Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Strength Training in the Pool

Friday morning at the pool is now officially strength training.

It doesn't mean we know what the workout is going to be - we just know that we are going to be working on speed and resistance rather than on long distance.

Friday morning at the pool we did a wicked fun workout. There were 8 of us there (well, 9 actually but one was nursing a sore shoulder so they didn't do the same workout the rest of us did). So there were 8 of us and we were broken up into two groups of four. We all did the same workout, we just alternated what we were doing due to lack of room.

We all warmed up together and then here is how it went:

300m pull (with a pull buoy)
6 x 30 seconds on the stretch cords
300m pull (with a pull buoy)
6 x 30 seconds on the stretch cords
2 x 300m (1st one drag - no pull buoy and 2nd one pull - with pull buoy)
12 x 30 seconds on the stretch cords
50m sprint

To break it down so that the above makes sense:

Four of us headed off to swim 300m with a pull buoy and the other four headed off to the stretch cords. Two of us were in the shallow end and two of us were in the deep end. We were all tethered to the cords and, when Christine yells "go!" we headed off full tilt, swimming as hard as we could. The cords stretch and we swim as hard as possible for thirty seconds until she waves her arm telling us to stop. We then head back to the wall and do it again thirty seconds later.

I was in the deep end with George and I joked that I was going to try to stretch my cord far enough to grab Leslie's fingers. Leslie was in the shallow end. Stretch cords are ridiculously hard to stretch and, on my best day, I get about a third of the way down the pool. Leslie and I had no hope of coming anywhere near each other. George goes a bit farther than I do but not much. Sasha, on the other hand, swam from the shallow end and made it two thirds across the pool meaning that George could have grabbed his feet.

I have seen him break two stretch cords in previous workouts and told George to be careful in case Sasha's cord breaks and he comes hurdling towards him like a freight train.

After we finished the stretch cords and the other group finished the pull buoys, we switched. Back and forth until we had completed the entire set - other than the final 50m sprint.

It was a few minutes before 7am. We had been swimming for 1 1/2 hours and our arms, in particular, had had a pretty challenging workout.

"I want you all to sprint 50m together. I want to see what you have left" Christine said.

We were all lined up in the shallow end. There would be no circle swimming - just swim up and back, as fast as possible. We didn't look ready to sprint - we looked ready to go to bed.

"Ready? GO!!!" she yelled.

We took off like rockets. After being tied up we took off like we were spring loaded now that we were free. Twenty five metres up the pool. I looked over as I swam and saw a group of 8 swimmers flying through the water - the way it must feel during an Olympic final. We had nothing left but there was no need to save an ounce of energy. We just had to survive 50m. We hit the wall and headed back, water churning.

I don't know how everyone felt but I could tell my energy was fading on the way back. I switched from breathing every third stroke to breathing every second in an effort to get more oxygen to my arms and my legs which were starting to tingle. Almost there almost there. I refused to slow down or back off - it was only a few more seconds.

I hit the wall and heard "42 seconds!" from Christine.

That, my friends, is crazy fast.

Not quite Michael Phelps' 23:20 but close enough to scare him I think...

As we were all collapsed at the wall, exhausted and panting, Christine walked over and said "we need to tie you up more - your arms were perfect during every sprint today".

Apparently when I'm swimming as fast as possible trying to prevent the stretch cord from pulling me back, my arms are perfect. It's only when I'm swimming slowly, with time to think and breathe, that things fall apart.

1 comment:

  1. That's a very fast time! Well done! All the training is paying off.