Who am I kidding? I miss blogging. I'm back. ;)
So I know some people think that swim training is a waste of time... and some people think I focus way too much time on swimming... but I will tell you, I know there are a lot of people who swim way more than I do (people who are trying to improve their swim times!)... Really, I typically only swim 10-12K/week and that is not enough to really improve upon one's swimming (unless you're currently only swimming 4K/week in which case 10K would indeed improve your swimming!)... as evidenced by the fact that I have been swimming pretty much the exact same times for, um, like 10 years now. I'm not the fastest swimmer around but I can hold my own and come out of the water within striking distance of the lead in most races so maybe there're the argument against spending any more time in the water. Really, so what if I come out of the water in 56' in Canada if I then go on to run 4:30?? I understand that thinking.
That said, lately I have increased my swim volume some. I'm not swimming more often, but when I'm at the pool, I'm staying in and banging out some volume. Interestingly, I bought an 8 week Ironman Training Plan from Gordo on Training Peaks... mostly b/c a while back he was selling them for super cheap and I was just curious more than anything to see how he organized his IM training blocks (I'm always interested to know what/how/why other people do what they do even if it's not how I do it). And while I knew I would not be following it per say, I was looking forward to gathering some new ideas that I could modify and incorporate into my own plan as I saw fit. And you know what struck me the most when I first saw his plan?? The HUGE swim volume. Gordo's swim plan makes my swim plan look like I'm training for an 8 & Under summer swim league. Seriously.
So my last 3 trips to the pool have all been workouts of 5200-6200M (longcourse) and it's been freakin' awesome. Though I will say that part way through the Monday w/o, I think I muttered something like This set is sick. Gordo talks about this one a lot and if you read any of his Ironman training articles you've heard him mention his Matrix 100's... I think it is actually his super swimmer of a wife who came up with these... but basically you pick your descending intervals and then do 100's like this:
It's a total of 40 x 100's and I picked our intervals as 1:45, 1:40, 1:35, 1:30, which was kind of an asinine thing to do b/c I can't actually make repeat 100's @1:30 send-off in this pool unless I am drafting. We were not circling on Monday so I was in trouble right from the start. First round through no worries really b/c there's only 1 @ 1:30 and I think I hit it exactly then pushed off again and had the next 2 @ 1:45 to recover. Second round there were 2 @ 1:30 there at the end so basically I just swam a 200 all out straight, then flipped right into the next 100 easy after which I did not get much rest and we were off again. I think it was mid set of 3's that I was shaking my head thinking this was so much harder than it looked on paper... And really it wasn't 40 x 100's b/c the last 700 was just pretty much an all out straight swim effort. Beautiful after a 1000 w/u to sprint a 700 there at the end of a 5K swim. I tried anyway. Probably shouldn't call it sprinting. Lol.
So this morning we did another Gordo Threshold/Endurance swim workout that started with our standard 1000 w/u then rested 1' and then did another 1000 that was just supposed to be faster/stronger than the first... I got a little bug up my ass or something on that one and I decided I was going to try to stay on Mark's feet for the whole 1000... which was again a rather asinine thing to think b/c Mark can crush me these days in the pool. BUT drafting is a beautiful thing and even though technically we were swimming side by side, after 100M I was behind him some so I'd move over and get as close to him as I could (no lane lines make this possible!) on the long straight-a-ways and then move sideways prior to the flip turn so we wouldn't have a head on collision near the walls. Anyway, 300M in I was dying and had the thought that I was not going to be able to keep this pace up for another 700M... Banished that thought and just focused on his feet... checked the split at the 500 and saw 7:33 so we were just over 1:30 pace... turned my brain off and focused only on FEET... STAY ON THOSE FEET MICHELLE... checked my watch again at 800... we were at 12:03 which means that 300 was 4:30... exactly 1:30 pace... Yikes. I was DIGGING by this point but determined that I could keep doing it for another 200. So I hit the wall at 15:01 which meant, wait for it, we negative split that 1000! That also happened to be the fastest 1000 I'd ever swam in that pool. After that we started the main set which was another 3400M. Nice, eh? I'm telling you, that Gordo is way crazier than me when it comes to swimming.
Anyway, I figure as long as the extra swimming doesn't compromise my bike or run training then there's no reason not to do it... so we'll see if the change up makes any difference for me later this summer. I'd definitely say that while I do not feel fast in the water, I feel freakishly strong and like my fitness is very deep. And I really do enjoy swimming. So that's something. :)
And this just made me laugh. Good thing we don't have hot lifeguards at our pool.