Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Swimming Tips for Those Who Swim Like House Cats!

Tips to go from "Yes, I can keep myself alive for at least 5 minutes if dropped in an ocean" to "I am almost socially acceptable swimmer!" in 8 weeks!

Getting hurt sucks. I dealt with high hamstring tendonitis last winter. It was the suckiest.

This is the injury progression
1.  Denial.
 No, I'm not hurt. My hamstring is just a tiny bit aggravated. I'm not limping; it's my natural gait.

2. Less denial with a bit of stubborness.
It hurts a little, but I think it will heal as I train through it.

3. The halfsies method.
Yes it hurts. I have developed a recovery plan where I do the meat and potatoes of the training and cross train the rest of the time. That way, I get out of shape while overtaxing my body at the same time. Plus my injury stays aggregated.

4. The unintentional 3 days off: 1 day on method.
I'll take 3 days off to let it heal. Then I'll ‘test it out’ to rehurt it and then take 3 more days off as protocol.

5. Band-aid method.
Ok it hurts. I have no time, and I'll get fired if I don't run through it. Ibuprofen on tap please!

6. Sidelined.
You win, body. I concede.  After 7 weeks of being stupid, I repent and will learn to swim while the hammy heals.

You know what sucks as much as injuries? The 2 hours you spend a day on the elliptical or bike trying to maintain fitness and not gain weight from your injury-depression-overeating.

After 3 days of torture on the stationary equipment, I decided to learn to swim via the Youtubes. It turns out, I was even more “beginner” than beginners.

I have a list of very overlooked tips for you people who also swim like house cats! They were probably overlooked because they are such no brainers for people who have experience in the pool outside of Sharks and Minnows.

1. When you first get in the water, you will probably think, "Hey, I'll just swim to the other side." Before you know it, you're 15m down the pool stranded, wheezing as if you've never exercised before. Tip #1: DON’T PANIC. Panicking will result in a panic loop. You breathe in water. You start to drown. You worry not only about your life, but also about not causing a scene. (Even in life threatening situations, I still have a need to maintain social appropriateness. Probably because I’m a lady.) This in turn causes you to panic more. One panicked breath and BOOM, you are the story of the week for the lifeguards. 

2. Invest in goggles. Your eyes cannot "adapt" to the chlorine. They will swell up, and you'll see those little rainbows surrounding all sources of light. $15-totally-worth-it investment.

3. Invest in a swim cap or hair tie. I, too, at first was doing the free flowing mermaid hair. It gets in the way. Going to take a breath and getting a mouth full of hair is absolutely terrifying. (If it happens, see tip #1). Make sure you have a high quality hair tie. Or just be a real swimmer and get a real swim cap.

4. Breathe out while underwater. This will go against every fiber in your being. Also, don’t tell swimmers this tip. They will question your intelligence and say a condescending remark. Probably something like, “DUH!”

5. Look down. I know eyeing the edge is much more comforting, but looking down lets you float more on your lungs. And someone sometime mentioned it being more aerodynamic.

6. Intervals are your friend. Doing intervals gives you the precious rest time you need. Plus they make you look like an expert (if you have goggles and a swim cap that is).

7. Use those toys! Like the kick board and the in-between-the-thighs floaties! Using only half of your muscles really takes the strain off your lungs.

8. You will get the hang of breathing. I promise. It will probably take 2 weeks, 10 near death experiences, and 13 coughing fits, but you will get it.



  1. I've been laughing so hard at your blog and twitter feed, I went back and read from the beginning. Personal favorite "Bring Your Dad to Work Day".

    1. Hah! Thanks! That one is actually my favorite too.

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  3. Hey, I love your blog! This post is my favorite as I am injured right now...I am on number 3 or 4...soon to be on number 7. :/ Luckily though I transformed into a triathlete, so I still have two other events to work on if I can't run. It is so assuring to hear your thoughts! Thanks for writing

    1. Nice! I hope you are healthy now. And a good swimmer. :)