Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Swim Baseline

Bayshore Drive Beach
On Sunday's post, I talked about my goal to go sub one hour at the Solana Beach Sprint Triathlon in July.  Though by no means a foregone conclusion, it is theoretically possible as long as my swim improves.  I figure I need to complete the 1/4 mile (440 yard) swim in just under 9 minutes, or at a pace of 2 minutes per one hundred yards.  Many of you could swim this pace with one arm tied behind your back, but as I've said a zillion times, swimming is my achilles heel.

Last night I had a swim workout on the schedule, so I headed down to the Bayshore Drive Beach in Belmont Shore.  The Beach runs along a portion of Alamitos Bay, which is a small bay primarily used as a port for pleasure craft.  Belmont Shore is not only a straight-up awesome section of Long Beach, it's also a great place to open water to swim when you are alone because it's calm and there's always plenty of kayakers and windsurfers around.  There also happens to be a buoy line which conveniently is exactly a 1/4 mile long.

My original plan was to swim the buoy line 6 times or 3 round trips.  I did the first round trip and then  half of the second.  But then my mind started wandering and I decided to go exploring.  So I kept on swimming past the buoys and towards a small marina.  Since there were no more markers in the water to use for navigation, I just sighted off the mast of the biggest sailboat in the marina.  When I got to the boat, I turned around and swam back.  The side trip ended up being about 4/10th's of a mile.  Once back to the buoy line, I hit the lap button on my watch again and timed the final 440 yards of the day.

My times were as follows (in order):

10:07
10:10
10:19
10:29

Here's the bad news.  Obviously, I'm slow.  And I'm a little concerned that my splits degraded as much as the did from interval to interval.  I only swam 1.4 miles in total, and slowing down that much during the course of the swim suggests a lack of swimming fitness.  This is an issue that needs to be addressed by the Santa Cruz 70.3 for sure.

Here's the good news.  At Solana Beach, I'll only have to do a 1/4 mile once and I will be doing  it fresh, so I think it's fair to use a combination of my first two splits as a baseline.  This means I have to cut just over 20 seconds off of my 100 pace.  This is very good to know - I now have a quantifiable goal.

So now I just have to figure out how to shave the time off.  My sense is that this will be less of a stroke turnover thing and more of a body position thing.  That said, I'm not going to assume it's that simple so I'll keep up the intervals at the pool in attempt to pick up some speed.  And I'll definitely keep sets with paddles and a pull buoy in my workouts for strength conditioning.  It also makes sense to get someone to take a video of me swimming so I can do some analysis.  Maybe I'll post it on the blog so some of you genius swimmers out there can give me a few pointers.

And unexpectedly, I think I have stumbled upon next week's Metrosexual Triathlete - Tip Of The Week post.  Look at those lines around my eyes - I swear they are usually not there.  My goggles must be reeking absolute havoc on my skin.  I'll need to look into this. 

10 comments:

The Green Girl said...

I can't stop laughing at the lines around your eyes! Is it just wrinkles from water?

XLMIC said...

Cucumber slices, man.

Petraruns said...

I NEED to hear what you suggest for next week's metrosexual man tip. After I swim everyone asks me whether I'm really tired. Apparently haemorrhoid cream helps?

Kovas said...

I believe it was Sun Tzu who famously said to keep your enemies close and your swim coach closer. In order to swim faster, you must first swim slower. As you swim your 1/4 mile intervals, count strokes and see how many you can shave off by reaching longer on each stroke. The initial intervals may be slower, but you'll get faster as your stroke becomes more efficient. That's about as much as I remember from Master's swimming.

LB said...

i was just looking at my post swim face yesterday thinking i resembled droopy dog. there has to be a way to combat this terrible phenomenon.

Caratunk Girl said...

Are you smiling?

Can't wait for the tips on how to get rid of goggle eyes.

Tri4Success said...

I'm just getting started on the swimming side of things and lessons are helping tremendously. Body position and finishing my stroke have been key so far. I bet with a little outside perspective you can get that 20 seconds shaved off no problem.

Jeff - DangleTheCarrot said...

Go hit the pool 4x a week and average between 3-4k a session. Your gain in fitness will pull you under the 2:00/100yd. And if you can have a swim/masters coach watch your stroke a few times that will help too.

Don't post a swim video on the blog. You will receive 500 opinions and they will all be different and it will make your head freaking explode. Most of what I say is horse shit, but trust me on this one (-:

Chris K said...

And, you will probably get a bit of "free" speed due to the adrenalin of a race. I know that happens for running, but I imagine it would for a tri too, especially since it's the first event.

Colleen said...

If you find some super secret speed getter, pass it on. I need it too!

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