Prepare To Swim Smoother Under Fatigue

SWIM

PC 32m pool, 1280m. Water 26 degrees C. Sunny, very light breeze. No wetsuit!

Focus: First, hold lowest SPL, then hold time as distance increases.

Repeats Times / SPL held
4x 64m (1 lap) 1:08 / 18
1:07 / 18
1:05 / 17 (1:41 pace)
1:03 / 17 (1:38 pace)
3x 128m (2 laps) 2:10 / 16.17…
2:10 / 16.17…
2:10 / 16.17…
2x 192m (3 laps) 3:20 / 17 (1:44 pace)
3:18 / 17
1x 256m (4 laps) 4:29 / 17 (1:45 pace

WHAT I LEARNED TODAY

  • Keeping a tighter spear-hand entry point decreases drag, lowers SPL by almost 1 (on 32m pool length). I need to condition this until it becomes the default entry position, even during fatigue.
  • The spearing hand needs to be driven by hip thrust. I need to condition this also, to become my default power path.

COMMENTARY

My body is still fighting off the cold. (When you’re little kids are so adorable you aren’t going to snuggle them any less when they are snotty!) I am struggling with some insomnia too- hard to shut off the mind and fall asleep despite the mental exhaustion. Then I am being awakened at 4:30am by the call-to-prayer broadcast from the minaret just 1 block away. My mind wakes up and starts going over it’s pet philosphical projects all over again and I have to lay an hour until it quiets back down again. I need so much more sleep than I am getting, or at least better quality sleep.

So today I wanted to swim something quality and productive without taxing my system. I did a 4km sea swim yesterday and I am slow in recovering. At first I though I would do 2x this set above, but into the first few it was already clear that my body was working extra hard today to meet all the immune system demands. So I scaled back by half, and even then I almost scrapped the last 256m. But I gave it a good minute rest and felt I could hold the SPL if I focused on ease and tight spear-entry point, and lower my loyalty to time.

When I am swimming short, controlled sprint distances I can hold a fairly tight position. But when I get into distance swims my entry point moves out a little more, a little ‘lazier’ entry point, then settles into this pattern for kilometers. However, on this SPL-control set (like others before) I noticed that by countering that tendency to let the entry point go a little wider, by bringing in my spear entry point even narrower- moving it back about 3 cm closer to my head I could noticably feel a reduction in my drag in each surge forward. This all translated into a little under 1 SPL decrease. If I focused elsewhere and let it slide back to the wider default position, I would approach the wall needing an extra long glide or extra stroke to reach it in order to hold momentum. When I held tight I was able to come in at about 16 ½ SPL, and when I didn’t 17 ½. (Half refers to the decision I needed to make on how to fill that gap- by a tiny extra stroke, or by an extra long glide)

I also used each edge of the lane stripe as my casual guideline for the forward piercing hand, to avoid crossing over or making an angled path. Also I used it to sight my shoulder as I rotated into the reach forward.

But the level of effort I had to put into holding that tighter position, although I was successful, was due both to my run-down condition, as well as to my need for more work to make that tight position more natural- actually, to make it my default position so that even under fatigue I hold the tightest, lowest drag position to economize my energy when I need to most.

So I cut my workout in half and will hopefully rest enough in the next day or so in order to be ready for another nice, long sea swim.

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