3/12 – 15:08
4/10 – 15:15
5/7 – 14:52 6/2 - 14:37
8/13 - 14:00
I was in terrible shape for the first one, so I improved about 90 seconds, not 3 minutes. I signed up for the Finding Freestyle Dark Star ePostal Swim Meet . That's a postal swim meet (epostal since it's online and you don't actually mail in your results) where you have until 12/23 to swim a 1000 yard TT and send in your results. So I'll be swimming my 1000 yard TT soon to see where I'm starting off my 2012 training.
6. Work on stroke rate. I recently bought a Finis Tempo Trainer and I love it. I've read in several places that a higher stroke rate is crucial to open water success ( here's one of them ), and my stroke rate is too slow. The one and only time I worked on increasing my stroke rate I set my half ironman PR. I'll be putting in a lot of work on that this year. I've also been using the Tempo Trainer to help with pacing on long sets. I've been doing 4x1000 at a 1:30 per 100/yard pace. I set the tempo trainer to beep every 45 seconds so I get feedback every 50 yards. Then I let it beep twice between sets so I get 90 seconds rest. I don't even need a pace clock. (side note: if you're thinking of getting a Tempo Trainer, do it. They're great tools, but get the Tempo Trainer Pro . I'll probably upgrade. I didn't know about it when I bought mine).
7. Form work. As always, I will continue to work on form, but it's not going to be the focus this time around. I personally think form is over-emphasized in swimming. I'm not saying it's not important, and if your form is horrible that's definitely the place to start (if you swim about 2:00 per 100 yards, work on your form). By over-emphasized, I think there's so much talk about how much swimming is all about form that it gets triathletes (me included) thinking that there's a magical fix to our stoke that will suddenly have us swimming a 1:15 pace effortlessly. Form matters, but so does fitness. It's time for me to address fitness, which I believe will also improve my form.
8. Swim A LOT. Did I already say that?
Before I wrap this up, I want to address one more thing: what about swimming faster to swim faster?
Yes, I agree you have to swim fast to swim fast. However, I don't need to swim fast. A one hour Ironman swim is a 1:24 per 100 yard pace. That's not fast. That's steady.. 1:00 per 100 is fast.
Yes, I will do some speed work and swim fast sometimes, but that will not be the foundation of my program. First I need a base. I've been so focused on swim speed the past few years that I've never really taken the time to build a base.
Swim long and taper.