Tuesday evening: While all swim workouts are hopefully with a purpose, whether a long-term goal of achieving a certain performance, or just doing it to get in the yardage, I have decided to train tomorrow morning with the goal of doing my fastest 100 meter freestyle swim yet.
There is a lot more to this than going to the pool and just saying "Go" and trying to swim as fast as I can. However, a lot concerning the workout is much the same as usual, only that I am trying to tweak it a little bit.
So I have decided to write down a few thoughts on how I am going to go about it tomorrow morning, and then after I get home, I will append a short report on what happened to this same post, since readers will probably read the two parts together.
I am not expecting to receive a fax or phone call from a coach telling me the brutal workout that I am supposed to do. I have to experiment with how I feel emotionally, what I feel I want to accomplish, pool conditions, and whatever else. Anyway, it's no real big deal. I face all these same feelings and conditions more or less every day. I will also incorporate what I learned recently from my friends' blogs into the workout, to give it a little more meaning and direction.
So I will get up as usual without the alarm clock, as I just seem to wake up at the same time whether tired or not anyway, eat my banana, drink my water, get on the bike and arrive at the pool after a leisurely 10-minute ride at about 6:15 am.
First thousand meters: Consistent, relaxed swimming with minimum effort, getting a good push off the wall with open turns (which Leann brought to my attention), streamlining and trying to glide more, averaging about 14 strokes per length, and only speeding up when it is necessary to pass (usually two at once) people. I will focus to on whether my arm crosses over when breathing (which Shirley recently talked about).
Second thousand meters: 2 x 200, 4 x 150, about 20 seconds rest in between each swim, but open to being flexible due to lane traffic (i.e., other swimmers).
Third thousand meters: 10 x 100m descending set on two minutes. Here I will keep my longish, slowish stroke but pick up the pace somewhat, trying to imagine I have a metronome in my head, and increasing the turnover (with Bree's training in mind). I will intersperse open turns with flip turns depending on how I feel and with safety considerations in mind (not to collide with another swimmer).
Last thousand meters: 12 x 50m and 8 x 25m (I want to go fast but also save a bit for later), followed by 2 x 100m very easy (to kind of recover a bit) to get me to the 4,000 mark. Then I want to have a few minutes to relax and chat with my friends and wait for an opportune moment to do a "flat out" 100m.
So far my best 100m in the pool here is about 1m 24.5s, which I did last week. Tomorrow I would like to do 1m 23s (vs. 1m 13s for USMS 55-59 qualifying time), and hopefully besides having my usual friend race me, I would like to have someone time us as it is hard to get a clear reading off the wall clock on these shorter swims. Today I was timed at 39 seconds (which could mean almost 40 seconds) for a 50 meter swim almost at the end of the workout.
I don't know if this is a recipe for success or for just so-so, but the proof of the pudding is in the eating. So I hope anyway that I can have a go tomorrow.
Wednesday morning: Well, I got back home about 10 minutes ago, having taken my time leaving the pool and having also stopped to buy some vegetables at the market. The weather is warm and sunny - typical weather for Kaohsiung.
I got down to the pool about 10 minutes earlier than normal, which meant that I had a little more time to get what I wanted to do done. I more or less followed the above plan to the letter (although I had some slightly longer rests now and then), and generally felt quite good, although a little slower generally than I expected. On the 100s, I was usually only going about 1:47 to 1:49. It made me wonder what I would do later. I think the 8 x 25m did me quite a lot of good. I took long rests in between (maybe 45 seconds or so) and at least I tried to get closer to race pace. Then I did two very easy 100s, but they felt good, too. Almost 5 minutes later I raced my friend over 100m in empty adjoining lanes, having told him my intention. Another swimmer who had finished his workout kindly used the stopwatch function on his watch. The result: 1m 23.47s. The first 50 was pretty fast, and I more or less swam it like a 50 (shorter more choppy strokes with more rapid turnover). The turns at 50m and 75m were weak and I wasn't close enough to the wall to get a good push, but I soldiered on, despite feeling slower, down the stretch.
During the 4,000 meter warm-up prior to the race, I did think about the things I had written concerning the things to focus on, although sometimes I become a little paranoid just thinking too much about them. I was a little schizophrenic trying to manage the metronome on the 100s. Bree's clock was going "tick...tick...tick..." in rapid succession, but my own clock was going a much slower "clonk...clonk..clonk..." I don't know if those things people use to keep to a certain stroke rate are just gimmicks or not. Maybe I should have ordered one when I ordered the paddles and cords. Too late now.
The good thing about this workout, is that I went out there and did what I had planned to do, and got the end result I had hoped for. At least "bit by bit". I think I will take it a little more easy for a few days and then have a crack at the 3:00 mark on the 200m. I will try to eat more. When I go to the market, I get compliments like I'm in good shape but the impression of the women there is that Westerners (especially those on the other side of the Atlantic to where I came from) are a lot fatter than me. To consistently go faster I need to be a little stronger, too. I will try to get someone to film me with my recently-acquired camera one of these days. Then I should be able to see more clearly what I am doing wrong.
Finally, thanks to all those who have given me such positive comments and have written such inspiring articles.