Wednesday, February 17, 2010

A hard swim workout for you!

Yesterday I made myself do a really hard swim workout, after coaching my group through the same set. Everyone pushed themselves to the limit and did awesome!

After several months of slacking off in the pool, I am now beginning to get into some hard workouts again. The focus has been on the run first and foremost, and then the core/strength second, so the swim had been pushed completely off the priority list. All I really need is a couple weeks of HARD swimming and I should be back to where I need to be in the pool.

While I was feeling that familiar hurt during my challenging workout yesterday, something that I heard yesterday during Olympic coverage (during a profile of the gold medalist in women's snowboard cross - M. Ricker) kept popping into my head that kept me going:

"Learning to be comfortable with being uncomfortable"

This is something I need to really work on... pushing through and digging deeper when the pain and hurt sets in during a race or hard training. Not being afraid of the pain and discomfort. The urge to give in to the pain and back off or even give up can sometimes be so strong. It would be so much easier to just go easy or stop altogether, but it is all the more worthwhile and satisfying if you are able to push your body to its limit right to the bitter end.

Here is my swim workout from yesterday:
-Warm up 600-700 mixer, with 4 x 25 descend 1-4 at the end to wake up the muscles to swimming fast!

-Main set:
The whole set is done at as strong a pace as you can manage, with the goal being to remain consistent in your times/effort the whole 1600m. The set consists of descending rest intervals, so as you go through it becomes more and more challenging to hold your pace:
50 on :20R
50 on :15R
50 on :10R
50 on :5R
100 strong
-1 min rest-

100 on :15R
100 on :10R
100 on :5R
200 strong
-1 min rest-

200 on :10R
200 on :5R
400 strong

cooldown: 8 x 50 choice

The last group of 200's/400 is the hardest, as there is very little rest so it is essentially a broken 800! This is an excellent set for building your endurance, with the rest interval decreasing but the distance of the interval increasing at the same time. That 1 min rest after the 200 never seems like enough!

My goal is always to be sub-1:20 100m pace, which is not too difficult for me in the 50's and 100's... and I made the first 200 at 2:39, the second was 2:40, but the 400 was off pace (just under 5:30) as it just became a matter of survival and getting through it! Once my speed/fitness improves I will be back to sub-5:20. I like to do this set at least a few times a year as a measure of fitness.

If you want a super hard workout, try it out for yourself! And remember, it is only as hard as you make it! You have to really push the effort on it so that by the 400 you have that all-too-familiar feeling like you are going to puke/numb legs/screaming heart and lungs/sore arms! If you don't feel like that, you are simply not working hard enough!

Saturday, February 13, 2010

No long weekend for me

Technically I have to work on the Family Day holiday, but it turns out I am a-okay with going in to the office and getting some work done... because next Friday I will be jet-setting to Vegas with Geoff! This will just be a weekend trip with no other purpose than to have FUN! When we were there in December it was all about the marathon - getting to bed early, 4am wake up calls, watching what we ate, resting.

This time, however, is a whole different story as I will be staying up late (as best I can!), sleeping in late, eating whatever I want, and enjoying a bevy (or three or four!). I also plan to hit the outlet malls on Saturday for a day of shopping! We will try to catch a show as well. Can't wait!

My brother Mark was kind enough to agree to watch these two monsters while we're gone:
Training the past 2 weeks has been good but exhausting. I have been getting in all the workouts on the schedule Geoff gives me, which is typically 5 runs, 2 bikes, 3 swims, and 2-3 hours of core/strength work a week. I've been doing a lot of runs on the tready, especially interval work. My first race of the year is exactly one month from today: the St. Patrick's Day 10km in Calgary. Yikes - better get to work.

I've got a long tempo interval workout to do right now (3 x 8min) which I will definitely be doing on the treadmill as I have no desire to do intervals in the windchill outside right now! But now that the Olympics has started, I will always have something good to watch during my indoor workouts over the next 2 weeks!