Tuesday, October 30, 2007

On ignoring instructions

I am feeling rather guilty now post-swim (it was a very decent one, quite enjoyable) for luring my lanemate down the primrose path, as it were, of ignoring the point of the workout instructions. S. and I had lane 8 to ourselves, so there was no need to integrate ourselves into lane 7.

And the thing is (this will sound self-promoting, but it is just the truth of the matter) it has already dawned on me that even quite good swimmers seem to look at the trees rather than the forest when it comes to workouts. The other day (oh dear, I feel like I'm elementary school again) there was a mistake in the workout as it was written up on the board in Monday-night swimming--there was a 400 where there should have been a 600--it was clear from the progression that this was what the coach had meant, and so I said so (making myself very popular, needless to say!)--but I was taken aback that nobody else noticed it, it was kind of jumping off the board at me....

(This is why I am a professor rather than an athlete...)

So: warmup (as it is often is) 100 free, 100 stroke, 50 kick till 6:15. S. very kindly swam alongside me for a couple lengths of practicing butterfly, one arm only. I did not get a chance to regain the feel of it thoroughly. Resolutions: Wednesday-evening technique swim; steep myself mentally in that stroke; be patient.

Main workout: I can't remember the exact intervals, but the point of them was like this (we didn't do it though!):

2 x 100 on 1:50
2 x 50 on 1:15
2 x 100 on 1:55
2 x 50 on 1:10
2 x 100 on 2:00
2 x 50 on 1:05
2 x 100 on 2:05
2 x 50 on 1:00

So this is a classic interval workout, swimmer's incarnation--the reason I have just easily recalled it now (I think our intervals for the 100s probably gave more rest than this, say starting on 2:00--I am guessing, though, these times would be what I should probably do in the spirit of the workout--I am still very vague on times) is because it seems very clear. As you move through the set, you can keep your 100s even but get more rest on them, and meanwhile it's a strong descending set for those pairs of 50s, with less rest if you keep the pace steady.

But nobody comes and explains the rationale or anything in the non-Thursday sessions, it's just up to you to decide what to do...

And in the next lane over they were deciding to do some stroke for the 50s and not all free, and for my purposes this seemed a very good idea. I did some fly and back on the first couple, and then did all the rest of the 50s as breast, which is starting to feel pretty good (I was paying attention this morning to what I. was telling me the other day about keeping elbows together in the arm recovery part of the stroke, that is very sensible). And we didn't really pay attention to the clock--but we did have time to do a couple extra rounds, so that with warmup I guess total yardage was probably around 2000. Hard to get a lot more than that in this crunched-in hour workout where the gym only opens at 6 (they let the swimmers in a few minutes early, but there's no point getting there way early) and then real team practice starts at 7 sharp...

And I did explain to S. afterwards what we missed and promise that we will do it properly the next time, because it is actually rather what she wants (her technique is quite lovely, she is a very good swimmer, but she's not enthusiastic about distance and wants to improve speed and conditioning--you see why this was slightly evil of me, really it is the workout she most will benefit from!).

But I strongly feel that I am currently in a spot where my conditioning is considerably ahead of my technique. I fear this is true even on free--I know I've got a lot of improvement that should be coming in next six months or so if I just keep working on it--and it's massively true on the other strokes, so it seems a pity when I had an all-free workout last night to have another one this morning...

1 comment:

Wendy said...

Technique will come - it is an advantage to have conditioning first, as you have the stamina and control to do the work on technique. (Although that said, we are always working on technique!)