Sunday, September 25, 2011

I Can't Do It Alone

Date: Sunday, September 25, 2011
Time: 11:25 a.m.
Short Course Meters
274 days to Trials

10x150 on 2:30
Odd: free
Even: 100 back/50 breast
(descended efforts down to 1:50 for free, 2:00 for back/breast)

8x25 on :45, fast to 15 meters

8x25 on :40
Breast kick drill (two kicks, one stroke)

100 breast fast from push (1:08)

6x50 free easy on 1:00

4x100 on 1:40
50 back/50 free descend to aerobic (about 1:18)

100 IM fast from push (1:03)

8x50 choice easy on 1:10

100 back fast from push (1:03)

4x100 easy :20 rest

Total: 3,700 meters

This weekend in Phoenix, two Masters meets are taking place. I couldn't take part in either because I was in Tucson for the weekend. So, my plan was to do some fast swims today. On a scale of 1 to 10, my excitement level for these swims before I dove in was a 6. Just before the 100 breast, it grew to an 8. Physically, my body was still sore from all the hard work I did on Thursday and Friday, both in the pool and at the gym. One day off didn't do much to recover my muscles.

I wanted to do some short course meters sprint work today, since my taper meet for the season is in short course meters. As a reminder, it's the Arizona Masters state short course meters meet the weekend of Dec. 8. As usual, the goal was to be six or seven seconds slower than my shaved time, and I hit that goal for all three of my swims, which were all seven seconds off my shaved-and-tapered goal times for December. I wasn't very agressive on my 100 breast. My stroke rate and stroke count were OK, but I didn't have much snap to my stroke and my legs weren't being very responsive on the second 50.

As I do every Sunday, I swam alone at the University of Arizona's Hillenbrand Aquatic Center. Not to sound like a broken record, but swimming sprint sets on your own is not easy, especially when your excitement level is only an 8.When you're at a meet, whether in-season or at the end of a season, the excitement level should be at or close to 10. In workout, race-pace swimming should not only train your body to swim as fast as you want to race, but train your mind to be excited for the swim. I was fairly happy with the times, and think this is a good launching pad for the sprint phase of the season, which starts one week from today. Essentially, it will entail similar types of sprint swimming, but maybe not three 100-meter/yard swims in one session.

After my workout, I coached the Dolphins of the Desert Swimming Academy's long distance swimming group. After my own workout, it was weird giving them a broken 1650 (3x550), but it's what they signed up to do each Sunday afternoon! I told one of the swimmers in the group, Karin Bivens, about swimming alone today, and how she was lucky to have people to swim with today. She went into a spiel about sports psychology, and threw out the term "social facilitation." According to Wikipedia, it's defined as " the tendency for people to do better on simple tasks when in the presence of other people." I like that term, and it is very true for me, but not exactly for the same reason defined on Wikipedia. I do swim faster when other people are in the pool with me doing the same set at essentially the same speed. If I had a coach watching me from the side of the pool during my workout today, and no one else was in the pool, I doubt I would have swum faster. If I had, say, Steve West swimming next to me on the 100 breast, and my Phoenix Swim Club teammate Alan Carter in the adjacent lane during my 100 IM and 100 back, I might have gone about a second faster.

I last felt the impact of social facilitation two weeks ago, when Alan and I raced a 200 IM in workout. I went 2:05 to his 2:04 (short course yards). I hadn't gone that fast in Masters swimming. Just a few minutes earlier I had gone pretty much the same effort, only to go about 2:09. Anyone who has swum a major race alone will tell you racing the clock is not as effective as racing a human being.

Back with Phoenix Swim Club on Tuesday. I'm sure social facilitation will be running rampant all over the pool Tuesday morning!

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