Triathlete In Training: Journal Entry #9

author : Terese Luikens
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Attempting to copy someone’s stroke is like attempting to mimic their stride, voice tone, or any other personal idiosyncrasy. Their stroke is their stroke. You can learn from them, but you can't copy.

Swim training tip for this month: It is OK to observe another person’s style, but keep in mind, you will develop one that works best for your body. Attempting to copy someone’s stroke is like attempting to mimic their stride, voice tone, or any other personal idiosyncrasy. Their stroke is their stroke. You can learn from them, but you cannot copy.


When I observe a streamlined swimmer, I remind myself to pull into my core and stretch my arms to their full length. When I see a swimmer with a smooth rhythmic breath, I remind myself to relax my head when I turn to breathe. And when there is a fast swimmer in the lane next to me, I am inspired to go a little faster.


If you are interested in seeing yourself swim, ask someone to videotape you. You will see what your stroke looks like, and you will see what needs improving.


I still consider myself to be a novice swimmer, but a seasoned swimmer complimented me when she said, “You are more natural in the water than when you first started training.” I would have to say that of the three disciplines (swimming, running and biking), I have been changed the most by swimming.


Spring weather has arrived and I have left inside spin classes for the wide-open space of the great outdoors. Two or three times a week, I will ride a twelve-mile route. For eight of the twelve miles I am on a bike path which means I do not have to contend with traffic.


Last weekend, I visited some friends in the Portland area and rode my bike along a rural road. I was a little nervous. The speed limit was 45mph and there was no shoulder. It was early morning and there was not very much traffic, but I felt nervous. I am not used to sharing my blacktop with automobiles. I am fortunate to live in the rural part of north Idaho where traffic is nothing like the Portland area.


I must confess that I just recently purchased a helmet. Because I have been a casual rider, I believed I could do without one. Since they are required for the races I have signed up for, I bought one. I have plenty of time to get used to it.


Be nutrition conscious.  Since my workouts can last from 1-2 hours, I have to be conscious about eating nutritionally before I go. A ½ cup of raw nuts, such as cashews or almonds, and some dried fruit, such as pineapple or mango, are a good combination for me. I have not found a nutritious power bar that I like. They seem to have an awful cardboard after-taste, and I feel bloated after I eat one. I have been experimenting with my own recipe, but so far I have not met with any success.


In three weeks I will be participating in my first duathlon; 2-mile run, 10-mile bike, 2-mile run. I have practiced a few times with this combination just to see if it is realistic, and I am glad to say that it is.


“Hard work consoles me like nothing else can.”

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date: May 9, 2007

Terese Luikens