Thursday, December 07, 2006

Discovering My Fitness Level

What a coincidence! Last night Brad announced another stroke clinic this coming Saturday. Excellent news, but now my carefully orchestrated schedule has come undone due to an unusual Friday evening date for our symphony series tomorrow and this clinic mid-Saturday. I’ll have to see where I can fit all the pieces back. His workout was very similar to my Tuesday morning practice. One interesting difference was he called for heart rates on the 5x200 free set. I think I’ve listed about twenty topics I want to cover in this blog related in some way, but not directly, with my swimming. One of them is discussing the uses of a training log and therein, the training principles behind heart rates. That’s for another day. Suffice it to say your heart rate indicates your present physical state; and your target for training purposes is generally 80% your maximum rate, normally calculated as 220 minus your age. Brad mentioned 200 as a possible max rate and both Ian and I vociferously disagreed with him (for example Lance Armstrong’s max rate in training was 195!). Using the above rule-of-thumb my max rate would be about 175, but because I have a certain amount of hubris I’m going to use 180, giving a target heart rate of 144. You can calculate your heart rate by counting the number of beats over ten seconds (I use my carotid artery underneath my jawbone) and multiply the result by six. The workout called for the 200s to be swum progressively faster on four and a half minutes. My first 200 I swam at a leisurely pace for a count of 17, or a marvelous 102. The second 200 was swum about ten seconds faster and my heart rate climbed to 132. The third 200 I swam in the same time as the second, but my heart rate soared to 168. No endurance! The penultimate 200 I swam five seconds faster still with my heart rate dropping to 144. No, not a misprint; one of my gifts is a heart which can adjust to stress if given enough time, definitely an asset for endurance events. Getting tired (I’m going to partly blame the pool’s warmth) the last 200 I deliberately slowed down over ten seconds and finished with a rate of 150. So I ended pretty well where I wanted to, but my stamina is horrible! Ian, of course, pulled the whole way leaving me several meters behind in his wake each time, and more than half a lap behind on the final 200. Have to work harder.

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