Wednesday, 17 December 2014

Run to Chill Out and Swim Smooth.

As Christmas obligations get evermore it's nice to get out for a run to clear our minds. I used running many years ago for this, then it became a hobby, a sport and then something more professional. But it's nice to get out and run free of times, distances, and heart rates and chill out. 

Also this time of year, I'm not brave enough to open water swim, but getting a swim in once or twice a week is also nice just to feel the water. It's a good time to meditate on how you move through the water, rather than the drills and distances.

One of the things I have been keeping an eye on is the amount of glide that I have, quite a lot, I was thinking about how the Garmin Swim watch shows quite a fluctuation in lap times. That said it has only been recently that I started to make sure that all laps were under a set time. But I soon realised that its is very hard to judge. Then last week I was looking at Swimsmooth.com and they have a very interesting page about, rhythm and stroke rate.

There is a new product by Finis the Tempo trainer Pro, It is the perfect little aid that beeps to you laps or stroke rate to see where my swim dead spots are and also to set my stroke rate and lap times. I used Amazon to buy it at 47 euros delivered. I thought it is worth a try. I noticed right away that my lap times are bang on, I can touch the wall every 30seconds, beep, beep. Meaning the Garmin Swim metrics are a little inaccurate.
So on with hunting out the dead spots, now this take a few sessions to get the correct beeps per cycle of your arms. Mine is about 50 strokes with both arms per min.

What now, well over Christmas I will be playing with increasing my rate to very gradually and timing it over a 100m. I will have to be careful not to increase my strokes per lap as that will decrease my efficiency. So its a fine balance to find the 'sweet spot' as Swimsmooth call it. But it's a nice little project for my winter swims to fine tune getting my swim better without the 'junk miles' as they say in running.

Merry Christmas.
Cas

Friday, 5 December 2014

Re think Stress = Wider Vessles and Bigger muscle Fibres for endurance sport

Two Size topics that I found interesting this week. 

 1. How we think about stress controls the diameter of our blood vessles. Kelly McGonigal heath psychologist and Yoga teacher, describes the affects of those who deal badly with stress have a higher percentage of mortality due the affects on the heart.

screen shot taken from video
 Interestingly people who are courageous and those who give up their time to help others don't have this reduction in diameter. I can think of  those that won the Victoria Cross Award for Bravery, many who have shown amazing strength of character to do the impossible. Kelly tells us how we should be rethinking stress it is actually helping us.
here is the link via Ted Talks.

The second is an article blogged by sports scientist Alan Couzens how us endurance athletes should spend more time lifting heavy weights and not just to strengthen the weak areas, Our muscle fibres actually reduce in size to help them function for longer with the same amount of fuel. Us ectomorths need to take note as over time we will reduce muscle mas. That of course can be see in older age and problems with osteoporosis.
Part of Alan's study, muscle mas

To quote Alan. "Muscle Moves Stuff" and we want to move our bikes better we need some of that fast twitch white stuff. Time to get out and toss a caber or two over the winter. And time to get out your old body measurements to see whats has been happening, or start recording them for future reference.