How Much do I Hate Kick Sets?  

Posted by FLATOUT JIM in

I just got back from a lunch time swim that featured about 800m of all kicking. I don’t like kicking, in fact I hate it. So why did I subject myself to this torture? Please read on.

After a super hectic week at work, and an equally hectic week pulling family duty, as well as two massive dumpings of snow, I finally forced myself back on track yesterday, signed up for the first race of the year, then headed off to masters practice.

After a set of 4 x 200m warm-up, I pulled myself up onto the pool deck to sit on the edge while awaiting instructions from our coach, and that’s when I felt my right delt, and arm go numb.

My shoulder was a little sore to start from the previous weeks snow shoveling. That coupled with a week lay-off, and then an overzealous start to my Thursday session was too much for my 44 year old shoulder to handle.

So for the time being, I will be working on other non-shoulder activities, trying to get in the pool for a couple of kick sets, and some core work. Hoping to be back in action for my March 06 swim meet.

And to anyone returning after a lay-off, take it easy. Go back slow, and ease into it.

. June 26 is the third running of the Paradise Triathlon. I can’t believe, I am now committed to another spring of building milage and speed on the wheels, sneakers, and in the water.  


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Going For It  

Posted by FLATOUT JIM in ,

Until Sunday, I felt that our Stroke Count workout was one of, if not the toughest session of the year. Then came Sunday.

The majority of the workout was a big warm-up leading up to our finale. A challenge set where we were instructed to complete a set of 10 x 100, on a challenging pace time that we could just make, and hold for the entire 10.

Usually, coach gives us our pace times, but this was different. Our lane had to agree on a time that we could all hold for the set. That was the rub. It was up to us.

We debated 1:55 vs 1:50. I can consistently swim 100m 1:45 and do it in a set where I get some decent rest in between. But I had major doubts about holding it for 10, with only 5 seconds. I expected that by the seventh, I would be touching the wall and going again. But if you don’t try it, you never know, so someone in the lane, (not me) said lets give 1:50 a try, and we all readily agreed.

And boy was I glad we did. I managed slightly better than 1:45 for all 10. In fact, I was consistently 1:43 to 1:45. It was tough. And true to coach’s words, the first 3 were ok, the second 3 were hard, and by the final 4, I was thinking, “I really need to dig down to finish this.”

But when it was over, everyone in the lane were on cloud 9.

So sometimes, you have to go for it. Challenge youself, and see if you can reach a goal that may be out of reach. It’ll do wonders for your mind.

Stroke Count  

Posted by FLATOUT JIM in

Sometimes less is more. Case in point, our masters session last night. The workout featured a pre set of 6 x 100, and then a main set of 24 x 50. But despite the short intervals, most of which were done at a moderate pace, it was one of the toughest sessions of the year.

The main reason was that the focus of the 50m pieces was to count and maintain stroke count. The set was broken into 10, then 8, then 6. The focus on set 1 was simply to count strokes and establish a consistent baseline. Set 2 was meant to start thinking about a consistent time. Finally set 3 we were to descend by 1 second per 50, for a total of 6 seconds while maintaining a consistent stroke count.

The ultimate goal was to finish the last 50 with the same count as the first while at the same time knocking off 6 seconds. This is not to be confused with swimming golf where stroke count increases as time decreases with the goal of keeping the total consistent.

Concentrating on a long efficient stroke, a good reach, bent arm catch, and a consistent glide off the wall is as mentally tough as it is physically tough. But I am happy to report that my stroke count of 41 per 50m lap was consistent throughout, and my regular time of 50 seconds got down to just under 45 on the very last descending set. Mission Accomplished.

Other comments about last nights session:
1. Despite hours of shoveling yesterday morning, and a very stiff upper back and shoulders, I felt fluid and flexible, especially during dolphin kicks off the wall.
2. The catches felt great. It was one of those times when you could feel the water pressing against your entire forearm and palm.
3. Nearly everyone in our lane was within a few strokes of each other, and all within a second or two. This makes for a great workout when the entire lane is in sync.
4. One of the girls in the fast lane, a former varsity swimmer was as low as 14 strokes for 25m, and it didn’t look like a pause drill. It was smooth as silk. We have some talented swimmers in our club, and it’s a pleasure to watch them.