I swam 3750m today at Akdeniz Univ pool. The water was 30.8 C. I started at 9:00.

10x 50m gentle, check-in warm-up

Then 3x these sets:

  • 6x 75m – hold SPL 15, 16, 17 per 25’s w/ 4-breath rest between
  • 50m fist ez
  • 3x 150m – hold SPL 15, 16, 17, 17, 16, 15 per 25’s, w/ 5-breath rest between
  • 50m fist ez

6x 50m w/ zoomers. 12m u/w dolphin, 12m skate position kicking

COMMENTARY

As I first got into the set, since I didn’t have to struggle to hold the SPL’s I thought maybe I hadn’t made this challenging enough. But by the time I started round #3 I was feeling the tiredness, but not typical tiredness. I was feeling ‘neuro-muscularly’ tired. My muscles were not locking up from lactic acid- this was all within aerobic range, but it began to push my neurological systems endurance for holding form and holding attention on every detail that made those precise stroke counts possible.

As I began I noticed I could feel the distinction between each SPL count- 15 SPL have a certain rhythm and feel of the water to it, and 16 was a touch different, and 17 much more different. The stroke rates increased- I made sure of that fact by using my stone markers at 6.5 meters from the wall and emerged from the push-of at that point after every turn. So every 18.5 meters had to be covered by 15, 16, or 17 strokes. What was missing though was somebody timing my 25 splits so I could compare the paces.

It is fascinating to be able to actually feel the difference and start to be able recognize my own SL, to know each ‘gear’ in my stroke by intuition. Now the next level of complexity would be to add a Tempo Trainer to this to and go in reverse- set a comfortable tempo for 17 SPL, then try to hold that tempo and make 16. That would be a tough one.

It was on that last 1000m that I started to appreciate the value of what I was doing. I noted how tired I got- tired in my neuro-muscular system, and therefore, although my muscles were not fried, they were wanting to get lazy, and my attention wanted to wander- the moment I did I lost SL and had to strain to make it back up before the wall. I was now pushing my neurological comfort zone and this is when I was starting to break new ground, build more endurance of a critical kind. It is not by shear muscle power that I will hold pace for a 10k, it is by neurological control. It took more effort to stay focused and make my body hold form, find and hold that distinct sensation for each SPL gear. I was tired at the end, but unlike a that typical ‘hammered’ workout sensation. I pushed into new levels of endurance today without having to fry my muscles and turn-off my brain to do it.

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