Wednesday, 20 March 2013

The small victories...

Sometimes training can feel a bit of a slog. Especially with the pool training, it can feel like a lot of going nowhere. So, since Christmas, I built in a weekly 1500m time trial to get some sense of progress (or not). The results have been a bit mixed, not least because I usually do this on a Tuesday night at the end of a long day of teaching that starts at 10am and finishes at 8pm. But still, with the 1500m time of 24.40 that I put on my MIMS application last November in mind, I've been inching this down slowly. On bad days, it's been around 25.15, but this is usually because I haven't been able to grab food between classes and am too tired and hungry to swim well. But recently, I've been dipping consistently below 24.30, and yesterday, I managed a PB of 24.15. As usual, there's probably no need to alert the swimming authorities, but still, I was chuffed.

I've been using the Tempo Trainer, and have discovered a weird psychological quirk that really helps me. If I set the TT to 1.37 / 100m (which would equate to 24.15 for 1500m), then I get all stressed and tense and inevitably slow down and miss the turnarounds. But if I set it to 1.40 / 100m, I feel buoyed up by the fact that for every 100m beep I inch further ahead of myself, measuring my progress at each beep against the pillars and piles of kick boards and pull buoys along the side wall of the pool. This is what I did yesterday, and the sense of progress takes the stress out of it and makes the beeps more encouraging than tyrannical. It's a bit daft, but whatever works...

But the good news is that I am slowly speeding up, and I'm getting better at keeping my stroke together under stress, only lapsing into my drowning chicken display under extreme duress. I have now set 24.00 as my 1500m goal for the end of the season. Watch this space. But in the mean time, the small victories help on the way to the bigger swims to come.

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