Little Things

When expecting improvement, frequently we look for the big differences. I am learning that the little things are really what makes the biggest difference. Tweaks here and there can significantly alter direction. For example my direction in the water. I am moving through it more efficiently and as a result faster. By slowing my stroke, reducing drag, and working on a flutter kick in just two weeks I significantly improved my pace. Two weeks ago I did an endurance workout on my Wednesday 3,000 meter workout with a main set of 19 x 100 meter repeats. I spent most of my time swimming the intervals between 2:09 to 2:18 minutes per 100 meters. My arms were spent half way through and I was breathing heavy. Today I did the same workout and I was swimming 2:03 to 2:04 on all but a few. Two were at 2:05, two at 2:02 and one, the eleventh lap, at 2:01. I was not exhausted and my arms were not sore. I did my Superman kick drill too, and I was able to cover 25 meters on my last length in 2.5 push offs. Again, it is a shorter flutter kick that is making the difference and I don’t have to kick fast either, just consistently. To say I was encouraged when I finished was an understatement. I was thrilled.

This afternoon I was delayed in getting my ride in. I had already decided to ride my stationary since scattered storms were a threat, which never came, and it was still in the 90’s at 5:30. I became distracted trying to set up a new DVD player on a TV that is only seven years old, but “old” technology. I still don’t have color on the screen and I am determined to figure it out. I am sure it is a little thing too… I did get a short ride in this evening on my trainer, it felt good to get my legs turning over on the bike. I did notice that my right IT band is acting up a bit, so I was glad I was at home and made sure to stretch it afterward. A modified, shorter workout was probably best today.

Making little changes – a modification in swim stroke, a change in workout plan – often can yield big results. I find it ironic that sometimes making little changes requires a big leap in faith. To swim fast you should move your arms and legs faster, the vast majority of swim instruction adhere to this. For shorter distances, I agree. For endurance and for me, that is not working. Modifying my cycle workout this evening first caused a feeling of guilt. If I had worsened the stiffness in my IT band on a long ride outside, I would have regretted it. Running slower to improve my aerobic base and ability to burn fat as fuel is a simple, little thing to do. Knowing I could run faster and not look so slow is a big thing to overcome.

So it is the little things that all too often go overlooked but make the biggest difference. I researched “little things” and found a few I want to share. We all know the popular ones like a friend’s smile, a rainbow, puppy breath – but here are a few others – a smile from a stranger, receiving a hand written letter, a smell that brings back a memory, doing a secret act of kindness for someone, and my personal favorite – when you and a close friend (and training partner) are mistaken for siblings. Look for the little things, they may make a world of difference.

Published by elisariva

I want to encourage everyone to follow your passions, not just what is easy. It is in overcoming hurdles and barriers that we truly test our limits and abilities. There is much more we are capable of if we only believe in ourselves.

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