Monday, August 26, 2013

Sudden speed in the pool

It's been over a year since I broke 2 minutes on 100 metres in the pool.  That was a major achievement for me.  Since then, I hadn't really seen any big jumps in time.  Even the 2 minute mark isn't a given.  I've probably done it less then a dozen times.  I hadn't swam a sub-2 minute 100 since before my injury.  The 1:58 I hit the first time I did it has remained my best time for a year and a half.  Until now...

Friday morning, I was in the pool.  I'm still off coaching for the month, so I didn't have an assigned workout.  I've been feeling the need for more structure though, so I was following the general formula that Angie uses in my swim workouts.  A warm up, some drills, some steady swimming, then I decided to throw in a bit of speed work.  Not much: 4 x 25m, 2 x 50m, 1 x 100m.  (25m is one length of the pool, so 50 is there and back, while 100 is there and back twice.)

The 25m were feeling good.  I wasn't breaking any of my records on them, swimming them in 27 or so seconds.  It was solid though and I held the pace for all 4 of them.

Then on to the 50s.  What the heck?  55 seconds?  Maybe I timed myself wrong.  Maybe the pace clock was off?  (I'd forgotten my garmin, so was going entirely off the pace clock.)  Then I did it again.

I rested on the end of the pool contemplating it.  This could very well be the morning when I could get under 2:00 again, I thought.  I gave myself a full 90 seconds rest.  This was important to me.  My swimming felt clunky for a long time during/after the injury, and even though I'd had some good races, this sub-2 minute hundred is like the sub-30 minute 5K for me.  It's one of those steps that was a barrier for a long time.  When it's been a while since I've achieved it, I want to prove to myself that I am still capable.

I watched the pace clock make it's way around.  I was starting on the red top.  Then it was go time.

The first 25 metres I concentrated on swimming steady.  I almost always go out too fast and can't hold it.  No lolly gagging or sand bagging, but if it felt hard this soon, I knew I'd be in trouble.

Onto the next 25.  Swimming strong.  Uncomfortable.  I could just stop at 50.  Nobody would know.  No.  I would know.

The third 75.  I had no idea how I was doing timewise.  You lose time when you stick your head up to look at the pace clock, after all.  It was hard.  From looking at my garmin stats, this is the part I always slow down.  Stay strong...

The last 25.  It hurt.  But, it was also in the final stretch.  You can do anything for 30 seconds.  Anything.  I tunnel visioned my focus onto my technique and ignored the pain.  Body roll, high elbow.  Push down that little bit with my chest to keep my hips up.  Don't lift my head...

I hit the wall.


1 minute, 54 seconds.

FOUR seconds faster then I have ever swam 100 metres.

When I first started swimming, a 4 second improvement was easy to come by.  Now, not so much.  Very pleased.


  1. That's awesome! I've still never broke 2 mins. I'm totally jealous. Of course I am completely inconsistent about swim workouts. I can run and bike no problem, but I tend to slack when it comes to the swim.