Sunday, 1 September 2019

Review at end of August 2019

This spring was disappointing in terms of exercise as a niggling left achilles became an issue I felt needed rest (if nothing else) and my left arm (seeing pattern here?) was only barely coping with swimming.

By taking some months off running I think the heel is much improved. I'm now starting to bring back in running and I've managed 20 minutes in a single easy run and 17 or so as part of a 80 minute brisk walk. I'm aware of minor discomfort of this level of use but it seems to settle. I also moved to Altra zero drop, yet cushioned shoes, which feel less stressful than Vivobarefoot, whilst offering lots of toe space. I'm disappointed not to have been able to do multi-hour runs through the summer but I hope that I'll be ready for 2020.

In early summer I started with a new swimming teacher  who is very local which is a blessing. He's also a bit lower cost which means that I can have afford more frequent input. We're still consolidating many aspects of my stroke, I feel the most important is my head position when breathing but I'm not sure how to conquer that. I've only been to Hatfield a few times but have supplemented it with other lake, lido and sea swims and I'm getting more confident of my ability to manage a little cold and the vastness beyond indoor pools. I wonder if my notionally 'warm' Appkit wetsuit is a little large for me as I feel more flushing than I do with the rather tired HUUB, which therefore isn't as cold as I feared it might be.

The circuit sessions and recommended exercises from the physio are important adjuncts and even help when there is hedge trimming to be done.

Sunday, 25 August 2019

Pickering 2019

One again we've spent a week in Pickering.  The access to moorland, coast and in foul weather, York and Malton is a great combination for a break close to home. The weather was mixed, mostly changeable with occasional heavy showers until Friday when it was quite warm. Unusually there wasn't a day which was very wet and so we didn't visit York,


Regular readers will know that I'm gradually re-starting running after an achilles tendon issue and so I didn't do any major runs. I went out briefly early evening twice and was glad of the flatness around the town as that gave me an easy time and allowed me to run  for a few minutes longer,


I managed to fit in 3 swims. A basic internal session at Ryedale Swim and Fitness Centre which was great (for me) due to being nearly empty. I also managed to be at Helmsley Open Air Pool at opening time. The pool is freshly relined but the changing facilities are basic. Nonetheless it was lovely to swim under a blue sky in pleasantly warm water. Whilst I was there the pool became progressively busier and it became hard to swim repeated lengths as they don't have a lane system.

Finally we drove out to Northallerton and Ellerton Lake. The lake is a great resource and unlike most swimming lakes it's open practically all day, every day. I find the buoy layout very confusing but I suspect that is my problem and no-one seems very bothered about traffic so long as it's clockwise.

I managed just over 1500m, supposedly three full laps is a mile, with a fair few breaks to work out where I was going and due to being tired! I'm out of practice at swimming into the wind.


We did a variety of hikes including a short one on Sutton Bank and a longer one through Dalby Forest. We walked a fair way along Filey Beach, a few youngsters were paddling but even though the wind was slight I wasn't tempted as the sea is susceptible to poor quality, especially when there is heavy rain.

Thursday, 8 August 2019

Return to High Elbow

This isn't a sequel to a Wild West film but working on a better arm stroke. Getting an early catch and neater recovery. On Monday I was coached through some drills which felt at the limit of my arm movement. Eventually I understood the position for sculling.

Today I tried to apply that lesson. Keeping, entry, high elbow pull, hip rotation and neat recovery was a lot to think about especially when including the ever-useful breathing. I put a bit of physical and mental effort in for short sets. In one 67m set I worked quite hard, I was aware of slight tingling in my feet which I put down to too little breathing.

I was happy to nearly break the 2:00min/100m for a double length without a pull buoy. Fair enough, 2 lengths isn't 1000m or even 10km but it's a start.

Friday, 19 July 2019

Metric mile again

I felt in the mood to do a slightly longer swim today especially as I wasn't sure that I wanted to drive to Doncaster tomorrow (put off by last week's failure). My plan was to take it easy so set off at 59SPM, raised to 60 after 7 lengths and then 61 after around 25 lengths. Even with the slight increase in cadence my pace faded slightly but not terribly and nor did I feel worn out by the end.

I lost count of lengths and the watch didn't record accurately but pushed on for another 15 or so to exceed 1500m. My timings were:

1000m 24:10 minutes equating to 2:25min/100
1500m 36:37 minutes including a 3 second pause and thus 2:26min/100m

I'm very pleased with this as a personal best by a little at 1000m:

19/07/19  2:25 min/100m

02/02/18  2:28 min/100m (24:39 minutes)
18/01/18  2:32 min/100m
05/03/17  2:42 min/100m
04/01/16  3:02 min/100m
26/02/15  3:40 min/100m

A month ago I tried too hard to do a PB 1000m and didn't manage to sustain a decent pace. The metric mile was a PB too:

19/07/19  2:26min/100m
09/03/18  2:30 min/100m
16/02/18  2:32 min/100m
06/02/17  2:38 min/100m
04/01/16  3:02 min/100m
05/03/15  3:35 min/100m
26/07/14  3:52 min/100m (estimated)

All this was done with RHS breathing whilst trying to make an attempt to rotate nicely. Very satisfied.

Monday, 15 July 2019

Twist to the left

In today's swim I practiced floating with my legs high although they still fall. Importantly I also did some lengths with breathing to the left although with the aid of a small pull buoy. Doing this certainly felt stiff and awkward and I struggled to get flow into my stroke. At least it was manageable, I could feel my core muscles working! To complement this I did a few short sets of 3-3-2-2 breathing favouring the right side finishing with a full 100m set.

Saturday, 13 July 2019

Starting to drill

My latest swim coach, Craig, has stressed the usefulness of drills to help body position and enhance hip roll. Yesterday I worked on simply floating and keeping my chest down and legs high. I think I've improved since being shown it on Monday.

Today I took the fins and did quite few lengths of kicking on my side. After a few seconds of each length I was aware the water on my cheek which is a goal I was striving for. It seems to take a little while to set myself up. After a few lengths I managed to do it reproducibly on both sides. I found single sided strokes a lot harder especially to the left as on each stroke I tend to pass through a brief time of sinking which would coincide with breathing in a traditional stroke.

Even though I've not swum far I am tired and feel that I've used a different group of muscles.

Sunday, 7 July 2019

To London

This weekend we were in London for a birthday party and I took the opportunity to visit London Fields Lido on the Saturday morning. There's a thought-provoking article here about the pool's place in the community and whether it represents the aspirations of most of the Hackney people. As a non-Londoner that's impossible for me to say but this weekend it was busy, the new facilities well-designed and the fee reasonable. Importantly their timetable is easy to understand and features plenty of lane-swimming opportunities, unlike many pools where 'just swimming' is ousted by aquarobics, school classes, over-95s only etc etc.

For me a 50m pool is hard work with each length being a little more effort than is comfortable. But with the water slightly chill the only option was to keep swimming, even with very brief pauses to catch my breath. In every lane there was a distinct drive to keep up the pace so no time to slacken. However swimmers were polite and tried not to push in front or chase unreasonably.

My pacing was poor, for some bilateral breathing single lengths I was below 2:15min/100m but after 1500m I couldn't achieve 2:30min/100m for a 100m set. Oh well, such is fatigue and hopefully some training effect ensues!

Of course I don't have any photos poolside so here's one from the Olympic park.

The slide looked 'interesting' but needed to be booked ahead