Friday, March 1, 2013

Chipping away at those swim times!

Today I did a repeat 400y and 200y time trial at the pool. I actually *gulp* requested that Coach Jim put it into my schedule to see what is happening in the water relative to the dryland training I've been doing with the Vasa Ergometer. I lovvveee time trials....not so much! But I know they are important and they give us some extra practice suffering.

It was well worth it. I had my first ever sub-6:00 minute 400y swim. Here's the time progression on the 400y and 200y time trials of the last few months. I started with the Ergometer in late December.
  • 10/12/12 = 6:15 / 3:02
  • 1/11/13 = 6:07 / 2:56
  • 3/1/13 = 5:59 / 2:53
It was a legit 5:59 too -- I watched the last digit of the pace clock go from 8 to 9 as I touched the wall. The pool was dead today and my energy was not so high but hey it worked out.

Coach Eric Neilsen, who has been putting the Ergometer training program together, predicted I'd get a sub-6 and close in on 2:50 but frankly, I did not believe him. I'm glad I was wrong. You could look at the improvement and think, big deal...8 seconds on the 400 and 3 seconds on the 200 in seven weeks. That's about a 2% improvement on total time. However, it's not likely that I will ever swim those in 0 seconds, so if we look relative to what is realistically possible, the percentages look much better.

Anyway, I suspected I had been getting stronger and faster. Early last week (2/21/13) we did repeat 400m and 100m time trials on the Ergometer and I was able to produce far greater power than I did just four weeks prior.
  • 400m
    • 2/21/13 - Total time - 6:48.3; Pace - 1:42/100m; Average Power - 72 watts
    • 1/26/13 - Total time - 7:10.2; Pace - 1:48/100m; Average Power - 62 watts
  • 100m
    • 2/21/13 - Total time - 1:33.6; Average Power - 97 watts
    • 1/26/13 - Total time - 1:40.4; Average Power - 78 watts
Those were 5 and 6.8% reductions in time and 16 and 24% increases in power!! It's possible those may translate even better to open water swimming, without the delays of turns every 25y.

Quite often when I am swimming, an image of the Ergometer monitor pops into my head with the wattage enticing me to bump up my pull and go after a bigger power number.

It's just fun to chip away at the swim. I'm continuing to really enjoy the Ergometer training and appreciate how convenient it is to fit it into my busy life. More at my Vasa Training log.

Bonus question: can you identify the likeness of the cardboard box behind me on the half-wall in the top photo??