Training: 3km in 21 C and Getting Colder.

I swam 3072m today, starting at 12:20, at the 32m PC outdoor pool. It was partly cloudy, cool, and a bit windy. The pool was 21 C.

Same as last time- Tempo Trainer accelerating set. Take splits at 512m (8 laps), starting at 1.20, accelerate tempo by 0.02 each 128m (2 laps). Push down to threshold and then walk back up.

repeat tempo split
512m 1.20 to 1.14 9:11
512m 1.12 to 1.08 9:16
512m 1.06 to 1.00 9:10
512m 0.98 to 0.92 9:01
512m 0.94 to 1.00 9:15
512m All at 1.02 9:11

I could probably claim a slight adjustment in the times due to the couple seconds it took to stop at the wall and click down the TT. But it was just generally sluggish feeling in the colder water anyway. Maybe, with open-turns and the click-downs I could claim 10 seconds per 512m. But time is not the point today.

It was colder by 1.5 C today, compared to Wednesday, and there was no sun to shine on my back. I did the same set again, with the intention of just going 512m at a time to see how long it took me to get too cold.

I felt more sluggish from the beginning. No reason other than the additional cold that I can tell. Again, I felt the same fiery skin sensation that slowely ebbed away until I noticed the cold creeping deeper toward my bones. But I was accelerating the tempo which I believe helped keep the internal combustion just ahead of cold’s claws until I reached my 3km goal. Even stopping to click down the TT was quickly too chilling, so I was not tempted to rest at all, just dive back in and go harder to try to generate enough heat. However, I was not uncomfortable, in the distracting sense. I could hold each increasing tempo without straining my 3-stroke breath pattern. I had plenty of O2 the whole time.

I confirmed that I am really swimming this slow- 9 minutes for a 512m, even with all the mitigating factors. A decent pace for 7km, but not for 1500. It seems I have so well conditioned my brain to moderate my energy consumption to last in long or harder OW conditions, that I will need to re-condition it to allow me to click into higher intensity for middle distances. I have trained for 5km and my default swimming mode clearly reflects it now.

I also see that it could be helpful this winter to do some paper calculations as to what my own optimal SR/SL combinations should be for different distances (100m, 1500m particularly), then I can test these and dial them in, and then have an objective benchmark to train from, knowing then whether to tweak the SR or the SL to get the desired results.

I like the idea of training variable SR/SL combinations into my tool box for long OW swims because how much conditions can vary from day to day, race to race. I had one new friend brag to me recently how he always swam with the exact same SPL no matter how fast he increased his tempo (claiming to swim a 5km at 1.25 100m pace, and a 100m at 1:05- enough to put him in #3 in OW races around here, so he said). That is impressive to me on one hand, but I wonder how practical that is for a diverse range of OW conditions really. It depends on your goals, I guess.

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