Tuesday, January 16, 2007

Divide and conquer.

Before I really get going on this swimming post and everyone nods off, let me suggest you travel over to Two-Thirds the Venture, where we are all signing up for push-ups and sit-ups of solidarity. How many will you commit to?

But now the news:

Last night we did more of a group practice than usual, since Coach usually caters the practice separately to each lane. While that approach gives each person the practice they need and deserve, it does cut down a bit on the sense of teamwork or camaraderie.

But last night was different. We did an open 25-minute warm-up (I swam 1200 yards) and then an open 7-minute (I think) kick set with fins (I did 750 yards). Then a bit of open swimming until 50 minutes into the 1:30 practice. Coach said that the main set would be a "sixteen eight four two," and I was trying to figure out how we could swim a total of 3000 yards in forty minutes. Turns out those numbers refer to MINUTES.

The goal of the set was to swim steady for 16 minutes, counting your laps. Then you rest about a minute and swim for eight minutes. During that 8 minutes, you are supposed to swim more than half of what you swam during the 16. Then you swim for 4 minutes, trying to go more than half of what you did in the 8 minutes, and so forth, with the last swim being 2 minutes long. Coach calls these kinds of sets "divide and conquer."

It was up to us how we did the swim. The PP swam freestyle (that's a lot of free!), and I did continuous 100 IMs, which was lots of fun because you never have to swim more than 25 yards of any stroke at any given time.

Here is how it went:

almost 800 yards @ 16:00
almost 450 yards @ 8:00
almost 250 yards @ 4:00
a little more than 125 yards @ 2:00

I was pretty happy with all that, because in all cases it was no problem to go more than half, and I felt better and better as the set went on. And most importantly, NO PAIN in my shoulder.

Also, because the fly comes first, I clocked 450 yards of fly in that set--three times my required minimum for a given practice! I can tell that swimming more fly is making swimming fly easier. I am still having trouble with the recovery, in that I bring my arms around too far (my wrists often hit, when they should only come around to shoulder-width apart), but the rhythm of the stroke is feeling more natural, as is keeping my hips up.

Then one of the other women, who was also doing 100 IMs, noted how cool it was that for the "1" we would only have to swim 1 length of fly. (That was the downside of the fly being first--when you went further than a multiple of 100, it was fly that always came first.) I said, "But we don't have to do a 1!" and then made the mistake of asking Coach across the pool whether we did, and he said we did not, but we could..... She, of course, was game, so I was game, too. So let's add to the above:
exactly 75 yards @ 1:00
That makes 475 yards of fly all together, out of a total of 4200 yards of practice. Whew!

1 comment:

Joe said...

That sounds like a fun set. I've never heard of that one before.