Last Days Of Outdoor Swimming

It’s that time of year again in the Chicagoland area. School is starting up soon or has already started in some cases. By Labor Day, almost every outdoor pool will be closed. This picture is not how my pool was today, rather a couple weeks ago when we had the colder weather.

Today’s workout was a 2,000 yard swim. I decided to do it as one big swim instead of breaking it up into mini sets of 400 or 500 yards. Counting laps up to 80 is very difficult, but I remembered that it was easier to count down. So I started with 80 and worked my way down. It also helps to have a watch that tracks your laps. I have an alert on mine for every 4 laps (100 yards).

The first 500 was rather easy and smooth sailing. I was surprised by this, as I didn’t warm up and just started swimming. Then the mental fatigue started to kick in and I had to catch myself with my counting down. This is why it is easier to count down, than count up.

I quickly remembered that going in one direction was always even, the other odd. This made things a lot easier. The swim dragged on, but never felt like work. I kept going at what I felt was a nice easy pace. Once I hit 20 laps left, I decided it was time to speed things up a bit.

Looking at my splits I see that I started and ended strong, but my middle portion was a bit slower. I need to work on this as it was easy to motivate myself for the last 500 yards, but those middle 1,000 it seems I was not as focused.

The biggest thing I remembered was to ensure I had proper form. When I finally caught myself being a bit lazy, I focused on my form and it clearly shows in the stats. Going from an average stroke of 12 to 9 is huge both in time and energy expelled. While I am faster than most in the water, I still have a ways to go. Ideally I will get my average 100 down to below 1:30 and hopefully even around the 1:20 for these long distances. It takes time in the pool to build that distance and speed, but I know I am already ahead of most.

I have split my training for Ironman 2016 into focus sections. The first runs through January and is on my swimming. I want to nail my swimming down as it is arguably my strongest leg, and yet I feel as if it is my worst. Being fast in the water is nice, but being able to recover out of the water is another thing. Swimming is tiring and that is why it is the first heavy focus of my training.

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