Friday, January 4, 2008

Friday morning swim

Well, as far as sleep goes, I was hoping for "lavish and restorative 9" but what I got was "restless though adequate 6." I did not set the alarm, but it was clear at 5:15 that I was not going back to sleep any time soon and that really I should just get up and go to the swim workout, and I am so glad I did, because swimming has an amazing effect of giving me the sense that all is right with the world....

(I am neither deluded nor narcissistic, it does not rationally persuade me that all is right with the world in defiance of all common sense and what I read in the newspapers, it is just a physiological phenomenon--but a very enjoyable one!)

Warmup: 400 swim, 200 kick, 200 pull with fourth 25 non-free.

Main set: 3 x 200 free; 6 x 25 (2 drill, 1 build, 1 strong, 2 choice i.e. non-free); 4 x 150 IM (doubling up on back and free; I did 100 for the fourth one to catch back up with the faster swimmer in the lane); 6 x 25 same as above; 5 x 100 free.

I felt very slow (and I must confess I did the last 5 100s on 2:05, that is slower than I should be doing!), and my form on the freestyle stroke has suffered from not having had Monday-night technique work for a number of weeks now, but really it was just fine...

I was thinking a lot during the workout about one unfortunate aspect of swimming versus running. I think the problem is that because the technical barriers to entry on swimming are so much higher, the skill level at this sort of workout is dauntingly high. I am basically the slowest swimmer who's actually doing the workout (there's one woman who's often there who's a hair slower--she is also probably at least thirty years older than me...--and then there are three or four people in lane 8 who are for one reason or another [i.e. health or lack of knowledge of other strokes] doing a modified workout).

There's no problem with this, I'm new to it and I'm resigned in any case to being fairly slow, but I feel that my swimming and running are in many respects very commensurate with one another--or rather, let's say that I'm a better runner than swimmer but that's because running is technically completely undemanding! But in most of the settings in which I run, I would be one of the medium-to-faster female runners. But in these swim contexts I am terribly slow...

So that the difficulty with these masters swim workouts is that it's the equivalent of me, say, doing track workouts with one of the really fast local running clubs (like the Central Park Track Club). It is good to challenge yourself, but it is not good to put yourself in a setting where you're much, much slower than everyone else. Hmmm--I guess I will just have to get to be a rather better swimmer, and then it won't be so much of a problem...

2 comments:

Wendy said...

In swimming, really, the only way to get faster is to do the work. You are now doing workouts you couldn't have dreamed of a short time ago.

We all have slow days, particularly when we are sleep deprived and not on a workout schedule. You should have seen our pool last night!!!

Jenny Davidson said...

Oh, yes, I quite agree--I think that really I was swimming at a perfectly reasonable speed for myself, it was not at all bad. And I know I will get faster and stronger if I just keep working.

It is more that I wish I could have a nice bunch of lanemates to work with who are all more or less at the same kind of speed I am. There is definitely something collaborative about the ideal lane situation, and I have not had it at all recently. Later in January I'm going to check out the evening masters swim at Columbia and also the Red Tide swim workouts, I am hoping that one of these (or both?) will be a significant improvement on the current situation--not least because this early-morning thing is clearly not working well for me...