I had my second swimming lesson last night.
I had my second bout of cramp while at my swimming lesson last night.
Do you want to know where I went wrong? Firstly, I went running straight after work. It was our short day (1 mile) so I thought I’d be ok. Secondly, I arrived at the swimming pool about 40 minutes early and then spent half an hour dipping in and out of the sauna. Again, I thought I’d be ok.
Too much, too soon.
On point 1: my muscles must have been fatigued from the run – (I’m still a novice)
On point 2: muscles need sodium to function properly and I must have lost a LOT of salt in the sauna.
I was quite disappointed at getting cramp as it definitely did have an effect on my performance. I was unable to swim more than two lengths before I could feel the niggle coming back. This meant I was doing my 2 lengths with the instructor, and when he was working on someone else I spent the time with my feet against the wall trying to stretch out my calves and hamstrings. Also, there was a lot of calf rubbing and foot bending going on. Without the cramp this time could have been used doing more lengths and PRACTISING what I had just been told.
Despite the cramp it was still a (semi) successful lesson. I noticed a definite improvement on my technique. The first half hour was spent focusing on the breast stroke, and during the second half I worked on the front crawl. It appears that I’m better at the front crawl than the breast stroke, mostly because of my (lack-of-effective) frog kick.
That makes sense, as it’s when I concentrated on flexing my feet that I started to experience cramp. And once it was there I was unable to fully stretch it out.
Ideally when you stretch you should hold it for 15 – 30 seconds until the muscles starts to relax IN the stretch.
I didn’t know this. I love the feeling of a good stretch, but seemingly I’ve been coming out of them a bit prematurely, before any good is actually being done.
It’s all a learning curve for me, and my new fact is a good fact that I’m sure will benefit me!
Before swimming next week, I will:
- Not go running
- Not go in the sauna
- Warm up slowly in the pool
- Stretch effectively using the new technique above
- Make sure I’m effectively hydrated
- Eat well, with the aim of increasing patassium, calcium and magnesium levels. These are good nutrients for effective muscles.