Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Spontaneous Structured Workouts

As the sun was shining today (which is not unusual here), I ventured outside to take a few pictures of our home, which as you can see is on a corner of a block and has five stories, even though each floor is quite small (a total of some 1,800 sq. ft. if you add up the areas for each floor together). We only recently finished having the rain covers added for each floor on the front of the house. It does not rain often here, but usually when it does, it pours.

While moving into a new house has been quite an expense (so many things to buy when you move into something that is almost an empty shell), it is nice at least to feel that this is home. After several years living in more cramped rented accommodation in Hawai'i where we were subjected to the whims of landlords, it is nice to sleep on your own bed.

When it comes to training, it is important for things to be running smoothly in several other areas of life and housing is one of them. Swimming has its stresses and it is important not to be stressed out with daily living and work, etc. if we can get the most out of it.

My swim workouts have been going quite well for me these days, so let me share a little about them. First of all, they are not mandatory. I don't set my alarm clock so if I wake up, I wake up, and if I don't, well I could consider going later in the day. In fact I cannot recall not having woken up in time to get down there and swim in the early morning. Secondly, I don't have a typed list of what I am going to do each time. Usually I just have a kind of feeling starting from the day before, like "long slow distance", or medium distance sets followed by some sprints at the end. Whatever. I just tend to listen to my body. If I want to go fast, I try to go fast, and if I don't there is always the next day. Thirdly, instead of thinking, how am I going to through 4,000 meters today?, I get into the pool, push off swim 50 meters and think, look, I just swam 50 meters, isn't it easy, continuing my warm up while paying attention to my technique and whether I feel any pains or discomforts, possibly from something I did the day before.

My approach to swimming these days is quite a lot different from attending masters. When I did that, I often arrived at the pool tired, struggled to stay with the flow at times, and while I did have a lot of great swims and learned all kinds of workouts, I felt I never made the most of them. I think I was just a little overstresed at times. Now, when I am in the pool, I imagine I am swimming with the masters and I visualize the coach telling me to pull through properly at the end of the stroke or keep my head at the right level in the water, etc.

Yesterday's workout, the first of a new swimming week, consisted mostly of fairly relaxed swimming, where I started slowly and gradually built up to a slightly less than moderate pace by the end of the 4,300 meters.

Today's workout (Wednesday) was one that evolved out of a desire to have another day of relaxed by smooth and efficient freestyle swimming. This is what I did:

4 x 500m (just feel relaxed)
4 x 250m on 5 mins
5 x 100m on 2 mins
5 x 100m on 1m 50s
1 x 400m moderate (but not all out) in 6m 30s
1 x 50m "light moderate" in 42s
1 x 50m easy cooldown

All for a total of 4,500 meters in about 1 hr 35 mins. Would that be equivalent to a workout with the Masters? Maybe not, but as I practice like this, I often feel I am getting better at least at something and learning something new. Today it had to do with "hand and foot coordination". This is hard to explain, but I felt that my hands and feet were working together to enable me to do the 400m in 6m 30s without feeling I had to go flat out. Well, it's just a thought and I don't know if there is any scientific evidence for it. It's not often that it feels this good.

As for tomorrow's workout, I will decide that when I actually start swimming. I do want to focus on more speed work tomorrow, with a lot more 100s.

Enjoy your swimming!

P.S. There is more to my life than just swimming, although it may seem like there isn't!

1 comment:

ShirleyPerly said...

Very interesting home! I must admit I've never seen one with so many floors. Thanks for a glimpse into your swim workouts. If I ever get back into training for an IM, I will remember what you do to keep things interesting.