PostHeaderIcon The Ah Ha Moment Arrives

I thought I would give a quick update on the swim training for the Triathlon this weekend. I have been in the pool for 1 hour every day since I signed up for the Copper Creek Triathlon three weeks ago. I have found it difficult if not impossible to swim more than 100 meters at a time. Most days I spend my time swimming one 25 meter length of the pool and stopping to catch my breath before going another 25 meter length. If I really push myself I can do one lap (50 meters) but I am totally out of breath and gasping as I touch the wall. I was talking to my mother yesterday and she was thinking it would be a good idea if I did not go this weekend and waited for the next race so I could get more time in the water. I explained that the only way for me to learn how to do this is to jump in over my head and see what happens. It’s the way I learned almost everything in my life.

Last night I was getting pretty psyched out about the swim so I started reading posts on a message board about beginner triathletes. I found a link to an article that changed my swimming in less than 15 minutes and I was not even in the water.  The article is on the web and it shows you how to swim 1650 yards in 6 weeks of training. The swimming 1650 yards is 1500 meters in distance which is a  swimming mile. There was one small sentence at the very end of the article that hit home and stuck in my mind all night.

“I recommend that you not tie yourself up in knots and get discouraged by technical concerns in the beginning. You’re here to enjoy some exercise, not go to the Olympics.”

Full article can be found here:


So today was planned to be a rest day with no exercise at all. However my mind had other plans. I woke up at 5am sharp and could not get back to sleep. I laid there thinking about the sentence above. So I got out of bed and packed my bag and headed for the YMCA for a morning swim. When I got there I jumped in and did a few laps while stopping at each end to chat with the people I swim with every morning. After my warm-up I read over the article as I had printed it out and taken it with me to the pool.  It talks about just keeping going no matter what type of swim you have to do as long as you keep moving. So I started doing laps. I did the freestyle for the first 25 meters and then rolled to my back and did the back stroke for the next 25 meters. 1 lap down and I was feeling good. So I made my turn at the wall and did the freestyle again to the other end. I continued to do every other length freestyle with a length of Back stroke in between. Finally after what seemed like a very short time my curiosity got the best of me so I stopped to look at my lap counter to see how far I had gone. I was not breathing hard. I was very relaxed and could have kept going at that pace. When I looked at the lap counter it read 20. This meant I had just done enough laps to equal 1000 meters and I did it in less than 24 minutes. This is by far no fast pace however it was a major breakthrough for me as I just swam for 24 minutes straight without stopping and I went 1000 meters.

What I learned from this experience was that I was so busy thinking about all the technical things with a perfect freestyle swim that my mind was racing and almost giving me a panic attack with every lap. I was breathing too much and causing me to hyperventilate in the water because that was what I thought I was supposed to do. Once I relaxed and just started enjoying my swim and letting my mind go and not worry about how great my stroke was I started swimming. The funny thing that the lifeguard told me was that my stroke was improving the more laps I did and the farther I went. She said that my stroke looked more relaxed.

I’m not sure that this will work for everyone but it sure changed my attitude about this weekend’s triathlon. Like most endurance sports the mental part is probably more important than the physical training. The Ah Ha Monent finally arrived and it could not have been better timing.


See You at the Finish Line,



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