Saturday 14 December 2019

Garmin Swim Battery change

My V1 swim watch has been very unreliable for my last few swims. Stopping, data loss, time reseting itself etc but no 'low battery' indicator! Also the display has been crisp and contrast-rich which made me think the battery was fine.

Anyway, today I'd got the box of CR2032 in my hands so swapped it over.

Looks like it has been 11 months since the last replacement so perhaps not unsurprising. Let's hope the fault is resolved...

Sunday 6 October 2019


My swimming is improving (I did write going forwards...) in style if not in endurance or speed. At least my current coach has told me that I'm starting to look like a swimmer! In fairness I do generally feel more in tune with the water and frequently notice that I'm going through a checklist of at least arm entry site and angle, front-quadrant timing, pelvis tilt, ankle position, hip rotation as I'm swimming. Previously I was often thinking about just keeping going.

I'm still struggling with kick drill lengths and finding them exceptionally tiring.

Last week I was re-introduced to tumble turns, starting with a basic tumble away form all walls. It took me  few attempts to realise that being in a tight ball is pretty critical. The rotation made me feel dizzy. After 4 or 5 successful tumbles I moved towards the wall to start to learn the push-off phase. I had to stop though as I felt nauseous. That lasted almost 48 hours. Since I've tested one tumble per swim to try to become accustomed to it. The thought of a tumble, actually half a rotation, every length makes me feel sick. A quick online search revealed that nausea is common for newcomers to tumble turns, so at least not unusual even if unpleasant.

Saturday 28 September 2019

Night Hike to Oxstones

Over the last week or so I'd planned that last night would be a #microadventure as I'd be home alone (my wife was to be outdoors herself on a fundraising event for Cathedral Archer Project). The weather forecast was for repeated heavy showers throughout the day and night and I gradually decided to stay in the dry. By early evening though the forecast and rain radar suggested that the worst had passed over and there was a probability of some dry hours. No excuses! I rapidly packed the bare essentials and got out of the house 10 minutes before sunset. It was pretty gloomy.

Quite minimal but feeling substantial
I set my sights on Oxstones as an area within a few hours walk but decidedly in the countryside. I also know the path very well which should have been reassuring. It was a new moon and with dark clouds passing over, the paths were quite quickly in blackness and I resorted to my head torch.

I didn't need the signs nor map
For 2 hours I ascended, mostly on paths but occasionally on short stretches of road. The wooded areas were spooky, trees groaning and various animals shuffling in the undergrowth. The small area of ground illuminated by the head torch was supplemented by a peripheral zone of heightened awareness. In this zone my eye was drawn to newly-emerged mushrooms. I think I recognised shaggy ink caps but there were other, unknown to me, white species. At Houndkirk Road a dog walker came out of the gloom, the dogs' eyes visible first. I couldn't face the tree cover in Lady Cannings Plantation so stayed on the byway. From Limb Valley I'd been aware that the wind was becoming more obvious and by the time I'd reached Oxstones I couldn't find shelter on any aspect of the stones. I thought about stopping to make a hot drink or warm-up food but decided I was getting too cold. At that point I chose to abandon the night, even though there'd been no more than drizzle, and head for home, perhaps stopping to eat on the way.

I detoured towards Porter Clough thinking I might eat there but saw many car lights in the parking area with the sound of voices drifting towards me. I wasn't sure it would be safe to arrive alone. That was it then, back to home, direct route.

Welcoming lights but still an hour from a arm bed
The Norfolk Arms was tempting for a moment but a paused would have only delayed sleep at this point so onwards! Alongside the road my peripheral vision was drawn to a movement, and just in time I turned to see a badger scurry away from me across the road, arriving safely at the other side.

So this was a night hike rather than overnight bivvy but still a break from normality and a small challenge. Especially marching beside the looming trees. I walked just under 18km at a good pace having become accustomed to a heavier rucsac than usual. I wonder how I managed camping trips with rugged tents as a teenager?

Importantly I'd also noted the insecurity of being outside and slightly fearful of groups, and of needing to keep moving to stay warm. I was unusually thankful of being in a warm bed when I awoke finding it had rained heavily in the early hours of the morning.

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

Sunday 30 June 2019

A mixed week

This week I've exercised indoors and outdoors, on land and in the water. Generally a good combination. Last Friday I managed the longest run I've done in months, it was a massive 15minutes of slow running with 15 minutes of woodland walk. My foot wasn't especially sore over the weekend, just a bit stiff, so I'll take that as a success.

Swims have varied between short sprints in the pool and an open water mile. Once again this is a step up after injury niggles as it's ages since I've done 1600m as a single swim. I can' claim this was a single 'set' though as I had to stop a few times on my second lap of the lake. I think I set off too fast (my watch reckoned 2:12min/100m) and thus it didn't count as steady pace.

Whilst my Sunday runs have been off limits I've used the tim to walk briskly in the woods. Today I saw the controls for the Round Sheffield Run and used that as a prompt to detour via Wigley Farm. The ascent from the Limb Valley path is very picturesque, the latter half not so much fun with long grass (ticks?) and cattle with calves (dangerous?). I'm hoping these walks are keeping some degree of long-run aerobic fitness.

Not quite a 1000m personal best

This evening I set out to do a well paced 1000m set. Initially I set a SPM at 61 and after 200m moved up to 62SPM. This was hard work and my pace showed a decline from under 2:20min/100m to approaching 2:30min/100m. I'm sad to say that at 900m I stopped for a break as my chest felt as though it was going to explode! After 20seconds or so I put the final effort in and finished the set.

Excitingly even WITH the pause the time is a PB of 24:13minutes, ahead by 9 seconds. If I could have completed the set in one go it would have been a stunning 30 seconds taken off. No wonder I was finding it hard work. I'm fairly happy with 9:24minutes for the first 400m with RHS only breathing. This isn't a PB but I know that I lost a few seconds in the lane and it wasn't a 400m CSS set but the start of a longer set.

Sunday 23 June 2019

Carry on swimming

I've put a bit of effort into my swimming this week and although no 'long' swims I've managed some interval work and practice at bilateral breathing, as well as testing my arms with the paddle. In total I've swum around 5km which is the most for many month although I appreciate that this is only really a day of training for some!

Some single lengths have been at 2:05min/100m pace and I've completed 100m sets at under 2:20min/100m with bilateral breathing. These intervals show that I can now generate some power as required but the endurance aspect is probably the deficiency now. I've done a few longer sets with the ToyBuoy to facilitate this but must work to get over 15 minutes.

This morning @fairplay_al arranged for the circuit group to meet at Hathersage pool for a dawn swim.

This morning's dawn from
Previously the various systems to swim at Hathersage have put me off but today it was very simple and I'm now tempted to return as it was a very pleasant swim.

My left arm feels distinctly fatigued now, hopefully it'll settle before next week.

Monday 17 June 2019

On the road to recovery?

Over the last few days I've felt a small turnaround in my fitness. I've done a few short runs and on Saturday afternoon undertook a major 7 minute jog. On Sunday and today my ankle/heel weren't complaining so that's a good sign. Yesterday I walked 9km in running shoes and that was all good.

My swimming is positive too, today I even felt speedy! I've been to Doncaster twice and each time coped with just over half an hour and, importantly, my left arm hasn't been unreasonably stiff afterwards. Today I even felt  to have some power and managed 200m in 4:24 minutes which is only 3 seconds off my personal best. On advice I did 2 lengths, well separated, with the paddles and I'll see how my arms/elbows/shoulder react to that. Todays' swim was basically an interval set, after Saturday's cruise around the lake, and I am very pleased to have been teetering around 2:02min/100m for sprint single lengths. Some of those included bilateral breathing as did some paired lengths.

Whilst on holiday I managed to get stiffness in my right shoulder but that actually improves with movement and is aggravated by sitting infant of the computer. Hopefully the physio will be more effective than my use of a tennis ball.

Incidentally, next time I'm at Doncaster I want to try my rather tight HUUB wetsuit as I've noticed quite a bit of flushing in my ALPKIP Silvertip which isn't good news for keeping warm. I wonder if part of its ease of use lies in being a bit large for me?

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.

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.

Wednesday 2 January 2019

First swim of 2019

After a break of 2 weeks my first swim was quite a disappointment. Hard going, splashy after first few lengths and an exceptionally slow result in CSS test.

I don't know where the pace went. Initially the technique felt smooth and easy but by the end of the 400m I could tell that I was being inefficient, poor hold and splashing along. Compared to CSS posts of February and May of 2018 I'm way behind on pace.