12 Jun

Swimming Like A Runner

Man swimming in the pool

“You swim like a runner!” I have been told more than once this last week (writes Chris Broadbent).

I have taken a temporary respite from running and have dipped my toes - and the rest of my body for that matter - into the pool to prepare for an open water distance swimming event I have entered in July. Less a fish out of water and more a cat in the sea.

So, I have fully immersed myself into training with some dedicated swimmers and my seriously flawed techniques have been laid bare for all to see.

Now, without being disrespectful to any of the swimmers, nor tooting my own trumpet too loudly, I would probably put myself at the upper end of the fitness levels of the group I have been swimming with. That’s not a scientific analysis, more a sweeping, prejudiced assumption largely based on age and pot belly sizes. Mine being one of the smaller ones.

Despite appearances, some of the swimmers, older and fatter they may be, but they are way, way more effective than me. Head position, breathing rate, arm pull, not kicking from the hips - my whole technique has been brutally and ruthlessly picked apart.

It’s chastening to have to go back to square one. But necessary nonetheless as 1.5miles is a long way to go with a poor technique. It’s also made me think more about my running technique. I have long known that is not exactly fluid either.

A nameless Team GB coach saw me training once and nicknamed me 'Phoebe'. Avid fans of the 90s sitcom 'Friends' will get the obscure, yet cutting reference. My running too has suffered without having the right technical fundamentals in place.

I have long had the chance to do something about this, my local club regularly hosts sessions to address technique. But I always forego it, instead choosing to stay in the comfort zone of a standard 6-8 miler. So it’s something I have steeled myself to revisit when coming back to running.

But in the meantime, I will focus on being more efficient in the water than on land. Who knows, I might come to be known as 'Phelps' rather than 'Phoebe'. But probably not.