do an Ironman three years after my first Dorney experience?
I don’t like the words that first leap to mind – “No chance” – so let’s just see what happens!
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