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Vlog the Inhaler, or The Occasional Video Blog Musings of Jim Thornton

One Man's Garbage...

Rating: 2 votes, 5.00 average.
...yards are another man's source of high-quality exhaustion.

I am curious if my readers out there in water worlds throughout the dripping universe have any opinions on this topic.


What, exactly, constitutes "garbage yards" from your perspective, assuming, that is, you believe these actually exist.


Some, I suspect, subscribe to an opposite point of view, i.e.,
any yard is a good yard, especially when traversed under one's own power without assistive technology like this, this, and this:



Taking SDKs to a whole new level!




Bladefish! The choice of eunuchs and guys who really don't want to share a lane!




After his excellent work in
Dr. Strangelove, Slim Pickens was almost cast for the part of Chief Brody in Jaws.

There are several reasons why I am asking about these so-called garbage yards.


First, I am pretty sure that if these do indeed exist, they are pretty much
all I swim these days.

Second, if I
am a chronic garbage man these days, and I suspect I am, does such an approach confer any benefit whatsoever to swimming performance other, that is, than to maybe allow one to get a tiny bit better at swimming garbage yards? Are there any competitions for these?

Third, why do these garbage yards hurt so much? In yesteryear, swimming these same distances at these same speeds were the stuff of child's play! I could plod along, lap after desultory lap, contenting myself to try to coax one of my brain's hemispheres into sleeping, dolphin-style, then switch to the other: a form of swim-napping, if you will.


But now, I am too tired by the not-terribly-difficult swimming sets I have designed for myself on off days, and my coach Bill designs for us all on actual swimming practice days, to even consider napping while trying to finish them.


What has happened to me?


Has anything remotely like this happened to you?


Two theories, maybe three:


1. Something is profoundly wrong with me. I've suddenly gotten old, for instance, the decrepitude I have felt stalking me for decades has at last caught up and thrown me off balance, like one of those high speed chases between a lion (decrepitude) and a sick baby wildebeest (me: decrepitude's prey)--just a slight paw brush by the lion is enough to knock me off balance, and then I am surrounded by red faced felines licking their chops as the light on the savannah goes black...


If not age, it could be something else, like a sickness of some sort, me being no stranger to any of these:


illness

noun

the
state of feeling sick or of having a disease

disease

noun

an
illness that affects people or animals, especially one that is caused by an infection

sickness

noun

a
condition in which you have an illness

infection

noun

a
disease or other medical condition that is caused by bacteria or by a virus or a parasite

disorder

noun

an
illness or medical condition

complaint

noun

an
illness or other medical problem

condition

noun

an
illness or health problem that lasts a long time and affects the way you live

ailment

noun

an
illness, usually not a serious one

epidemic

noun

a
situation in which a disease spreads very quickly and infects many people

contagion

noun

a
disease that can be spread from one person to another through touch or through the air



2. I am simply tired out by training reasonably hard at a time when assorted other demands on my physiology, like tax preparation and deadline obligations, are also sucking the life out of me. Could I, in fact, be overtraining?


Last year in mid-January, I suffered a detached retina, which forced me out of the water for two weeks.




When I got the go ahead to swim again, I did my best to catch up on my Go the Distance goal in February:





To diehards, this 50 miles might seem paltry, but it's actually a rather significant amount for me.


That spring, I did my best times in the 500 and 1000 in years, though the swims (as regularly readers might recall) did not count for Top 10 consideration because the meet wasn't recognized.


I did these times without a body suit, too, which in some regards made them seem all the better to me since the cheatin' suits always did provide my blubberous flapping body a bit of a lift.


Flash forward to this season. No detached retinas in January, so this is what I swam in the same time period where I managed only 19 miles last year:




Over 22 miles more, in other words, which
should technically put me into better shape than I was in at the same time period last year.

So far this February, I have been swimming every day and hope to continue doing so throughout the entire month of February, perchance to exceed last year's total. Here is the data so far:




I have missed a total of 7 days in 2012 so far and averaged just a wee bit over 1.5 swimming miles per day.


A few other bits of data.


I got fat. 185 this year vs. 179 last year at the same time.

Also, my Amish Mudhole swimming times are a bit slower at this time this year comparable to what I did last year.


Consider the 2011 vs 2012 mid season times:



  • 50 free 25.15 then vs. 25.65 now
  • 100 free 55.27 then vs. 55.09 now
  • 200 free 1:59.81 then vs. 2:01.60 now
  • 500 free 5:33.84 then vs. 5:42.21 now
  • 1650 free 20:03.90 then vs. ?


Well, it is time for practice, so I must be signing off to go put in my daily garbage yards.


I am signed up for the 1650 at the end of the month.


Then there is the Albatross meet in March, and I will see how this year's times compare to last year's. This will be the first time I can swim in the next age group up, so I am hoping to do good.


Then there are the various championships coming up in the later spring.


I don't know if swimming as much as I have been will prove helpful or not.


Maybe it was the enforced two weeks off because of the retina last year that was the real reason for good times them?


Time will tell. But meanwhile, if you have any thoughts on my situation here, please feel free to give me the benefit of them!

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  1. The Fortress's Avatar
    See discussion in my blog from yesterday. Q was suggesting that perhaps slow aerobic work raises your aerobic threshold, which in turn may raise other thresholds. But it could be that the total break helped. In which case, get some rest before Albatross!
  2. Bobinator's Avatar
    First of all Mr. Jim I'd say you are still a FAST swimmer! 55.09 in the 100 Free is a quick time whether you are 16, 36, or 56 (57?). I really think you need a reality check on this Jim, most of us would love to swim like you!
    As far as junk vs. quality in workout: I feel at least 50% of your workout needs to be for pure physical conditioning. The remaining workout time should include stroke perfecting drills, distance for confidence swimming, and pure social swimming with your buddies time.
  3. rodent's Avatar
    You may be experiencing the natural effects of aging.
  4. jim thornton's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by The Fortress
    See discussion in my blog from yesterday. Q was suggesting that perhaps slow aerobic work raises your aerobic threshold, which in turn may raise other thresholds. But it could be that the total break helped. In which case, get some rest before Albatross!
    Leslie, I did read that thread on your blog and found it very interesting.

    Can you ask Q to put his thoughts about this here?

    I asked a triathlete friend of mine if he ever gets tired out from the prodigious quantities of training he does.

    He said absolutely, which is why most of the triathletes he knows do 4-week training cycles. The first three weeks, they gradually build up to harder and harder effort for longer and longer periods of time.

    Then the fourth week, they cut down on time and intensity and, which still run-bike-and-swimming regularly, just take it easy in all three and let their bodies consolidate the gains before starting the next four week cycle.

    I wonder if maybe I just haven't given myself time to rest?

    There is a guy in my age group who claims to have swum 234.8 miles so far this year. That's a bit over 10,000 yards per day every day.

    I figure if he can do that, I should be able to swim ~25 percent of his total without being totally tired out.

    Oh, well.

    I am going to try swimming a super slow recovery distance swim today after last night's relatively difficult (but slow) practice.

    We will see.
  5. jim thornton's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by Bobinator
    First of all Mr. Jim I'd say you are still a FAST swimmer! 55.09 in the 100 Free is a quick time whether you are 16, 36, or 56 (57?). I really think you need a reality check on this Jim, most of us would love to swim like you!
    As far as junk vs. quality in workout: I feel at least 50% of your workout needs to be for pure physical conditioning. The remaining workout time should include stroke perfecting drills, distance for confidence swimming, and pure social swimming with your buddies time.
    Thanks, Bobinator! I think these things are always somewhat relative, but I still appreciate your kind words.

    I guess what I am wondering is if swimming slow distance on the off days is A) neither a plus nor a minus to my meet performance, B) will actually hurt my meet performance (either by teaching my body to swim slow or by not allowing it to get sufficient recuperation time), or C) actually help is some small way.

    My friend Glenn Battle told me once he thought that what mattered most was just the total amount you swim, this in clear contradiction of the prevailing wisdom (at least on the forums) that garbage yards are a waste of time (at least with regards to racing performance--I know that it's good for my mental health.)

    Anyhow, we shall see!
  6. jim thornton's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by rodent
    You may be experiencing the natural effects of aging.
    Jack, this is my great fear!

    What's odd, though, is that last year, in a jammer, I did my best time in the 1000 in years:

    James Thornton 2011-04-02 (20110402AMYMSAY) 58 1776 1000 Free H1 / L4 11:18.15 1 James Thornton 2010-04-23 (20100423CZSCCHY) 57 TPIT 1000 Free H2 / L2 11:22.39 1 James Thornton 2008-04-11 (20080411PVCZONY) 55 TPIT 1000 Free H3 / L6 11:31.29 1
    In fact, the last time I beat this time was when I was 52:

    James Thornton 2005-04-21 (20050421YMCANTY) 52 AMAM 1000 Free H6 / L3 11:16.85 2 James Thornton 2007-04-13 (20070413PVCOLCY) 54 TPIT 1000 Free H3 / L5 11:26.04 1

    So I suppose what I am wondering is what has happened in one year? Can age strike suddenly?

    We'll see what happens this spring. Maybe I am making too big of a deal out of it at this point. I do find it harder and harder to sprint.

    When did you feel that age was emerging as a factor in your swimming, assuming you did notice this at all?
  7. kuztoo's Avatar
    to paraphrase your brother, "every time you whine or feign sickness you are better than before"
  8. jim thornton's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by kuztoo
    to paraphrase your brother, "every time you whine or feign sickness you are better than before"
    Are you saying that whining is just weakness leaving the body?

    I can't believe how much weakness I have been purging over the course of my short, brutish lifetime to date.

    Thanks, John, for the Tough Like encouragement.

    I should point out to my readers that John K is one of those magnificent specimens who does not seem phased in the slightest by huge training volumes. As of the most recent data, he is 6th in the country in GTD:

    Name Age Club Miles
    Don Tatzin M60 OAK 234.80
    Timothy J Martin M47 CTM 183.47
    Cheryl M Reinke F48 SMRT 179.48
    Gordon R Gridley M40 SALT 155.87
    Shirley A Loftus-Charley F61 VMST 152.66
    John Kuzmkowski M58 ALMT 143.47
  9. pmccoy's Avatar
    Withdrwawn. Not what I intended and hurtful.
    Updated February 9th, 2012 at 09:03 PM by pmccoy
  10. kuztoo's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by pmccoy
    In my opinion, "garbage yardage" is a sprinter's term to justify shorter "quality" workouts.

    You can check John Kuzmkowsk USMS times here. I'm guessing John would be more than happy to trade his GTD mileage for your 1000 time. Note that half of John's swims were done under the club "GRBG". Odd given the topic for discussion.

    One thing I've had to accept about the mega-volume GTD swimmers is that I know absolutely nothing about thier training programs and their daily lives/commitments. With 4 kids and a job, I hardly have the time to put up 10K yards a day. If I were retired and didn't have anything else to do, I could spend 4-5 hours a day in the pool and handle it with no problem. GTD doesn't measure how quickly you covered the yardage or what strokes you did. For all we know, John is doing 1000 yards every hour for 10 hours a day.
    ... Gee for a guy with 4 kids (wife?) and a job , you must be one hell of a great athlete to destroy me and yet ...you know nothing of me!Oh by the way "thier is actually spelled" their"
    !
  11. swimshark's Avatar
    Looks like you need to detach the other retina to see if things change in Feb?
  12. pmccoy's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by kuztoo
    ... Gee for a guy with 4 kids (wife?) and a job , you must be one hell of a great athlete to destroy me and yet ...you know nothing of me!Oh by the way "thier is actually spelled" their"
    !
    Way to stick my foot in my mouth. Did I say I could destroy you? Sorry if I implied that in any way. Just suggesting that GTD isn't necessarily a measure of how fast someone is.
  13. qbrain's Avatar
    Garbage yardage is the man slaughter of water training, swimming without intent. As long as you are working towards a goal (better technique, more endurance, more speed) it isn't garbage.

    My thoughts on swimming slow really are about swimming slow by swimming below aerobic threshold with the intent of improving the pace that can be held below aerobic threshold. Since swimming below aerobic threshold implies that the limiting factor body fat, being able to swim at a faster and faster pace while still staying aerobic would leave anaerobic energy stores untapped until later in the race or not until higher speeds are achieved. Either should result in faster racing times.

    Thus Fort's slow swimming leads to faster swimming statement.
  14. qbrain's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by kuztoo
    you must be one hell of a great athlete to destroy me and yet ...you know nothing of me!
    He doesn't need to know anything about you if he has one of these:

  15. kuztoo's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by pmccoy
    Way to stick my foot in my mouth. Did I say I could destroy you? Sorry if I implied that in any way. Just suggesting that GTD isn't necessarily a measure of how fast someone is.
    Did I ever say I was fast? So why why do you feel it's important to ridicule me, or the town I come from?Apparently I'm not in your class, and Pennsylvania doesn't compare to Alabama... Why not post your times so we can all marvel at your
    athletic prowess
  16. pmccoy's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by kuztoo
    Did I ever say I was fast? So why why do you feel it's important to ridicule me, or the town I come from?Apparently I'm not in your class, and Pennsylvania doesn't compare to Alabama... Why not post your times so we can all marvel at your
    athletic prowess
    Please accept my apologies. I've withdrawn the comments. Will delete them if you feel that would be better.
  17. kuztoo's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by pmccoy
    Please accept my apologies. I've withdrawn the comments. Will delete them if you feel that would be better.
    Never retract what you feel, It's just interesting that Jimmy (who is a magnificent simmer)never criticizes the talents of others, he's full of encouragement. Others feel it's important to tear others down! You decide which person you are! Please accept my apologies for my shortcomings
  18. knelson's Avatar
    I think, like garage/yard/tag sales, one man's garbage yardage is another man's treasure! It all depends on what your goals are. If you are swimming for fitness then maybe distance is the ultimate measure. If you are a distance swimmer who competes frequently you still need to swim some long, relatively slow yardage that a sprinter might consider garbage. I think garbage yardage is anything you're doing that will do little or nothing to help YOU achieve YOUR goals.
  19. jcornman's Avatar
    I do not subscribe to the theory of garbage yards at all. I agree with pmmcoy here, just a sprinters justification as the short/intense argument is more in vogue today. The more you can swim, the better in my mind as feedback mechanisms are constantly engaged when you are swimming, regardless of pace, thus improving your stroke and efficiency/economy. Improving your mechanical efficiency through the aforementioned process, plus the improved aerobic/metabolic state (fort/qbrain) from the "garbage yards" will leave you better off. How many of the events that you specialize in, your freestyle quinella, are purely anaerobic? In truth, none, but the 50>200 you could make an argument for then leaving the 500 and beyond being largely aerobic. Keep logging those big miles, Jimbo. I think your main problems are probably age (sorry!) and stress. Overcoming both might be accomplished by, and can be summed up by the prescription to "cut the fat!" As you are getting older, your functional muscle mass is decreasing, so all swimming mileage may be helped and supplemented by some strength training. And finally, and likely your greater short-term limiter, is the stress. You know what I'm talking about here. Cut out what you can and try not to obsess over what you cannot. Serenity now!
  20. jim thornton's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by pmccoy
    Withdrwawn. Not what I intended and hurtful.
    Pete, whatever you wrote, I thank you for posting a comment on my vlog--and look forward to future comments.

    You seem to me to be a capital chap, so whatever it was that may have been misinterpreted, please do not feel bad!
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