Swim sets – proper endurance

This week’s first swim was another CSS set as I’ve blogged about previously – 3 x 200m, 160m, 100m, 60m. My times have improved again which is great – 200s were 4:02, 4:09, 4:10 (around 4:20 last week), 160s were 3:18, 3:20, 3:20 (3:26 last week), 100s were 2:02, 2:07, 2:02 (2:08 last week) and 60s were 1:12, 1:14, 1:11 (1:15 last week). Just a reminder that these are threshold times not sprints – ideally my threshold time would be below 2 minutes a 100m so I do have a way to go yet but we are getting there! Perseverance.

For my second swim, I stole one of my mum’s sets. She is training to qualify for the Olympic distance worlds this year or Europeans next year and has a proper triathlon coach and everything. She is swimming twice a week at the moment, which will increase once open water swims begin. One swim a week is sets with her swim club, the second (at the moment) is an endurance swim.

On the cards this week was 3 x 800m with 2 min rest intervals in between. That’s 2400m overall. To put that in some perspective, the longest I’ve swim since way before Christmas is around 1700m. This time last year I was just beginning to train for a sprint distance tri in May and couldn’t swim anywhere near 750m in one go. If I even managed that distance in one swim session I would have been impressed with myself. And the last time I swam in my mum’s 33.3m pool, I struggled to make one length. Now I was planning on swimming 72 of them.

We jumped in and set off, mum in front for the first set. 800m took 16 and a half minutes – not too shabby! Then set two. This time I was ahead and it took 17 and a half minutes… Mum said on the first set she thought I was catching up with her but on the second she felt like she could have gone faster – Yep I felt like I was flagging. I decided I would probably just do 600m for my last set. My knee was hurting and as I got towards the end my tummy was feeling very funny – not a good feeling in a swimming pool! I managed the 600m and then cooled down with two slow lengths of back crawl.

I was really pleased with myself – I have come a very long way in a year and that was the farthest I have ever swam in one session. An endurance swim is a great one to add to your weekly routine as, let’s be honest, when we race we are swimming long distances without breaks to hold onto the edge of the pool.

BUT. I am not sure whether I will be doing this one again. 800m in my tiny 20m pool – that’s 120 lengths for the three sets. That’s pretty mind-numbingly boring. A mental workout as well as a physical workout. It was made better by doing it with my mum so I can’t imagine how I would manage to keep going if it was just myself! Maybe one for if I get myself to a 50m pool but I just don’t think I have the willpower to splash up and down a 20m pool that many times!

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