Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Steady As the Beating Drum

Date: Wednesday, January 4, 2012
Time: 5:45 a.m.
Location: Phoenix, AZ
Long Course Meters
173 days to Olympic Trials

1200 warmup

Four rounds:
6x50 on 1:00 hold best average
200 easy
Round 1: free, :35 avg.
Round 2: back, :36 avg.
Round 3: free, :34 avg.
Round 4: breast, :38 avg.

2x50 breast fast from push on 2:00
(33.6, 34.6)

200 easy

Total: 3,500 meters (80 minutes)

I have mixed feelings about best average sets, and it depends on the time of season. They are good in the first half of the season, when you are working on building endurance. These sets test your aerobic threshold, and as such, you are not going at race pace for 100 meters. It's a good set for anyone training for a 200. When I'm in the part of my season when I'm focused on race pace training, they can be a good warmup set, in that I get my heart rate up and usually don't push the pace too fast.

On my breaststroke round, I tried to hold the time I want to have on my breast leg of the 200 IM, and I was pretty consistent, except for a couple in the low-39 range. These sets, if done correctly, can be very taxing, and I tried to hold back a little bit on the freestyle rounds to have energy for the back and breast rounds. I didn't go as fast as I wanted on backstroke (goal was 35 seconds), but the breaststroke felt controlled and smooth.

I was happy to be able to do the fast 50s at the end. I didn't think I would go under 34 today, after that tough set. I think I didn't go under 34 on the second one because I knew I would be very fatigued and therefore tried harder to go the same speed. I should have trusted that the 87 seconds of rest that I got would have given me ample recovery time. I got real tight in the last 15 meters, but that was because I rushed my stroke in the first 25 meters. In the end, those two times are very good, and I'm still trying to figure out why I'm going under 34 consistently lately. Holding steady in the 33-second range is going to be important after the Austin Grand Prix, when the training will be ramped up in and out of the pool. I might not be doing a lot of long course training after this week, but when I do, I have to make it count!

Today's work with JR Rosania was not as tough as last week, but still very intense. The goal this week was to do more volume in an hour than ever before, and I think my body held up well. My legs don't have the same aerobic capacity as my upper body, which is largely due to the fact that I'm primarily an upper body swimmer. I have been trying to focus on building leg strength, and when I'm working with JR, there's no escaping the work we do in that area. When I'm at the gym on my own, I tend to say that I want to put a bigger focus on my core, or simply wimp out when it comes to doing heavy leg weights. I'm happy that I'm adapting to JR's workouts, and he noticed I'm getting stronger, especially on the sled jumps. I'm lying on my back on a sled with pretty heavy resistance (no weights, but rather a few resistance cords), and I emulate pushing off the wall on backstroke. I do feel like I am getting more "air" on the jumps, and can do 10 in a row without taking a very brief break between jumps. Though I feel sore the day after, I know it is paying off.

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