I swam 1792m at 8:10 and 1920m at 16:20 for a total of 3712m today. PC outdoor 32m pool was 26 degrees C. Weather was sunny, warm, calm.

WORKOUT

Morning Set

1x [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, then 8 lengths]. Drive from hips. Held SPL 24-22

1x [1, 2, 3, then 4 laps].

Afternoon Set

2x [1,2,3,4, then 5 laps]. Held SPL 21-22

SPL dropped from 24 to 22 incrementally over the whole set.

WHAT I LEARNED TODAY

  • Shoulder swimming is learned, and needs to be unlearned. I can already swim from the hips, but my brain is not conditioned to do it automatically. So I need to drill, drill, drill, until it becomes the default drive.
  • I can truly swim with multiple gears, and switch back to get real rest while still holding a cruising pace.
  • I need to do TT training to increase tempo range, and then burst training, alternating between cruise and bursts to learn how to recover in the middle of a race, and be ready for the end sprint.

COMMENTARY

Taking my lessons from Sunday’s race the objective today was to begin imprinting hip drive over shoulder drive. I see the shoulder drive as the ‘booster rocket’ but not the main, long-distance drive engine. Instead of conditioning the less powerful shoulder muscles to carry my the whole race, prepare them instead for the bursts and recovery I will need in the beginning, in the jumps during the middle, and the sprint at the end. Then slip back into the ‘tireless’ hip drive for the long stretches between, where I can rest those shoulders again.

Since my shoulders were still sore and tired (and the knot under that left shoulder blade) from the race 2 days before it was easy to tell how much load I was putting on them instead of the core. The other sure sign is whether I have a distinct flick of the opposite foot on each hip drive- if not, then I am shoulder swimming, if so, then it naturally initiates the hip thrust.

It was effective. Even after 1700m then 6 hours of swim lessons, and then 1900m my shoulders did not get tired- the core took virtually all the load.

After reading more in Terry’s book “Outside The Box” I realize that I employed a good basic strategy in that I restrained myself in the beginning while others sprinted, and gradually accelerated until I was taking ground on the leaders at the end, and I did not look up so much like the other swimmers did. But reading further I see that there is a more advanced strategy if one has such ‘gears’ in their stroke- to sprint to keep up with the leaders at the beginning, settle in and rest behind, then take opportunities to burst to tag onto passing packs, and still be ready to sprint at the end, now in far better position than if one held back and gradually accelerated alone.

The next race around here is 5km, not 2.5. So I have to imprint hip thrust into my default, and expand distance, and develop burst/recovery ability over that kind of distance. Instead of 40-60 minutes we’re looking at 90 to 120. A 25m pool is beginning to seem really cramped!

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