Find Your Subtle Weaknesses To Improve Your Life And Your Sport


Hi folks,

It’s pretty easy to discover what you REALLY cannot do well, both mentally and physically, as long as you give it a serious attempt. However, it can be the more subtle weaknesses that take the edge off of your fun and athletic skill. For instance, a physical therapist told me many years ago that I have weak adductor muscles in my legs. I work on them, carefully, all the time using the weight room, PowerCranks, and a range of other techniques, including Pilates, Feldenkrais and Continuum, but they are still one of my weak points. I suspect that this will never change, and the effect is not subtle, it is manageable. OK! I can deal with that, but what about things I haven’t noticed? Here is a great example, my issues with the flip or tumble turn in the pool.

Recently I was at the pool with Rick, going through one of his killer workouts to improve my conditioning for the swim, when I made an offhand comment about flip turns, indicating that I found that they made me feel out of breath. Now, I can do flip turns fine, been doing them for 50 years, but I just have never liked doing them. I just accepted that they OBVIOUSLY upset my breathing pattern making me ‘feel out of breath.’ No question! Right? I mentioned this to Rick, who was aware of my recent vertigo problem in the pool in response to severe dehydration (completely avoidable, if I had been thinking intelligently – no fool like a FitOldDog). He responded to my comment by saying, “Maybe it throws off your balance?” Hey presto! The answer to my discomfort. I did a couple of flip turns, and he was right, it wasn’t shortage of breath at all, I had just interpreted the feeling that way, it was very mild vertigo. Then I thought back on my extreme sensitivity to seasickness, trouble I have on fairground equipment that throws you around, and a tendency to feelings of nausea on any rocking surface. It all came together.

Beach from Altas Lomas to La Mata near Torrevieja, Spain, where FitOldDog is staying. Love to run barefoot on the sand.

Beach from Altas Lomas to La Mata near Torrevieja, Spain, where FitOldDog is staying. Love to run barefoot on the sand.

You might think that this is not a subtle weakness, but such a classification depends upon the role the activity plays in your life. If I was a competition pool swimmer it would be a real problem, as flip turns can save you more than a second getting off the wall, and they don’t break up your rhythm like an open turn. My races are all in open water with no flip turns involved, so the cost to my training is minimal, it just makes it harder to chase down Rick.

So a subtle weakness is one that does not interfere with your happiness or sport, or really bother you in any other way, in which case avoid activities impacted by your subtle weakness, then just let it go.

I have, finally, when it comes to flip turns, thanks to Ricks perspicacity.

-k @FitOldDog

Today’s workouts:

Two steady runs (total 6 miles) with pickups. First one barefoot down the beach to La Mata, the rest on asphalt.


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Disclaimer: As a veterinarian, I do not provide medical advice for human animals. If you undertake or modify an exercise program, consult your medical advisors before doing so. Undertaking activities pursued by the author does not mean that he endorses your undertaking such activities, which is clearly your decision and responsibility. Be careful and sensible, please.