Sunday swim day. BIG swim day.
I received confirmation last night that my swim buddy was indeed going to be there this morning, which meant I was definitely going to have to bring my A-game. When you are swimming with someone faster than you, you need to be ready to go. And I was – my mind was, anyway. I could feel some lingering fatigue in my legs from yesterday’s run, but I was excited and ready to take on the challenge of the day.
Today also just so happened to be my fellow swimmer’s birthday: 54 years today. I had a 5000-yard workout planned. He wanted to do 5400. 5400 on the 54; fair enough, I said. Sticking with my workout plan, he was able to get his 5400 in; since his pace is faster than mine, he would swim a further distance on some of the intervals.
The true intent of this little story, however, lies in what came towards the end – and really, was a culmination of what was a fighting battle the entire time. The final exercise of the day (before cool-down) was a hard 100. I told him what time I hoped to attain, and he said ‘Ok, I’ll give you a head start. I’m not going any slower than 1:10. Don’t let me catch you.’ I had become…shark bait. My A-teamers reading this can relate, since I make them play the shark bait game quite often, but this time it was my turn. I was already feeling beat – on top of the fatigue from yesterday – but I still felt good, or some form of it anyway. Game on!
The second hand of the pace clock hit the top, and off I went. I decided I would take it all-out right from the get-go, and hold on as long as I could, as best as I could. After all, this was the last exercise of the day, so I better put whatever is left in the tank into it! The first 25 yards felt good, but the burn was already building. By 50 yards, I was already sending my kick – my greatest weapon – into overdrive. At 75 yards, despite my efforts, I was caught. We swam side-by-side for a few yards as I gave my best last-ditch effort. I hit the wall at 100 yards, my chest heaving, my legs protesting, and my arms feeling completely like jelly. I was 4 seconds slower than the time I had hoped to attain. All things considered, however, I did pretty damn good. I’m surprised I was able to hang in for most of the workout the way that I did, somehow managing to stay just under a 1:30 per 100 average pace.
Today’s Swim Workout
5 x 100, descending down to race pace, @10s rest
400 swim @30s rest
100 race pace
300 swim @20s rest
100 race pace
200 swim @10s rest
100 race pace
5 x 200, descending down to race pace, @15s rest (done as a pull set)
100 easy swim
100 all-out sprint
If you don’t challenge yourself (within reason) every once in awhile, you cannot expect to improve. We need to experience some stress every now and then to let us know how strong we are, what we are capable of doing, and what we will be capable of doing in the future.
With that, I will leave you with a little close-of-the-weekend-start-of-the-next-week motivation:
What It Takes