[059] Swim success

Swim: 4,000 m/54,000 m

Bike: 0/154.1 miles

Run: 7.5/89.7 miles

It seems as if my recent sickness – and the enforced rest week that came with it – might have been a good thing. I have come back strong and am excited about the run-up to the sprint tri in May.

Both today and yesterday I got in swim/run brick workouts. The runs have been relatively short with the intention of not overdoing things before my 10k this weekend. While my training for that race has not gone quite as I had planned, thanks to the illness, I still think I’m in decent shape for a good run, even if I’m not approaching my PR.

Yesterday’s swim included ladder sets and then a 300-meter timed swim that clocked in at 5:04 – my best time at the distance by 13 seconds. I followed that swim with a 3.6-mile run on the treadmill at an overall 7:06 pace.

Today’s swim was even more rewarding. I had noticed that I have two speeds when swimming – slow and fast. The slow swimming feels great and I can do it all day, but it’s just not very fast. The fast swimming also feels great, but I get worn down after about 100 meters. I have also noticed that the faster I swim, the better my form. I think the speed helps with the dynamics of the body moving through the water – I don’t have to turn my head as far to breath because the wake my head creates as I move quickly through the water forms a trough beside it.  That trough is not as pronounced at slower speeds and therefore I have to rotate farther to get a good breath.

You can probably see where this is going – how can I find a middle ground where I can swim faster without reaching an exertion threshold so quickly? So today I gave it a shot. On my ladder set, instead of going all out on the speed portions, I reined it in while still trying hard (if that makes sense). It was perhaps a 70 percent effort. And it felt great. I was moving quickly and really focusing on my form and my movement through the water. When the ladder was done and it was time for my requisite 300-meter (race-distance) swim, I thought I’d give it a try, at least to see how long I could keep up this new mid-level exertion.

By the end of the 300 meters I was reaching the limit – my breathing was heavy and I was often breathing after every two strokes to get enough air. But I kept up the pace through the entire 300 meters and ended with a time of 4:41 – 23 seconds faster than my previous PR that I had set just yesterday (which itself was 13 seconds faster than the standing PR). In two days I shaved 36 seconds off my 300-meter time.

(Side note – I don’t know the actual length of my gym’s pool, but I am assuming that it’s slightly shorter than the standard 25 meters. I’ve asked three different employees and have received three different answers. So while these times might not reflect that standard distance, they are still indicative of my progress since all of my times are recorded in this particular pool. It could be a 25-yard pool, which would be equal to 22.8 meters. That might add a couple seconds to each length, which would still put my true 300-meter time at a shade over 5 minutes.)

Given the speed with which my swim workout was completed today (2,000 meters in 42 minutes), I had time to come home to run in my neighborhood rather than trying to squeeze the miles in on a treadmill at the gym. I covered about 4 miles at a moderate 7:36 pace, making sure to keep my breathing in check and my stride short. I want to keep things pretty easy this week as the 10k approaches. After this weekend, the true triathlon training begins!

This entry was posted in progress, running, swimming. Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to [059] Swim success

  1. David H. says:

    Getting sick is just the body’s way to tell you to slow down. While it seems like a set back, rarely is it ever. Have fun this weekend at the 10k. Hope to see you.

  2. steena says:

    I’m experiencing the same exact thing with swimming: slow & fast. Where’s the middle? What I’ve been trying is the fast pace, but relaxed, and it’s helping find that middle ground.
    Ladder sets are the best way to build your endurance, according to my swim instructor anyway.
    It’s really neat following your progress with the swim, keep up the hard work.

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