Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Last Night's Swim Was Stupid

I was flipping through Twitter yesterday afternoon on the train ride home when I saw where a guy had posted his swim workout: 10 x 200 freestyle.  He said he was "coming in at" 2:50, which means, I think, that he was averaging 1:25/100 swimming with rest breaks between 200s.  That's not bad, especially for an adult age-group swimmer without a deep swimming background.  I had my own workout to plan last night and decided to simplify my life by adopting his plan almost in it's entirety. I made it 10 x 200 @ 2:50.  This is a little faster, of course, but it makes sense given my background.

I get to the pool, and we have a new person at Tri Club, Michelle (USMA Class of '04).  Talking to her immediately makes me feel older than dirt, but it is totally awesome to have another grad in the club, so I'm dealing with it. We get Michelle started--it turns out that she has a high school swimming background, but it's rusty--and then my buddy Ben shows up, and of course, he likes the idea of doing a long set of 200s.  Ben is on fire to go to Master's Nationals, and he is well aware of the fact that he needs to build more uptempo endurance to compete in the 100 and 200 butterfly when he gets there.  200s fit that bill beautifully, so there you are.  We're doing 200s. 

I wind up rearranging the set a little on the fly, and it's the only decent decision I make all night. We do 2 x 200 warm-up @ 3:30, 200 kick, and then launch into our main set.  I describe this set to Ben as "seven or eight" 200s on 2:55.  We decide to leave on the :30, using the pace clock and the :05 interval change per 200 as a way of keeping count.  That's a stupid swimmer's trick for you. 

I was tired all day yesterday, and I promised myself I was gonna swim easy, but as soon as we push off, I'm pacing Ben, pushing the both of us well past our comfort zones. Because I am an ill-disciplined idiot. We go the first two 200s at a sliver over 2:30, and I say to Ben, "Wow.  I really need to stop watching you and slow down."

Ben says, "Yeah, we are going a little fast."  

But neither of us slows down very much. 

I wind up swimming five reps and pulling two, after which I crack badly and get out of the water. This is the third swim workout I've done in four days, plus I've hit the weight room.  I look a little better naked, but my shoulders ache, and my throat is getting scratchy.  For a triathlete, this is your body's way of telling you that you're being a fucking idiot. Endurance training is about training consistently, which is only possible when you carefully moderate your efforts over the course of your training weeks. At 41, I know that my body can tolerate at most two hard workouts a week, but I keep swimming hard, and I keep racing stop lights during my commute rides, and the effects are cummulative.  I'm getting tired.

I get home and know immediately that I've over-worked.  I'm too jacked up, and it's gonna be hours before my heart rate comes all the way down.  This is your body's natural response to a hard workout; it tends to disrupt sleep cycles if you workout late in the afternoon or evening. We swam at 6:45, so I wind up tossing and turning for at least an hour. Stupid.

Now I feel like I'm hung over. It's my own fault, but I can already tell that today is gonna be a struggle.  What can you do?

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