3000m today in an overly warm 31 degrees C pool. Felt decently rested and eager to swim.

FG= Fistglove, TT=tempo trainer

Warm-Up

  • 200m FG, held SPL at 18
  • 200m hand, held SPL 15
  • 200m FG, held SPL 16
  • 200m hand, held SPL 14

Main Set

3x [4×50 @ TT 1.20, 4×50 @ TT 1.10, 4×50 @ TT 1.00, with every 4th 50 a recovery swim]

1st set 2nd 3rd
Tempo time SPL held time SPL held time SPL held
1.20 :44 16 :44 16 :43 15,16
:45 16 :45 17 :44 16,17
:46 17 :45 17 :44 17
1.10 :43 16 :43 16,17 :43 17
:44 17,18 :43 17 :44 18
:44 17,18 :43 17 :44 18
1.00 :41 18,19 :42 18 :42 18
:42 18 :42 19 :42 19
:43 19 :43 19 :43 19

100m Recovery

100m sprint, timed [came in on 1:25]

100 EZ kick/swim

COMMENTARY

During the warm-up I did not have to put out effort to decrease SPL, it happened naturally during the warm-up process.

When I planned this set last night, I reconsidered that doing 3x (3x (4×50)) would be too much, so I turned one of four 50s into a recovery swim. That would still give me 1800m worth the total sprint distance. Again my goal was to carve the neural pathways for ‘efficient’ speed, not hammer out a bigger lactic engine.  So I gave ample recovery time after each group of 50s. I wanted to do many meters well at better speed, not many meters hard with sloppy stroke.

So to this end, I also concentrated on resting my lead arm, while firing the tors0-arm-pull. If I focused on ‘power’ then I would have kept both constantly tensed- both the arm grabbing the water, as well as the one straining to reach further forward in tighter form. Had I done so I might have gained a second or two, but I bet I would have cut my overall endurance in half.

It is interesting how I perceive time (that little beeping sound) on the first length versus the next. Being rested as I start, it can be almost irrestible to pour on the power during that first length in the thrill of freshness, but it would drain me for the lengths to follow. I see (as I learned painfully in my university triathlon days almost 17 some years ago) that I need to practice restraint on the first leg so that I can distribute energy more evenly over the whole distance.  Immediately, my perception on the second length changed- that beep came a lot faster as oxygen became a bit more scarce in my brain and then I had to put out some effort to keep up with the beep. This is the beauty of how a TT objectively levels the pace.

I removed the TT from my cap and then applied this thought to a timed 100m. I did not count SPL but just let my body swim all into it’s own natural pace at the threshold of good form. I restrained on the first length, and concentrated on relaxing muscles not needed in that moment, actively conserving energy. I also concentrated on holding a tighter spear-hand entry point to keep my frontal area as tight as possible during the entry, switch and extension- slipping through the hole my hand just made.

I did not know what tempo I was swimming at, but it felt less rushed than the 1.00 tempo did during the main set, yet not as slow as the 1.20 felt. So I guessed I would touch the wall at around 1:29- I was swimming at full, good form effort, but not freezing my muscles up with lactic overload. I was pleasantly surprised to see 1:25 on my watch. Now I was curious what my tempo and SPL were when I was not monitoring them.

I am aiming to build a better engine, not a bigger one. My primary focus is not to increase lactic acid tolerance (processing), but more importantly, simply reduce how much of it I create. Reduce drag, relax body into streamline, rest what can be rested while only the essential muscles are on work duty.

My theory is that an efficient sprint engine will be much more easily converted into a distance racing engine than a big, gas-guzzling engine could. So although I could swim harder and faster than this right now, I could do it only by burning a ton of fuel and choking on a ton of lactic acid.  I don’t want to build a bigger lactic-waste processing factoring, I want to reduce the amount of lactic-waste I produce!

First, I need to train my brain and body to hold efficient form as I gradually speed up tempo. Then once I get there in short 25 spurts, I extend those out until I can cover a whole 100 at that pace. Then I re-calculate, and dial in my desired 100 pace for a 1500m, then extend that out until I can cover that whole distance.

© 2010, Mediterra International, LLC. All rights reserved. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this site’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Mediterra International, LLC and Mediterraswim.com with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.