Saturday, April 9, 2016

Is fast just a thing of the past?!

In 2013, I was swimming really fast in the pool and dropping time like crazy.  Then I plateaued, and then I couldn’t hit close to those times again.  Until this year.  I’m hitting those times (and surpassing some) and I’m feeling strong in the water (I credit weight lifting a lot).  But all that time between now and then was increasingly frustrating in the pool.  Even during my last swim block (November-December), I wasn’t getting where I wanted.  It wasn’t until almost a month after my swim block ended that I started seeing my times drop.  And keep dropping. 
Here’s a glimpse of my 2-week swim workouts that I rotate through currently, which seems to be working for me.  You can always try them out - just change the interval times to something that works for you!
Week 1
Monday: WU: (400 swim, 200 back, 2x50 build),
Main Set: 6x200 on 3:05 (best average 2:40), 300 pull, 200 hard (best 2:37)
CD: (200 kick, 200IM, 200 pull)
Wednesday: WU: (300 swim, 200 back, 4x25 build)
            Main Set: 36x50 on 1’ (average 35”) – building to 40x50 on 1’
            CD: 50 pull, 4x50 kick on 1’, 50 pull
Friday: WU (400 swim, 200 back, 2x50 build)
            Main Set: 10x100 on 1:30 (best average 1:18.6)
            CD: 200 SKIPS (swim, kick, IM, pull, swim)
Week 2
Monday: same as week 1
Wednesday: WU: (400 swim, 200 back, 4x50 build)
            Main Set: 12x100 on 2:10 (descend 1-3, fastest average possible 4-12)
            CD: 200 pull, 4x50 kick on 1’, 100 pull
Friday: Long set that can vary, so here are two examples:
1)    12x300: (freestyle x2, backstroke, pull) x3 (on 5’ intervals)
2)    800, 2x400, 4x200, 8x100 (all on 1:40 interval pace), 400 cd.

            2013-2014 was my fastest bike splits in races.  2015 started strong after having Myles, but tanked after May when sleep (and any semblance of order in our lives) disappeared.  May 2015, I was KILLING it, churning out my best efforts in training rides, only to crumble when the season began.  I did a January-February bike block and was disheartened by the lack of improvement that I was hoping to find.  If anything, I felt like every ride was a struggle.  Again the question of , Will I ever be fast again? crept up and took root.  Am I not doing enough?  Do I need to do something differently?  I knew I needed to TRUST MY TRAINING but that can be hard to do at times.  My bike block ended in what felt like failure.  Until a couple weeks ago when I had a breakthrough session on the bike.  And then another.  And another.  Suddenly I felt like I was back on my game and now I hope to be where I was last May when I was at my fastest ever.  The improvements in swim and bike training sessions self-motivate me to keep getting after it.
            Here’s a glimpse of some of my favorite bike workouts that I’m currently doing.  They are based on % of FTP (the effort that you can hold for approximately an hour in a race).  Recovery is noted by parenthesis following the main set effort.  All of these should include a warm up and cool down, which will make them about an hour or so.
  1. 2x20’ (5’) at 88-92%
  2. 4-5 x6’ sprints: 2’@80%, 2’@100%, 1’@110%, 1’@120%
  3. 3x4’ (1’) with 1st @HIM effort (90%), 2nd @Oly effort (100%), 3rd @Sprint effort (110%).  Start with 3 rounds and build up to 5 with 3’ easy between rounds.
  4. 10’@100% (5’), 2’@110%, 1’@100%, 1’@90%, 1’@80%, 1’@70%, and 10’@105-110%. 
There is a fear that you may never be your best again.  But fast doesn’t have to be just a thing of the past.  I’m hoping that the 2016 season will prove it!

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