Archive for the ‘Swimming’ Category

About a week ago I hit a bit of a “wall”.  I got up on Monday morning for my usual pre-work run and felt like I didn’t want to do it.  It wasn’t a mental block,  it was more like my whole body rejected the thought of running.  I did it anyway and struggled through what was usually an easy run.

I felt terrible the rest of the day. Muscles ached,  I couldn’t concentrate and everything seemed like hard work. I had planned a speed work session for Wednesday and could not complete it. Something was wrong.

I think I had been over doing things. Following a half Marathon training programme, taking an Aikido grading,  attending a two-day Aikido course,  more swimming than usual and some extra work related stress had taken its toll.

The half Marathon plan had peaked in terms of mileage at 10 miles. Instead of running this in easy conditions, I decided to run it over a series of hills around an iron age hill fort. This was probably a mistake, although I felt absolutely fine after the run.

On completion of the half Marathon plan,  I was going to start on the next level up. I am toying with the idea of taking part in a local half Marathon in October, having committed to a 10k road race in two weeks time and a 10k adventure race at the end of September.

Instead of launching into a more advanced training programme, I took a week off:

  • increased my food intake – especially carbs
  • did some light exercise (to avoid “exercise withdrawal”): 1 Aikido weapons session, easy swim with the kids, 1 core training session.

I found doing some light exercise is good as it keeps your focus and allows you to move forward in terms of skills and drills rather that excessive heavy, endurance or speed sessions that caused the over training in the first place. Several resources on the net advocated complete rest.

I started running again today with the same 5k I struggled with a week ago. Happy to report that it went well. Lesson to learn on this is that you need to recognise when your goal changes. I have entered a transition period, moving from getting in shape to increasing fitness and performance.

I think my issue is around not consuming the right food to recover properly.  Generally, I majored on protein and not enough carbs. I was extending my training and staying on a reduced consumption diet. I will do some more research in this area…

My children have just joined their friends in attending swimming lessons on Saturday mornings. While this has prevented my attendance at Park Runs, I have started going swimming too. While they have their lesson, I can do a few lengths and afterward they can continue to practise and we can play a few games.

Generally, I do about 500 – 600 meters with a rest between each 50m or 40m set. I use the Garmin 300xt to track these laps. I am not too worried about the time taken to complete the laps, but do whatever I can in 30 minutes.

In my last post, I tracked down a copy of Total Immersion, but found it a bit too complicated. I spent a lot of my workout time trying to get the drills right.. Instead of following that plan, I decided to build my efforts and, like the beginners running series, I found a build up plan on about.com.

I only get chance to swim once a week, so I’ll see how it goes.

Swimming Workouts – Build to 1500 Meters or Yards

Total Immersion

Posted: November 16, 2012 in Diary, Swimming

Due to my lack of running this week and in response to a colleague’s jibe – “you’ll very signing up for a triathlon next!” – I decided to hit the pool.

I have not swam a serious amount since doing the water confiance test as a trainee diver.  This involved swimming out and back 500m to a buoy armed only with a set of speedos and a strobe marker. We then did some towing and and a snorkel swim.

I had also done the RLSS Bronze Medallion and NPLQ before this.  At school I was regarded as a strong swimmer.  I completed the ASA gold and honours tests with some coaching from my Dad. He taught himself to swim in Milford Haven, one of the world’s largest natural harbours. The only swimming I have done in recent memory was about once or twice a year in holiday leisure pools. 

I made a tentative target to do about 500m or 20x25m pool lengths the first time.  I set 45 minutes as the time target in order to allow rests and a bit of playing – underwater swimming, treading water, etc.

The first session went pretty well,  I did the distance I wanted. Returning home I remembered that a friend had read a book called “Total Immersion” with a view to swimming smarter. I made a stop at the library and began reading…