Thursday, February 7, 2008

Preternaturally calming Thursday run-swim

Well, the mood swings round here this week will probably make me seem like an utter lunatic, but I am feeling extremely calm and well-disposed towards the world this evening, after 2 hours of fairly strenuous exercise. Triathlon training is extremely beneficial for my mental health!

(Obviously it must not be taken to extremes, it is potentially addictive like any number of other things, moderation is good--but there is no doubt that about two hours of pretty hard exercise is really the best possible thing to induce calmness. I cannot remember the exact words, but I had a funny conversation with M. once--I must have been telling him about what I'd been doing exercise-wise over the previous couple days--and he said, more with admiration than with disapproval, "You don't just get tired, you tire yourself out!" And it is true, and it is not ideal, but that's just the way I am made, I have to work with it...)

(It was strongly my feeling after my first half-marathon that two hours is the perfect amount of time to run, but that two hours is not nearly long enough for a really satisfying race! Thus the sense of 70.3 as perfect combination of things...)

So first I had a really nice run. I went over to the NYRR to pick up my race number for Sunday, and it made for a rather more varied and interesting route than I usually bother with--south on Riverside Drive and east along 106th St. and then into Central Park, then along the bridle trail round the south end of the reservoir and past Engineers Gate to the Road Runners building on E. 89th St., and then back up and around the bridle trail again and over to Riverside Park at 96th and up through the park just as it was getting dark. Very nice, and with some good speeding-up type bits when I hit a stretch of terrain that seemed appropriate; my legs felt very springy and well-rested through not having run since Sunday...

(I am kind of looking forward to soon switching to some slightly faster training, I have really only been running fairly slowly these past months, I am ready to speed it up!)

5.8 miles, average HR 149, average pace 9:40

I got back here around 5:40 and then hied myself over to the gym for masters swim. Hmmm, very enjoyable doing 'em consecutively like that. I wasn't in the pool until 6:10, I had to drop off the check and enrollment forms for the swim thing which I have had no moment to do and it kind of took forever, but it was a great workout, I loved it! Very straightforward, but incredibly beneficial. Kept mental focus the whole time, so that was good too, definitely part of the appeal/challenge of doing them next to each other.

I am feeling very strong in the water on freestyle in a way that makes me want to write a thank-you e-mail to Dr. Rod Havriluk (but I will restrain myself!). I am pretty slow, but it is OK because I am a beginner, and I really feel as though I am already improving because of it being a well-thought-out and consistent series of workouts that are not at a prohibitively early hour of the morning and at which I can actually swim with appropriate rest intervals!

I was about to peel the workout sheet off the tombstoneish kickboard at the end of the lane (you know how they do it--dip the sheet in the water and slap it onto the kickboard like wallpaper, then prop it up on the starting block, it is a funny little thing!), but the coach kindly gave me a dry copy, so in this case I can say exactly what I did, and with pretty much the intervals too:

Warmup: 2 x 150 (100 swim, 25 kick, 25 build)

2 x 200 (150 free, 50 back; 150 free, 50 breast) on 4:30

2 x 25 build free on :45

3 x 100 solid free on 2:10 (I swim it in 1:55, then I need rest--slowest interval suggested was 1:50, but that is just for more experienced swimmers than I, I cannot be full of self-criticism for this!)

2 x 25 fast! on :50

1 x 50 smooth good form on 1:20

2 x 25 build stroke on :45 (I did fly, breast--only my breast is all one speed, I cannot do it any faster!)

2 x 100 IM (takes me about 2:15, I did it on 2:30)

4 x 25 stroke fast!! on :60 (I did all four strokes, suggested interval of :50 but seemed clear the spirit of it was to take a bit more rest than that given how slowly I swim them...)

1 x 50 smooth good form on 1:20

2 x 25 build free on :45

1 x 100 solid free (I guess it was 2:10 again...)

6 x 25 fast!!! on :50

1 x 50 smooth good form

So as you can see, this was lovely: very sensible, very straightforward, totally to the point... and I got through the whole workout, too! I was excited... 1900, not huge but not bad, quality more important than quantity.

I will swim tomorrow and Saturday also, so this is good...


Dorothy W. said...

I agree that there's nothing better than a couple hours hard work to make me feel so much better about the world!

Wendy said...


That's the ticket ... make sure the rest interval corresponds to speed. (Which, in turn, will lead to faster swimming.)

And quite right -- form and technique are most important.