Are you a marathoner or a sprinter?
Basically each one of you is one or the other by genetics, for example I am a sprinter. Not only have always experienced that sort of exercise being more natural, but I took a DNA test a while back that confirmed it.
It is your natural way of being depending on how your ancestors adapted. Here is why it matters for swimming, and why you can’t just rely on one.
Why + Philosophy:
The key to life is balance, which is something I say a lot on this blog. You gotta find that middle ground, or else you’ll end up in a rut. If you go too far one side, then the other will lack sufficient practice. Speed isn’t always the game, but distance isn’t always either.
Sprinters often are sinkers in my experience, so they naturally want to go fast (so that they don’t sink).
Marathoners can usually hold their breathe longer, which is due to their heartrate resting at a lower rate during the exercise.
How + Physics:
The way to combat the lopsidedness, is to practice doing the other style. If you’re used to doing distance, say five laps, then instead do TWO but at a much higher speed. In fact “Sprinting” essentially means “as fast as you possibly can”.
Conversely, if you are a sprinter, then learn to slow down. Even if you feel like you are sinking, there will be a lower height at first, but you’ll learn to stay calm.
In both cases the person doing the opposite type is going to panic. If you normally go slow, then go fast, then you will feel out of air sooner. Higher heartrate.
The opposite is for the sprinter, as you have to stay calm to stay slow. You have to get used to your body NOT getting as tired as quick. However you’re more likely to panic sooner mentally, as you’re not used to pushing your lungs for as long.
What + Psychology:
I’ve mentioned a few times that it is all about staying calm and focused. Now this goes for way more than just speed/distance, or breathing. However these are the moments that you will more than likely hit first in your practice sessions.
You’ll find that it often comes down to your psychology. Not only during your swimming, but even beforehand as well.
Mental preparation helps, but it really comes down to the in the moment thinking.
You have to train yourself for distance, the more you swim, then the more practice you get. However you also need to train yourself for speed. I don’t care if you’re never going to race, pretend that you are, and learn the skill of sprinting. It will teach you a different way of being.
The lesson I want you to get out of this newsletter update, is that you need to think about what opposite skill you are neglecting. Then go ahead and work on that skill!
This is advice for people to level up their swimming, or perhaps get started in the first place. While you swim you should make sure you are doing so in a public facility with a lifeguard on duty for safety.