I have gone back to basics in the swim. Being self taught (you can read that as slow) I have never been huge on drills. I understand the importance but it always seemed like I was sinking when I attempted them. I did do the finger tip drag for almost every swim for about 6 months – this was because I was wind milling wildly.
Well, someone recently suggested that I start doing the zipper drill because of this windmill problem. I had thought that I had that one licked a long time ago. Granted I took a bit of time away from the pool last year but I did not realize that my swim would break down as much as it has. On that note I have started to do the drills again. Mostly I have started with high elbow recovery, either finger tip drag or zipper. That is going well – no problems.
But in addition, I have started to count my strokes on every length. This is something that I have gotten away from. The same someone also noticed that I was in the 20 stroke range and then on of non-breath strokes I was shortening them and not rotating. This is a high stroke count and not efficient.
I have worked on these skills. Swimming being such a skill sport has been tough on me. It seems like there is always something that you have to remember. My mind simply cannot remember the 15 or so things that need to happen for good, fast swimming. After about two things I start to break down – most of the time I stop breathing. Oh well – it is getting better.
I have had two high quality swim sessions this week and not a length has been swum with more than 17 strokes! I am starting to feel the water better and the rotating is more even. The swimming is coming along!
On Wednesday, for the first time since late November, we did the STADIUMS. Due to the weather and marathon training I had suspended the STADIUMS. While I believe that these ‘hill repeats’ are a valuable strength training exercise I was not sure how they would fit into my higher volume marathon training. Therefore they were nixed. I was careful pulling these back in – in the past when I have started them back up after a break the recovery was brutal. Brutal recovery - like not being able to walk up stairs for a couple of days. I am trying to be better in all of my training and not just look at the individual sessions but actually looking ahead. Yes, a reoccurring theme – training smarter. I do not want any one session to have such an impact that I cannot successfully complete the next session. I guess I have never fully understood this mentality. I only want to break myself down enough that I get the adaptation but not so much that I cannot do it again in a short amount of time. Now don’t get me wrong, I do believe in smashing it sometimes – breakthrough sessions if you will – but I have to have the recovery scheduled. In the long run it does not do me very much good to cripple myself in the short term.
That being said, I took the STADIUMS easy. In the past I had worked up to a 0:15 / 1:15 interval. That is all out for 15 seconds up the bleachers and then a minute and 15 seconds run across the top of the stairs and back down to get ready to do it again. This is a challenging workout out. My heart rate drops great for about the first 5 repeats but then it starts to fail to recover as much. I was successful in the workout several times – by successful I mean I was able to do the last set in the same amount of time as the first set and I think I did this 22 times.
This time I increased the recovery interval to 1:45. This was maintainable – almost easy. My heart rate recovered after each repeat. Next time I will trim some time off of the recovery. I got 15 repeats for a total of 30 minutes.
After the STADIUMS I took off my socks and shoes and ran around the football field 4 times. This field is turf. I am not a big fan of the bare foot running – I have seen a lot of people hurt themselves – but I do believe it can provide some foot strength. I am already a fore foot runner and this bare foot running felt good. It actually felt almost the same as running in shoes.