I swam 2400m in our university pool today but it was a nearly painful 88 degrees (31 C). So I knew I needed to adapt and do slower work to keep my heart rate from shooting up under heat-strain.

So I did 1200m (2×25, 2×50, 2×75, 2×100, 2×150, 2×200) alternating  on repeats 1x Fist and 1x Open hand, and aimed to see how trim I could bring my SPL.

* Some criticize this kind of work as ‘just gliding’ but really true minimizing-SPL-work requires absolute core-muscle control, perfect balance, and sensitivity to every point of drag on the body. All struggle must be eliminated. As we hold each skate position to maximize SL we must maintain momentum, minimizing deceleration and the need to accelerate on each stroke, so that the power of each catch is not wasted. This is the incredible value and exacting hard work of minimum SPL sets.

I started with 18 SPL on the fist lengths, and 16 SPL on the Open Hand lengths. By the end I was holding 16 SPL on FIst, and 14 SPL on Open Hand. 14 SPL is not a race SL for me by any means, but doing this demands tremendous refinement in balance and streamline- this kind of work will make us extremely sensitive to drag and struggle. Because the warm water would cause me to over-heat by any extra exertion, that limit compelled me to relax absolutely everything in my stroke that could be relaxed so I was only applying power as absolutely needed to move forward. If I felt any slippage in the catch and had time, at this slower pace, to feel what it was and fix it.

I was doing surprisingly well in the heat, and getting a feel for this so I did another 1200 (8×50, 4×100, 2×200) all holding 14 SPL. I had to make every single push off the wall count, and every single catch be as full (high elbow) as possible. I felt good about turning bad water conditions into an opportunity to refine my efficiency.

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