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Kick training

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First, my apologies for going postless for the past 7 days.  No real good excuse – work has been busy, blah, blah, blah.  I actually read a whole book last weekend, cover to cover.  Not only have I not posted in 7 days, I took a good 5 day break from training too.  Not planned, and probably not a good idea, but such is the life of an everyman trying to get into a tri trianing routine… life sometimes gets in the way.  Oh well.

Anyway…

Tonight I hit the pool.  I had a few spare minutes before my swim (Note: really?  what does one do with “free minutes”?), so I did a little internet research about swim drills.  I guess the sites I was reading were really about as reliable as this one is, but I found quite a few suggestions for swim drills.  In short: there’s a metric shittonne of different swim drills one could do, and there’s no way in hell I can do it all.  So I picked one.

Today was all about flutter kicking.  I know I’m an upper body swimmer – goes back to my days of waterpolo where you had to be ready to get your legs under you at any moment, so you learned (or at least I did) to swim almost exclusively with your upper body.  So I know I need to get better with my swim kick.  Thus, I spent a full 60 minute swim training session focused on my kick.

The drill is simple, according to an article from beginnertriathlete.com:

The kick provides four different functions … all of them important. The first function is to provide propulsion. The second is to provide lift. The third is to create part of the stabilizing force for the arm pull, which begins with the body counter-rotation and ends with the hardest of the 6-beat kicks. The fourth is to maintain a more constant speed (obeying the law of inertia).

It goes on to say there are two different types of kicks: The 2 beat kick, and the 6 beat kick (apparently there is no such thing as a 4 beat kick… ’cause that would be too easy).  About the 2 beat kick, it says:

A two-beat kick really only provides two of the four functions: some lift and a contribution to a stabilizing force for the pull. There is not enough propulsion to speak of with a two-beat kick and the kicks do not occur often enough to sustain speed. By using the two-beat kick, you are giving up on using legs for propulsion

So, “Shit”, I thought… I’d better try this 6 beat kick thing.

The principle is simple: for every arm pull, you kick 3 times (thus for every set of 2 arm pulls, one with each arm, you kick 6 beats… TA DA!!!).  With your left arm pull, you kick Right, Left, Right.  Then with your right arm pull you kick Left, Right, Left.  The arm pull is timed with the first kick.  Everybody still with me, this is rocket science, I know.

Except it’s actually really tough.  I realized really quickly that I currently kick very haphazardly.  Instead of doing three strong kicks with each pull, I do a random number of tiny little flimsy kicks aimed more at keeping my lower half afloat than propelling myself through the water.  But I tried counting my kicks: 1, 2, 3… 1, 2, 3… 1, 2, 3… and that’s about as far as I got before I was sinking in the pool and drinking water and splashing more than swimming.  Seriously: really tough.  After a full 60 minute session involving a lot of flutter board work, and a lot counting, it was starting to go better.

Will it help?  Who knows.  But it’s something to work on if nothing else.  I’ll try to stick with it for the next few weeks and see how it goes.  2:1 odds say I don’t drown, any takers?

– DO’G

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