1/30/09

It takes time

I love to swim! At a very early age, my parents knew I belonged in the water. I started swimming competitively when I was 12 and have loved the water ever since. I did have 1 year in college (junior year) when I was burnt out from swimming but after running cross country in place of swimming for the first part of my senior year, I realized how much I loved swimming. I did end up swimming my senior year and very glad I stuck with it in college.
Over the past two years I have been swimming with "master teams" in order to keep myself in the water for more than 2000 yards and to have some company at 6 in the morning. I also find myself pushing harder when I have a coach on deck and other swimmers in the pool.
Over the past few months, there have been more and more people in the pool. I love meeting new triathletes but overtime, my confidence in the pool has dwindled a bit. I have always loved "triathlon" swim practices because I feel fast. As a triathlete, I think we all have one discipline that we tend to gravitate towards and either look forward to during training or in a race. I would say swimming and running are close together but then there is cycling, which is more of something I have to do than want to do. I do LOVE riding my bike but it is the "training" part that gets to me. I wish I could just ride 100 miles without the hard 1-2 hour training sessions which allow me to ride 100 miles. But since I am long distance triathlete, I would be lying if I said I don't enjoy training.
So, here I am in the pool this week. Wednesday we did a really hard set and my friend Libby and I swam in the same lane. We swam with my other friend Reid, who is the Michael Phelps of the Brooks YMCA (he is CRAZY fast!). Because Reid was on his own cycle, Libby and I tried to stay on our own cycle but we found ourselves going on a cycle where we didn't get in the way of Reid. All together it was a crazy fast set and lots of yardage. I was a little bummed that I couldn't go any faster but I stuck it out.
Here's the set:
8 x 200's
Odd: Free on 2:45
Even: IM on 3:10
Total for the workout was 3900 yards.
After the swim I hit the treadmill for my horrible wed. hill run. It was a little less horrible than last week but just as tough. I can say I improved my toughness by a few points but still need to work on the toughness factor. The set was 5 x 5 minutes w/ 5 minute recoveries but rather than increasing the incline for each 5-minute set, you increase the incline at each minute of the 5-minute set.
5 x 5 minutes (2%,3%,4%,5%,6%)
5 min recovery at 1%
I did the whole set at 7 mph which was a bit faster than last week. My HR went up 5 beats every incline and it was really neat to see how controlled my HR was for every minute. I just love my HR monitor!! did I mention that already???
Thursday I was on the trainer for my hill workout on my bike and I really enjoyed the workout.
Ok, so now it is Fri and I am back in the pool. It was 6am and the pool was packed! Where did all these people come from??? I met a few more people and instead of 2 of us sharing a lane, there are now 5 of us in a lane! Craziness.
The warm-up was a little bit of a mess cause some people already started swimming and then a few of us were still on deck..chatting away. After the 400 warm-up, we did 4 x 150's kick. Well, I was passed many times with people with fins (I have no toys for the pool.....not even paddles :( ) and it was more like a splash fest in the ocean for me.
After the kick set we went to the middle of the pool to work on turns for 8 x 50's (if you start in the middle of the pool you get two walls for turns instead of one turn). The whole time during the set I was thinking about the main set. Since the workout is on the board before we get in, I have plenty of time to prepare myself.
The set this morning was one of my favorite sets. I always need to work on my 100 pace and the following set is just perfect to build endurance and speed.
5 x 100's
4 x 100's
3 x 100's
2 x 100's
1 x 100's
The set is a drop set so you start the 5 x 100's on a certain cycle and then drop 5 sec.
My goal is to be able to swim a comfortable 100 in the pool in 1:20 but right now I am around 1:30. Dropping 10 seconds is not going to be easy but I want to work hard to get there. I was totally frustrated this morning when our coach told us that one lane would start on 1:35 (going down to 1:15 for the last 100) and the other lane was starting on 1:40 (my lane). There are other lanes in the pool but this was just for our two lanes, which normally swim together.
When I noticed everyone moving to the 1:35 lane I was so bothered. Not at them, but at myself. Errr..I want to be over there with the fast people! All of a sudden I felt slow. How silly of me to think that 5 x 100's on 1:40 is slow but I knew I would never make it through the set in the other lane. I ended up having a great set and making all the cycles. My stroke felt really smooth and I didn't have to swim sloppy in order to touch-and-go on a faster cycle. I knew what my body could handle I am glad I stayed in my lane.
Total this morning for the swim was 3900, followed by an 8 mile run on the treadmill (that goodness I have a recovery week next week!!)
Sometimes I think too much. Sometimes it gets me in trouble and sometimes I am happy I have an education in exercise physiology.
When we started swimming, it wasn't until the 8th or 9th 100 that I noticed that a few people were missing the cycle in the fast lane. I give them credit for trying out the set but I was so happy I stuck with a cycle that was challenging (near the end) but something I could handle. Although I was super bummed out at the beginning of the set I couldn't help but think that it is January and it takes a long time to train the body.
I can't say it enough but there is a beauty in training the body. You can't expect to read a book and have it memorized the next day. More so, remembering the information 3 months from now.
I believe in periodization and building your training sessions. This can only be done successfully, however, if you are consistent with your training.
For many people, a great day means more mileage and more intensity but then there is the next day's workout which tends to be less than average because the body wasn't ready for the massive "I feel good" workout. It is important to teach the body how to handle lactate at a certain HR so that overtime (or every 3-4 weeks) you can find yourself going faster (or longer) at a lower HR. Then there is a recovery day during each week in order to rest and recharge the body. Then after 3-4 weeks, you get a nice recovery week to relax the body and get ready for a few more weeks of build-training.
Sometimes I am really hard on myself because I have goals. But I also know that the body doesn't get stronger, faster or leaner overnight. It is a daily effort to reach your training goals but if you understand that it takes time, you will reach those realistic goals.
As for me, I will keep swimming...and biking and running because it is what I love to do. Perhaps it is the Ironman in me that knows that I am in control of what I need to do to reach the finish line and at the end of every day, I have to be accountable of what I am doing to get there.