Mermaid Turned Runner
Updated: Apr 17
If you would rather listen to the post, you may do so by clicking the podcast link below:
As I shared in my last previous post, I started running less than 11 years ago. However, long before I was a runner, I was a swimmer. I like to call myself a mermaid turned runner #MermaidTurnedRunner I started swimming when I was only 5 years old and that first swim season did not go very well. I would not even put my face in the water, so I only swam backstroke. If you listen to the end of the podcast version of this post, you can hear the story of how my mom finally got my to swim freestyle. It involves a Barbie and getting pushed off the blocks. To get prepared for my second swim season, my parents sign me up for year-round swim and I fell in love with the sport. I continued to swim year-round until the end of high school. Here is a picture of me competing at 7 years old:
In hindsight I regret not swimming in college. I did not have the times to swim at a Division 1 school, but I could have swam at Division 2 or 3 and I wish I had taken the opportunity. As I am sure others can relate, as a senior in high school my priorities where out of whack and I was a little burned out on swimming, so I made other choices. I am still incredibly thankful that I swam for all of those years while growing up. I had so much fun swimming, it taught me to work hard, it gave me a huge aerobic base, and it gives me a great way to cross train for my new found love of running.
It seems like runners fall into two camps: the ones that NEVER cross train or the ones that SWEAR cross training is what keeps them from getting injured. I am definitely in the later camp. I love incorporating swimming and sometimes the stationary bike into my normal training schedule, even when I am not injured. Aside from keeping the injuries away, I find adding in even one day a week of cross training helps keep my love of running alive and well. A few years ago, I started following Colleen Quigley on Instagram because she is a professional runner who incorporates cross training into her regular, high level training routine. It's always encouraging to see a pro doing something similiar to what you are doing training wise. Right now, Colleen is having a #MermaidMonday challenge to encourage other runners to get in the pool too.
The Mermaid Monday challenge came at a perfect time for me because I knew would want to get in the pool after the LA Marathon. Last week I did a few nice and easy 20-30 minute swims and it was perfect way to work the lactic acid out of my body. It has been a week since the marathon, so I decided to do a swim fitness test to so that I can be more strategic with my swim workouts this summer. Since getting back in the pool as an adult, I have just lap swam for fun and have never set paces for myself. This summer I am going to add a few sets with pace goals into my swim workouts and see if I can improve my speed in the pool a little bit.
This is the workout I did to get my baseline swim fitness and I will use it to set my paces for future swim workouts. Think of it as similar to doing a 5k for time before the beginning of a training cycle to see what pace to target for running workouts. For typical easy workouts, I usually workout fasted, but before this workout I had a Vespa Junior 30 minutes and then 1 scoop of UCAN about 20 minutes before since I was trying to perform well.
200 - Any Stroke
2 x 50 - 25 fast, 25 slow
400 - Freestyle, All out for time
200 - Recovery - Any Stroke
200 - Freestyle, All out for time
100 - Recovery - Any Stroke
Main Workout Set
200 - Breaststroke
100 - Kick Drill
400 - Individual Medley*
Repeat Main Set 2-3x to your ability
*I hate butterfly so I do breaststroke in instead. That makes my "IM": breaststroke, backstroke, breaststroke, freestyle. I swim for enjoyment these days, not because I have to.
I swim in a 25 yard pool, but this workout could also be done in a 50 meter pool.
I was a little disappointed in how I performed in the the fitness test. I swam the 400 yards in 6:09.40, (1:32/100yd) and the 200 yards in 3:01.10 (1:31/ 100yd). When I was in high school my fastest 500 yard freestyle time was around a 5:30 (1:06/ 100yd), if I am remembering correctly. The fact that I am SO far off of my personal best is humbling. I know I am not swimming at ALL the amount of what I use to, BUT I just ran a sub 3 hour marathon, so you would think I could get a little closer. I guess it doesn't work that way. It is a starting point and it will be a fun thing to work on in addition to running.
Are there any other #MermaidsTurnedRunners reading this? Would anyone like to see more swim workouts for summer cross training?
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