No event this week, but instead a training swim.
I always intended this one to be a bit of a plod. I feel like I haven’t done enough swimming recently (especially with the Channel Relay coming up soon), so today I just wanted to do a few laps of the lake, enjoy it and be ready to do more swimming this week. In the end I did just under 5k in a little under 1hr 50mins.
Of course today is Father’s Day too and before I left for the swim I’d been given a card and a present by my son.
So my entry for the Father’s Day competition is this one:
A swim by the “Best Dad, Hands Down”
Not today. But I did do a great set from my new training plans yesterday – it’s so much easier to keep going when it’s all written down in front if you.
Not only that, but I got a new tee shirt too 🙂
I’ve finally got round to creating some swimming training plans, so I thought I’d share them with you.
A couple of weeks ago I devised a weekly plan – when to train and what exercise I’m doing. (Of course since then I haven’t been able to stick to it all, but that’s a whole other story). However, what I hadn’t done is define what I was going to do in the pool each time I went.
Normally I tend to alternate between doing speed endurance sessions, or just getting in the pool and swimming until it is time to get out. However, I’m aware that it would be a good idea to work on my technique a bit (especially my lack of rotation on my right side; and how my left hand lifts up as I stretch it out). So I wanted to create some sessions that would still be fun, would still feel like a ‘proper’ work out and would be manageable on my own.
I’ve split my sessions into four main areas:
– Warm-up / Cool down – as the names suggest, just gentle swimming, but I’ve added in some breaststroke and the use of the pull buoy and kickboard to mix it up a bit.
– Technical – drills suggested to me by Trish, one of the Swimtrek guides.
– Speed – or rather in my case, it’s about speed endurance. It’s not about the maximum speed I can swim, it’s about being able to hold a good speed for as long as possible.
– Swim – just some time in each session to just get some lengths in.
I had six different technical drills suggested to me, so I’ve created six different programmes, each programme working on four of the drills – in that way I get to mix it up and don’t get too bored of them. Then for the other areas I had two options for each, so just tossed a coin to see which one I’d do with that particular technical session.Once I planned the sessions I printed them out and laminated each of them (I had a bit of help cutting them out and laminating them from my son). Each time I go to the pool I’ll take one of these cards at random. In this way I’m hoping that I’ve got some sessions that keep me both interested and guessing.
Six [hopefully] interesting training plans.
We’ve had a bank holiday in the UK this weekend – with another to follow at the end of May too – and I’ve had a great weekend. This is what I’ve done:
– Beer and darts on Friday
– Some retail therapy on Saturday
– A couple more beers on Saturday night
– A lake swim on Sunday morning – my first of the season – only a gentle 2km, but it was great
– To the gym on Sunday evening – including another 2km in the pool
– A bike ride with my son this morning
– An afternoon in the office this afternoon – and because I love my job, that was fun too
After two long days in London I was so looking forward to my swim this evening. It felt important not just as a way to “wash” London off me, but it was the last swim before I go away next week. So it was important to me that it was a good one.
But it wasn’t.
After only a few minutes I felt like I couldn’t do it anymore. I nearly stopped. It just wasn’t natural. I had to think about single element of it all, all the time. Nothing flowed. Nothing worked like it should. And I got fed up.
It did get slightly easier, but not much. I didn’t really enjoy any of it and I stopped after just 30 minutes.
I’m hoping it was the long days in London, the lack of sleep, the volume of work that is still to do – all playing on my mind and body and affecting.
I’m hoping it’s NOT actually that I can’t do this anymore, which is what my mind and body were telling me in the pool this evening.
I did a long 10k swim on Sunday – it went well and I beat the time I was aiming for – but as the first “event” of the year, perhaps the most important factor was that it was a good check on how I’m getting on. And as the dust has settled on the event and I have time to think about how it went in more detail I realised that there are a few key things that I’ve learnt. So here they are:
I’m getting better – I completed the 10k swim in 3hrs 30minutes. The last time I did a 10k swim (in Bala) I did it in 4hrs 31minutes. I know you have to factor in the cold water, but still, just over an hour’s improvement is something I’m quite pleased with. The summary is that I completed the 10k swim in almost exactly 21 minutes per kilometre. To swim Windermere in under 7 hours (my target) I’ll need to swim 17k in just over 24.5 minutes – so I’m well on track for that.
Mmmm 50 metres
I love 50m pools – this was only the second 50m that I’ve swum in and the first was so long ago I can’t remember it. But as I swam the first length on Sunday it felt so luxurious to just be able to swim and not worry about hitting the wall so soon. I might have to search out more 50m pools.
Drafting makes it easier – as I said in my original report, all the people in my lane were of a very similar speed, so we all spent a lot of time swimming behind each other. It’s funny how we were all able to catch up with the person in front (and then easily stay with them), but no-one was really able to get away once they were in front. Because drafting.
I can’t do turns – or at least my calves can’t. I was starting to cramp up after only 2 or 3km and it didn’t get any better. I pushed off once after just over 2 hours and my legs seized up so much that all I could do was just float in the water for about 30 seconds to let it ease. Fortunately there aren’t too many turns when swimming in lakes, but I’ll also look at adding an electrolyte drink to my feeding mix.
Leave them alone!
I hate toe-tappers – while we were all drafting a bit (see above) the other three people in my lane couldn’t seem to do that without constantly toe-tapping. It’s not difficult – just don’t swim into my feet. Once or twice by accident is fine. But having your hand halfway up my calf (or that’s what it felt like) a couple of time per length is just not on. Especially, as I said above, once they got past me (and I’d let them get ahead of me at the lane end if they did toe-tap – at least for the first few times) they didn’t pull away.
It’s great to meet blog buddies in real life – as I mentioned in the original write-up I met Mo at this event and in fact she had originally persuaded me to enter. Mo and I have chatted through blog comments and Twitter for over a year, but haven’t met before – so it was great to meet up. I’d love to meet more of you if you read this – feel free to get in touch.
It’s hard work – having said all of the above and how pleased I am with my progress I’ve been exhausted this week!
Last Monday I said that I was planning a big week of swim training last week. The plan was to swim 20km over the course of the week – all in training for the 10km swim I have this Sunday (Sunday 23rd at Ponds Forge).
A break down of the week from my Speedo app
Well, I did it – 20km swum. Here is how it broke down:
– Monday – 4km
– Wednesday – 5km
– Thursday – 2.5km
– Friday – 5km
– Saturday – 1.5km
– Sunday – 2km
Monday was an evening swim. Wednesday, Thursday and Friday were all morning swims before work. On both Wednesday and Friday I was in the pool by 7:05am and got out at 8:50am. Saturday was a quick lunch time swim – and then racing home to watch the second half of the England rugby match. On Sunday I did my usual evening routine of going to the gym for an hour, then a swim (I also went to the gym before Saturday’s swim).
I’m pretty tired now, but I don’t have any real aches and strains, so my body coped well with the swimming – which stands me in good stead for the 10km at the weekend.
This is going to be quite a big swimming week for me as I put in the last hard training before the indoor 10km swim I’ve got coming up on Sunday 23rd.
My plan for this week is to swim a combined distance of 20km – obviously over the course of a number of sessions – and I’ll then rest (or taper) the following week, with just a couple of gentle swims / gym sessions.
One of the difficulties of swimming compared to running is the fact that you need a pool to swim in (or lake in the summer) and it has to be open and free for you to use – you are much more at the whim of other people’s schedules. So one of the hardest aspects of this week will be the planning. My pool opens sporadically for lane swimming and most of the slots it has are when I’m meant to be working. Anyway, my plan is to swim Wednesday & Friday mornings (the pool is open for 2 hours) and then top-up at the weekend.
It all started last night with a c. 1hr 30min swim. I’m not going to be counting laps, but instead working on a time basis to assume my distance.
My normal casual swim pace is now at 1:55 / 100, so for these sessions I’m going to round that up to 2:05 / 100 or 21mins per 1km. That gives me the chance to nip out to the loo, stop and take a drink, get stuck behind slower swimmers, or just ease off a little if I want. Last night I managed 1hr 24mins before they closed the pool, so at that assumed pace – exactly 4km.
Bring on the rest of the week.
I’m going to start to write up a few of the sets that I do. There are two main reasons for this, the first is that it will act as a reminder for me if I need to devise sets again, the second is that it will provide benchmarks that I can test myself against.
Monday mornings are often quite busy in the pool as the four lanes are reduced to three as the swimming club takes up one lane. So it’s not always possible to lots of short sets (you can lose your “spot” in the lane and so are swimming into the toes of slower swimmers, or having faster swimmers do the same to you). So this week I decided to do some longer, timed sets.
– 1km, non-stop – 18 mins 30
– 1km, 5x200m – 17 mins 50
– 1km, non-stop – 19 mins 29
I enjoyed that as a session and now have a new goal to beat 19 minutes, then 18, then 19 again for the above session.
It’s only the 20th of the month and I’ve already hit the 100km mark for the month. To be honest I’m pretty damn pleased with that.
For those of you not of a mathematics persuasion, that’s 5kms per day on average.
Of course for me, much of it has been swum rather than run, the breakdown is:
– Swimming – 24.4kms
– Running – 12.94kms
– Cycling – 68.09kms
– Total (according to my algorithm) – 103.16
I’m just 13.5kms away from hitting the total required for the month – and I should do most of that during my swim tomorrow morning. If I keep going at this pace I could catch up everything I missed in January and be just ahead of the target required to complete the challenge in the year. That said, there’s a danger that I might be in Barcelona for the whole of next week with work (I was just planning to be out there for two days), so that might scupper the plans a little. Even so, I’m pleased with where I’m at right now.