Day 73 of the Great Big 10k Swimming Adventure: Cracking the 5k milestone (and thoughts on why I really hate sprint sets)

Yay. Have not had time to blog, but I actually reached a milestone in the Great Big Swimming Adventure this Tuesday morning: For the first time, I swam a straight 5k.

After a crappy night’s sleep (I woke at 1:30am and could not go back to sleep till about 3:30am, brain in overdrive, then woke absolutely knackered to a blaring alarm at 5am), I thought I would only be able to put in a mediocre swim. In a way, I did – I just did it for 212 lanes all up, of which I swam:

  • 250m free warm-up at 1:36/100m
  • 5000m free at 1:43/100m (that means 1 hour 25 minutes and 56 seconds) at cruise speed
  • 50m breast stroke to cool down at casual/fun speed i.e. 2:29/100m

Since 5k is my competition distance this year (10k next year), and the race is not till August, I am glad I reached this milestone in late February. Gives me confidence; the knowledge I will be able to stay the distance, even if it will be in the open ocean, instead of the confines of my local pool.

What I felt like on the last few hundred meters yesterday (CC Image via Wikimedia: Actually a really interesting "wet canoe" - google it!)
What I felt like on the last few hundred meters yesterday (CC Image via Wikimedia: Actually a really interesting “wet canoe”)

Then yesterday I went back to the pool, feeling well rested and only a hint of sore in the shoulders. So I decided to do some sprints. I only managed 6x50m, averaging high 30secs, then breathing for a few secs (ok, in the last few: 30secs!) and then pushing off again.

Why do I find sprint sets so bloody hard? Maybe it is the fact that I am over 40 years old now. Maybe because of the half-marathon distance the day before. Maybe I am just too soft for hard sprints. Whatever the reason: I had to push myself really hard for those sprints. Much harder than swimming a casual 2000m. Anyway: Lesson learned is to make sure to sleep well. Then do the hard work of sprint sets on specific days, and then do them first, then “reward” yourself with the other sets after. Overall I swam well over 3k (3.450m to be precise) yesterday:

  • 200m free warmup
  • 6/7x 50m all-out sprints (sorry, don’t have watch on me; will update times later if I get to it)
  • 600m backstroke with pull buoy (to counter the 5k set on Monday)
  • 300m kick drills mixed
  • 2x1k free at a very relaxed pace

At the end of that last 1000m set I felt queasy and off. I hit the showers and was at work very early.

No pool today, I obviouly need a day off. I swam 13k this week so far, and I am well on track in this adventure. Must not overdo things, especially at my ripe middle-old age – and yet look forward to being back in the water. Maybe I will do a slow 1000m tonight in the local pool and take the kids.

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