Janathon – swimming twice a week (and the f*cking wind)

There seems to be a theme emerging this week – the f*cking weather. Tonight as I cycled home it was so windy it was like cycling through treacle, except that occasionally a gust would hit me on the side and I would be blown all over the road, unable to control my bike. It was scary and I’ll admit I let out a few whimpers now and then. At one point I even thought about just walking my bike home. I might even have been sadder on this bike ride than the one yesterday in the pouring rain.

In other news, my resolution this January was to swim twice a week, every week. And to make sure I do, there’ll be a blog post about it. So you can see the sets I’ve been doing, some semblance perhaps of a plan, and either steal bits for yourself or avoid like the plague depending on how much faster I’ve got!

As the first week, I thought it would be a good idea to do some swimming tests to set a basis for improvement. Plus as its still horribly dark in the morning I’ve been quite slow getting up and didn’t have that much time to swim!

The CSS Test

This is a test to determine your threshold swim speed. The Swim Smooth website is the place to go for more info and to calculate your CSS speed but the theory is that it will give you a threshold speed you should swim at, longer reps and lower rest intervals so that you get faster.

The test is a 400m sprint followed by a full recovery, then a 200m sprint. Take your times and plug them into the Swim Smooth calculator. Then you have your CSS speed!
My 400m time was 8 min 30 and my 200m time was 4 min 03. Quite different from the last time I did this test in July – 8 min 05 and 3 min 40. Lots of swimming to do after the off season to get back there!

My workout was:

Warm-up: 200m front crawl, 200m crawl with pull buoy

Main set:
400m sprint. Rest – 2 lengths breast stroke slow.

200m sprint.

Cool down:
I only had time to squeeze in 2 lengths breast stroke!!!


Friday’s swim was a good one for when you can’t be bothered to think of what to do in the pool. And also when you have limited time.
I did not want to get up this morning. Even when I was fully dressed in my cycle gear, about to head out into the pitch black to get to the pool, I was considering just getting back into bed. The only thing that made me get out of it in the first place was the thought that I’d committed to swimming twice a week and it would be crap to fail on my first week. The resolution working already!

This swim is a longer, endurance based test. How long does it take me to swim 1500m? It’s very simple, that’s all there is to it.

Main set: swim 1500m

That’s 75 lengths of my pool…. It took me 36 minutes with all my 100m splits being around 2 min 20. Now I know that I’m faster in a wetsuit and in open water. But in September at my last tri I was over 8 minutes faster! Even in November (albeit in a slightly bigger pool) I was faster. LOTS of work to do in the pool – a month of not swimming has taken its toll.

These are great sets to do at the beginning of the season. They’ve made me realise just how much work I have to do and so have provided extra motivation to get to the pool. And it’s obviously a great base to see how much faster I (hopefully) get over the year!

So there you have it – Janathon Day 9 – two cycle commutes, one battling a hurricane, 1 1500m swim.



    • I did think that at first but by about the fifth time of being blown sideways towards cars during London rush hour i realised I’m perhaps not ready for this particular training aid!

  1. The wind has been ridiculous, hasn’t it? I have been swearing quite a bit while out running in it, and running is so much easier than cycling! I don’t know why, but cycling in the wind/against it is just about the hardest thing you can do.

    When I was out yesterday I ran along a certain path, and on my return journey a huge tree had been split in two and landed right across said path…now I’m paranoid about meeting a sticky end whenever I run remotely near a tree.

    • Oh Jess that’s so scary! I would hope a tree makes a lot of noise before something like that happens and you’re super speedy so i’m sure you could dash away in time but still….. Very scary! Yes both cycling and running are horrendous in wind – its one of the worst weathers although mildly better than ice (i’m quite amused at the use of the word mild there….) hope your runs go well this weekend!

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