Swimming and Cycling

Posted: September 20, 2011 in 2011, General

A few weeks into my swimming routine and I am beginning to notice a difference. I’m faster, I feel stronger, my times for a mile are coming down respectably. I’ll knock off a steady 31 lengths to start with and then on the next 31, alternate between a length at 3/4 of full pace followed by a recovery length as opposed to simply struggling my way through the whole session. My HR goes up quite a bit throughout the swim and I am just the right side of breathless at the end of every length; when I finish I spend the next 20 to 30 minutes sweating profusely so I know I am getting a good workout. So what impact does this have on my cycling?

Initially I felt it would be of little help but it has been enormously beneficial. My recovery times (on the bike) have improved markedly so I can make a big effort and follow it up quite quickly, with another. For a heavier rider, this helps a lot, particularly when climbing. The onset of fatigue seems to be far slower now and I am beginning to feel fresher at the end of a ride. Best of all though is my back. When I started, I could feel my back getting stretched at every stroke; it was somewhat disconcerting to begin with but I became used to it. This feeling has gone away now but the constant, grumbling, lower back pain I used to suffer from has all but disappeared. Ironically, it only returns when I sit in a ‘comfortable chair’ for an hour or so.

As winter approaches I can see that swimming is going to become part of my routine. [irony] Dead hard mountain biker that I might be [/irony] there are nights when I look out of the door and think that the very last thing I want to do is go out on my bike. Rain lashing down, cold, filthy trails etc can put you off. For reasons of sanity, turbo training is best kept to a minimum i.e. not 3 or 4 times a week, so something has to be done. Let’s see how swimming fills the fitness hole and whether or not there will be a space for me swimming 1500 metres crawl at the next (geriatric) Olympics!


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