Monday 31 October 2016

September 2016 Week 6 Session 3

Now I'm supposed to do 2 x 100m each in 1:54min or less; and repeat it five times. That's not going to happen and indeed it didn't happen. The first pair of 100m were done in 1:56min/100m which I was very happy with. Unfortunately from then on my pace slackened until the best I could manage was 2:11min/100m. (As an excuse, the water was incredibly rough by the end of my session.)

I'd only just worked up to 9 of 10 100m sets at a sub 2:00min/100m pace so doubling up was destined to fail. Anyway I'll work at it and probably find after a few weeks that I'm struggling but could achieve an earlier goal readily.

Sunday 30 October 2016

September 2016 Week 6 Session 2

Session 2 is hateful.

Maybe by the end of the 12 week block I'll feel that I've mastered it but currently I hate the combination of pace and the duration. Having to make an effort when tired is tough.

The chart shows distinctly how my strokes per length increases as I fatigue but also as I increase stroke rate. That tends to mean less efficiency and more fatigue...

Today I didn't manage the intended negative splits as well as last week but this actually hides an improvement. In the first 1600m my final pace was with a second of last week but my starting pace 8 seconds better.  For the second 1600m the difference was much more marked. For the first 400m my pace was 42 seconds faster and for the last set 26 seconds better.

I knew that I'd started the seconds super set faster than last week and assumed that I'd not pushed myself as much in the first superset as I didn't feel as worn. That might well be true, but if so I've basically worked less hard to achieve the same outcome! (Looking back over a few weeks it's clear my pace has improved by a few seconds for each set.)

Now I need to capitalise on this slight increase in fitness by trying to establish distinct negative splits again without setting off artificially slowly. That means more effort at the end.

Friday 28 October 2016

September 2016 Week 6 Session 1

Now I'm up to 20 pairs of slow/fast lengths. I exceeded 2:00min/100m for every one of the fast lengths with a best pace of 1:46min/100m. Most lengths had a stroke count of 20 per length showing that with these short intervals I generated more power per stroke than in yesterday's 100m intervals.

Thursday 27 October 2016

September 2016 Week 4 (again) Session 3

It's really Week 5 but as I've failed to achieve the goal of Session 3 in the Week 1 to Week 4 block I elected to try Week 4 again. There has been progress as I achieved 2:00min/100m pace on 9 out of 10 100m sets and with good pace consistency. In previous weeks it all collapsed after 5 sets but today it seemed fine until the 7th or 8th.

The initial sets were great, being around d 1:55min/100m and with only 20 strokes per length. Clearly I was applying power well.

My maximum stroke rate was 34spm in the final third of the session as I struggled, and managed, to maintain pace.

The pull buoy-less warmup lengths are easy to see as a distinct, slow cluster. Although the stroke rate is faster than in my easy lengths it's below that of my hard lengths. I wonder what my pace could be with anchor-legs at my maximal stroke rate? Perhaps I couldn't maintain it for more than a length?

The second question is whether I can achieve a sub-8 minute 400? Interval training is, of course, based on the premise that you can work harder for a number of brief periods than can be managed as a block. But what about 4 sets of 100m sequentially?

Friday 21 October 2016

September 2016 Week 5 Session 2

The second session in this programme is awful. It's tough, long and I really do not enjoy it. Doing a fast set and then having to start the repeat the superset again is draining. I managed negative splits for 1600m but after that my arms were like lead and the second superset was slow. I did manage negative splits, which I think is a first, but the pace was glacial even for the fastest set.

Looking at previous sessions I did manage to control and raise the pace better today than in the past so there is slight progress. The pool was incredibly rough today, although I know I've written that before, so that increases the impact of fatigue.

Tuesday 18 October 2016

September 2016 Week 5 Session 1

I thought that today's session had gone well in that I managed to do 15 of 16 fast lengths at a pace better than 2:00min/100m. My best lengths were at 1:47min/100m which isn't quite as good as last week but the difference is around 1 second per length which is probably within my error in stopping and starting the timer. I should have managed the 16th length at target pace but I set off thinking I'd try 2 or 3 lengths and I suspect that I reduced my commitment to the first one of the three and thereby failed on all counts!

I did achieve a stroke rate of 35spm within the session and there is a slight tendency for strokes per length to be reducing. Together I feel these number imply that I'm starting to get more power and by keeping distance covered in each stroke the length pace is improving.

As a note to self though, for Week 5 of the programme I should have done sets of 5 pairs of lengths. It makes sense to add more intervals to maintain the training intensity.

Sunday 16 October 2016

Forerunner battery dead?

Before yesterday's run I'd changed my Forerunner 100 overnight but half way through it showed 'Low Battery'. I put it down to the cold, and perhaps poor connection with the charging clip. Last night I made sure the clip was well positioned and by this morning charging was complete. I disconnected the charger and within an hour I heard the beep of 'Low Battery' again even though the watch was on standby. The battery indicator is low, of course. I've tried rebooting the watch and it still shows an empty batter but no inclination to charge. Maybe it's the end of the line for it? Although batteries are available online I wonder how easy it will be to get a good outcome. These things aren't built to be repaired.

September 2016 Week 4 Session 3

Starting with a positive, at least I know that my Garmin Swim is still water tight after changing the battery. Conversely I found today's session hard work. The goal is for 10 sets at 1:54min/100m pace with easy bits in-between. After Week 1 I realised that this was beyond my ability and focussed on achieving 1:57min/100m pace. So far I haven't managed that either!

Today I did 4 reasonable fast sets and then some others slower than 2:00min/100m. Some of the lengths were great at around 1:55min/100m although as I tired I couldn't manage that. The current in the pool was apparent although whether 2 lengths with the flow has flattered my overall pace I'm not sure as I have the fight against the current to cope with.

A faster pace with the 'flow' is clear on first and third lengths of a set
I am managing to increase my stokes/minute and did a few around 35spm. Although these lacked power at least I was able to move my arms quickly!

Saturday 15 October 2016

Autumnal evening

My legs were typically leaden for the first few kilometres but they gradually fell into rhythm within the woods and worked well on the ascent of Blackamoor. Just as I started the climb through the trees I heard 2 cyclists splash through the form on the bridleway and all the way to Hathersage Road I kept expecting them to overtake me. They didn't so I suspect they must have turned off somewhere, I can't have been that speedy.

The evening was cooling by the time I reached Houndkirk Road but it was a calm and mild nonetheless.

Last week I was concerned about stiffness in my right foot/ankle and this is still an ongoing problem  but I tried not to 'grip' the ground so much and it didn't seem so bad. Some areas of hard skin have become irritating on my toes and I put this down to the 'gripping' and perhaps a show that's starting to rub. The strange thing is that my feet and knees were great in Tenerife, in these shoes, even with substantial distances being covered. I think a starting point is to find a new chiropodist to have things smoothed off competently.

Wednesday 12 October 2016

New battery

I'd hoped to swim today but work was too much work. On the walk home the Garmin Swim flashed up 'Low Battery'. Although this has been the first warning I don't want to lose data so swapped the battery this evening. I had spare CR2032 cells in stock as they are one of those sizes that fit a multitude of gadgets nowadays.

The swap was easy as per the instruction manual.

The estimated battery life is 1 year, my first use is recorded as 14th July 2015 so that's a pretty reasonable prediction. I've barely used the light which I'd assume is a substantial drain.

I hope the seal is OK, the O-ring is slender!

Monday 10 October 2016

September 2016 Week 4 Session 1

Today's interval session was a great success. Warm-up in under 5:00 minutes and then all 16 fast lengths at better than 2:00min/100 pace. I managed a few lengths in around 35s corresponding to a pace of 1:45min/100m. I'm impressed that my strokes/length averaged 20 for the first 12 fast lengths although in the final set it rose to 22. This shows that I was managing to apply some power.

The rests were a bit longer than scheduled to ensure that I had a clear length but I don't think that is all that important.

Sunday 9 October 2016

September 2016 Week 4 Session 2

I messed up the sessions today and did session #2 instead of #1. That maybe wasn't a bad thing as the pool was quiet and so i could get on with the long routine. For the first 4 sets I managed a slight negative split across 1600m as intended.

Going into the second block my arms were tired and I set off very slowly. I managed a pace increase for 3 sets but the 4th and final was slow. I was finished!

Friday 7 October 2016

September 2016 Week 3 Session 3

It had a been a fair day at work and I couldn't find an excuse not to go for a swim. At least I knew the session would only take an hour or so. The 100m intervals were once again set at 39s/length and for the first 5 fast sets I managed to stay within a 2:00min/100m pace. Once or twice I could have gone a little faster but had to slow to wait for, or go around slower swimmers.

Gradually I managed to pick up the pace to 1:54min/100m which is supposed to be the maximum at the moment but I can't maintain it. After two sets at this pace I started to fade until by the end of the session my best was 2:07min/100m. Both of these parameters are better than I managed in Weeks 1 and 2 so maybe there is progress.

I'm getting better at managing the TempoPro and watch as I only lost timing for one set today.

Tuesday 4 October 2016

September 2016 Week 3 Session 2

This was a pretty rubbish session. The pool was fairly busy when I started although I don't think I can really blame that for my poor performance. Really I find it hard to up the pace after three 400m sets. Before I could start the second superset of 4x400m I was moved as the swimming club were arriving. This meant that there was a range of abilities pushed into two lanes.

Washing machine-like swimming from slowtwitch
The club swimmers combined with densely packed recreational lanes made the water a turmoil of arms and waves. I didn't enjoy the swim and left before completing the second superset as I couldn't focus on my pace. At least I did an hour's swim.

Saturday 1 October 2016

September 2016 Week 3 Session 1

That went well! I jogged to the pool and managed the warm up in under 5:00 minutes. Then it was on to 16 sets of fast/slow and for every set I managed to beat 40s/length, the best being 30 seconds. This is the first week of this block that I've achieved this basic goal.