Wednesday, July 20, 2011

The Swim Workout

The University Fitness Center Pool
I've been comfortable in the water as long as I can remember. Growing up in Florida there were regular trips to the beach and to local lakes and rivers, as well as to any and all friend's houses with a pool.  I joined the swim team my junior year of high school, and I'm sure I learned some valuable things, but I don't remember much besides how hard it was to get out of that swimsuit. 

All in all, I do not know much about swimming competitively.  And really, I don't care much about that portion of the triathlon. It is merely a section to complete before moving on to the bike ride.  Still, I don't want to be out there all day.  And if I want my overall triathlon time to come down, the swim has to be a part of that. 

Up until now I've focused on time in the water.  I've been getting in two or three 30-minute swims a week and calling it good.  I've got a good rhythm and my form is not bad either.  Not great, mind you, but not bad.  After Chattanooga, however, I decided I'd like to actually train when I'm in the water, only I was not sure how to do that.  I consulted my trusty triathlon guru, Jason.  He told me what he did in his Ironman training, and I brought it down to my level.

My first go at an actual training swim was Monday.  Here is what I did:

250m slow/100m fast x 5  (about 7 there-and-backs in the pool for those of you like me who have no concept of meters).  That's about 35 laps - a lap being a "there-and-back." 

Please forgive my homemade terms - this English major doesn't do a whole lot of math.  Jason is wonderfully patient with me as I quiz him on meters and laps and take his terms and repeat them back in my own so I understand what we are talking about (and even then I think I still get it wrong half the time).  It would probably be quite comical should anyone overhear the conversation.  But I'm digressing.

This workout wore me OUT.  Jason was still swimming when I left.  I stopped on the way home to get gas and when I got out of the car, my body felt so weak and slow.  The thought of going home, letting Chance out, rinsing off and making made me even more tired.  Eventually my energy returned and as I plopped down on the coach with my sandwich for an episode of "The Closer," I felt quite proud of myself.  I'd run 8 miles that morning, and felt good about the day's efforts.

I'll be doing this same workout today and then possibly again on Friday if there is time.  Next week I will consult my triathlon guru once again to help me mix it up.  I'm not exactly sure how these workouts will benefit my triathlon performance, but at the very least they are much more fun than swimming for 30 minutes (watching the clock) or trying to keep up with how many laps (there-and-backs) I've done.


  1. I've been saying over and over--swimming is HARD WORK!!! I have 3 regular swim workouts a week for Tri 201. I'll email you what they are so this comment isn't longer than the post!!! I've been very pleased with my progress from a non-swimmer to being proud to call myself a mid-packer swimmer just by following the plan!! to you keep up with your "there-and-backs"?? I have hate having to constantly stop and look at my watch!

  2. Well I don't look at time while I swim. I try to minimize the stopping and resting for each set. I just saw the workouts in my inbox! Thank you! I will have to try some of those!