So I've quietly been getting on with training for the Great North Swim. Working out my notice at TBWA helped getting in the swing of things, amongst thinking about women's hair and chickens (not at the same time) I progressively had more time to, in the first instance, have a lunch break of sorts, and then really long lunch breaks.
The first few sessions we're the same. 800 meters warm up. Swim 1,500 meters (nearly a mile) as hard as I can. Rest for two minutes, then swim 800 meters as hard as I can. It was all about baking some endurance into muscles that were not only used to not swimming as much as they should, they hadn't been asked to do long distance swimming much at all, ever.
At first, just getting through the 1,500 has been tough, at around 1,000 everything started getting ragged and progressively worse. The 800 was a nightmare.
It's always odd when you do your very first session. It's at once depressing finding out how bad you are and exhilarating to be back in the routine, knowing you're going to improve, anticipating the day when the hurt begins to fade a bit and you have space to REALLY train, looking forward to weird trance like state when you're at one with you're body, not really thinking, totally lost in it. Not really present, but in the moment more than ever.
That's what most swim races were like for me. The odd trance state thing. I can't really describe the build up or the race, but I can vividly remember how it felt to finish. Weird that.
Anyway, eventually there was the session when the pain still kicked in, then went away. It's been like that ever since and I'm getting faster. Little niggles in the stroke are getting evened out. My elbow wasn't high enough on the left, meaning my head came too far out of the water when I breathed, meaning my legs kicked too hard to keep balance....little things, small corrections.
This week I'm going to introduce some speed. 50m sprints, probably 20 of them with 10 second rests in between. I'll need that at the start and at the end. When open water races start, it's crowded, a bit of a free for all, you get elbows in the face once or twice. I want to pull away from as many people as possible. Then at the end, I don't want to limp home, I want to get that extra zip in the last few hundred meters, it will feel good and I fancy overtaking people at the end, no matter how badly I've done.
I'm going to experiment with some medleys (a length of every stroke).They get the heart pounding and it will stop any muscle imbalances developing - the problem with doing front crawl all the time is that you can't help using some muscles on one side more than the other. It doesn't matter over short distances, you breathe every three strokes, alternating sides...but that' not possible over long distances, not for me.
Anyway, if you're not bored by this, I might resurrect Tired is Stupid. I never did that properly, but the three people who read it liked some bits of it.