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Back on the messageboard!

Post by Mike A on Thu Jun 15, 2017 4:17 pm

Hi all, I guess it's been a while. I had some months out from swimming altogether due to illness, then I managed to lose my forum password... Anyway, back on it now.

I started swimming again in May and am finally getting back towards some kind of fitness. I've been mostly swimming 4x500m or 5x500m sessions, pace currently around 1:49/100m (wetsuit - more like 1:53/100m skins!).

I've just signed up for some events over the next few weeks - the first one is a 3.8km river swim - which is apparently very fast, because there's a strong tidal current assisting. Then a 2.5km sea swim the week after, and a 5km lake swim (with "Australian exits") the week after that. I decided not to do another 10km this year as I really don't have time for the long training sessions - plus it cost a lot of money last year! But I'm hoping to do a few more round the 3-5km mark if anything comes up in the local area.

I also finally retired my old wetsuit, which was getting to be more Black Witch than neoprene! The new one is the next model up, and seems a little faster. It's a Zone3 Vision. I'm loving it so far.
https://racezone3.com/product/mens-vision-wetsuit/

Anyone else signed up for summer events?

Cheers
Mike
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Re: Back on the messageboard!

Post by SA on Thu Jun 15, 2017 8:13 pm

HI Mike , the forum is still alive, but hardly kicking, so any input is welcome Smile

Good luck with your swimming this summer!

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Re: Back on the messageboard!

Post by Mike A on Fri Jun 16, 2017 11:53 am

SA wrote:...still alive, but hardly kicking...
Sounds like me, swimming in a wetsuit. Laughing
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Re: Back on the messageboard!

Post by Mike A on Wed Jun 28, 2017 2:47 pm

First event done. 3.8km, tidal assisted, came in on 1:05:46.

I had an upset stomach in the morning and considered pulling out as I wasn't feeling 100%. However, I decided to take it steady and play it by ear. It all went OK in the end, but I was very conservative about pacing. It was also a crowded field - 450 starters, mass start, not a terribly wide river. I'm sure the first half of the swim was slower on account of swimming into traffic/traffic swimming into me! Had to keep sighting, and didn't really settle into a good rhythm. Second half, found some clear water and the tide really started to kick in.

Pretty happy overall, but I think on a better day I could probably have shaved off a minute or two.

Winning time was 45:16 (!), with the fastest woman at 45:46 (a European Aquathlon champion). I was just into the top half, placing 210th of 427 finishers. The son of a guy from my local pool came 7th on 50:51 - not bad considering he's actually a 100m freestyle/fly specialist, and hadn't put on a wetsuit since last year's race!

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Re: Back on the messageboard!

Post by cottmiler on Wed Jun 28, 2017 3:10 pm

That,s rather good!

We don,t hear much from you regarding what approach you take to training.

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Re: Back on the messageboard!

Post by Mike A on Wed Jun 28, 2017 3:31 pm

cottmiler wrote:We don,t hear much from you regarding what approach you take to training.

That's fair comment. My main change this year has been to just swim more often - every week day, if I can. I'm not really doing drills at the moment, but I try to focus on what I think is working/needs changing as I swim. This month I've been training mostly in my wetsuit, with maybe only one or two pool swims a week. I typically swim intervals of 550 yards (roughly 500m) with 1 min rest in between, but sometimes I just do a long continuous swim. This morning I swam 2750 yards (roughly 2.5km) continuously, on 44:39 (which equates to a pace of about 1:46.5s/100m). Within this swim I covered 1500m inside 26:33, which I believe is a PB for me.

I tend to swim events breathing unilaterally to the left (if conditions permit), though often with a 4,2,2 breathing pattern. In training I switch every 100m/100y between unilateral and bilateral. I'm still faster and straighter breathing just to the left, but I need to keep the breathe-right option in the locker. When I breathe to the right, my left hip/leg tends to sink, though this is less noticeable in a wetsuit. I think this is the source of my relatively lower speed when breathing bilateral.

Recently I've started kicking a little more. I'm still rubbish at kicking, but I think it does help to keep a bit of momentum, especially when I'm fatigued and the stroke rate is dropping off a bit. I don't really have a pattern - it's not as much as a regular 4-beat kick; more a case of filling in with a triple-kick when it feels right. If I try a 6-beat kick it usually results in my stroke rate dropping and my overall pace slowing. I think my glutes don't like working above walking pace!
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Re: Back on the messageboard!

Post by nightcrawler on Thu Jun 29, 2017 3:52 pm

Congragulations, the times are also looking good. Smile

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Re: Back on the messageboard!

Post by Mike A on Fri Jun 30, 2017 2:46 pm

Thanks NC. I'm glad to be still improving at 48 - albeit from a pretty modest starting point!
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Re: Back on the messageboard!

Post by Mike A on Mon Jul 03, 2017 11:05 pm

No fancy photos this time, but I did a 2.5km sea swim race in Brighton on Saturday. I was very pleased to knock over 3 minutes off my last year's time, coming in on 46:19, and placing 43rd out of 140. The winning time was a rather quick 34:14 - and that was without wetsuit! This guy was almost 2 minutes ahead of the woman in second place.

I had the usual problems with sighting, and in fact mostly relied on everyone else knowing where they were going. I was suffering from a leaky goggle, which didn't help. I also lost my swimcap half way round, which happens to me every year (those things are always too small for my massive head!).

Though it's only 2.5k, I find this swim is more physically demanding than many longer swims in lakes or rivers. The sea wasn't particularly rough, but you still got those random swells and dips from time to time which rob you of a good pull and disrupt your rhythm. But I have to say I love the challenge of it.

Next weekend I'm doing a 5km in a reservoir, which will be a different challenge again. I would like to get close to 1:35, but that might be optimistic. We'll see...
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Post by Mike A on Sat Jul 08, 2017 10:59 am

New pool PB (sans wetsuit) yesterday morning: 1500scm in 27:27. Unilateral breathing all the way. I set the TT to 27.6s per length, got about half a length ahead of the beep by 500m and managed to hold onto the lead.

That's about 1:50/100m pace. Over the same distance in my wetsuit I'm hitting 1:46/100m without really trying (and alternating unilateral/bilateral). I think if I swam unilateral in my wetsuit I'd probably hit 1:45/100m.

So I guess I have a pretty good wetsuit or a pretty bad kick, depending on which way you want to look at it! ;-)
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Re: Back on the messageboard!

Post by SA on Sat Jul 08, 2017 11:18 am

Thats the big plus beginning as an adult. You dont know where the peak lies. Until 55-60 the body decline is very gradual , so plenty time left to still getting faster.. Smile

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Re: Back on the messageboard!

Post by Mike A on Sat Jul 08, 2017 12:06 pm

So I've got 6.5 years to catch up with Sun Yang? Laughing Laughing Laughing
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Re: Back on the messageboard!

Post by Mike A on Mon Jul 10, 2017 4:30 pm

Check my stats from yesterday's 5km race at Bewl Water reservoir. My target time was 1:35.

Total 5km time: 1:27:20.55 (!)

Split 1: 0:17:29.40
Split 2: 0:17:06.30
Split 3: 0:17:39.60
Split 4: 0:17:24.05
Split 5: 0:17:34.80

Pleasantly surprised to say the least!

The format was interesting; it was a 1km course and you had to exit the water and go through a timing gate every lap ("Australian exit"), with an opportunity to stop for nutrition. I only stopped just before the last lap, to take on a half-sachet of energy gel, which is probably why that lap's a bit slower. (The first lap was slower because of crowding - I started near the back and there were a load of 2km swimmers in the water on the first few laps). I thought getting in and out each lap was going to be a bit of a pain, but it actually worked quite well, turning it into something like a 5x1km interval swim.

Throughout the final lap I was more or less level with two other swimmers who were doing the 5km distance (identifiable by hat colour). I waited till the last buoy, maybe 200m from the end, then turned on the 6 beat kick. Managed to get in just ahead of them by 5s and 9s. Felt a bit queasy as I came in - not used to sprint finishes!

I placed 11th out of 39 overall, which I'm pretty happy with.
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Post by s.sciame on Mon Jul 10, 2017 6:10 pm

Well done Mike! Wow, 8 minutes under target time, what did you take for breakfast?? Wink

The Australian exit with splits taken sounds really cool. Did you race with wetsuit I guess?

Salvo

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Re: Back on the messageboard!

Post by Mike A on Mon Jul 10, 2017 9:23 pm

Yes, it was a wetsuit-compulsory race. I would've been much slower without it!

I had done a 5km training swim in a different reservoir - took me about 1:40. But the marker buoys are too small in that reservoir, with one being almost impossible to see as the sun goes down behind it - so I probably swam a lot of extra metres that evening! There are also some awkward currents in that reservoir, whereas the one on the race day was very still (and a good deal warmer!).
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Re: Back on the messageboard!

Post by Mike A on Mon Jul 17, 2017 3:53 pm

This morning's 2k (2200 yard) session, wetsuit, 50 yard outdoor pool.
4x550 yards, 1 minute rest between.

1. 8'33"
2. 8'43"
3. 8'48"
4. 8'55"

Pace for first set: 1'42" / 100m, average pace 1'44" / 100m.
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Post by Mike A on Tue Jul 25, 2017 12:06 pm

2750 yards (50 yard pool), wetsuit.

1. 1100y 17:10 (pace 1:42/100m) [+1 minute rest]
2. 1100y 17:46 (pace 1:46/100m) [+1 minute rest]
3. 550y 9:08 (pace 1:49/100m)

Average pace: 1:45/100m

Edit: there was a guy in a very nice Huub wetsuit in the pool this morning. He was leaving me for dust! Must have been swimming 1:20/100 pace, at least. He had one of those effortless-looking flutter kicks and a strong, consistent pull. Wish I could swim like that!
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Re: Back on the messageboard!

Post by Mike A on Fri Jul 28, 2017 11:33 am

New PB this morning! Whereas I normally do my wetsuit sessions switching between unilateral and bilateral every 100 yards, today I decided to see if I could do 1500m (OK, 1650 yards = 1508m) in sub-26 minutes, sticking to my best side for breathing. I set the Tempo Trainer to 47.2s per 50 yards and nailed it! In fact, I got ahead of the beep and came in on 25:46.

My best non-wetsuit time for 1500m is 27:27 (in a 25m pool), so I think we can safely say the wetsuit makes a big difference to my speed!

1500m pace in wetsuit: 1:42.5s/100m.
1500m pace in jammers: 1:49.8s/100m.

I would love to get sub-27 in jammers, and somewhere nearer 25 in wetsuit. Next targets set!
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