I went swimming at Bukit Utama after my tough run today. Ever since my first swimming lesson I’ve been quite focussed on getting the technique correct, at least enough for me to swim a few lengths of the pool. I’ve been reading up on swimming technique especially on Total Immersion Swimming. One of the things Terry Loughlin (the creator of Total Immersion) writes about and teaches is the superman glide which as the name suggests is to glide like a superman in the water.
You know the pose. Arms stretched out in front. Body straight like an arrow. The purpose of this exercise is to achieve what Terry calls relax into weightlessness. He explains it very well in his PDF ‘Self Coach Workshop’ which you can download from the Total Immersion website,
‘before you ever take a stroke–the greater priority is learning to relax into weightlessness. Like all terrestrial
mammals, we’re wired by evolution to keep the head ’safely’ above the surface. This instinct aggravates our balance problem. On land, we find gravity comforting. In the water it feels like a threat to well-being. So we do everything possible to avoid sinking. To swim well, we need to bypass that instinct and replace it with a ‘learned response’ to cooperate with gravity—and sink into equilibrium. Difficult, but utterly necessary’. – Terry Loughlin
This is great stuff here as I continue to fight the water and lose my balance which leads me to me compensating and wasting energy.
I did the superman glide for a good 10 minutes. All this while thinking and saying to myself ‘I am one with the water‘. Weird I know but I believe in all this affirmation stuff. I did look a bit odd floating in the water mumbling to myself. After the 10 minutes were up I decided to swim a few strokes. Well, nothing improved and I was still struggling in the water. My heart rate went up to 90% MHR. Needless to say, I cannot maintain this for long distances. So I stopped and tried the superman glide again for another 10 minutes. I swear people were starting to avoid me as I was still mumbling to myself- ‘I am one with the water‘.
I tried again after my second superman glide attempt. This time I was very focussed on keeping my body relaxed especially my head and neck. After a few tentative strokes things I could feel my body still relaxing and I started to swim in earnest. This superman glide is great stuff as I found myself swimming stroke after stroke whilst maintaining a heart rate of 75% MHR which is my objective. I managed to swim 50m in 90 seconds and did it for 400m. 90 seconds is a long time but to be honest felt world class to me as I was actually prepared for a 4 minute swim over the same distance when I started swimming 1 week ago. I’m very satisfied with 90 seconds especially after the hard run I did earlier.
I’m going to continue this every day until saturday which is when my next swimming lesson is. My next focus is to swim 1 km which is 20 lengths of the pool. This time around I need to keep an eye on my stroke count for each length.
The big lesson for the day, technique is everything oh and ‘I am one with the water‘…..