Thursday, June 12, 2008

Thursday swim

Hmmm, good in certain respects and frustrating in others. I found myself in a disagreement with the (very well-intentioned and helpful) coach about HR, it was a minor wrangle which we had to leave rather unresolved--it started when I asked her what "80% effort" really meant for the warm-up...

(I agree with her general point that I would benefit from doing more high-effort high-HR work, that is what I am thinking myself. But I dispute the notion that this is a natural conclusion based on me observing that my HR while swimming rarely tops 150! You cannot draw any conclusions about absolute HR in any case, it differs dramatically in individuals and does not have to do with conditioning; and it is entirely in line with what I know about sport-specific max HR and HR training ranges, as well as about why HR is lower in swimming than on dry land, that the same perceived effort in swimming and running might give me a HR of 150 in the pool and 170 on the track. I did some hard-effort 100s and 50s of kick, I was definitely working harder than 80%. But the comment "I can see just looking at you that this was really hard effort, your shoulders and arms are flushed, I'm guessing your HR is at least 170" is not founded in any necessary basis in reality! It is my own fault, for being a clumsy and non-confident pulse-counter; I must practice this and get better at it, but also I think I will just wear my HR strap a couple times next week--I always wear the wrist monitor when I'm swimming--so as to calibrate counting against an objective measure, I should have more confidence in my own judgment....)


(Yards were sacrificed to HR-related conversation, that's why I ran quite short numbers-wise...)

Warmup: 250 free, 4 x 100 free at 80% effort

6 x 50 kick on :05 RI (I did it with board since we were trying to get my HR very high with coach walking along side of pool and egging me on! Enjoyable...kicking with a board is NOT a very efficient way to move through the water, it is hard to keep up with someone walking even at a quite regular speed!)

4 x 100 descending on 2:30-2:15

400 pull

And then time was up. 1750 yards total.

I was trying to be fairly mindful in my freestyle swimming, concentrating in particular today on what point in the stroke I breathe at (always a bit late, especially on the left-hand side). There is no doubt that a set like yesterday's, with a lot of stroke mixed in, makes it much easier for me to concentrate on what I'm doing. I can see that when I am more experienced it should be equally possible to concentrate and be mindful on long freestyle sets, and I do try, but at my current stage of development it is far easier to concentrate on details of technique in an IM-based set--switching back and forth between the different strokes makes me very conscious of the feeling of freestyle, each one of the other strokes helps me to feel something more clearly in free, a workout like yesterday's is something like a corset of mindfulness!

1 comment:

Wendy said...

Oh, dear!!

If I were you, I wouldn't worry too much about what percentage effort equates to in terms of heart rate zones.

You could try playing a game with yourself in a lap swim. Swim a 100, first 25 flat out as hard as you can possibly go, then dial it back what you think might be 20% for each subsequent length. Have a rest, then do the same thing but dial back 10%, then 5%. If you do that a few times over a few sessions you'll end up with a good approximation and understanding of the percentage effort that is being asked for.

Warning: It is possible to go 100% effort more slowly than 80-90% effort because your stroke rate may go up so signficantly that your technique falls apart.

N.B. With practice you will find yourself becoming quite efficient at kicking with a board. Points to consider: tuck board under armpits (more or less) do not extend it too much in front of you, if you're doing flutter remember to kick from hips, not too deep, not too much splash, knees soft but not overly "bendy". (Hmm ... there's a lot to remember while kicking, isn't there?)

P.S. Mindfulness is good!!!