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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!

Interesting swim

Today I tried out my third pair of goggles in, what, 4 months? So far I've had the Aqua Sphere Seal XP (they don't really fit very well), my Zoggs Predator (felt and looked good, but I left them behind getting changed) and today, the Aqua Sphere Eagle. Having had to use the Seal XPs again after the Predators wasn't very pleasant, so I wasn't too sure about getting another pair of Aqua Sphere, but I figured fit was more likely to be model-related rather than brand-related.

The reason I got the Eagles was because they can fit prescription lenses. I got 2 -2.50 lenses, and fitted them, and what a difference they make! Now I can actually see in the swimming pool! I can see what time it is from the far end of the pool from the clock! It'll mean that I can use the timing clock in the pool for some timings (although I'll still use my SportCount for more finegrained timings). Oh, and they fit and are really comfortable, too.

Anyway, what is far more interesting is the effect they seemed to have on my performance1. I just seemed to be more relaxed.

I didn't really do too much today other than the Critical Swim Speed test - basically swim 400m, take a few mins break lightly exercising, and then swim 50m flat out. For the first time today, I swam 400m, continuously, and I could easily have done far more, I think. The 50m were probably my two fastest lengths I've done (who knows, I've never tried to go that fast and timed it before).

Critical Swim Speed results
400m 10m13 secs (38.37s per 25m)
50m 53.56s (26.73s per 25m)
CSS 0.63

Increasing CSS is a sign of increasing VO2 max (i.e. I'm getting fitter). So this is another good stat to track.

1 It could of course be entirely coincidental.

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!

Swim n Spin

Today I decided to drag myself for a 2 hour session at Charing Cross Sports Club (in Hammersmith, obviously). I spent most of the first hour in the pool. I took a swim plan in with me, but I didn't really use it much - mostly I just swam a length or two at a time, trying to concentrate on good form, rolling from side to side, getting the timing right, rolling the head in the right direction, all the things we focused on in my last endless pool session.

After that, a quick shower and change before heading to spin class. This was my first ever spin class, and it was pretty much as hard as I expected. I cramped up a little half way through, so stopped and stretched, but was mostly able to complete what we were asked to do, although I found standing and pedalling in the lowest resistances quite tricky. It was also tricky not to just stop and freewheel as you would on any normal bike, but of course the flywheel doesn't exactly let that happen!

All in all, a pretty intense couple of hours. That and not diving into the beer fridge at 5pm for a quick couple of beers means that tonight is a healthier Friday night than many! Swim and spin certainly won't happen every week for me, but I'll definitely try and go again (although apparently Friday night spin classes often don't happen as there aren't more than 2 people).

1 - 7 September: A week in review

Goals for last week:

  • Swim at least once
  • Run at least twice

Thu: Ran from Clovelly Beach to just North of Bondi Beach via the coastal path, and back. A beautiful but hilly route in cool weather, giving a pretty much perfect run of around 7km including warm up.
Sun: A repeat of the previous Sunday's effort, a bit more running this time - another 15km run/walk.

So, one goal met, one goal failed - no swimming at all in Australia

With Australia over, it's time to get back to normal. Early indications are that this week will just about get me back on track, I should achieve 3 runs, even if not 2 swims, and I hope to return to normal training sessions from next week.

This week is an oncall week, so I'm keeping my goals realistic (going for a run or a swim after work is much less practical, for example)

Goals for this week:

  • Run three times
  • Swim once
  • Do some work on Wordpress plugins!
  • Produce a new training schedule - this has been a missed goal several times

11-17 August: A week in review

Goals for last week:

  • Swim Twice.
  • Do two lots of 30 mins constant running.
  • Do 10-11km long run at the weekend.
  • Book a swimming coach.

Mon: Swam 30 mins
Tue: Ran 30 mins - to Putney Bridge, across, and then back
Wed: Swam 30 mins
Thu: Ran 30 mins - to Putney Bridge, across, and then back
Sat: First consultation session with SwimForTri - one hour in endless pool deconstructing my technique
Sun: Ran 11.5km in one hour in one go (plus 1km warm up beforehand) - very pleased with this result, with 8 weeks to go before my half-marathon, looks like sub 2hr is not a completely insane goal.

So, another pretty successful week!

I'm flying to Australia on Friday night, so not sure how the weekend's long run will happen, but I'll be on holiday, so should have plenty of time for running and swimming

Goals for this week:

  • Swim Twice.
  • Do two lots of 30 mins constant running.
  • Long run in Australia on Sunday or Monday
  • Dedicate some time to thinking about my schedule to include classes (spinning, pilates), and types of training (tempo, interval, easy, etc.) and how to optimise to achieve my goals
  • Pack swim and run kit

Swimming - Day 10

I suspect I might be overtired from four days in a row exercising, as this definitely wasn't my best session, I managed to do one set of four consecutive lengths, but never quite found the energy to do a second set. I was also a bit pushed for time, which didn't help.

I did have an experience practising tumble turns. Oh how my nose hurt as I went upside down! I'm pretty certain I got zero (or negative) performance benefit from tumble turning, but I have start practising it at some point!

I always thought of swimming as being the cheapest of the three sports, and hoped I'd make do with trunks and goggles. But no, now I have two pairs of goggles, a lap timer, and am expecting a kick buoy (a float that is used as a pull buoy to support the legs, or as a kickboard), fins and paddles. Actually, two kick buoys due to a mix-up. I'll dispose of one one way or another.

This will be the last of my regular swimming updates. As I now have swim plans etc. to work with, and drill and fitness sessions to do each week, I suspect 'did the drills that swimfortri told me to do' and 'did the fitness session provided by swimfortri' will quickly become dull for me and the reader.

However, just as I occasionally write about interesting runs, I'll be writing about swims that I want to remember for whatever reason. I'll almost certainly be writing about the deconstruction of my technique resulting from the Endless Pool sessions.

Swimming will hopefully just become part of my training routine, like my runs so quickly have!

Still, I'm hoping to get on the bike soon (this weekend maybe?) so maybe I can replace Swimming - Day X with Cycling - Day Y (oh noes, I fell off my bike again!).

Finally booked a swim course!

So, I'm now signed up with Swim For Tri for a sixth month course, which should take me from Novice to Advanced. The course incorporates weekly training schedules to complete on my own, including both fitness and drills sessions, six sessions in an Endless Pool to have my technique videoed and a DVD of drills.

The next stage after that will probably be a second six month course incorporating open water swimming.

They didn't laugh at me for saying that I wanted to be able to do 1500m in open water within a year, which I take to be a good sign!

I have my first endless pool session booked for Saturday at 11am. So I should probably try for a quiet night on Friday!

Swimming - Day 9

Cut short a little way, because there was an aquafit session in the pool starting about 25 mins after I arrived, so managed to get 20 mins in.

Did four consecutive lengths twice, mostly maintaining reasonable form and style. I timed the second set, and I think I managed 2:30, but as per usual, I might have misread the clock. I really do need a lap timer.

Swum several other lengths, trying out various paces and techniques, but nothing as formal as drills yet. I have been in contact with SwimForTri, so am waiting to hear back on a quote now.

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