STILL Gaining Speed in the Pool with These Workouts

>> Monday, December 22, 2014

November was my biggest swimming month in over 4 years, AND they were good workouts. I'm seriously expecting to plateau soon, but I'm enjoying that my speed is still getting faster and faster in the pool!

Here are 6 recent swims as compared with similar workouts about a month ago:

• Dec 2: 1500 tempo test: 23:41. That's over 1 minute faster than my 1500 tempo 5 weeks before! I did a tempo swim at the end of October that was sort of my "baseline" test for the winter, and this was my first "straight through" swim since that one. In those 5 weeks, it dropped 1:07, to an average of of 1:34.74 / 100.

• Dec 5: 3x400 (400, 2x200, 4x100) and 3x200 (200, 2x100, 4x50). My 400s were 0:18, 0:11, and 0:13 faster this time vs the 21st of Nov; and my 200s were 0:05, 0:09, and 0:04 faster. And the time between my sets was shorter this time too! Nice.

• Dec 9: 15x100 with 0:20 rest with a 1:27.80 / 100 average. They were all under 1:30 with the fastest being 1:25.0. Five weeks before, I did the same workout with a 1:29.4 average, and that was with 0:30 rest! (I've been working on getting my rest times shorter.)

• Dec 11: VO2 Max "Test Swim" - lots of warmup, then 5x100 ALL OUT with long recovery. I don't know if this is an effective workout, but it's a good "test" that I read about a few years back. I've done it maybe 5-7 times over the last few years. I last did this workout just over a year ago in November of 2013. My 5x100 all out were 1:16.9, 1:18.0, 1:19.2, 1:20.5, 1:21.3 for a 1:19.18 average last November. This year, I bettered my splits by 2-3 seconds each: 1:14.8, 1:15.9, 1:16.1, 1:17.0, 1:18.1 for a 1:16.38 average. I thought I'd be able to keep my times from constantly slowing this year because I have much better endurance now, but they still slipped about 1 sec/100. But I suppose if you're truly swimming "ALL OUT," then the times will slow down as you go.

• Dec 15: 4x400 with more effort each 100 (85%, 90%, 95%, all out). I first did this workout at the end of October, and I averaged 6:14.89/400. I did the same swim a few weeks later, but I slowed up a BIT because I added a 5th 400. That time, I averaged 6:17.9/400. This time, my times were 6:09.6, 6:12.2, 6:12.3, 6:14.4 for an average of 6:12.1/400.

• Dec 18: 9x200 at (or just under) CSS pace. I did this about 6 weeks ago (before learning about CSS) pretty "all out" with a 3:05.2 average. Then I did it 4 weeks ago at CSS pace in 3:09.9 average. This time, I cut the rest from 0:30 down to 0:20, and I still dropped 2.6 seconds/200! And I was still trying to keep them from being "all out" and instead close to my CSS pace. My average this time was 3:07.30. (For more about this "CSS" training that I've been enjoying, CLICK HERE for a post from a few weeks ago.)

So I'm not making CRAZY gains yet, but times are still dropping. I'll take it.

Just out of curiosity, I looked at how fast I've been swimming the last 2 months vs the 2 months before that. (I'm not saying this to prove I've gotten faster; I'm just using this to show that I've been training harder lately.) In Nov and Dec, I swam about 2200 yards slower than 1:36 pace out of the total 30,550 yards swam. So that's 7.2% of my total yards swam "slow" in the last 2 months. In Sept and Oct, 9500 yards of my total 15,350 yards were slower than 1:36 - that's 61.9% of my total yards. That's a big shift in speed/training in the last 2 months.

Click here for my initial post on lots of new and good off-season workouts, and click here for my bit about CSS swimming.

The downside to making some consistent gains in the pool is that part of me is saying "you can stop swimming until like April or May, and then just start doing some of these workouts and you'll be set for tri season in the summer!" I'm trying to ignore that voice...


Keith 4:34 PM, December 22, 2014  

I've been doing the CSS thing and it really seems to help, though I haven't actually retested. Always nice to be swimming faster!

Steve Stenzel 3:51 PM, December 23, 2014  

Yeah Keith, I think I've done enough where I need to retest now. Maybe after the "Christmas fattening," I'll get in a few swims and then retest.

RobbyB,  7:41 PM, December 23, 2014  

Don't forget that you're swimming consistently. The number of times/week for however many weeks might be just as worthy as the individual tests & workouts. flip turns.

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