Swim Review

SwimReview09.jpgI’m starting to feel like a swimmer again. I feel strong in the pool and am hitting some good times. Before I get in to this a little about training recently.

I feel completely recovered from Busselton now and have been ramping up the training. Last week was high 30 hours and this week is looking like 40+. Next week I have 5 days before heading off on Epic Camp and will probably take the advice that Gordo has posted and back off a little. Now I have my training stress balance charts in my training diary I can better judge how much to back off. I don’t want to be tapering for this camp as the idea is to improve my fitness not approach it as a race. The past two camps I’ve done ok with just going easy for a few days before. I think thats what I’ll do this time aiming to be pretty fresh on the bike for day 1.

Been getting some great riding done. Initially did a couple of long fast flat rides but yesterday decided to test myself out on some hills. It was a gorgeous day. I headed out with Andy (our landlord!) over to Port Levy. Jo and I climbed to the pass but not down the other side. I ended up with a 5+ hour ride which included 4 climbs of 25+ minutes. I was pretty tired.

Running has been going well. Built up to a 1h50 run on Tuesday. More encouraging is I’ve felt strong running and been getting no niggles with my foot.

So swimming… great to start with this as it’s going so well. The start of the year went so well with the squad here in Christhchurch but 2 months of zero swimming had me worried that my hard earned improvements would be lost. That does not seem to have been the case. Through the summer I got some steady volume in and some decent sessions in La Santa and found myself swimming real well in the run up to Kona. Since then it’s improved further and a couple of weeks in the squad here has seen some times I’ve not seen since being a Triathlete.

For instance this week:

TUESDAY saw me hitting a series of 400s on 5:01, 5:01, 4:59, 5:03, 4:59. 4:59 is the fastest I’ve ever been since being a Triathlete and the last time I did it was in a dive start TT.

WEDNESDAY saw me complete a 4k main set in 56 minutes which included rest. The vast majority of the set was done on repeating times of quicker than 1:25 per 100m.

TODAY saw me do a set of 3 800s. 1st one I evenly paced to 10:45. 2nd was with buoy and paddles and I cruised to 11:00. The final one I did in 10:37 negative splitting it 5:20, 5:17.

Yes swimming is going well. With the squad here offering 6 morning sessions a week which last for the best part of 2 hours I should be able to improve. Back in my Uni days I could knock out 4:40 400s in training …. hoping I can get back to that form.

So whats the plan for next year:

To be honest it’s a bit of a no brainer for me with swim training. I need to get consistency and I need to get some good squad sessions. I can benefit from a period of up to a few weeks where I just swim (and swim long) but I need to get back to hard interval wok which can only really be done in a squad or a pool with lots of room (eg La Santa). The great thing for me with swimming is I’m still no where near the sort of times I used to do which means I’m pretty confident if I put the hours in and the effort in during those hours I will get faster.

This  year has been my highest volume year since I started triathlon. My plan for next year is to average over 15k a week. Which, when taking account of the time out in my cast, is equivalent to what I did this year. The early part of the year here in Christchurch I plan to make the most of the squad sessions here by making a minimum of 4 of those sessions. If I cope I will try and do all 6 some weeks or add my own swim. This should mean i regularly get close to 30k of swimming. Back in the UK TriLondon now has four 1.5 hour coached swim sessions which should help me maintain that quality and volume. When I’m in other locations using public pools / open water I will need to focus to try and ensure I still do some quality swimming.

For fun here’s my swim training stress balance graph or the year:

Already my Chronic Training Load (CTL) is above the levels I got to in Christchurch last year so I’m way ahead of where I was a year ago. Not approaching the peak before Kona though but that did involve 90k of solid swimming over two weeks. That said I’m probably swimming better now than then.

I’m feeling very positive about my swimming and enjoying it so much now. It is far more fun when I’m swimming well. There’s great motivation in the squad. People my pace to push me but also guys that were doing 4:35s for those 400s … gives me targets, get in the same lane as those guys and try to hang on.

As for goals next year.

-Sub 50 at IM New Zealand – this is a much bigger ask than in 2008 since the pro’s now go off 10 minutes before so I won’t be getting myself in a pro pack. This time it will have to be done largely on my own

-Sub 52 minutes at Lanzarote

-Sub 55 minutes at Kona

-Sub 51 minutes at Busselton.

Also wondering about entering the 1500m gala towards the end of next year and seeing if I can get under 18 minutes.

Now I may have a beer whilst I wait for Jo to finish her ride so we can head to Lonestar for our Christmas Eve tea. Will be having a nice big dessert to fuel me for tomorrow. Jo and I are on our own for Christmas Day so we can do what we like …. so what’s that? A fun ride. Not one we’re doing for training or for prep for Epic but a ride we want to do just for kicks. My estimate is it’ll take us 9 hours of riding !! I may get chance to write about it on Boxing Day.

Merry Christmas reader.

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