Tuesday, 13 February 2018

Turns out swimming is hard.

Since I quit drinking, I have had the longest illness-free period of my adult life, I think. Colds pass by without me breaking a sweat, I may get a tickle here or there but nothing ever fully blooms.

I'm not speaking too soon, believe me. This goes pretty much precisely where you think it goes.

I was away in London for most of last week, and it was punishing. Meetings every 30 minutes for three days, no breaks for lunch or whatever, plus an awards event I had helped organise and was the industry 'face' of. By Thursday night, I was just fucked.

Friday, I worked*. Weekend off, and a tickle is developing... I still managed to do a quick workout Saturday and Sunday, with minimal coughing. But by Monday's swim it was becoming a more fully-rounded cough, with lungular cracklage to boot. So there I was, trying out my crawl, and just couldn't breathe well. But I at least got to study some other swimmers, which was really interesting; it led to me posting a query on a group I am in on Fartbook.

See, my teacher has been teaching me bilateral breathing – that is, breathing on both sides, so taking a breath on an odd stroke count. But I'm struggling with the rhythm of it, and, well, the actual breathing bit. Last night, watching all these perfectly competent swimmers, I was struck by one thing – every one of them was breathing unilaterally. So, I thought, why not train to swim unilaterally, but learn to do it on both sides? That way if water is choppy or whatever, I can adapt and retain speed and form, in theory at least.

So I put the question out there. And one reply hit a nerve, in a good way. The dude said something along the lines of, I started by training unilaterally but as my fitness grew, I switched to bilaterally. So while training and increasing fitness, he needed to take one breath every other stroke, but as his cardio increased, he was able to put an extra stroke in. Genius.

I had not even thought I could be struggling so completely just because I am now swim fit. It's coming home to me now just what that means, and that the part of this that is likely to have the greatest impact on me physically is the swim.

This week I am going to stick to cardio and/or weights in the gym until my chest clears up. But I have ordered cleats for the bike, so new pedals and shoes for when I am ready to rock and roll and not cough my bollocks up. That's another big step.

More soon.

Oh, I didn't run last week as it turned out. What actually happened is, I overslept massively every single day. Missed at least one entire press conference. Go me!

*stared into space, but at my desk.

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