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Alex's swim journal

It's a journey: musings on art, literature, life... and occasional notes on training.

  1. 3000 this evening

    by , February 17th, 2014 at 09:41 PM (Alex's swim journal)
    Trudged through the snow and into the Y on the way home from work. Man, this has been a long winter! But because of the heavy snow right around rush hour I think most folks were scared off and the normally bustling pool was completely empty... completely!

    Did 3000...

    Warm-up:
    400 EZ on 7:30 (6:50, focused on long strokes... 12-14 per length in the first 200)
    4 x 100 IM on 2:00 (1:44-1:49)
    1:00 rest
    4 x 50 fly on 1:00 (:47, :48, :49, :50)
    1:00 rest

    Main set:
    4 x 100 free on 2:00 (desc. 1:33-1:30)
    4 x 100 free on 1:45 (ascend 1:30-1:36)
    4 x 100 back on 2:15 (1:51-1:55... this was very slow, yuck!)

    Cool-down:
    200 EZ free
    200 breast
    200 back
    200 EZ free

    ...all in 60 mins.

    I am still not feeling very strong despite feeling like the energy bounced back a little yesterday. It's amazing how much fitness I've lost over these last three weeks of illness. I haven't done times this slow in a long time, very frustrating!
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  2. Way behind...

    by , February 16th, 2014 at 05:25 PM (Alex's swim journal)
    After all the hiccups in my routine over the last three weeks and an out-of-town job interview that kept me out of the pool for another three days at the end of this week, GTD informs me that I had better pick up the pace! 20 miles behind my goal pace now! Ouch. Yeah, it's been a bumpy ride this winter for my swimming.

    The nagging cough is still... still... still... hack... there. But aside from that, and a lack of sleep lately, my energy is back up to its normal levels now. I got in today just to loosen up and then will begin my build-up in earnest tomorrow evening... with much modified goals for the season, of course. I will focus on backstroke and freestyle distance for the rest of the season. I'm going to keep doing fly and breaststroke in the workouts, but no longer plan to swim the 200 fly or breast at any of the remaining meets. I'll probably do the 200 IM at the next meet (3/2?) and 400 IM at state (end of March) for fun, if I feel good. Otherwise, I'm really just going to focus my workouts on 100-200 back and 1650 free.

    Here's what I did today just to try to gt my groove back after three days out of the pool:

    2400 SCY/50 mins...

    started with 2000-yard straight swim (really slow, focused on long, smooth strokes... took about 38:00) , done as so:

    100 fr EZ
    100 bk EZ
    200 fr
    200 bk
    300 fr
    300 bk
    400 fr
    400 bk

    1-2 min rest, then:

    6 x 50 fly on 1:10 (avg. :50, started at :51, finished around :48-:49)
    master's minute
    100 EZ fr cool-down
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  3. back in the pool...

    by , February 11th, 2014 at 06:44 PM (Alex's swim journal)
    Got back in today after another 4-day hiatus. The legs felt really weak, especially on breast. My lungs were just not there either on the longer freestyle set, so I'm going to have to build back up slowly. Here's what I did:

    400 EZ mixed stroke warm-up (200 free, 100 bk, 100 br)
    8 x 50 on 1:00 in 4IMO (:47, :48, :51, :51, :56, :58, :45, :43 = 6:34... not great)
    1:00 rest
    4 x 50 on 1:00 in 2IMO (:47, :51, :58, :45? = 3:21... yuck!)
    1:00 rest
    4 x 150 freestyle on 3:00 (2:18, 2:18, 2:18, 2:16)*
    1:00 rest
    3 x 100 fr on 2:00 (asc 1:33-1:35)
    100 EZ back

    2000 SCY/45 minutes

    *This freestyle set I was just trying to see if I could fall into a consistent pace per 50 and stroke count per length. I did manage to be pretty consistent at :45-:46 per 50... stroke count started at 14-15 and increased to 16-17 per length. This is probably my current 1650 pace, it didn't feel that strenuous, but it was not the :42-:43/50 pace that I want to be holding for the full 1650. :40+ rest was what I needed today, but it's probably far too much for 1650 training, so that will come down and the # of reps will go up over the next few weeks. Hope to be strong enough to hold that longer stroke and lower stroke count at speed going forward.

    Updated February 11th, 2014 at 06:52 PM by mcnair

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  4. Perfect storm...

    by , February 9th, 2014 at 03:17 PM (Alex's swim journal)
    Just as I was beginning to recover somewhat from the flu I caught a nasty stomach bug that knocked me flat on my back for about 24 hours. Friday Morning I had packed my bag and was looking forward to an afternoon swim at the Y on my way home from work. The swim bag never made it out of the car. I left work early Friday afternoon and went straight to bed, then bathroom, then bed, then bathroom, then bed, then... well, you get the idea. My stomach felt a little better by Saturday morning, but I could barely stand I was so weak. Spent most of the day going to the kitchen, trying to find something bland enough for my stomach to handle, and then crawling back upstairs to the bedroom to sleep it off. Rinse, repeat.

    Am out and about today... feel fairly normal, but I'm not swimming today and am spending the afternoon getting caught up on all the stuff I needed to get done Friday afternoon and yesterday. Sigh. This puts another big dent in my training. It just hasn't been my season so far!
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  5. Recovering slowly... counting strokes

    by , February 6th, 2014 at 07:18 PM (Alex's swim journal)
    I spent several days out with the flu last week and it's still taking me a while to get my strength back. I missed five whole days of swimming in a row... the first time that has happened in over three years. As I got back into the pool last weekend I made a conscious decision just to work on form for a while, knowing I would get frustrated by not swimming the times I was swimming when I left off training the week before. I focused on stroke count, rather than time. This has been a good thing, slowing down and doing a lot of drill... something I typically don't like to do, but know I should if my swimming is going to get to the next level.

    So I've spent this week working through all the TI drills for freestyle (and adapting some of them for backstroke). The balance thing and lengthening of stroke is starting to pay off (at least in terms of my stroke count). During a set of 20 x 25 free on :45 last Sunday, I was bringing them in right at :19-:20 with a stroke count of 12-13... pretty relaxed. My backstroke set was 9-10 underwater dolphins and 10-11 strokes to the wall in a slow :23-:24. I was doing 5-6 strokes on the fly set (probably :23-:24). So even though I was :02-:04 slower per rep i didn't feel so bad about it because I was really extending my stroke.

    My hope is that as my strength returns and I begin increasing the stroke rate again that my stroke length will have improved and I'll be swimming more efficiently. Last night Scotty and I did a pyramid workout. My strength was just not there, especially after fly, but, again, I didn't feel too bad about the effort because I could focus on stroke count. During the fly pyramid (25-50-75-100-100-75-50-25, all on :45/25 interval), I was able to bring my first length in at 5-6 full strokes and then hold 7 strokes after that. So the two 100s had total stroke counts of 27 (in 1:41) and 28 (in 1:39).

    I do feel like I'm running out of time to prepare for state (end of March) and I just don't have the yardage base that I have had the last couple of years by this time. I hope the work on efficiency can help compensate for some of that, but there's no getting around the fact that I need to be putting in the yards at pace if I'm going to reach my goals in the 400 IM, 200 back, and 1650 free. I don't feel ready to tackle 100s at pace for 1650 or 50s at 200 pace just yet, but I decided to do some 50s at 1650 pace... keeping track of my stroke counts. Tuesday I did 20 x 50 on 1:00; Today I did 30 x 50 on 1:00. Didn't feel too bad. Last year's pace was 1:31/100 for the 1650; this year I want to be around 1:25, so :42-:43 was the theme for my 50 repeats. The nice thing about doing 50s instead of 100s is that the form doesn't start to fall apart as badly. My stroke counts for the 50s were around 29-31 mostly (13-14 the first length, 15-17 on the second length). I'm guessing I should expect an average 16 strokes/length at pace... is that too many, too few? I don't know... I guess I need to see how the stroke holds up as I move to interval 100s.
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