"It's going to get a lot tougher."
I heard these words last week, during the impossible butterfly set, from the coach. The one that stole all the oxygen from my body, even though I failed at it.
I can't say that I was surprised. The competetive season is probably in February and March. No matter how tough workouts get now, we're still laying a base for what's to come.
As bad as last week was, today was tougher.
I ended doing about 1000m warmup, with a fairly large variety of strokes and kicks. The coach pulled me aside towards the end, and gave me some technique stuff to try. Basically, he's been trying to get me to correct a problem with the finish on my freestyle pull for weeks now, but despite the fact that my mind wants to learn what he's teaching, I'm proving to be a stubborn student. Today's lesson was instructive, because what he had me do felt wrong, but was apparently very right.
Now, to try to catch and hold that feeling. The trick may be to try to hold it when I'm dead tired, or sprinting, or whatever.
Anyways, back to the set. I missed a 50 free sprint while I was working with him, for which we were supposed to remember our time.
Our first tough set was 600m, with a full 5 minutes of rest in it. Sounds easy, right?
We did this 4 times. The first and third times though, the fly was fast and the free was easy. The other times, the free was fast (the 50m matching our previous time!!) and the fly was ez.
This is where me not being able to figure out how to not go hard on fly would be a drawback.
We were promised we would need the minute rest. Um, no kidding. It started at 60 seconds of huffing and puffing, and restarting a bit winded still, and went downhill from there. I didn't even give a thought to looking at my free sprint times. By the last iteration, the only part of my stroke that counted as sprinting was my head rushing to the surface for more oxygen.
Bear in mind that, while I'm doing all of this, I'm trying to remember to focus on the technique hints I'd just been given.
After an easy 200m free to rest up, we got another tough set.
6x50 m free, holding the time remembered above.
The pace times are as follows:
I figured that my time should probably be something like 45 seconds. That meant that, IF I held that time (not likely), I'd begetting 5, 5, 10, 10, and 10 seconds rest. If I slowed down, I'd be getting a whole lot less.
I think my times were something like:
Again, I'm supposed to be focusing on my technique improvement.
This set wasn't so bad, although you'll notice that I didn't hold 45 seconds. It wasn't that good, either.
I've been a runner for a few years now, and I've never worked as hard as I am working now, in my coached swims. I always figured that I was a pretty motivated guy, but I'm starting to see how being coached can take you out of your comfort zone.
It's a good thing.