Today I did not improve my distance in the pool, mainly because there is only a one hour session for lane swimming on Saturdays (don’t get me started on how the public swimming pool doesn’t seem to be used very much for public swimming), however I did push myself in another way. Last time out I did 3000 metres divided into 4 drills of 30 laps. This time I did 3000 metres divided into 3 drills of 40 laps. I am currently confident that I could swim that distance nonstop, probably further in fact, however I am well aware of the dangers of pushing too far, too quickly. I am still burning the same number of calories, and believe me, I am definitely working hard, as evidenced by the fact that I am exhausted and ready to sleep once I have arrived home after a swim and I have sat on the sofa at home for half an hour or so. It seems silly to drive too hard for an hour of unbroken swimming, however, it also allows me to structure my training. The next logical step is to push up to drills of 50 laps. Since this does not divide into 120 I can now use the longer sessions to push that into 3 drills of 50, and so on. By the time I reach my next short session on a Saturday I will be on drills of 60 laps, and then the following week I should be swimming without stopping at all. After that it is all down to how hard I wish to push myself mentally. I can still stop to rest if I wish but I would love to be able to hammer out a two hour swim without stopping. That would be cool.
I don’t doubt my stamina or my physical prowess. Such feats of distance and endurance are all about what is going on between the ears, whether or not a person can mentally stand such discipline and rigorous training. I personally view it as training for life as well as sport. Staying power is staying power. It doesn’t matter who it is gained, it is valuable in all cases. It is especially a tough discipline when one knows that it is easy to get out of the pool or to rest at one end. Running is a different proposition in that once one is halfway around it is a long run home no matter which way one finishes, plus one can wear headphones and the scenery changes, neither of which applies to swimming.
3,000 m • 1:02:34 • 2:01 min/100 m • 29.7 100m/hour •
Source: Garmin Connect
I currently average just over 2 minutes per 100 metres. I have no idea if that is particularly fast or not but it certainly feels like a hard workout. I was a pretty powerful swimmer and diver at school and I think I have retained that in middle age. I am certainly the fastest of all the swimmers I see in the pool but that doesn’t mean much. They could be lazy or unfit or they could be great swimmers who are simply taking it easy. In any case, it isn’t a race; it is I that I am racing against myself. That is the best race there is.