Thursday, August 11, 2011


Numbers as titles week continues....

I just got back from an awesome pool workout.  So awesome I feel compelled to write about it...

I've been increasing my volume in all three sports as I get ready for the Ironman.  My current longest distances in each discipline are...

Swim 2.2 Miles
Bike 101 Miles
Run 13 Miles.

The swim will increase to 3 miles before the IM, the bike to 120, and the run will likely stay parked at 13 unless my legs suddenly recover.  I've decided the gains to be had from running further are going to be outweighed by the stress on my already not fabulous leg and that its going to hamper the rest of my training.   I know I can run 26.2 miles...   I've already done it twice this year.  So the extra distance is going to come from my fitness and from my mind.

But I digress!  This is about a pool workout...

According to my training plan this is a reduced volume swim training week or swim "recovery" week.  So my pool sessions get 1200yds shorter from 3700yds to 2500yds which takes them from 90 minutes to closer to 50 minutes.  So I was already pretty chipper heading to the pool this morning thinking that the workout would be over nice and quickly.  Todays workout was as follows...

400 WU
Ladder at race intensity with 15 seconds rest between reps aiming for consistent effort.
300 CD

The other day in the pool I swam next to someone just a little bit faster than me and really turned myself inside out to keep up with them.  I felt awesome after that workout and was psyched I had really pushed myself.  So I decided I was going to do the same today.  No swimming the ladder at super easy lazy pace.  So I went for it.

My average pace lately has varied quite a bit.  During the long 3700yd workouts with lots of 300s and 500s in them my pace has been closer to 2:10/100.  Ugh!  Slow!  But a lot of that has been from the fatigue of these long workouts or fear of not getting through the workout if I push too hard.  Its also because I just haven't been pushing myself as much as I'd like.  Today however was going to be different.

Coming off a much needed day off I went into the workout with a great mindset.  I went through my easy 400 warmup feeling the same way it always does.  Its funny, but no matter how much pool work I put in that first 50 always feels awful.  It always feels like I should give up and I can't swim.  I always have to mentally push through it and finish the rest of the 400 to find my rhythm.

Ok...   60 seconds rest before the ladder starts.  If the goal is an even pace through how fast do I swim the 50?  Hmmm....   fast.  Lets go for it.

The ladder went like this...

50-fast, but not too fast cause we need to try and match this pace for the whole set!
100-Uh Oh...   have I set too fast a pace?
150-relax, but hold the same pace, relax but hold the pace
200-Crap...  I'm gonna blow up...  no way I can hold this pace.
250-was that really 15 seconds of rest... no way!  Felt more like 2!  Crap I'm tired.
300-longest set of the ladder... GO!  PUSH!  HARDER!!!  3 more laps to go?  WTH!  HARDER!!
250-downward slope!  We got this!
200-getting tired.....     had to sprint the last 50 out of fear I'd slowed down too much
150-3 laps...  easy peasy
100-lets try and really go stupid hard
50-ALL OUT!  LETS GO!!!!

At the end of it I was completely obliterated.  Mission accomplished!  Now by real swim standards my pace is pathetically slow...   but considering I'd been doing these ladders at 2:10/100 pace lately I was pretty damn happy to hold 1:50/100 pace for almost the entire set.  I think the 300 was a little bit slower at closer to 1:55/100 but still thats 15-20 seconds faster per 100 for the whole set.  THAT is a small victory.  And putting together small victories in training is what gives me confidence to go hard on race day.  So here's to the small victories!  Oh...  FYI...   my open water pace in a wetsuit lately has been 1:55/100 so to beat that in the pool on a set that was close to the same total distance as the 1.1 mile swim I did the other day at 1:55/100 is pretty damn good!

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