Day 127 of the Great Big Marathon 10k Swimming Adventure

Felt really grubby on Sunday night after not being in the pool for four days and had everything ready in the car to get going first thing today. That said, I almost did not get up at 5am this morning. Really had to force myself to a “heroic moment” of sorts just getting out of bed. And then still felt very cold and tired all the way to the pool.

After a longer warm-up, I was back at home in the water though. And loving it.

(CC Image by Hopscotchbaby via DeviantArt)
(CC Image by Hopscotchbaby via DeviantArt)

No regrets.

Training summary today: 1:23:24 of swimming, 4700 meters, 188 lengths at an overall average of 1:42/100m, SWOLF of 34, and burned 1300 kCal

  • 300m warm-up at 1:38/100m free
  • 1550m free at 1:37/100m cruisy but not dithering
  • 1350m free at 1:38/100m cruisy
  • 100m kickdrills with pullbuoy as kickboard
  • 100m kickdrills on the back
  • 350m back with pullbuoy (nice and relaxed, 2:02/100m)
  • 100m back in 1:58 (still quite relaxed)
  • 4 sets of 100m individual medley (butterfly/back/breast/free at 25m each), at a time of 1:41 (fastest) to 1:54 (slowest) per 100m
  • 450m cool down (slow free, with some shenanigans to relax)

Pool was very full today, fuller than I have seen it any morning since I started my 6am-stints. Maybe it is because it is spring, and the sun rises a lot earlier? Or because there has been a bit of swimming in the mainstream mass media? Anyway. No real complaints here: Had half a lane to myself. Mind you, I had to wait with butterfly till the large breast stroker had left (even with freestyle I hugged the lane rope). But at least no cowboys jumped in my way. And the little butterfly I get in is not really a big deal anyway.

Day 38 of the Great Big Marathon Swim Adventure: A week of getting up at 5:30 – plus nutrition, training plans and the thing about sprints

This is close to what my daily smoothie breakfast looks like, err, sometimes...just imagine about three glasses of that in a big Nalgene bottle. (CC Image:  Zoelizabeth via Wikimedia Commons)
This is close to what my daily smoothie breakfast looks like, err, sometimes…just imagine about three glasses of that in a big Nalgene bottle. (CC Image: Zoelizabeth via Wikimedia Commons)

Tomorrow, Friday, will mark the first week of getting up at 5:30 am, driving 45 minutes to the pool, then getting a subway to work every morning.

The initial euphoria has worn off, as was to be expected. That has advantages, too: Getting up at 5:30 still is a challenge, but my body clock woke me just before the alarm today and I actually felt like I’d finished sleeping (instead of interrupting my sleep).

It is simple, really: the single biggest benefit of hitting the pool first thing is the fact that I make sure I get my swim in for the day. Boom. The important other benefits I have already written about – they are ongoing of course …and they are the main reason why I intend to keep doing this.

With the new routine locking in, I can focus on the next items: nutrition and an actual training plan for instance. Whilst I will avoid any strict plans, simply because that would remove much of the pleasure and feeling of freedom I get from swimming, I need a modicum of a training schedule to improve my times and endurance. After all, the goal is to swim a 5k Open Water race in a few months and a 10k race next year (2016). So far, I have just lurked around a few websites and forums (instead of doing actual research), and they confirmed to me that I should add some sprints to the mix.

So on two days this week, I played with sets of sprints. This morning, I warmed up for 300meters, then swam a straight 2k in 33:06 minutes, then added some mixed kick drills. With that under my belt, I put on the paddles, grabbed the pull buoy and with both equipped did a set of 12x50ms. On average I swam the 50m in 40secs, then took a breather of about 10secs, then hit the water again. I tried to increase the stroke rhythm, which is challenging with paddles, but it felt good (as in painful thus effective). I hope this will help me build strength and increase my “cruising” speed over longer distances.

Overall, I swam 3300m – 131 laps – in 54:30 minutes with a SWOLF of 33 (against my usual 35, for what it’s worth). And I burned 867kcals apparently – though the pasta I had for lunch more than made up for that I fear.

Speaking of nutrition: I am drinking a lot less tea and coffee with the new routine, and boy do I love my liquid breakfasts! Lunch is usually quite healthy, too. But man I need to pay more attention to what else I eat throughout the day, and stay away from the snacks after dinner in particular.