Saturday, 4 June 2011

Swimming Without a Nose Clip

 I've had a bit of a swimming lull since the Alps, in fact I haven't been swimming at all. Despite good intentions in the week I have avoided the pool like the plague and made really lame excuses to everybody else and to myself.

Conscious of slipping back into bad habits, I knew I couldn't miss the Saturday morning lake swim at Ellingham. I wouldn't want to miss it anyway; as much as I'm not the biggest fan of pool swimming, I do love a splash about in the open water.

Last night whilst I was packing my kit I remembered that I didn't have a nose clip, as I'd lost it on race day in the Alps. On the last day of the holiday a very patient Claire took me off and tried to coach me in how to swim without the clip. I've always struggled with water up my nose and I can't think of anything worse than that chlorine in the back of the throat sensation you get when the water weans its way all the way up to the top of your nostrils.

After a few failed attempts, a lot of coughing and a little bit of girly stroppiness, I started to make a bit of progress. It's actually surprisingly difficult to push out all your air through your nose quickly enough to be ready to breathe in again when you come up. Plus if you're breathing out that hard through your nose you need to always be aware of excess nose material hanging around your face when you stop swimming. By the end of the session I could maintain a very steady swim whilst exhaling through the nose for a shortish period, I was chuffed.

I think I have been a bit scared of attempting the no nose clip thing since I've been back, which is subconsciously the reason I've been avoiding the swim sessions. However, in the lake this morning it wasn't as bad as I thought. At least it wasn't at the bottom end of the lake where it's nice and calm. At the top of the lake it gets a bit choppy and I did have a few moments where the water shot up my nose. I had to concentrate especially hard on the exhalation and as soon as you concentrate on any one thing in swimming the rest of your technique gets completely lost, so for that choppy section I was probably flailing like a loon but the main thing is, I got through it!

By the second lap I was feeling much more confident and I picked up the pace a bit. I even went crazy and tried a little bit of a mouth and nose combo on the out breath. 

I am really pleased as that is a barrier crossed that I didn't think would be an easy one. Having had an extreme case of nose clip fail at my last two triathlons I am looking forward to one less bit of faff in future races!

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