Tuesday 24 April 2018

First 62spm session

With a new CR1620 the TempoTrainer was set to 62 in Mode 3 and put to work. I found I could manage 4 lengths for a set, 133m, and maintain the stroke rate and reasonable form so 6 sets of that was great after a warm-up.

My pace was 2:14min/100m consistently across a set and only slight variation within each. I felt as though I could have managed longer sets but focussing on high elbow and tipping my fingers gave m plenty to think about and I didn't want to loose focus.

My left shoulder and elbow still have a slight niggle and it'll be interesting to see whether the physio thinks it's Ok to continue with these short sessions.

The display is fading on the timer after 24hours stand-by and 1 swim so either the eBay batteries are junk or there is some sort of short in the unit causing the battery to fail prematurely.

Saturday 21 April 2018

Stroke Rate and Early Catch

Today I was at Askern with @CoachMorg. The initial video showed that my stroke was more relaxed than previously and I had some degree of elbow bend in the catch. However my hand entry was still leading into a dropped elbow and raised hand. We spent a while working on dropping my fingers to gain an early catch and tend to raise my elbow at the same time. Naturally this leads to a reduced reach.

Next we looked at stoke rate. We did the ramp test from my leisurely turnover of 56spm to a tough 70spm. There didn't seem to be an obvious dead-spot glide but it was clear that an increase to 62spm would give a distinct increase in pace  with only marginal increase in effort. Notably, at the highest rate it looked as though I might crack 2:00min/100m if I could sustain it. That would be great.

Anyway, the plan is to work on 100m sets at 62spm and then lengthen the sets until that rate of arm turnover is natural. Then increase the rate a little! It felt far simpler to focus on stroke rate than my previous attempts at CSS lengths,  Morg described that focussing on process of stroke is far simpler and immediate than thinking about an outcome such as pace.

The only problem is that my TempoTrainer seems to have perpetually flat batteries despite replacing them.

Monday 16 April 2018

Short swims

My shoulder felt much better during today's activity and I had time to do a short swim so that worked out well. I didn't plan to do anything from my programme, just do a few sets to loosen my arms nd keep some technique.

Anyway, today's personal best for a 200m of 4:21 minutes knocked off over 10 seconds. This shows that I might be usually fatigued for training and that keeping a good form with focus can give a good pace without a rushed feeling. I suspect that this time will take a while to beat!

Tuesday 10 April 2018

DOMS, impingement, spasms or just tired?

Last week's long swim within a long week seems to have taken its toll. I have a dull ache around my scapula and occasional twinges from an area I imagine the brachialis to be. I don't believe either of these symptoms indicate even referred pain from an impingement, which is a good thing.

This week I have a stack of tasks after work making it unlikely I'd find time for a swim, so that is a useful opportunity to try to rest it and hope for recovery. I've a massage booked for Thursday which will be helpful if the pain merely indicates tightness in the back and shoulders.

Here's a useful introductory article on swimmers' shoulders.

Sunday 8 April 2018

New longest swim

This morning's long swim was my longest unaided (no pullbuoy etc) pool swim at 3000m. I started a little too fast in the first 1km and trying to maintain that for the second 1km was too hard and I felt as though I 'hit the wall' as is described for running. I committed to a more sedate third 1km and also that I would break it into 10 length sets. I appreciate that I won't be able to stop on my 10km swim but each of these long swims is a stretch currently.

Toward the end of the session I aimed by reach deeper into the water and I think that was helpful; I wonder if I've let it creep too close to the surface recently?  I also dropped the pace, settling into  restful rhythm which felt considerably easier and more sustainable.

Friday 6 April 2018

Pace progress and aspirations

Over the last week I've noted a few improvements in freestyle pace. These aren't PBs nor has any useful barrier been smashed but there are indicators of progress.

The first is that I achieve 2:00min/100m with paddles over a 100m interval reasonably regularly now. Second, during interval sessions I can exceed 2:10min/100m without paddles or pullbuoy and on occasion have reached 2:05min/100m for the occasional 25m length.

These timings suggest to me that 2:00min/100m is an achievable goal over the next few months, if only for a 100m set. OK, so I need a 10% gain, but the data show that I am applying  more force to the water and developing the strength and technique to do it. A year ago I wouldn't have thought it possible as I was struggling to do that with the pullbuoy.