Last week was a good swimming week for me since I managed to get in almost 5 miles of swimming! It worked out really well and two workouts really stood out for me. In between these two lunch time swims I read a recent blog post by pro triathlete Jesse Thomas on the Triathlete site. Titled, What's the Deal with the Old guy Jesse writes about joining the local high school team to improve his swim technique and speed. His nemesis...a high school girl! The overall moral of the story is that single sport athletes are always going to be stronger in their chosen sport than those of us that are multi-sporters.
Back to the workouts...on Monday the lunch swim group had a main set with 100m repeats done on a 2 min interval. In swim, the interval time includes your rest so that meant we were starting a 100m interval every 2 minutes. It was tough and I think I made it through 5 or so before I had to drop out of the workout and just swim easy to finish my distance.
Fast forward to Thursday and we had a set with 100m repeats on a 2:10 interval. It was amazing how much of a difference that extra 10 seconds made. I stayed in the whole workout and felt really great.
These workouts were fresh in my head last week when I started to read my August issue of Triathlete. In the Swim Training Tips section, Sara McLarty provides a quick comparison for switching between long course meters and short course yards times. I knew that 50m did not equal 50 yd but I just didn't think about it that much. I just trust my friends to come up with interval times and then I try to hang on! Little did I know!!! Turns out the normal intervals that I use for short course 100yds of (1:50-2:00) would equate to almost a 2:15 interval for long course. The 2:00 min interval for long course 100m that we have been doing is equivalent to a 1:45 on short course. Whoo...it pumped me up to figure this out. Sara's calculation is SCY time * 1.11 + 1.6 sec.
Now I know why I'm always scared to hear the interval times from my swimmer friends...the majority of whom are single sporters. They start at 2 min intervals normally and then work their way faster. It has been overwhelming but also really powerful to realize that I can hang with them on a faster interval if I just shut my brain up and swim. While I can't always last the whole workout at their intervals...I can last further than in the past. It has paid off in races too since I have noticed improvement in my swim times at races and also at our long course swim meet in June. I consider my swimming friends all my free coaches and am certain that they push me harder than I would on my own.
Needless to say, I definitely side with Jesse and have for quite a long time. If you want to be a better swimmer...swim with swimmers! Even if you swim freestyle only during the workout you will see improvement. I've been so lucky to have so many swimmer friends that let me swim with them. It's taken four years but I finally feel like I can keep up with the workouts.