Wednesday, 22 May 2019


Over the last week or so I've committed to a breathing pattern that balances bilateral breathing with a need to breathe a light more. A rhythm of 3-3-2-2 seems to be a suitable balance.

In today's swim my pace was best in the first right side breathing set (60spm) and acceptable whilst doing a proportion of bilateral breathing (65spm). It's notable that SPL is higher and that my pace declines over the session with this approach. Hopefully though it protects my arms and shoulders.

Nonetheless I was satisfied with some lengths better than 2:15min/100m in the warm-up and an average below 2:30min/100m for 400m. Whilst a sub-10 minute 400m is nothing great this wasn't a 'fast' set and if I'd not run out of time I could have continued.

Saturday, 18 May 2019

Bilateral with ToyBuoy

Although my elbow is not deteriorating I have got into a routine of short sets. As Julian said years ago, if you can't practice long swims due to problems breathing you can't train endurance. Today therefore I took the ToyBuoy along and did 100m at 2:13min/100m pace which isn't too bad as a continuous set with bilateral breathing. A few lengths were below 2:10min/100m as I ha to accelerate to pass other swimmers. This set felt fairly comfortable and the breathing generally controlled with sensible roll. I don't think it has hurt my neck either.

Thursday, 9 May 2019

Quick dip at Heeley

I was passing Heeley pool at the lane swimming time and took a half hour there. The pool, and lanes, were very quiet which was great. I did a basic interval set covering 900 yards or there about, so not a great deal. I was pleased to see a 'sprint' pace below 2:00min/100yards and having worked it out I think it equate to 2:08min/100m. That's fine - even allowing for the advantage of a short pool.

I finished with 4 sets of 2 lengths with bilateral breathing. This is gradually feeling more balanced with less collapse of my right leading arm, even if I still don't have my breathing in order yet. The pace for these gentle sets was 2:20min/100m.

Wednesday, 8 May 2019

Return to running?

It's nearly 4 weeks since I was advised to stop running for a few days.
"...until it doesn't hurt when hopping."
Well that was this morning and so I decided to risk doing a jog/walk to circuits. It felt stiff on the journey and weak during the exercises but didn't cause a problem. I set off to walk home, when I was a bit aware of the tendon, but ended up being driven home for most of the journey.

Saturday, 13 April 2019

Fast & slow

The last 10 to 14 days have been mixed. I've struggled to be enthused to swim after work as every day has felt too long and too stressful. So I arrived at last Sunday under-exercised and felt energetic on my usual run from Whirlow to Oxstones.

I reached Oxstones in a 2nd fastest time and after a very brief pause pushed on along Houndkirk Road. At my turn I was please to have reached it in under 45 minutes - often it's closer to 48minutes. Turning around I noted that the wind still wasn't in my face. Often if I do a good pace along the byway I discover that I've been wind-assisted and then have resistance in the other direction. I kept up the effort back to the car park and achieved a PB of under 1 hour 20 minutes.

Everything wasn't good though as in the afternoon a develop marked pain in my left heel very close to the symptoms described online for achilles tendonosis. To be fair, the issue has been bubbling under for a few weeks. I blame it on running to a meeting I was late for in my Vivobarefoot boots. Luckily on Monday I had a physio appointment. Indeed my putative diagnosis was correct and I was advised off running for a few days at least. It's likely that a fast run on a background of too little training was just too much. I feel it is improving now but not sure I should run tomorrow.

Meanwhile my swimming has got slower and slower. Unlike running, where I can achieve a good outcome after a 'rest', swimming ability seems to ebb away day by day. Today's 'spike set' was incredibly slow and my pace dropped off markedly across a mere 1133m. I was making a distinct effort to take the rest sets genuinely slowly and gently but even when trying to be faster I didn't achieve much pace. At least I did make the effort so perhaps I've been able to halt the swimming decline?

Thursday, 4 April 2019

Still a struggle

Another 3 weeks with too little training to be effective and too much stress to be healthy. I've not been able to face doing a swim, nor do any significant runs as I've had tough days and things on at the weekends. I've done a couple of swims but with a week and a half between them, each has felt like starting afresh.

Once again I'm struggling to manage 200m in under 5 minutes and I can't get a decent (for me) pace on sprint lengths either. Even though I was only in the water for 30 minutes, and aiming to swim most of the lengths gently, my pace faded markedly.

Monday, 11 March 2019

Three week break - due to illness

In the middle of February I thought I was getting back into swimming and completed a 1500m swim which was slow, uncomfortable and generally horrid. After a few miles hiking I knew I was ill. I managed a few easy days in work and then was off for the rest of the week. That's very unusual for me!

Now in March I'm very nearly recovered although the cold air still makes me cough. On Friday I managed 600m in the pool including 4 sprint lengths, one of which I managed to bat 2:09min/100m. Today I took a step forwards and did 1000m, mostly in sets of 200m.

The first 3 sets felt different although all were at a very similar pace around 2:23min/100m. The first warm-up set had good form and fewest SPL. The second I worked harder and merely succeeded in taking more SPL! For the third I determined to 'take it easy' and indeed it was slightly slower (discounting being behind someone for a half a length) but not notably considering how much less effort I put in.

For the fourth set I did some sprint 67m sets and as above the effort only partially translated into progress. Then it was time to call it a day and the fifth set was very steady, thinking about elbows and form and being generally smooth and was 'slow' at 2:30min/100m. SPL was higher nonetheless showing a distinct loss of technique whatever my intentions were. On the plus side, that set felt as though it could have been a lot longer.

So I'm getting back into the spirit of swimming, just need to return to the habit of not stopping between sets whilst keeping this pace.