A Few Good Swims

>> Monday, April 24, 2017

First, I tried something new. Someone named Audrey (who noted she was a year-round swimmer since age 8) commented on a post from last month where I talked about mixing up swim training. She made a good point. I thought I was mixing up my workouts by doing 100s, 200s, 500s, or ladders, but she said:

You need to do speedwork and endurance work (and tempo sets) if you want to improve. It looks to me like your ladders and 100/200 repeats are a lot of the latter and less of the former two. So for greater muscle confusion and progress, I would work on mixing in some speed with your endurance.

I've still been a LITTLE afraid to swim too fast/hard with my shoulder still not 100%. There's a workout that's all 50s (done in sets of 5 with different goals for each of the 5) that I used to really like, but I haven't felt "safe" to do that yet. She recommended this workout:

Do this set 3 times through:
4 x 50 descend, pick an interval with 10-15 seconds rest (I do 1:00)
5 x 100 free on 1:30-1:40 (an interval with 0-10 seconds rest)
2 x 75 back on 1:30
4 x 25 free sprint on :40

That would be a bit too far for me, so I did it twice (not 3 times). I did a 200 warm-up, then the 4x50 descend, then the 5x100s, but I skipped the 2x75 back because I can only do freestyle, and then I ended with the 4x25 sprint. Then I repeated it, and ended with a 200 cool down for a total of 2000. I'll do that again shortly.

Here are 3 more solid swims worth noting in the last few weeks:

- On the 11th, I did 7x200 with 20 sec rest. I wasn't trying (and didn't realize it at the time), but I had nearly a perfect descend with one of my fastest averages in a long time:

2:58, 2:55, 2:56, 2:55, 2:55, 2:54, and 2:50, for an average of 2:55.22/200 yards.

- On the 18th, I did a quick 3x500 swim at work between classes. Again, one of my fastest averages in a long time:

7:31, 7:24, and 7:22, for an average of 7:26.4/500 yards (or 1:29.3/100).

- On the 22nd, I did one of my faster ladder swims, although it felt horrible. (100, 200, 3, 4, 3, 2, 1, all with 20 sec rest.) As I was swimming it, I thought it was going to be a slower swim (my longer sets felt BRUTAL), but overall times came back faster than I thought:

1:27, 1:30 = 2:58.04
1:28, 1:29, 1:28 = 4:26.98
1:28, 1:31, 1:29, 1:26 = 5:57.02
1:27, 1:30, 1:28 = 4:26.80
1:26, 1:27 = 2:54.15

My swimming time was 23:32, which was the exact same as my PR version of this swim from 3 weeks before. (When I started swimming this workout once a month, I was between 24:00 - 24:15. Then I constantly got it sub-24. Now I've been at 23:32 twice. Nice.)

Back with a few final thoughts regarding the Cannon Falls Du this upcoming weekend shortly! I'm stupid excited to be racing again! (Although this swim progress won't help me at a du...)


Audrey 11:15 AM, April 24, 2017  

I am so glad you liked my suggested workout (and super excited about the shoutout...first time that has happened to me)!

If you can't do back (or another easier stroke to recover/mix up your muscles) for the recovery sets after your harder free efforts, you can kick with a board, (with or without fins...all the triathlete articles I read recommend fins but I haven't used them since I swam in high school and frankly if you want to build swimming leg strength I think you're better off without them), kick on your back (fly kick on your back is a great ab workout), or kick free or fly on your side, or do a drill to focus on one particular aspect of your stroke, or pull with paddles, buoy, or paddles and buoy. The effort should be easier than your hard free intervals, but you're still getting the benefit of mixing it up.

Here's another workout I did on Saturday after bodypump:

600 warm up (200 free, 200 kick, 200 pull with buoy)
4 x 50 free descend 1-4 on 1:00

3 times through of this:
300 free on 4:30, hold 4:15 or better
2 x 50 back on 1:00, let the clock round to 60, and then repeat

300 pull breathe 3-5 by 50s
200 warm down

So when I mix up my workouts, I'll do shorter hard free intervals (like the 5 x 100 workout I mentioned last time) and longer endurance-type free intervals (like my 300s this time)--except when I have an event a month out or so.

Currently, I've got my first tri of the season (and 4th ever, so I'm a tri noob yet) in about 4 weeks, and it has a 550-ish yard swim. So next Saturday I'll do a set of 400s on the same 1:30/100 interval (so on 6:00 with the goal of holding 1:25/100 (so 5:40) or better), and the following week I'll do a set of 500s (on 7:30, with the goal of holding 7:05 or better) before I drop it back down to 200-300s for the week before the race.

Maybe in a few months I'll start doing 100s on 1:25, but that 5-second jump is a tough physical and mental leap for me. Just keep swimming! I'm interested to see the effect of mixing up your swim workouts in this way.

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