Monday, 4 February 2019

Steady working

Over the weekend I'd been working under the floor so started the week feeling worked-out. I committed to a 1000m set at a 'steady' pace using 60SPM set on TempoTrainer to keep my mind on the process. It gradually became hard work and I felt my stroke failing. The pace data shows an overall fading.


The SPL increased gradually too from 21 to 24. Nonetheless I kept focus as much as possible and completed in 24:22min a pace of 2:26min/100m. This is equal to my PB and barely a percent improvement on where I was last year:

04/02/19 2:26min/100m
02/07/18 2:26min/100m
02/02/18 2:28min/100m
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

That's a success seeing that I had a few months break after this peak in July 2018 and then had to work my way back. Last year I did say that "I wasn't really trying", this time I was making an effort.

After this main set I experimented with bilateral breathing for jus 2 length sets. Taking a steady 59SPM I was slow and struggled to breath, almost with a dead spot. A higher cadence of 66SPM felt more balanced although the effort felt considerable. 63 to 64 seems best and with less leading-arm droop.

Thursday, 31 January 2019

Data loss

I'm not sure how well today's swim went. I thought the first 200m warm-up went well at 62SPM but no data. It seems that the failing watch battery led to a corrupt file. I then did some sets at 63SPM with bilateral breathing but found that I was running out of breath by 6 lengths. I tried faster and slower cadence and much the same. It did feel successful to do a sort of 2-3-1 system to keep some symmetry and reduce the time between breaths but perhaps more complex than needed.

Just before stopping I tired a 'powerful' set with RHS only breathing but trying to push with my arms as much as possible. Don't know how the pace was!

Oh well, at least I was in the water for half an hour or so.

Back home I changed the battery but couldn't retrieve the file...

Monday, 28 January 2019

Keep on breathing

I wanted to build on Friday's bilateral breathing today and did sets at a range of stroke rates. As seems to be normal the first set of bilateral breathing was a struggle and I felt the pace was unsustainable even at 62SPM. I did a sequence of 200m sets at 64, 66 and 64 SPM and found the first 64SPM to be fastest. 66SPM felt to be above a critical speed.

To mix things up I then did 67m pairs of lengths at 68, 70 and 72SPM, acknowledging that it would be tending anaerobic and not suitable for any significant distance. Pleasingly the greater effort did give greater pace although maybe the workload became disproportionate; 70SPM being best for  a 'fast' lengths? Importantly over this session the SPL didn't rise excessively, I always show a gradual increase due to fatigue.

Saturday, 26 January 2019

Your can't have it both ways

Yesterday, after work I swam for half an hour and was very pleased with the process if not the pacing.   I worked with the TempoTrainer and did the warm up at 60SPM which ended up being slightly slower than usual at around 5 minutes. Then I upped the cadence to 62SPM for 400m of RHS only strokes which felt fairly hard going and came in at 9:42min which is OK.

With some degree of depletion I set off for sets of bilateral breathing gradually increasing the SPM to finally 66SPM, the rationale being that my cadence is well below that usually recommended. I get it helped keep up the rhythm of the sets and doesn't need a leading arm to be held for ages.

It was hard to review the times and link back to stroke rate (the Garmin recorded stroke rate is averaged with an initial glide) but it does seem that somewhere around 64SPM may be optimum. I was surprised how comfortable I felt doing this and easily managed 100m sets and included a 200m set when I felt that my pace had been interrupted. None of the sets were fast, around 2:25min/100m at best, but the important thing is that it felt manageable with bilateral breathing. It would be great if I could do that for 400m or more, but in reality I suspect I'd be over 10 minutes.

Anyway, come this morning's run I think the swimming effort was apparent! I struggled with every ascent, couldn't find a comfortable temperature and was glad to get back home. It was a good job that I'd set off with an intention to be 'slow' as if I'd been hoping for a record I'd have been disappointed. But this all makes sense, I can't expect to make gains on consecutive days.

Monday, 21 January 2019

Two distinct swims

On Sunday, instead of a run, I went to the pool and did a 'long' slow swim. Actually not long at all but the point was that the goal was to maintain a pace and keep going, no pull buoy, no messing.

Of cours it didn't quite work out like that, my pace peaked to 2:16min/100m after a handful of lengths an then gradually faded to 2:50min/100m at the end. The average pace for 1500m was 2:41min/100m which isn't as good as last year, but it's getting close. The SPL increased showing a distinct loss of form.

The focus on RHS breathing also gave me a stiff neck by this morning, perhaps showing that I'm not rating my body enough, too much head twist.

Today I was determined to up the pace although for an unknown reason the pool was busy and so I knew that I'd not be able to make progress. The first 6 warm-up lengths went well, early one I felt to be flying!

The I completed a short pyramid set with the ToyBuoy keeping bilateral breathing throughout. I often had to slow down, even in the 'slow' sets even though I tried to make a space infront before starting a set.

My first two 'fast' lengths were better than 2:00min/100m so that was great although it's worth noting that they were swum separately. Then a couple of sets around 2:05min/100m before fading at the end. Considering that these sets had to be a bit stop-start I'm happy with the outcome. Part way through I felt as if I was feeling how to use my whole arm to pull from the shoulder rather than 'batting' the water; which I think is what strained my left elbow.


Tuesday, 15 January 2019

Where am I now?

Over the last few weeks I've swum, run, done circuits, forgotten my weights routine and been seen by 2 physiotherapists. Throughout this I've tended to be a little disappointed with my performance which has a downward drift, especially on the swimming. I've struggled to get back to form after my break due to the tennis elbow and then over Christmas I took a week off due to a skin burn I wanted to heal quickly - swimming pool water didn't seem the ideal environment for it.

Today I did swimming intervals without a pullbuoy and managed to tire myself out before 30 minutes but did achieve a 2:09min/100m pace for a single length. At the end of last week I worked with the Toybuoy and completed a 700m set at a pace of 2:12min/100m with bilateral breathing. So actually that sounds quite positive!

On the running I've noted that I've missed doing a 20km run since November, until this week, so that will have taken away a bit of my endurance training. I've been doing DIY when I might have gone running in a morning so my manual skills will have been refined. Over Christmas I bought some new shoes and on my first run I did intervals on a level road and surprised myself by recording some sprints below 4:20min/km. More of that needed.

OK, so looking back, I'm perhaps being hard on myself and must relate the recent increase in running to a difficulty in swimming.

Saturday, 5 January 2019

New Dore Trail Loop

This morning I felt out of practice, slightly late and had new shoes so it was no time to do a long run. There was also a DIY job waiting at home. I planned a loop using paths I've used previously towards Totley and a footpath I'd spotted on the map to take me to Dore.

A hidden footpath to Dore between rows of houses
Then it was back 'the usual way'.

This was the second outing for new Trail Talon 290 shoes which replaced previous Inov-8 shoes with 1600km wear. Naturally they feel tight and stiff even though they are supposedly the same width fitting.


It's hard to compare well-worn shoes with those fresh out of the box but I feel that these are harder underfoot and a little higher around the heel counter. This latter aspect has been a problem for me previously so I hope that it's an impression rather than reality. An online review generally praised the shoe, as they so often do, but did mention firm cushioning. Although that statement barely  makes sense!

I was able to buy the shoes locally at a good discount from RRP, check out Outside, who have a range of offers online which they will honour in the shop.