Thursday, March 08, 2007

It’s Time to Ease Up

Last night’s practice was tailor-made for me, a workout devoted to prepping for a 200 race and I don’t think it was a coincidence either. I’m very flattered Coach has been giving me my own specialized sets in the middle of regular training, but designing a full practice around me is going way beyond what I deserve. Unfortunately I could provide little payback as a reward for Brad’s efforts. The workout was planned to be:

3 x [200 (100 fr & 100 ch) @ 3:30 + 4 x 25 K @ 0:30]
100 ch easy
5 x 200 ch @ PB 200 + 0:26 declining 0:04 (negative 100 splits)
2 x 400 free;

but we never got to the 400s as we started out a little late and then dawdled around for several minutes before beginning the main set. To substitute for the 400s Coach had us do 8 x 25 instead, with the choice of doing them either as sprints or as tiger sprints (number of breaths declining 3/2/1/0 per lap). We in Lane Six went with the tiger sprints and so finished what seemed like a dismal night’s performance for pretty well everyone.

Personally in the main set I only achieved the required splits and declines for just the first two reps, failing to continue the decline in the third and subsequent repeats. I was simply dead in the water, my arms and legs heavy and weak by the end of the first lap with the feeling only getting worse each progressive 25. Nothing better exemplifies the degree of my lethargy than my heart rate, which peaked at a pathetic 120 beats per minute. Clearly I’m over trained. This doesn’t really come as a surprise with a training schedule virtually guaranteeing I hit the wall at some point, having decided when I first started out it would be better in the long run to over train as opposed to under in the beginning. Consequently I went with a full weight program running parallel with my training (an absolute no-no during racing season) while seeing my weekly kilometrage increase threefold (more than fivefold for a short while) at the same time. Logically there was no way I could avoid reaching the point where my body would say enough. Still I did entertain hopes I might be able to slip past and continue training in a way which would allow at least some progression. Endeavoring to continue both strength and endurance training I gradually cut back as overall fatigue mounted but, alas, this has proven to be insufficient. As a result I’m pulling out of the Victoria swim meet. I won’t be able to swim the 200 back anyways and any times I can achieve in my other races wouldn’t be anywhere close to reflecting my ‘true’ state. It’s not worth the time and effort to spend a day in Victoria for a couple of poor races. Most regrettable. So what do I do now? Well I’m going to skip my final weight cycle, the preseason phase, which was scheduled for the rest of March and the beginning of April and after taking a week off go straight into the much easier maintenance program. I also intend to increase my swimming back up to four sessions, or about 10,000 meters a week, for the next month but will restrict myself to working on technique and aerobic endurance. This means dropping down a couple of lanes in Hyack practices which will leave a bitter taste; it also means I’ll be going into our Provincial Championships with little or no speed work. With only a month of proper practice before the Canadian Masters National Championships the following month my entire 2006 – 2007 season is going to have to rest on my results at the U.S. Masters LC Championships in August. Since this provides the starting point for next season, where my real racing will occur, there’s little slack to take up. It’s coming down to just one meet.


Joe said...

> I’m pulling out of the Victoria swim meet

Say it isn't so, Scott, say it isn't so! You're gonna miss out on seeing all of those Island babes at the meet (Ian still can't stop talking about the babes from last year's meet).

> This means dropping down a
> couple of lanes in Hyack practices

Are you kidding me? If you drop down any lanes, you're gonna run over your new lane mates!

> It’s coming down to just one meet.

Bah! Pish posh! You've got lots of great meets left in your career.

Scott said...

Multiple comments! Well I grew up in Victoria and there didn't seem to be any surplus of pretty girls there when I grew up. You probably noted last night I didn't drop down to Lane Four or Three. I talked to Brad about my plans and his response was exactly the same as yours, on a good day I would be running down swimmers if I was in the lower lanes. Instead he recommended I continue in Lane Six but stay at the back with my own interval. That's why you saw me dogging it in Lane Six. It does screw up a lane though. As the Seventeenth Man has been complaining on his blog for the past couple of weeks having swimmers in a lane who can’t keep the pace messes up everyone else and I completely understand where he’s coming from. Sure anyone can get lapped on a bad night in a long set on the rare occasion but if you’re getting lapped or have to sit out a rep consistently you must move down a lane. Poor Ian, Lane Six wasn’t fast enough for him before (no doubt you saw him in Lane Two trying to find some lane where he could swim alone) and now I’m going to really screw things up for him. That’s the very reason why Vlad and Dan don’t swim with us and I hope Ian doesn’t go the same route – it’s good for a swim club to have a star swimming with them. This observation leads very nicely into answering your third comment about my having a lot more meets. If I want to continue improving over the next couple of years I’m going to have to swim a lot tougher and faster practices (which right now seems oxymoronic at best) and September for Hyacks is beginning of swim season and the time they take in new swimmers. Ideally I’d like the opportunity to swim in a proper competitive environment and applications to join are considered purely on submitted times. Perhaps not a very practical goal but I figure if I hand over enough cash they might make allowances for three or four ‘guest’ practices a week if, and a very big if, my times are decent. And I’m not swimming anywhere close to decent right now for sure. August will be my last chance to show I can still swim despite my age before we commit to the new season. In all likelihood I’ll follow Vlad and Dan and simply start to train more on my own but I’m going to make the effort. Seven months down and five more to go. It’s getting awfully close!