A nicely busy, but not flat out day today. Just the sort of thing you want on a day when you aren't working.
The day started off this morning with the Friday morning Swim Smooth session as usual. However, this week it was a little different. Over the few weeks I have been chatting to coach Paul Newsome about various ways to improve my swimming. Some of the stuff we have worked on is technique related, stemming from the 1-2-1 video analysis I had done a few weeks ago now. However, in addition to that he also suggested that it would be a good idea to spend a bit more time leading one of the swim groups, rather than just getting sucked along at the back. Unfortunately I am not really quick enough to lead the group that I usually swim with. The alternative that we came up with was to drop back to the 'slower' group behind and lead that one instead.
Whilst in theory this meant swimming slower, the reality is that without a draft the session was probably tougher than usual. I should clarify that comment about the draft, in our squad we don't swim on each others toes unless we are doing drafting practice. We normally leave a good 5 seconds between swimmers, but I think even with that gap you are still getting a significant benefit from swimming behind somebody. Once you are pushing your own water, that benefit is gone. In addition to working a bit harder, removing the draft was also great because you get to truly see what you can do. When you are swimming in the group you never quite know what you are capable of doing when swimming alone. Leading the group answers that question. This might make you realise that you aren't swimming as quick as you thought and that you need to do more work. Or, like I found this morning, you might find that you are swimming quicker than you thought and take some confidence from it. And that you need to do more work.
I consider this morning's experiment a success and will look to continue it over the next couple of weeks. I will be interested to see the where I find myself at the end.
As well as swimming we also had our usual Friday Pilates session which was both brutal and relaxing. Interesting combination that, sort of like sea salt chocolate. I am really liking these sessions, they are only an hour, but you come out of them knowing that you have worked. And I just love going through a session feeling all these groups that I have been trying to strengthen for years getting a work out. I am really hopeful of seeing some improvements particularly in stability and the balance of strength between the left and right side of my body.
Last but not least it was back to Churchill Cycles again. Pretty sure they are sick of me there. This time it was to have the guys help fit me to my Falco V. Rick Churchill is a bit of a fitting guru and like time TT cyclist, so it was good to get him to give it a once over. After my ride yesterday I knew the position needed some changes, but sometimes you really need a third party to stand back and look at you to figure out exactly what needs to be done. It also helps if that person knows a thing or two about TT bike fitting. Rick ended up making a number of changes to saddle height, saddle position and elbow pad width, just to name a few. Very keen to get out on the bike tomorrow and see how it feels.
First, to the sleepmobile.