[050] Going, going …

Swim: 2,100 m/38,000 m

Bike: 0/102.2 miles

Run: 0/57.1 miles

I capped off an amazing week of swimming with a very energizing session on Thursday night. After flipping whatever switch I flipped earlier this week to enable me to swim many more consecutive laps, I’ve been swimming at least 300 uninterrupted meters at some point during every session, with an eye toward the swim leg of the sprint triathlon in May. On Monday I was just surprised and amazed to be able to complete the distance for the first time; on Tuesday I timed myself on the distance, and Thursday I worked it in (plus some) after a lengthy speed session.

For the latest session, I was so eager to swim that I jumped right in and started with freestyle, but something didn’t quite feel right. It made me a little worried, so I regrouped after one lap and did several laps of warm-up drills. That seemed to help, because the freestyle started to flow after those few laps.

After a total of 500 meters of warm-up, both drills and freestyle, I started the speed portion of the workout. I did six repeats of 75m easy and 50m hard. That was going so well that I then switched it up and swam two repeats of 50m easy and 75m hard. I hope to gradually increase the distance at which I can swim more powerfully.

The workout so far had me at 1,500 meters – generally the length of my previous swim workouts. But since I’m taking fewer breathing breaks now, 1,500 meters goes by a little more quickly. At this point I swam my obligatory 300 consecutive meters.

And then I did it again. Without stopping.

So to wrap up, I swam 300 meters for the very first time on Monday, and on Thursday I swam 600 meters uninterrupted. That sounds like a lot of improvement for three days. The funny thing is that I still can’t put my finger on exactly what caused the switch to flip. Certainly my fitness didn’t increase a hundred percent in that time. Somehow I just found that one missing piece to put everything together and allow me to essentially swim non-stop.

I can’t even describe the amount of confidence this gives me. I can immediately start increasing the lengths of my workouts until I can swim 1,500 meters at once (the length of the September race’s swim). With my newfound confidence I can take my swimming to open water sooner – once the weather warms up – rather than waiting until later in the summer. I would love to get in as much experience in open water as possible before September’s race, and I had been worried that it would be a very long time before I could accomplish that distance in the sheltered confines of the pool, let alone the open water.

This has been one of the most exciting weeks of my triathlon training. I knew at the outset that swimming was my major weakness – I had never learned freestyle and was not even doing the breast stroke correctly when I began in January. I was detached from my final goal – I saw myself finishing a triathlon but didn’t really see how I was going to cross the huge chasm of knowledge and effort to get there. Now I see that I will actually be able to do this – it’s not theoretical anymore. I’m watching the overall puzzle come together and am starting to realize: I can run, I can bike, and, hey, I can swim, too! I really can do this!

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3 Responses to [050] Going, going …

  1. Dad says:

    “…didn’t really see how I was going to cross the huge chasm of knowledge and effort to get there.” That’s the beauty and wonder of setting goals. Make the commitment to achieve something great and the way will show itself.

  2. David H. says:

    Great progress Jeremy. I love it when a flip switches.

  3. steena says:

    That’s great, maybe it’s all the things you’ve learned from Total Immersion! Something that’s helping me become quicker and be able to go longer without a break is a swim routine/workout. It’s just a formal swim exercise where you do a certain amount of yards/meters/laps/whatever and each grouping has a purpose. If that makes any sense. Try swimplan.com if you’re curious, otherwise I’ve been just making my own up, and I know it’s working because my swim instructor was baffled when I finished the routine he made for me quicker than he thought I would.
    It’s great to see your progress, keep it up!

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