Mon – 3x500m swim, 2x200m, 300m drills
Tues – 4x100m, 3x400m, 4x100m – average strokes = 13, best efficiency = 42, 10×10 weighted squats with planks between
Wed – 2k elliptical, 2k row, 10k bike, 2k row, 10k bike, 1k elliptical

I had a truly enjoyable day today. Firstly, it was the first week day for some time I have spent a grad total of 0 (yes, zero) hours brown taping four sided cardboard objects into boxes, filling four sided cardboard objects with books, and piling the said heavy four sided cardboard demons on top of each other. In short – today I didn’t do any box packing. Paid, it is. An excellent core workout, it is. Knackering, and at times, a little soul destroying: that also.

So – let us not dwell on it. Today, I leisurely woke up, ate a yummy ‘I don’t have to work today’ bowl of porridge, which tasted oh so sweet, pottered to Starbucks with LB, sat with my yummy Americano and wrote another 1500 words of my dissertation, taking the total from 3000/6000 to 4500/6000. The end is in sight.

Having completed this, I headed over to Lewes to meet lovely Dave and Rose for a lovely swim (I understand I am over-using the word lovely, but it really was just all very pleasantly.. nice). Swim was followed by a soaking up of the metaphorical rays in the sauna, and a re tun to uni – for what was actually my last lecture – ever! Now to explain my meaning in the excessive lovelies and nices – there was nothing epic, amazing, awesome or awe inspiring about today – it was neither hideously yet wonderfully productive, not was it disgustingly but beatuifully lazy – today, the balance was there, resulting in a stress free, but active Michelle.

During my swim, I used my new Pool Mate watch to track my progress. Highly exciting. It advertises itself as pretty much the most useful training tool on the market for swimmers, and I am, for once, inclined to agree with a bit of marketing.

Firstly, it was helpful to see my times recorded exactly, to be able to tell what works and what doesn’t – it’s hard to judge without specifics. The best feature, though, is the strokes per lap tool. This counts your strokes, and then gives you a score for efficiency. For example, if you make twenty strokes per lap, you will be wasting large amounts of energy, not going very far! It would seem that my swim efficiency rating varies between 42 and 51, usually getting about 45 – the scale being:
30- = professional athlete
30-40 = very good
40-50 = above average
50-70 = average
70+ = below average

My Marie Curie 1.5k is some time mid April, so i’m working towards a PB of 35 (my current 42), and i’d like to be consistently hitting 40 by then. It’s something that takes real thought – when I consciously *think* ‘lengthen your stroke, pull on a rope’ (advice the Phoenix coach gave me!!) I hit around 42, it’s when I stop *thinking* that I lose it and over-stroke, so to speak.Failing the continual presence of a coach, the Pool Mate is going to be my new swimming-best-friend, my extra brain-calculator which will keep an eye on my progress while i’m busy.

That’s the thing with sport, it’s not all pushing yourself, working hard, it isn’t all biological. There is a lot of focus, concentration and mental process that needs to go on to in order to achieve correct form. Balance is necessary in nearly all aspects of living.

Published by michellearthurs

I'm an NCTJ Journalist and work at Cycling Weekly. Previous to this, I was the Editor at Total Women's Cycling. I've also dabbled in marketing and copywriting - having been Marketing Coordinator and Social Media/Content Editor at Evans Cycles. My first job was working on a local newspaper.  I've written for a variety of titles on a freelance basis, too. I got into cycling when I entered my first triathlon in 2010. I now race crits, road races, time trials, and do a lot of track training for not very much track racing.

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