Sunday, July 19, 2009

Whoopin' & Hollerin'

This afternoon I went to the Terrier swim. Last week at practice, coach Megan had told us that because the 4:30 practice was so crowded, we were welcome to come to the 3:30 race-specific practice instead. I'm not sure if this is the last week of the 3:30 practice since the New York triathlon is next weekend, but I figured I would take advantage of the smaller practice group.

When I got there, the new swim coach, Jamie Barone, was teaching a flip-turn clinic. I know how to do flip-turns, but I just cannot do them on a regular basis because they really hurt my ears. I know that sounds weird, but I have had a lot ear problems ever since I was a kid and something about going too deep in the water (even a couple of feet) really gives me a hard time. I know that if I did them on a regular basis, it would make my pool swimming faster, but I figure that in triathlons you don't really do flip-turns, so I'm probably okay on that.

Jamie told us that he's a fan of doing short, fast sets in practices. He feels like longer, slower sets teach you how to swim slowly and doing faster sets helps you learn how to swim more quickly. We also all lucked out because it ended up that there were only 4 of us who were at the 3:30 practice, so we all had pretty individual attention. This was the workout:

300 Warm-Up
350 Kick
10 x 100 Hard/Easy split
10 x 50 Hard/Easy split
50 Warm-Down

Total distance: 2200 meters (1.36 miles) in approximately 1:05:00

The kick was done in sets. It was 25 hard followed by 25 easy. Then 50 hard followed by 25 easy. And then 75 hard followed by 25 easy. Finally 100 hard with 25 easy. Jamie was walking up and down the side of the pool with us while we were kicking. I was in the far left lane, closest to the wall, so he was mostly walking up and down next to me while we were swimming. He asked me if I had done a lot of swimming as a kid. When I said yes, he said it showed a lot in my kick. He said that I kick a lot from the knee instead of from the hip, which will make my stroke a lot faster and so I worked on that for the rest of the kicking drills. He said he could instantly tell I was kicking faster his way and I did feel a little bit smoother in the water, but it still doesn't feel 100% natural.

After that we did 10 x 100. It was broken up into five 200s that the first one was done fast and the second was done easy. Jamie had a stop watch, so he timed all of us doing our fast 100s. My first 100 was in 1:28, if I'm remembering correctly. I did increase my time from there, I think my third one was 1:33. Then Jamie gave me a different swim cap to wear. I wear a lycra one because I think all of the other kinds hurt my hair, so he told me to put on a silicone one over my lycra one. He said that my original cap carries a lot of water and is giving me too much drag. The funny thing was that after he told me that I was wearing the fast cap, I went down to 1:29 on my fourth hard 100. So, I guess he did know what he was talking about. It probably is worth wearing a second cap, although I would still want to wear the lycra one underneath because those other ones just pull on my hair too much. Or I should just toughen up. But I think I'll choose the second swim cap.

While were doing the fast 100s, Jamie would walk up and down the side of the pool and whistle and yell at us to encourage us. It actually was really pretty awesome and nice. It was definitely the encouragement that I needed to keep going, mostly on the last 25! He told us at one point that if we heard him "whoopin' and hollerin'" that we should just keep swimming - and swimming fast! The recovery 100s were done amazingly slow. I have no idea what the timing was on those, but it was really nice to just take it slow and easy. I did the fast 500 in 7:37 total (about 1:31/100), which was pretty good for me, considering that my normal 100 pace is about 1:50. I'm sure I couldn't have maintained that 7:37 pace if the 500 had been continuous, but still an excellent time. After our last fast 100, Jamie had us take our heart rates. Mine was 180. According to the formula, my max heart rate could be 192. He also had us take our heart rate after the recovery 100 and mine dropped down to 126. He said that ideally it would be about 60 beats slower from one to the other.

We then did the exact same thing with the 10 x 50. We did 5 fast and 5 as recovery. Jamie told us that we wanted our five fast 50s to be less than half of the time that it took us to do the five fast 100s. I came in at 3:30 total, which was definitely less than half of the time, so I felt good about that. The average for each 50 was 0:42. Jamie still walked up and down the pool while we were doing the 50s. He kept reminding me that I should kick from the hips instead of the knees (and yes, he did that while I was swimming by using arm motions). I tried to do it as best I could, but I think it's extremely hard to change your stroke while also trying to swim as fast as we could. We took our heart rates again on the last fast 50 (168 beats/minute) and after the last slow 50 (108 beats/minute). I guess that extra hard 50 really made my heart increase.

So, I'm not sure how often Jamie will be running regular practices. There are additional practices that I know he'll be doing on Thursday nights, but those are for an additional fee, so I'm not sure that I'm quite ready to do that, especially since swimming is not my weakest sport. I do hope that he runs some of the regular Sunday practices as well. I like that there are so many coaches because it really helps shake up the variety of the workouts. Next Sunday there is no swim practice because so many people are doing the New York City triathlon. I'm going to go and cheer on my fellow teammates - I think that counts as a workout, right?

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