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  1. March 4, 2012 ITC AM workout

    Warm-up (1000)
    15 minutes of
    100 smooth
    50 kick
    100 smooth/build by 25

    Set I (500)
    4 x 50 pull, work distance per stroke
    3 x 100 descend, maintain long stroke

    Set II (700)
    1 x 400 negative split
    6 x 50 @ very easy interval, work on timing finishes
    • 1 - 2: streamline kick from 3 lanes out, last breath 3 lanes from wall
    • 3 - 4: streamline kick from 2 lanes out, last breath 3 lanes from wall
    • 5 - 6: well timed sprint finish, last breath 3 lanes from wall

    Set III - Tempo Set (1000)
    10 x 100 @ "easy" interval (I don't remember what we used, 1:50?)
    1) 90 meters easy + 10 meters sprint
    2) 80 meters easy + 20 meters sprint
    9) 20 meters easy + 80 meters sprint
    10) 10 meters easy + 90 meters sprint

    Set IV - "Easy" IM (600)
    4 x
    • 50 IM (5 strokes fly + 10 back + 5 breast + remainder free)
    • 100 non-free/free by 25

    Set V - Mop-up Set (300)
    3 x 100 - 50 free/back + 50 free, descend stroke count

    * 4100 LCM *

    ************************************************** **********

    Walnut Creek Masters Intensive Training Camp Sunday morning workout.

    We switched the lane lines around after Saturday afternoon's workout, so the pool was set up for long course for this workout. I hadn't done a long course workout since I was in high school, so I wasn't quite sure what to expect.

    After Saturday's 8600 yards, I expected that I would be sore and tired. I was correct. The "sprint" section of the 10 x 100s might have been faster than the "easy" section, but I wouldn't bet money on it!

    The pancakes served for breakfast were from a mix, but I don't know that I have ever had any that taste as good .

    Updated March 8th, 2012 at 11:47 PM by eric.carlson

    Swim Workouts
  2. March 3, 2012 ITC PM distance workout

    Warm-up (800)
    100 easy
    3 x 50 @ :50
    200 negative split
    3 x 50 @ :45
    200 negative split

    Set I (3000)
    3 x (1st: swim, 2nd: pull with buoy, 3rd: swim)
    • 4 x 100 @ 1:35 - calculate average time
    • 3 x 50 @ :50 active recovery
    • 1 x 300 - aim for 3x average 100 pace
    • 3 x 50 @ easy interval

    100 averages were 1:16 .. 1:18, 300s were 3:54 .. 3:57

    Set II (200)
    8 x 25 drill/smooth

    * 4000 *

    ************************************************** **********

    Walnut Creek Masters Intensive Training Camp Saturday afternoon distance workout.

    Based on how I felt in the morning set, I started this workout with high hopes. The first 100 felt great, the second 100 felt fairly good, and the third 100 felt OK. As I swam the first 300 I thought to myself "oh oh, this is going to be a long set". Good prediction, I had absolutely nothing left on the last 300 .

    Updated March 8th, 2012 at 10:47 AM by eric.carlson

    Swim Workouts
  3. March 3, 2012 ITC AM workout

    Warm-up (800)
    300 swim
    4 x 50 @ :50
    300 Kick/Swim

    Set I (900)
    3 x 300
    1. 3 x (25 back + 75 free), concentrate on core
    2. 4 x (25 back + 50 free), concentrate on catch
    3. 6 x (25 back + 25 free), concentrate on kick

    Set II (2000)
    1 x 25 @ :40, 1 x 50 @ :40, 1 x 25 @ :40, 1 x 100 @ 1:20
    2 x 25 @ :40, 2 x 50 @ :40, 2 x 25 @ :40, 2 x 100 @ 1:20
    3 x 25 @ :40, 3 x 50 @ :40, 3 x 25 @ :40, 3 x 100 @ 1:20
    4 x 25 @ :40, 4 x 50 @ :40, 4 x 25 @ :40, 4 x 100 @ 1:20

    Set II (900)
    3 x 200 @ 3:00, descend 1 - 3
    4 x (25 drill + 50 swim)

    * 4600 *

    ************************************************** **********

    This was the first workout of the Walnut Creek Masters Intensive Training Camp. People were put into lanes according to their answer to a question on the entry form: "My fastest interval for a set of 10 x 100 is __________". I have never actually done 10 x 100 on 1:25 but thought I could, so that is what I entered.

    For set II, the coaches told each lane to pick a base interval that would be a stretch for the 100s and 50s at base / 2. The two others in my lane wanted to use 1:30, which I knew I could cruise, so I moved to the next lane were they had decided to give 1:20 a try. I am happy I did because the set felt terrific and we made them all.

    What a treat to swim with a lane full of people all stretching to make a slightly uncomfortable interval! It was also terrific to have a coach right there, alternately cracking the whip and offering encouragement .

    Updated March 8th, 2012 at 11:49 PM by eric.carlson

    Swim Workouts
  4. 03.08.12 - Thursday workout: 200 IM day

    by , March 8th, 2012 at 08:55 AM (Pete's swim blog)
    Swam w/ Dave x 2. Pool temp 86. Wore speedo brief. Lots of 200 IMs today. Felt pretty good overall. My backstroke still needs a lot of work.


    400 Warm up
    200 Free

    200 IM - 3:15 / 200 IM Kick - 3:45
    200 IM - 3:10 / 200 IM Kick - 3:40
    200 IM - 3:05 / 200 IM Kick - 3:35
    200 IM - 3:00 / 200 IM Kick - 3:30
    150 Easy
    Made all of these even with IM kick.

    200 IM - 2:55 / 200 IM Kick - 3:25
    200 IM - 2:50 / 200 IM Kick - 3:20
    200 IM - 2:45 / 200 IM Kick - 3:15
    200 IM - 2:40 / 200 IM Kick - 3:10
    150 Easy
    Cheated a little on these and switched to Br kick which gave me a much needed 10-15 seconds rest before the next IM. Made all the IMs but missed the last kick by a couple seconds. Was pretty tired after pushing myself on the last 200 IM.

    200 IM Timed (2:35)

    200 Cool down

    (4300 Total)
    Tags: 200, i m, timed
    Swim Workouts
  5. recovery day....or was it?

    by , March 8th, 2012 at 07:24 AM (Mixing it up this year)
    You judge if this was a good recovery day. For my arms it was, legs....not so much.

    500 broken free 1,2,3,4,1,2,3,1,2,1,
    5x50@1:00 fly w/zoomers as 25 scull drill/25 swim perfect stroke
    500 free kick w/zoomers every 3rd 25 AFAP
    5x50@1:00 fly w/zoomers as 25 stone skipper/25 swim

    8x25@:45 fly kick on back held 36s
    5x100@1:45 free w/paddles & snorkle DPS
    8x25@:45 free kick w/snorkle streamline held 29s

    200 EZ

    Total 2600 yards
  6. Wednesday, March 7, 2012, 5:00am & 5:00pm

    by , March 7th, 2012 at 10:16 PM (Fast Food Makes for Fast Swimming!)
    A.M. Workout:

    Got the idea from Fresnoid Freestyle Fiesta or whatever he calls it in the Workouts Forum. I didn't do all of it though...and the part I did was modified slightly.

    1 x 500 Free w/up
    5 x 200 Free @ 2:30 (2:15-2:19s)
    1:00 rest
    1 x 400 Free stretch out
    4 x 200 Free @ 2:30 (2:20-2:23s)

    I ended it was going downhill, and I had to get ready for work anyway.

    2700 yards


    P.M. Workout

    200 Free
    100 Kick w/ Board
    200 Free Pull

    5 x 100 Free @ 1:20 (1:10-1:12s)

    Main Set:

    4 x 175 Free Pull @ 2:10 (2:04-2:05)
    1:00 rest
    4 x 125 Free Pull @ 1:30 (1:26-1:28)
    :30 rest
    4 x 75 Free Pull @ :55 (:50-:52)

    10 x 50 Kick w/ board @ 1:00 (:50-:52s)

    20 x 25 Free moderate @ :30 (:15-:16)

    100 EZ

    3600 Yards
  7. 100-mile mark...

    by , March 7th, 2012 at 08:27 PM (Alex's swim journal)
    Yesterday's two miles in the pool put me at 99.49 miles for the year. So today I punched it over the 100 mile mark with a 3000-yard swim.

    Fairly relaxed, since yesterday featured a lot of speed + threshold swimming. Here's how it broke down today:

    Warm-up (w/ fins):
    100 free
    400 kick (alternated every 50 board w/ side kick series)
    100 pull (w/o fins)
    100 EZ free (no fins)

    Main (2300 continuous):
    1000 free in 17:30
    100 breast in 2:00
    1200 free (alt. 100 glide w/ 100 moderate) in 21:20

    Tomorrow, I may be swimming in New Orleans! Headed down to the Big Easy for a conference Thursday thru Saturday. Any French Quarter swimming connections out there?
  8. Wed., March 7

    by , March 7th, 2012 at 05:06 PM (The FAF AFAP Digest)
    RC/scapular/ankle exercises
    cable twist w/yoga ball, 50 x 2 x 5 each side
    resisted lunges, 50 x 2 x 15, each side, 15 front
    resisted track start jumps, 25 x 1 x 15
    -- made this up after doing the lunges. fun!
    wide grip lat pulldown, 50 x 2 x 20
    low row negatives, 50 x 2 x 10
    explosive leg press, 270 x 4 x 12
    good mornings, 60 x 1 x 8, 75 x 3 x 8
    overhead squats, 45 x 1 x 8, 55 x 1 x 8, 60 x 1 x 8
    knee tuck jumps, 10
    TRX squat jumps, 10
    TRX chest press, 15
    altitude drops from highest box, 10
    power wheel roll outs, 2 x 15
    long arm crunches, 50

    Stretching/Yoga, 30 minutes


    Back at the drylands. Honestly, nothing felt very taxing today even though I'd been out for 2 weeks. My left shoulder and elbow aren't ready for prime time upper body lifting though, so I only did a few low weight exercises. I have an appt tomorrow afternoon with my doc.

    I took a peek at the line up for summer nationals. Not the most ideal order of events for me. I'm considering just going on Sat & Sun. I could do a split request for the 50 free and thereby swim all four 50s and the 100 back in two days.

    I'm also waffling on my Albatross events again. Now, I'm thinking 100 fly (50 split, so I can swim it rested), 100 back and 50 free. Given my recent 50 back, I think I should give the 100 a shot. This event selection also maximizes rest between events.

    Paddles & Parachutes for Sprinting:

    Overload & Underload (Cordz, Fins) Training:
    -- I definitely do not agree with this statement as the "main" benefits of fins:
    "This isn’t to suggest we’re wrong by using fins, paddles, and pull buoys. Perhaps the main benefit of these appendages is not for overload or underload, but instead for other areas such as hand position, body alignment, or hip rotation."

    Danger of High Rep Box Jumps:
    -- I never do high reps of these. I am more of a fan of depth drops mentioned in the article myself. This reminds me that I should add a jump after landing.

    Updated March 7th, 2012 at 08:44 PM by The Fortress

    Strength Training and Dryland Workouts , Yoga
  9. Wednesday, 03/07/12

    by , March 7th, 2012 at 03:45 PM (Chowmi's Blog)
    Tues, 03/06
    Yesterday was a dryland day at home,
    vasa/minitrap, jump ropes, solo kettleball, perfect pushups, and dumbells, about 1 hour

    I had a big day at Court in the AM, and then couldn't really say no to lunch with my colleagues. We went to dim sum!

    Today, Wed, 03/07
    SCM, on my own

    500 warm up
    fr/back/fr/fly drill/free

    6 x 10 sec cord with paddles easy sprint

    100 easy

    1 x 35 (6 strokes out) all out
    1 x 50 from a push :30 flat.
    Not a 29, but a solid flat 30 with hang time until the 31. Need to get this 29 or under!!

    100 easy

    4 x 50 kick with TYR fins
    switch sides, 15 sec rest free/fly

    3 x Dives to about the 15m

    100 easy

    6 x 50 kick no interval
    switch sides free/fly

    100 easy


    Feeling not so bad, but very tired from work and sick husband and sick younger child. Have you seen Ande's forum thread post on writing out your times YOY or season over season? For grins he posted Missy Franklin's progression. I don't think masters should limit themselves to just age. In fact, age isn't a factor in my case. The bigger factors are what big cases or activity in my work, and then what were my kids doing (more specifically, what was I doing with my kids). My big breakthrough in 2008 was due to attending a USMS nationals (which I haven't since then), when arguably I step it, and also it was pre-Bennigans/Steak and Ale and the only time when I did not have any outlier heavy activity cases.
  10. Sunny morning workout

    I had a good workout this morning at Riverbank with Hannah and Rondi. Here’s what I did:

    800 lcm warmup (400s, 200k, 200p)

    8 x 150 @ :05 rest
    1-4 k/d/s, reverse IM order
    5-8 FR build / ST fast / FR easy, ST = IM order

    Broken 1500:
    1 x 50
    2 x 100
    3 x 150
    4 x 200
    All repeats on 1:40/100 intervals, aka BASE – 5, (aka a second a meter)
    [Got 4-6 sec. rest on everything through the first 200, then 7-10 on the last 3 swim. This set made me glad I’m not a distance swimmer, at least in meets!]

    400 kick with new yellow fins
    400 warmdown + play

    Weights and rowing tonight!
  11. Workout 3/7/12: whoever told you that is your enemy

    by , March 7th, 2012 at 01:55 PM (Maple Syrup with a Side of Chlorine)
    w/u: 200 FR/200 BK/200 IM drill
    4 x 100 Kick in 1:45

    Go two times thorough:
    - 5 x 50 on :40
    - 1 x 50 EZ on :60
    ---- 1st = FR pull with buoy, 2nd = FR stroke

    4 x 75 on 1:05
    - 50 DPS, 25 FAST free
    4 x 75 Oreos on 1:15
    - fly/bk/fly, bk/br/bk, br/fr/br, fr/fly/fr

    100 IM drill ez
    100 IM for time (1:09.17)
    100 IM drill ez
    100 w/d
    (solo/Rec/2600yds/55 min)

    Had a nice swim this lunchtime in an uncrowded pool. Temp right now = 57, and we'll be in the lower 60's tomorrow. I made the kicks on 1:35, and decided to get some short rest 50's going (a nice complement to last night's 100's). I held :34-35 on the pulls, and for the swims I came in :32-33 - focused on DPS the first lap with a fast turn and turnover on the second lap.

    The 75's felt good - came in at :52 for the first set, and I didn't really worry about time on the Oreo's, an idea that I saw in Tim's blog a while back - apparently swimsuit addict can't resist them either. Fun fact - Oreo turned 100 years old on Tuesday.

    The IM felt better - maybe I'm playing around too much with the breaststroke. Nice to get under 1:10 again.

    Off to enjoy the beautiful day outside. Tonight is the final meeting for our trip to Spain next month, and I will be doing some online pharmacy CE's tonight in an attempt to not procrastinate again this year. Oh, here is a picture from the 200 fly last Saturday: my Rx for success is to have fun and enjoy those turns, especially like I did on the last one:
    Click image for larger version. 

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    Tags: oreo
    Swim Workouts
  12. Garbagio Lessons

    by , March 7th, 2012 at 01:39 PM (Vlog the Inhaler, or The Occasional Video Blog Musings of Jim Thornton)
    Preamble: Sorry for how long this is. I wanted to jot down a few thoughts I have had on this season so far, and it has gotten a bit extended, verbiage wise, even for me. To leaven the mood, I will put a few pictures in here and there of me playing with Ciara's pony tail.

    Ciara's wonderful father and my father figure/swimming coach, Bill White, perches like a better angel atop my right shoulder.

    We last left our cliff hanger on the eve of my 1650 swim at Carnegie Mellon University, Feb. 26th, 2011.

    At the time, if memory serves, I suggested that if I swam reasonably well, there would be no need for me to quote extensively from Sartre's Nausea. I am happy to report that this has, indeed, proven the case, and there is no reason whatsoever to ruminate for so much as a split second on :

    • "Ma pensée, c'est moi: voilà pourquoi je ne peux pas m'arrêter. J'existe parce que je pense … et je ne peux pas m'empêcher de penser"
    • "Every existing thing is born without reason, prolongs itself out of weakness and dies by chance"
    • "I know. I know that I shall never again meet anything or anybody who will inspire me with passion. You know, it's quite a job starting to love somebody. You have to have energy, generosity, blindness. There is even a moment, in the very beginning, when you have to jump across a precipice: if you think about it you don't do it. I know I'll never jump again."

    These, and many more existential bon mots just as depressing have absolutely no relevance to today's vlog!

    Ciara and I attempt a mind meld of the sort popularized by those bluish people on Avatar.

    Instead, I would like to take the opportunity to offer something ever so rare in my episodic entries to date: potentially actionable swimming advice that might help my fellow middle distance freestylers approaching their Twilight years (in the non-vampire old-fashioned sense of the term.)

    One reason for the delay in posting my results is that I keep hoping for the Hyteck Meet Manager results to actually make their way a) onto the Internet, and b) into the "event rankings" section of USMS as was promised by my LMSC. But as is the case with many such promises, this hasn't happened yet, and I am slowly bracing myself for the thought that yet another of my swims in recent years won't count for possible TT consideration.

    So instead, here is the hand-written sheet from my CMU backup timer, who posted the splits from the electronic scoreboard:

    Historical Context

    JIM THORNTON 59 1650 Free 19:38.20

    JIM THORNTON 58 1650 Free 20:03.90

    JIM THORNTON 57 1650Free 19:34.18

    JIM THORNTON 56 1650Free 19:54.24

    JIM THORNTON 55 1650Free 19:47.91

    JIM THORNTON 54 1650Free didn't swim it
    JIM THORNTON 53 1650Free didn't swim it

    JIM THORNTON 52 1650Free 20:41.65

    JIM THORNTON 51 1650Free 18:59.22

    JIM THORNTON 50 1650Free 18:53.69

    JIM THORNTON 49 1650Free 19:27.75

    JIM THORNTON 48 1650Free 20:34.05

    JIM THORNTON 47 1650Free 21:10.00

    JIM THORNTON 46 1650Free didn't swim it
    JIM THORNTON 45 1650Free didn't swim it

    JIM THORNTON 44 1650Free 21:40.54

    JIM THORNTON 43 to 0 1650Free didn't swim it (though my mother might beg to differ--how many laps in a shared placenta is a 1650?)

    As you can see, my times have bounced around a bit over the past 15 years. My lifetime best performance was at age 50, a time when my coach Bill White helped me get into the best distance swimming shape of my life. I remember that year we did the following practice:

    10 x 100 on 1:25 warm up
    2 min rest

    10 x 200 on 2:30

    2 min rest
    10 x 200 on 2:30

    cool down

    To this day, making this practice remains by far my proudest moment as a practice swimmer!

    You will also notice that before age 49, I never broke 20 minutes. I was not swimming particularly hard at this point in my masters career, the body suits had not come out, and these times were all done at practice, not a meet.

    Two other conspicuous 20 min+ outliers include the 20:41 done at age 52, which can be explained by broken ribs; and the 20:03 at age 58 (last year), which was the first year the body suits were banned, plus I had suffered a detached retina that January, which put me out of the water for nearly three weeks.

    I have always thought I look good with that flouncy pony tail out the ball cap look! Now I can prove it!

    Analysis of Recent "Comparables"

    For an apples-to-apples comparison, let us look at my recent swim at 59 (19:38.20) and my swim at 57 two years earlier (19:34.18).

    On the surface, it appears that I have slowed down by 4.02 seconds over the past two years. My pace per 100 has deteriorated from 1:11.41 to 1:11.16, or a quarter of a second per hundred in two years. On an annual basis, it would seem that I am slowing down by approximately one eighth of a second per hundred.

    There are, however, several fudge factors that make this "apples-to-apples" comparison more of a "Granny Smith vs. Red Delicious" situation.

    First, suit differences.

    At 57, I swam the 1650 in my "floatie" body suit, the B70. At 59, I swam shaved an in a LSR elite jammer given to me a couple years ago. Did the suit change make a huge difference in my times?

    It definitely did in some events. At 57, for instance, I swam my lifetime best 200 SCY freestyle in the B70, breaking in the 1:54's for the first and only time in my life. Since then, my fastest 200s have been high 1:57s. My 50s and 100s have also shown clear deterioration thanks to the suit change.

    But for some reason, distance events of 500 and over don't seem to have shown as much of change. It seems like they should--with the B70 on, I took 1-2 less strokes per length swimming exactly the same way as always; moreover, I regularly gained at least a couple feet further on pushoffs and dives.

    You would think such things would prove especially additive over longer distances, but so far that hasn't been the case. Perhaps the inability of body heat to escape the body suit as easily might muddle its impact on my own distance performances.

    Conclusion: replacement of the B70 with a jammer probably hurt my time, but I cannot absolutely prove this.

    In this corner, Red

    In this corner, Granny

    Even apples-to-apples comparisons are difficult to make sense of in the post-Body Suit Era!
    Second, accumulated yardage leading
    up to the 1650.

    This year's 1650 was preceded by 423.44 miles in all of 2011; 41.79 miles in January, '12; and 60.60 miles in February, '12.

    The B70 1650 two years earlier was preceded by 330.53 miles in all of 2009; 38.76 miles in January, '10; and 28.62 miles in February, '10.

    Conclusion: swimming significantly greater distance probably helped my performance, though the suit change variable makes this also difficult to prove.

    Is a Jim Clemmons-style mustache the key to time drops in swimming?

    Third, a more
    intelligent pacing
    strategy for me.

    Before this year's swim, I solicited advice from Ande.

    Some selected excerpts from my questions and his always great counsel:
    Originally Posted by jim thornton
    Ande, did you post something on swimming the 1650?

    I'd like to do a good time this year, but I am wary of going out too fast and becoming cooked. Once I cross over to that "cooked" stage, it's agonizing to keep on going. But if I go too slow to avoid premature baking, it's hard to make it up on the other end. Any advice?
    Swim by feel, assuming you will probably feel too good at the beginning and thus should consciously slow down?
    Hey Jim,

    Great to hear from you. So you want to have a great 1650 & you want to split it correctly, swim it "just right" instead of being over cooked by going too hard up front or under cooked by going too easy.

    "just right" is the trick and it's tricky.
    Your 1st 100 needs to feel EASY.
    You need to cruise it, going too hard on your first few 50's is usually way worse than going too easy.


    Do a great job warming up before your race.

    Know your pace.

    Do some longer swims in practice, some faster than your 1650 pace, some at & some below. Know what that effort feels like.

    Ideally you want to hold the same exact pace the whole way, but diving in and excitement, makes some people rabbit the first few 50's.

    You can only do what you can do. Swimming above pace up front is very likely to be detrimental. Settle into a sustainable pace and hold it.

    Your pace an differ based on water temp. The warmer the pool is the worse your pace might be.

    the best thing to prepare for the 1650 is consistent hard longer training and some speed work.
    Originally Posted by jim thornton

    Ande, thanks so much for a very detailed and helpful reply.

    I was starting to feel pretty confident, but last night we had a practice which started off with 8 x 100 on 1:25 warm up, then some 50s kick, then 2 x 500 on 6:15.
    To break 20 on the 1650, I know I have to average around 6:00 per 500. But on the first 500 in practice, I did a 6:01, and the second one I just squeaked in at 6:14.

    It was demoralizing.

    But I usually try to negative split distance stuff, and I probably swam that first 500 faster than was comfortable. Plus the water was hot, I'd swum a meet the day before, and I was pretty tuckered out from swimming every day, without stop, since Jan. 28th.
    So...who knows?

    I am definitely going to take it out easy because by the end of last night's second 500, I was definitely not feeling ready to do another 650!

    Today, I just went in and swam a slow 1650; I will probably take it easy at Wed. and Fri. practices, and just stretch out on the days in between.

    I will take your post with me and try to ingrain your advice.

    Thanks again!

    Hey Jim,

    You're welcome for my reply, happy to

    don't let your performance in a particular practice crush your spirit
    just keep showing up & do the best you can
    how many times a week are you training?
    how far per practice?
    if possible, before you taper, attempt to increase your
    x/wk, yds per practice, & pace.
    do it by just being determined to swim faster in practice.

    so you want to break 20:00 on your 1650
    20 x 60 = 1200
    1200 / 33 = 36.363
    so you need to ave 36.36 per 50
    that should be easy and very doable for you

    ingrain my advice & come up with a
    training plan and a
    race plan

    holding 1:12's should be very easy for you
    I bet you can hold under 1:10's

    Right before my B70 1650 at age 57, I solicited the advice of an on deck coach, who told me to go out smooth but strong on the first 500, then pick up each 500 thereafter.

    Here are my splits from that race: 1 1-5 Thornton, Jim 57 TPIT-AM 19:50.00 19:34.18
    30.96 1:05.54 (34.58) 1:40.03 (34.49) 2:14.52 (34.49)
    2:49.55 (35.03) 3:24.78 (35.23) 3:59.96 (35.18) 4:34.94 (34.98)
    5:10.07 (35.13) 5:45.07 (35.00) 6:20.07 (35.00) 6:55.36 (35.29)
    7:30.52 (35.16) 8:06.58 (36.06) 8:42.46 (35.88) 9:18.37 (35.91)
    9:54.37 (36.00) 10:30.72 (36.35) 11:07.09 (36.37) 11:43.09 (36.00)
    12:20.04 (36.95) 12:57.12 (37.08) 13:33.82 (36.70) 14:10.80 (36.98)
    14:47.27 (36.47) 15:24.20 (36.93) 16:00.74 (36.54) 16:37.19 (36.45)
    17:13.84 (36.65) 17:50.36 (36.52) 18:26.61 (36.25) 19:02.29 (35.68)
    19:34.18 (31.89)

    I started out following the coach's advice, and I did feel strong and smooth--for a while. My first 500 was a 5:45.07. By the 1000 mark, I was starting to hurt, realizing too late that what feels good early on is not necessarily as easy as you think. My 1000 split was 11:43.09. The final 500 of the race was 6:00.36.

    Compare this "start strong and decay" approach with the strategy I adopted, thanks to Ande's advice, this year. The second strategy is perhaps better described as "baby and coddle yourself beyond belief, and pick it up as you start to feel more comfortable."

    I took the first 500 out in 6:10.38, more than 25 seconds slower than the previous race. The guy on my left and the guy on my right quickly disappeared into the gloaming in front of me, but I reminded myself of Ande's wisdom to ignore the rabbits and realize going out too fast is usually a much bigger mistake than going out too slow.

    At the 1000 mark, I was at 12:10.91, now 27 seconds slower than my time in 2010. To an outside observer, it no doubt looked like I was setting myself up for total disaster. Note: to break 20 minutes, you have hold just a smidge over a 1:12 pace, and I was far from doing this.

    But somewhere around this point, I caught up with both rabbits. I felt good, I felt strong--precisely the opposite of how I had felt two years earlier after going out much more quickly.

    My final 500 was a 5:40.27, which was (at that point of the year) my fastest 500 of the season.

    My final 200 was 2:10.11; my final 100 1:02.91; and my final 50 a 30.01.

    Granted, overall I was still 4 seconds slower than when I swam it the "hurty" way, but when I got out of the pool at the conclusion of this year's race, I didn't feel the need to glance around to make sure the facility had an AED on hand. I felt pretty good, actually--and extremely happy that I had broken 20 minutes.

    Conclusion: each swimmer must know his or her body and design a race strategy that works best for the energy systems and musculature therein. My friend and coach Bill has been a long time advocate of the "go out fast and try to hang on" approach.

    For me, however, I have found that husbanding my energies, especially in longer races, seems to be the way to go. Not only does it hurt less, but I have come to believe that I just do better this way. Don't get me wrong: I am a big believer in pain and suffering. But I am not a believer of stupid pain and suffering, the kind that comes from misplaced Calvinism. If I tip over into what we used to call the lactic acid bath too soon in a distance race, I just tie up and can't finish strong.

    What I am trying to do now is to figure out exactly where the line is (and the line shifts over the course of a race), swim as close as possible to this line without crossing it, and at the end, when I know I can cross the line and still finish the race, only then do I give it my all.

    Final note:
    Strategic Application
    to Other Events

    This past weekend, there was the last regular season AMYMSA meet before our championships. This meet, held at Duquesne University in Pittsburgh, was again supposed to count for USMS purposes. The first event was the 500, and given that I did my season's best time in this event at the end of the 1650, I was hoping to match last year's best mid-season time of 5:33.

    I used the same basic strategy of the 1650, but because the distance is so much shorter, I didn't coddle myself quite so much at the beginning, I did, however, remind myself to keep things smooth and under control.

    Here are my splits:

    AGE GROUP: 55-59
    1 JIM THORNTON 59 M SEWY 5:28.81


    Later, I did a pathetic 50 freestyle, thrashing impotently like a maniac. My time here, 25.69, was so dispiriting that I figured I would never be able to do a decent 100 again and should concentrate from now on only on 200s and longer.

    The last event of the 3 and a half hour mudhole meet was the 100, and Bill told me he thought I should scratch because my time would likely be demoralizing. I didn't want to do this because the Albatross SCM meet is coming up soon, and I signed up for a bunch of events and wanted to gauge how my current conditioning would allow me to perform in multiple freestyle races in close proximity.

    Bill said that he thought I would be lucky to swim in the 56s, and that I should brace myself for doing a 57 in the 100.

    So I decided to just swim the 100, not worry about my time, and try the "out easy" strategy here, too.

    Here's how I typically judge the best possible time you can do for a 100:

    take your 50 time (25.69) and add 1 second to it (26.69)to determine how fast you should take out your first 50 in the 100. Then take this time (26.69) and add 1.5 seconds to it to get the time you can do on the second 50, which doesn't include a dive (28.19).

    Thus my fastest theoretical 100 would be 26.69 plus 28.19 = 54.88.

    Here are my actual splits from the 100 on Sunday:

    AGE GROUP: 55-59
    1 JIM THORNTON 59 M SEWY 55.11


    What makes this even more unusual from my perspective is that I misjudged the flip turn at the 50 mark, and had one of those foot-only push offs that gives you virtually no momentum off the wall. If I had had a decent push off, it's possible I could have had my first negative split 100 ever!

    The strategy, it would appear, even works on 100s!

    I will have to try it out on the 50 next!

    Note to self: No matter how much it itches, do not forget to shave!

  13. Sarasota Y Sharks Masters 5:30 AM Workout -03/08/12

    by , March 7th, 2012 at 01:20 PM (Sarasota Y Sharks Masters GOLD Workout)
    WARM UP:
    4 X 100 1:40 1:30
    1 X 250 4:20 3:45
    Three rounds. Round 1 intervals left, 2&3 right.

    1 X 200 kick 4:15
    8 X 25-half blast kick/half swim- :45
    1 X 100 swim

    6 X {4 X 50 1:10
    Rounds 1-3-5: 1 of each stroke
    Round 2: fly 4: back 6: breast

    14 X 100 free
    4 on 1:20
    10 on 1:15

    WARM DOWN: 4 X 50 easy 1:00

    Swim Workouts
  14. 03.07.12 - Wednesday workout

    by , March 7th, 2012 at 01:00 PM (Pete's swim blog)
    Swam w/ Dave x 2. Pool temp 84-85. Wore my Speedo brief.

    Workout called for free on all the sets today. I felt IMey so I substituted a lot of stroke/IM. Not everywhere though... I'm not making 400 IMs on 5:15 yet.


    500 Warm up

    400 IM - 6:00 (5:40 ish)
    400 - 5:45 (100 Free/100 Back/100 Br/100 Free)
    400 - 5:30 (200 Free/100 Br/100 Free)
    400 - 5:15 (4:55 ish)
    50 Easy

    16 x 75 - 1:10 (50 Stroke/25 Free)
    50 Easy

    400 free Timed (4:41) Felt pretty good overall. Had a couple rough patches (missed a wall) on the third 100.

    16 x 50 Pull - :50 2 Easy/2 Hard

    200 Cool down

    (4800 Total)

    Updated March 7th, 2012 at 01:27 PM by pmccoy

    Tags: 400, free, timed
    Swim Workouts
  15. Wednesday Wipe Out 3/7/12

    by , March 7th, 2012 at 11:22 AM (The Labours of SwimStud)
    So this one was a killer. Maybe I'm still feeling a bit icky-dar from the Chinese buffet at the weekend. I think my body can no longer tolerate that amount of MSG/Junk anymore. I don't think it was "bad" just that I can't do the 3 plate "buffet binge" body is a temple, and the Gods were not pleased at my desecration of it!

    Warm up/Transition:

    500 choice
    8 x 25 shooter w/fins @ :35/:40
    VK w/dive brick or med ball, 10 x (:20 tempo, :10 AFAP, :30 rest) OUCH! Glad I didn't quit...I always look at those military shows where they are virtually torturing the new recruits into breaking and think "I could do that" I remembered how tough I think I am and didn't let myself quit...still not sure I could be a combat diver though. I wasn't sure if this was meant to be with fins or not. Fins would make this fairly easy...but then you could hold the brick aloft...
    50 EZ
    10 x 25 streamline glide as far as possible from a dive or side of the pool
    50 EZ

    Speed Sets:

    10 x (25 + 25 EZ) w/fins @ 1:30
    -- 1st 25 = breakout + 4-5 strokes fast free, then kick fast to the wall with arms in streamline, do not slow down feet!
    -- 2nd 25 = EZ
    100 EZ

    1 x 50 AFAP @ 1:00
    200 EZ @ 5:00

    2 x (5 x 37.5 fast + 12.5 EZ) @ 3:00
    -- 100 EZ after each round
    -- one round with fins & one without
    -- perfect breakouts, work turns
    I did mine on 2:00 as it was using up a lot of time. 3:00 would have been nicer but I still made a lot of effort on these.

    6 x 25 free w/parachute & paddles @ 1:15-1:30
    This just plain sucked monkey-butt after all the previous stuff...

    100 EZ

    Total: 2800 + VK
  16. Focus focus focus 03/07/12

    by , March 7th, 2012 at 08:37 AM (Workout Swimmer)
    Whooo - still tired from yesterday, I guess! Plus, I stayed up late watching the election returns - go Romney!
    Got there late (I stepped on my kitty's paw just as I was leaving & she ran off - I had to chase her down under the trees in the front yard & apologize!) & only got in the first 100 of the 500 back/free so, did back/breast free during the next 500 "pull"
    10 x 50 kick on 1:00 w/zoomers
    50 easy (1/2 way down & then back)
    10 x 50 on :50 3 @ 70%, 3 @ 80% 4 @ 90% -- getting faster - my last 4 were all 1-2 sec faster than I've been going -
    100 easy
    2 x 300 breast/free by 50's
    100 easy
    4 x 200 pull on 3:00 (descend 1-3, hold 4 in theory - in actuality, descended 1-3 & relaxed on #4 - was just too tired!! - but I did very well on #3)
    200 easy
    Total: 3500LCM

    It's nice to see myself improving on the sprint type stuff - even if I was rather tired on the last 200. Wish I knew my time, but Terry had moved the digital clock inside & I have no idea where I came in. Noticed today a technical issue with my hands underwater that I am working on fixing. I have a tendency to pull through the water & allow my hand to rotate so that instead of pushing with my palm, I am slicing through the water with the lateral aspect of my hand - this may be key to improving my speed if I can correct this consistently. I don't know how I got in this bad habit, but fortuntately I know a few drills that I can do to help correct it, and now that I am aware of it, I will be focusing on it more - just like I am focusing on not breathing as soon as I exit my turn, but instead taking least 2 underwater dolphins off each wall & one armstroke. My breath control stinks - I noticed this during my 200 breast at the Auburn meet - boy those underwater pull outs got worse & worse - especially around the 125 - so I've been making myself do underwater pull outs with an extra kick off the wall, and when going from free to breast (I usually forgo the underwater pull out on those) I also force myself to do a pull out. Maybe I won't be so pathetic at the St.Pete meet this way! Looking forward to it - my last meet before surgery!
  17. good swim this morning

    by , March 7th, 2012 at 07:33 AM (Mixing it up this year)
    I can feel my abs and legs hurting from yesterday but it is the good type of hurting. Managed a decent workout this morning.

    500 free
    8x25@:45 shooter w/zoomers. VK at the end my bag was on :30 tempo, :15 AFAP, :15 rest
    50 EZ
    10x25@:45 streamline glide from pushoff
    50 EZ

    10x(25 + 25EZ w/zoomers)@1:30 fast breakout + 4-6 fast strokes then fast kick to wall
    100 EZ
    50 AFAP from pushoff went :33
    200 EZ
    5x37.5 fast +12.5 EZ@2:00 had to cut interval from 3 to 2 due to time left to get done by
    200 EZ

    Total 2350 yards
  18. Just thought I'd drop in

    by , March 7th, 2012 at 02:48 AM (Swim like an Orca, but faster !)
    Insanity is defined, as the cliche goes, doing something the same way every-time, and expecting different results. If I put my workout routine up against this argument, then I'm insane.
    I was born to be tall and skinny, I lack the muscling required to be a great swimmer, yet I dive in, hoping the clock will reflect progress and some magic will happen in my power.
    Although I didn't compete in 2011 I did manage to get certified in scuba and restored a 1965 Venture 21 sailboat.
    So, my coach and I talked about my stroke, which is about as good as I can get it, but like I've blogged before, I lack the muscle mass and strength. So we plotted out a plan that includes morning planks, bur-pees and pull-ups, among other things. Right now I struggle with even 2 or 3 pull-ups.

    I attended the Strawberry Canyon Aquatic Masters meet at Cal Berkeley and my times were nothing to brag about.
    200IM DQ (the lady judge said I touched one hand on the BR/FR transition...really?) But that was good, cause my time was 10 seconds over.
    100 FR - 1:02
    100 Bk -1:20 (I swam 1:17 a year ago)
    100 IM - 1:15 (no change in 2 years)

    I've been training 200IM, 100 FR, 100BK and 100 IM. This year has been the first for completing a 400IM without stopping and doing more than 2 100 Fly's in training, so I'm making progress somewhere. albeit slow.
    And slow it is, as I settle with 50, I continue to swim, eat organic, (for the most part) exercise and try to engage with more aquatic activities to have more fun with growing older.
  19. As if on cue...

    by , March 6th, 2012 at 10:13 PM (Alex's swim journal)
    As if on cue... after several days of cold and gloomy weather; a couple of sunny days and warmer weather. High of 60 tomorrow?!?!

    Missed my swim yesterday, but managed to get in 3500 SCY today on the way home from work.

    400 free wm-up
    20 x 50 on 1:00 (first 3-4 in :36-:37; probably averaged :40)
    3 x 300 on 5:00 (4:34, 4:40, 4:45)
    100 breast
    3 x 300 on 5:00 (4:45, 4:46, 4:48)
    100 breast
    100 free cool down.

    A couple of notes:

    :36/50! I don't know if I've ever seen that number before! Maybe the rest day paid off after all. I felt almost like I was skimming the top of the water on those fast 50s. But I couldn't keep that pace with only a 20-23 second rest, so I settled into a :40-:42/50 zone, which felt comfortable.

    The 300s were interesting, just trying to see how long I could maintain my threshold pace and they ended up being somewhere about halfway between the threshold pace and my BASE. I'm sure that's helpful somehow.

    I love the long continuous distances, but I liked this workout for mixing in different paces and forcing myself to swim faster/harder. Maybe I'll even start doing flip turns at some point, and work on getting my mile time down again.
  20. Workout 03/06/12: The waves keep on crashing on me

    by , March 6th, 2012 at 09:34 PM (Maple Syrup with a Side of Chlorine)
    w/u: 200 FR/200 BK/200 IMO drill

    Go four times through:
    - 3 x 50 Kick/Swim/Drill on :60
    - 1st/3rd = FR, 2nd/4th = stroke (BK)

    10 x 100 FR pull with buoy on 1:20
    1 x 100 ez
    5 x 100 Stroke on 1:30

    200 loosen and out
    (With Masters group/Rec/3000 yds/60 min)

    Went to Biannual Tuesday night masters practice since I am off work this week. Joelle and Ryan were there so we did her workout (they are both post-grad students at Bennington College).

    I felt strong on the pulls, out in 1:06, then held 0:08-09's until a 1:07 on the last one. I really focused on my pull and keeping my elbows high in the water - last week when I did this I avg'd 2 seconds slower over the 10 so I am happy.

    For the strokes, I did 3 back and 3 IM. I really worked underwaters with the back, went 1:12,:13,:10, and after an pain filled first IM (1:20.52), I took an extra 30 seconds and went 1:12.93 on the last one. I still have not forgotten about the 100 x 100 IM challenge, but I need to be more diligent in doing them in practice.

    I was thinking of doubling tomorrow, but I still feel crummy after yesterday (and chose not to do it today). With 10 days before champs, I will start a slow taper for the rest of the week (although I hope for a hard practice on Saturday), then drop yards like they are going out of style. Next week I will have to be dry on Thursday, and instead of driving to Boston that night I will leave early on Friday since I am not swimming first thing - I'll get more sleep and also save on a night of hotel expenses.
    Swim Workouts