Friday, November 20, 2009

Early Hope

So as most of you know I started my swim focused training at the beginning of November. I have a goal of reaching a 16 minute 1000 yd time trial by the time March rolls around. It seems to be a pretty daunting goal considering the first time trial I did was 17:21 on the first of November. That reduction is the equivalent of going from a 1:45/100yd pace to a 1:36/100 pace.

I started swimming 5x a week, with 4 out of the 5 swims focusing heavily on drills to hopefully bring about changes to my stroke that make me faster and more efficient in the water. Today my swim set consisted of 1000 yds of drilling followed by a nice, easy 1500 yd continuous swim. Well, my time for the first 1000 of the 1500 was 17:04, a 0:17 reduction from just 19 days ago. And this was an easy swim! Just a nice long, efficient stroke. No heavy breathing. No really pushing the pace. I won't time trial again for another month, but I'm ecstatic about the progress I'm seeing in just 3 dedicated weeks.

For the first time I'm feeling like I don't have to settle for being just an average swimmer. Granted I have a lot of work to do if I ever want to be front of pack, but if I can continue to make progress I feel like maybe I can contend at not just sprints, but Olys as well.

It has me completely excited to head to the pool for each workout. In fact I'm bummed I'll have to miss a few over Thanksgiving, but I've already set a record high for monthly swim yardage. I can't wait to add to it!

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Test Run = FAIL

So I have been harboring a hip injury for the last two weeks or so. I'm not sure what it is, but being the stubborn person that I am I decided to try and treat it with my normal course of action: copious amounts of rest. Well, maybe not copious, but I did go twelve days without running and that has to be some sort of record for me. In the meantime I have been able to walk, bike, swim, and lift my lower body (ie squats, lunges, etc.) without pain. So I thought hey, why not give a light jog a shot.

I made it through the first mile with little discomfort, but after that it seemed to escalate. No sharp, shooting pains like before, but definitely not something I would want to contend with for multiple miles. Grrrrr!

It appears I'm probably contending with an actual injury. That means getting an actual diagnosis from a doctor. Looks like I'll have to overcome my proclivity to avoiding doctors. I guess at this point all I really want to know is what is going on, how to treat it, and just how dang long I'm going have to go without running. Is that too much to ask?

In the meantime, back to the pool. Yippee!

Monday, November 9, 2009

Fishy, fishy, fisheee!!

I've been to the pool so much in the first week of November that I'm starting to get that permanent chlorine scent that doesn't wash off no matter how long I shower. In the first 9 days I have gotten in 7 pool workouts for a total of 16,300 yards. I've had full months with less yardage than that.

Is it helping? I don't know it may be too early to tell, but I'm starting to feel some things coming around. I read somewhere once that when you change something, whether its a swim stroke, golf swing, or running gait, it takes a minimum of six sessions with the change before it is integrated into muscle memory. So correcting bad habits may take awhile, and I have the distinct disadvantage of trying to change several aspect of stroke and that itself diminishes the returns. Am I doomed? I don't think so. I am persistent and that's half the battle. Replacing old bad habits with new good ones is the tricky part.

The good news is that I'm not getting bored. The workouts are varied enough that my time flies by and overall they've been enjoyable, except for the kickset from Hell on Friday. I'll die a happy man if I never do that workout again.

On the injury front the hip feels good, but then again it felt good last Thursday when I last went for a run and came hobbling home 3 miles later. I will continue to rest this week and contemplate a test run this weekend. It's too bad really because the weather will remain nice all week. I won't even be able to ride because there just isn't enough light after work gets over. It's a good thing I tripled dipped the rides over the weekend while it was 70 degrees out and got my fix for awhile.

Monday, November 2, 2009

Aches, pains, and injuries

Day #2 of my official off season training and I'm already taking a rest day. I'll give you 3 guesses as to whether or not it was planned and the first 2 don't count.

I've been dealing with some pretty intense hip pain all day. Yesterday I did my longest run since the marathon, an 11 miler, and felt pretty good throughout. Well, as the night moved along I started to sense a little pain in the hip and by this morning it felt pretty bad. Walking, stairs, planting and turning all are painful. So in my ever infinite wisdom I decided it would be a good day to take rest. I realize it is the off season so I can treat these aches and pains with rest, rather than pushing through like I would be tempted to do if I were in race season. I'll do some light stretching tonight followed by an intense session with the foam roller to see if that does any good. I'll play it by ear after that, but it may just be me and the pool for awhile (which is where I should be anyway). So far in the past few years I've lucked out with major injuries. I've had some knee and ankle pain that has put me out of commission for a few and that's about it. I'm hoping this is just another one of those fluky things that seems to happen to me every once in awhile.

I completed the first workout of the new swim program yesterday. The main set was a 1000yd time trial, which I completed in 17:21, a 1:45/100 yd pace. That seemed about on par with what I expected. Using the time trial I am able to set up some training zones and target paces for specific sets in subsequent workouts. Tomorrow's workout should be fun. 2800 yds of mainly drilling. Goody goody.

An another note, I got an email today from Brooks saying that I was accepted into their Inspire Daily program. This was the first of a few sponsorships that I applied for recently. Very cool.