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Swimming progress (or regress)

In March I wrote a post called Going Backwards?. I was very tempted to call this one exactly the same.

So my T30 in July was 47 laps, which is the worst performance since November! My technique is much better than then, and I am probably more economic with my strokes, just not faster. Now I know how to breathe properly, I am breathing every three strokes pretty much all the time, to the extent where I've forgotten how to breathe every two.

The three stroke cycle of hold breath, exhale, inhale is working well for me, but I found myself getting a little bit headachey, and might need something to help my stroke maintain its quality when I need to breathe more often, either because I'm going longer or faster, or both.

Or perhaps I just need more practice at both fitness and technique. But definitely time to book another video analysis session!

Going backwards?

I did another T30 on Tuesday. I finally got around to entering the results in my spreadsheet (I occasionally miss the button when counting laps, so some of my laps take twice as long as others). The end result was quite depressing really - just 50 laps this month (after 53 last month).

I've tried to consider where I might have gone wrong. I haven't done much swimming recently, after a week of skiing (I'm coming around to the idea that, actually, skiing is no exercise at all once you get alright at it, although shaking your way down a red mogul run certainly uses the quads!). So perhaps it's just a lack of practice. Taking on new techniques, particularly my new pull, might not be immediately effective. Anyway, I'll crack on.

Yesterday I went for a run - it was supposed to be a recovery run in preparation for the weekend, which was just as well as, after a reasonably heavy weights session after the swim, my legs didn't seem to want to do any pace other than sloooooow. With an average lap time of 5:48, compared to what I consider to be a fast run pace of around 5:00, it was certainly a gentle pace.

Had a good swim today, using a plan from swimplan.com for the first time. It was a good plan, although the endurance and aerobic sets were a little slow for me - 1m15 with 20s rest would have been glacial, given I was managing 1m00 with the same rest. Similarly the aerobic set of 1m15 with 10s rest became 1m with 10s rest. But I can tell the planning software that I thought it was a little easy and it should adjust for me next time.

On Saturday I have the fun of Mudman. Which I've realised is like Hellrunner, but half way through you stop and do a 15km bike ride. I don't feel prepared (and I'm not prepared, I need to do a lot of work tomorrow night changing tyres over and checking the bike is ready to race), my aim is to complete. Hoping for three hours (1hr run, 1 hr bike, 1hr run), should be doable.

January T30

In previous months, I've improved 50m per month. In my last endless pool session, I asked for tips on how to be more efficient, but I clearly hadn't maximised those gains before the last T30, as the improvement was still only 50%. However, I've been practising lots, and going to 90 min swims once per week, as well as my session with Cassie at the weekend.

This time, I did 53 laps, 1325m, an improvement of 150m! 1

I said last month that I didn't see 1500m within 6 months as an unattainable goal - and this just goes to show it's within reach. I'll need some more efficiency and speed gains in the meantime though, to get my lap times down to 30 secs. Still, I'm currently consistent - the standard deviation is 2seconds, which is the lowest its been, rather than 10seconds last month!

I'd be interested to do a T30 in a 50m pool to see what differences there are.

I also had a go at tumble turning yesterday - room for improvement, and I certainly won't be using them during a T30 for quite some time yet, but nowhere near as horrible as the last time I tried!

1 Actually, looking at my numbers from last month, I can't believe I had an 85 second lap, that is more than 30 seconds longer than any other recovery lap, so I've split it into two, so the improvement is 125m. Still good!

T30 count

I did my third T30 test today. Swim 30mins, see how far you go.

The improvements to my efficiency have greatly improved my speed, but I'm tiring myself by trying to swim too fast. By swimming a little slower I'd still have improved my pace, but without the minute long rests needed between some laps!

Anyway, standard lap pace was around the 32 second mark, although average was worse. I just need to slow it down just a little.

So, result was 1175m, another improvement of 50m. I know there is still lots of room for improvement, I don't think that 1500m is out of the question in the next 6 months!

Interestingly, the laps after my T30 were very very smooth - I was swimming almost as slowly as I could, and each stroke was almost perfect. That should be something I try and do more of, trouble is I almost need to tire myself out to slow down enough!

More swimming milestones

Yesterday I did my second T30 count - 46 laps in just over 30 mins, so under the rules I'm counting it as 45 laps, or 1125m.

I did the first 42 laps non-stop, so that is a new milestone of 1050m of uninterrupted swimming. And when I started a length was a struggle!

At this rate, the New Forest triathlon might not be so overwhelming a goal - while 1100m in open water is very different to 1050m in a 25m pool, I'd have a wetsuit, and I have 6 months to go! Right, I think that's me talked into my first big race of next season!

Swim performance

Swim for tri really care about swim statistics. They sent me a link to a Google Docs spreadsheet when I first signed up, but it was for the wrong email address, and they didn't notice my reply to that effect until the other day (and I'd forgotten about it too).

Each time I go to the endless pool, they take my performance (stroke count over 1 minute at a certain pressure), which I believe is going down (that's a good thing).

However, today I got out my SportCount Chrono 100, which can store 100 individual lap times, and did the T30 test - basically, swim as far as you can in 30 mins. This was for me long and hard, I had to stop every few lengths for 20 seconds or so. However, I'm relatively pleased with my overall performance. I did 43 laps in 30:07, so just under 1075 metres in total. That's a speed of 0.6m/s, and my average lap time was around 42 seconds.

Looking back on the stats, I obviously started out way too fast - my first few laps were 31, 34, 35, 36, 37 seconds, and when they got down to about 40 seconds they seemed to stay consistent. I felt knackered after the first 7 or 8 laps, and yet was later easily able to do 8 consecutive laps. The notes for the test do say to aim for a steady pace - I just need to get better at slowing myself down before I tire myself out, not just as a result of it!

Next trip to the pool I'll do my 'Golf Score' - average time per lap in seconds + average stroke count per lap, over 4 laps.

I'm not sure about Critical Swim Speed test - apparently you do 400m hard, then 800m warm down (hahaha), then 50m hard. I might see if the 800m warm down is compulsory or if I could do say 200m!

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