Not That Again. Damn 10x100's.

Workout started like every other cold winter morning.  Get down to our bathing suits, hop in the shower and run to the pool before we freeze to death!  I was a bit sleepy at first and took a nice and easy warm up to get the kinks worked out from yesterday's afternoon workout.

Warmed Up

400 (200 free / 200 IM 50 drill / 50 swim)

3x150's 50 kick / 50 drill / 50 swim.  I quikly took a pee break so I missed a 50 (400/800)

400 Pull (200 DPS w/ paddles, 200 w/o paddles build by 50) (400/1200)

6x25's working underwater streamlined (150/1350)

Then word came down from above that our team and this workout would go against the Geneva Convention rules on unusual and cruel punishment and have us do the 10x100's all out sprint "bench mark" or "break through" set.  The idea of these benchmark test sets to evaluate ability, find specific training zones, and plot future training targets.  Which in Masters swimming and the amount of people we have on our team is complete bullshit.  As a Master swimmer I know that I need to rely on myself for goal setting and setting any training targets as opposed to age group or college swimming when a coach would sit down and work with each swimmer.  For us it's more like the coach writes them down on this spreadsheet never to be seen again or at least not to the next time we do the set.  I decided to look at each one of the three reasons for doing a test set or bench mark set such as this.

1.  Evaluate Ability - This may be used by a coach to move up one swimmer from let's say the slow lane to the fast lane.  I noticed for example that going 2nd in my lane 10 seconds behind the 1st person I was catching up to most of the first group except for one swimmer.  My thought was that maybe that swimmer should move up a lane group.  I only noticed cuz' I was using other swimmers who left ahead of me as benchmarks to how I was doing.  And also as motivation to keep at it.  Played the catch up game to keep the drudgery of swimming 10x100's.

2.  Find Specific Training Zones - I'll interepet that as setting intervals in future sets.  You'd think that a coach would see his/her swimmers on a regular enough basis to be able to set intervals without the pure nonsence of 10x100's. 

3.  Plot Future Training Targets - Going back on Evalute Ability the coaches always say that we should use this set to check in with ourselves to see how we are in our training.  I guess that means after swimming the set I should take my times and think about what I'd like to do in future versions of this set.  Or maybe what splits would I like to hold in my 1,000 and 1,500/1,650. 

Hating the set I got to admit I did feel like I held my own better then previous past attempts at this set.  I was a lot more consistent if not faster.  Then again the interval changed a bit and was a bit easier this go around.  In the past I've done this set both on the 3:00 and the 3:30.  Today we started at 3:00 but at the 3rd or 4th one moved to the 3:30.

The first 100 I came in at 1:04.  The second 100 I came in at 1:02.  Then after that I pretty much held a 1:03 for all of them.  And by pretty much as I touched the wall and turned my head a few times it was just flipping to the 1:03 as I'd see the 2 for a brief glimpse.  So a few 1:02-highs.  I felt stronger a bit longer and didn't have my usual 100 that I sorta blow off and recover but then again it was on 3:30 and not 3:00.  But even then since I do keep my workouts on this handy dandy blog I did go to a few times when I did the 3:30 inteval and still had that one 100 that I dog it.  So maybe if I was to evaluate my ability I'd say I am doing well, feeling strong and being consistently on pace.  Let's just hope that as my last time doing this set was March of 2009 that we all take a nice long breather and do the set again in March of 2011. (1000/2350)

Afterwards I warmed down a 100.  Should have done more but wanted to come home and get warm and eat! (100/2450)

MTD SCY 17,300

A Random Afternoon Workout

Swimming on a Sunday afternoon is always an interesting workout as I never really know how I'll actually be feeling to I get in the water.  Last two Sunday's I have been feeling good and doing pretty well in the pool.  Then today came.  It wasn't so much that I was tired, or I was slow it was a new mandated check set like our 10x100's.  Mind you this isn't in place of the 10x100's but an addition to.  From now to some undetermined date in the future at two random workouts we will be sprinting for time a 200, a 100 a 50 and I thought I heard something else.  I blocked it all out and almost didn't even bother to swim today once I started to hear that.  Once in the pool it was all down hill.  I pretty much goofed off for an hour.  I figured I was already at the pool I'd just swim to we got to the mandated sprints. 

If I want to see how fast I am in a 200 of any particular stroke I'll go to a swim meet thank you.  Give me a set of a series of 200's like last Sunday and I'l work them and do a faster time in each one of them then I will with just swimming one 200 sprint.  And a 100 and a 50 why even bother?  I always sorta feel if I really need to know how fast I am that is what meets are for.  But a lazy Sunday after noon or a random 6am workout is not the time for me to go fast.  So today was a waste of a workout for me.  I just did random strokes up and down the pool not really caring about the workout. 

Warmed up a 300.

Warm Up Set:
75 Drill on 1:20
50 Swim
100 Kick
50 Swim
25 Swim
It was choice of stroke and I just did random strokes in no particular order.  Some fly, some back and I did a 25 breast at one point.(1200/1500)

Then we had one more warm up set.  Which had a 200, 3x100's some 50's and then 4x25's.  Once again I just did random strokes.  Then I got out as it was time for the first 200 sprint.  Let's say this warm up set was 600 yards.  So I did a 2100 yard workout.  I'll be having a few of these workouts over time.  The 200/100/50 Mandated Sets will not be announced before hand so depending on my mood I'll either load them, get out early or maybe do one or two over time. 

MTD Yardage: 63,000
MTD LCM:  6400

YTD Yardage: 178,650
YTD LCM 17,200

Monday I'l be either not swimming at all or doing a lap swim.  I plan on skipping the one morning workout that is offered tomorrow at 7am as it'll be too crowded. 

10x100's March Edition

The first Monday of each month our team does a 10x100's Check Set or whatever you want to call it.  It's basically a set that you swim 10x100's all out but you get lot's of rest.  Even though I hate this set and would rather swim 1,000 for time I sucked it up and swam the set this morning.  Luckily since no one wants to swim the 10x100's attendance is really low so you don't have to worry about over crowded lanes. 

Warm Up
400 Swim

Then we had a warm up set.  My lane did an extra 50 as the coach then held us up so that all the lanes would start at the same time.
50 kick (25 on stomach no kickboard / 25 modified swordfish with an underwater pull)
4x100's Kick (25 stomach no kickboard / 50 modified swordfish with an underwater pull / 25 on back)
4x100's (50 drill / 50 swim - one arm / 3 which is 3 strokes then stop on the side, kick to three than 3 strokes stop on the other side / fist / finger tip drag) (I missed a 50 of the one arm as I went to take a pee break) (800/1200)

350 Pull (it was suppose to be a 300 but I thought I heard 400) (350/1550)

1x50 Build (50/1600)

10x100's All Out!  The interval changed this month to a 3:30.  In the past we've done it on 3:00 with the slower lanes on a 3:30.  Which means the coach is running around on deck keeping track of 18-30 swimmers on all different intervals.  She gave us the option of which interval to do and my other two lane mates wanted 3:30.  Fine with me.  It kept me from falling apart. 
I wasn't trying to kill myself.  I don't like this set enough to care about my times.  I just wanted to be consistent.  Which I know isn't the point of the set.  I don't need to go all out and puke at workouts.  I was trying to get my heart rate after each one by counting my heartbeats for 6 seconds than multiply that by 10.  The first 100 I was about a 110 and I moved up to about a 150/160.  I think.  I had a hard time finding my heart rate.  For example right now while I'm typing I'm dead as I can't find any pulse at all.  Pretty good posting for a dead man!  In Masters swimming you are not allowed to wear a watch at meets but I think I may get one for workouts.  (1000/2600)

100 Warmdown.  I'll be the first to say we should be doing more than a 100 after this set but it already was 7:20 and the 7:15 workout people were getting in.  Another problem with this set is that in a 1 hour and 15 minute workout it's a pretty tight fit.  Warming up and warming down is squeezed into a very tiny window.  One swimming commented that last time it took them 3 days to recover from the set.  Which I'm sure is a bit of a tall tale but without a proper warm down I'll be feeling it tomorrow.  Even later today.  (100/2700)

MTD Yardage: 7,300
YTD Yardage: 121,950
YTD LCM 9,800

I will admit after the last two workouts I'm feeling better about my swimming.  Hopefully my dark moodiness is in the past.  But wait, there's more...Since I got called out on this at today's swim I figure I'll share.  For swim suits my daily practice suits are falling apart.  Stretched out, bleached out, you name it.  My polyester suit isn't faded or bleached out but the lining is all torn up leaving me feeling a bit uncomfortable as shifting may happen during swimming.  So I've been doubling up in my suits figuring at least one will stay on.  This morning I did wear my old Speedo Aquablade Brief.  So someone commented that I had my speed suit on.  To be honest I wore it because it's collecting dust and has held up pretty well.  The technology in the suit is pretty old and I have newer suits, Speedo Fastskin leggings and briefs and a Blueseventy Nero Comp. So I wore my old aquablade brief.  Big deal.  I'll be wearing it from time to time till' it's like the rest of my suits.  If I swim this weekend at CalTech I'll be wearing just the Fastskin Brief as it is just a fun meet.  No need to pull out the Tech Suit, yet.

My Heart Rate & Swimming 10x100's

With the 10x100's Check Set on Monday I started to look at the value of said sets.  And other variations of Check Sets.  I decided to find out more so I could justify to myself why I should skip Monday's practice to avoid swimming the 10x100's.  Right off the bat I found an article from Swimming World Magazine LINK that states:

Test sets are an important component of the coaching environment and the swimmer-coach relationship.

Coaches usually administer test sets during the course of a season to measure a swimmers endurance, speed, training thresholds and strength. The type of tests varies from program to program.

Okay.  That makes sense.  I swim Monday mornings and that has been the same coach for my four years of swimming so she knows me.  That isn't the case with all the swimmers at the various workouts.  Even I would guess that not all of our coaches know much about my swimming except that it's a guarantee that i'll get out during a kick set.

The article LINK then explained three different test sets.  Here are some snippets:

A common endurance test for young swimmers, says Sokolovas, is the T-30. Swimmers are asked to swim as many laps as possible in 30 minutes. The coach records the total yards/meters swum and divides it by 30 minutes to obtain the distance swum per minute. This is then converted into an average 100 pace (i.e., time per 100 yards or meters). If a swimmer swims 2,400 yards, then his or her average pace is 1:20 per 100.

Step Tests such as 6 x 200 with 1 or 2 minutes rest between swims. Rest should be just long enough to measure heart rate or obtain a lactate blood sample. The swimmer is asked to descend his or her times to the point where the last 200 is an all-out effort.

Another simple test set to determine Constant Swimming Velocity is a set in which the swimmer swims 4 x 100 at top speed with 30 seconds rest between each 100. This is usually done at the beginning of every season or twice during the short course season, with the second one done over the holidays.

The article was written geared towards Age Group Swimmers but I think most Masters Swimmers are closer to training of Age Group Swimmers as opposed to College Swimmers.  Hell I couldn't do some of the College Swim Sets I've seen online.  Maybe I'm more of a "Shark and Minnows" Swimmer.  With these sets the article mentions taking heart rates and lactate testing.  I'll be upfront and say that I've never checked my heart rate in any swim practice since age group swimming.  It's never been asked.  I'm intrigued enough to swim the 10x100's and do just that.  Take my heart rate after each one.  As for the lactate testing that won't happen.  But that is something for me to think about down the line. 

Another Month, Another 10x100's.

Another month has passed and on Monday our team does this little check set of 10x100's all out on 2:30/3:00 (times vary by coach).  When we first started doing these a few years back I liked them.  Over time I have grown a strong dislike of the set.  Sometimes the timing is just dumb as it was in December just days after Regionals.  The 10x100's set aim is to let each swimmer know how they are doing in training.  In December if a swimmer cared about how he or she was doing they would have just competed making the set pointless.  I skipped them in January as if I recall it was raining cats and dogs.  I heard people still swam them regardless.  In February I did them but after a weekend of having a bit too much fun and then not warming up much before hand ended up descending the 100's.  But now it is March.  I have four days to come up with an excuse on either why I didn't do them or why I sucked at them.  Read my past posts on 10x100's LINK.

10x100's. How Can 4 Little Laps Hurt So Much?

Ahh...Monday.  Shit...1st Monday of the Month!  The 1st Monday of each month we do a little set of 10x100's all out fast.  It's out Check Set or Breakthrough Set which is a guide to see how one's training is going.  Personally I am not a fan of this set but I showed up anyways.  After a weekend of too much fun, not enough sleep and no swimming I knew it was going to be an ugly morning swim.  I just didn't know how ugly it would be.  It turned out not to be as ugly as I thought it would be. 

Warmed up a 300 before starting one quick warm up set.  6x50's on 50 as follows:  first 25 fast, middle 25 fast, last 25 fast and repeat.  (600)

10x100's Yards All Out Freestyle on 3:00's:
Not great times.  Not as bad as I was expecting times.  When I started off with a 1:07 I figured that was about the fast as I could get after struggling in the 50's warm up set.  Yes my times seemed a bit all over the place with a bit of a descend.  At the 9th 100 I will admit to not only doing an open turn at the 75 mark but I just glided into the wall.  At least I did them and at the very least next month has to be better.  (1,000/1,600)

100 easy (100/1,700)

Then we did some 75's.  Let's say 4 I think.  4 or 6.  Must have been 6.  Yeah 6x75's odd swim/kick/swim and evens swim/drill/swim choice of stroke but they must be allt he same.  I did them backstroke.  (450/2,150)

5x25's Sprint on 30 the stroke you just did.  Then I did a 25 warm down (150/2,300). 

I was going to sleep in and maybe I should have.  But maybe by swimming I was able to get the cobwebs out of me and I'll be back to normall tomorrow morning.  Tomorrow I'm going to swim at Culver during the early morning lap swim to get some pace work in the long course pool. 

Month to date Yardage:  2,300
Year to date Yardage:  66,740

December's 10x100's

Tomorrow at practice we have our 10x100's and to be honest I don't want to do them. Now I could skip workout but that would mean one less workout for me this week. That is an option but the other option is to have a little protest during workout and do my own thing. Mind you I don't want to disrupt the workout and mess up anyone who want's to do the 10x100's. I've been thinking of alternatives to the 10x100's. Some of these alternatives are 10x100's but not done all out. For those of you who has never swam the 10x100's set it can be easily explained as swimming ten 100 yards all out sprint freestyle on a three minute interval. The point of the set is to make you puke at seven in the morning. Actually the point is that after you swim the set and look at the times you'll have a sense of how you are doing and gauge your training. Now this set following short course regionals is pretty pointless as I know how I am swimming in regards to my training.
The 10x100's set is normally done on the 1st Monday of the month but was pushed back one week due to regionals. We will do this set again on Monday, January 5th and then again once a month up to Nationals in May. Once again this set is to gauge how one is in training leading up to Nationals or IGLA. Mind you anyone who would be swimming to be in competition most likely swam last weekend at regionals like me and know how they are doing.

So what to do about tomorrow? I had thought I'd do the 10x100's but kick them all. But that seemed boring. Okay it's 10x100's on 3 minutes so I can kick 30 minutes non stop. Do I really want to kick that much? No. Plus if I share the lane with someone who wants to do the prescribed 10x100's I'd screw them up which isn't fair. Hmm...what to do? How about a relay? If I have one other person we could each swim just a 50 of the 100 and try to beat our times each one. A 50 is easy enough, right? That really doesn't sound much different from the 10x100's though. Come on brain, think! Oh! Eureka! How about a raffle! What? I'll have a hat on deck with folded slips of paper which will have written one of the following on each paper slip: butterfly, backstroke, breaststroke, freestyle, kick, underwater, freestyle breathing every 3, every 5, every 7, etc.. Before each 100 I'd pick a slip of paper and I and anyone so inclined would swim the 100
how we picked at random. I'd write each selection on ten pieces of paper so in theory I or we could be forced to swim 10x100's breaststroke. Yeah, I'll be doing the 10x100's but at least it'll be fun and not mind numbing and pain inducing all out 100's!

Rain, Rain...Come On Monday

Monday is the kickoff for our once a month 10x100 Check Off Challenge or the Breakthrough Challenge. The last time we did this set was in April and I'm not looking forward to doing this again.

A little about the 10x100's Sets:

In a race/meet environment, our bodies produce higher levels of lactic acid, higher heart rates and inevitable fatigue. ‘Breakthrough Sets’ call for high-intensity repetitive swimming on a specific work-to-rest ratio, giving our bodies enough rest to recover partially, but not completely, between each of the 100s. Breakthrough Sets, when pushed to our personal maximum speeds, improve our ability to perform consistently for an extended time at high speeds, despite this increased level of lactic acid.

These sets are designed to be difficult and should be painful (in a good way). With that, if you plan on attending one of Monday’s ‘Breakthrough Sets’ workouts, please mentally prepare for a challenging and valuable practice.

Now besides the fact that I really don't like these anymore it will be raining on Monday. So we may be swimming in the rain. Oh Joy! Read about past 10x100's Set LINK

Team Survey: Question 4 Answered

I posted earlier about our new team survey LINK and I've decided to post my answers bit by bit as I write them up in between doing other things.  I've answered Question 1 LINK, Question 2 LINK and Question 3 LINK and now for Question 4:

4) Should we bring back the monthly 10 / 100 sets?

I am a fan of the 10/100 sets.  It's nice to check in and see how one is doing from time to time.  But I don't think having them monthly is the way to go.  After four months in a row it becomes a daunting and repetitive task.  Also our attendance at these workouts begin to dwindle.  I'd like to see this workout to be maybe a quarterly event.  On top of that it should be more of a choice by moving this set from the Monday workouts to one of the weekend workouts.  Being a Masters Swim Team we made up with everything from the casual fitness swimmer to the swimming elite.  Having a check in set such as the 10x100's doesn't appeal to everyone and once again seems to have an negative effect on attendance.  By moving it to let's say Sunday at 3pm only those who really want to do the set will come drawing from the other weekend workouts. 

Read more about my past 10x100's LINK

10x100 SCY Breathrough Montly Set

Another first Monday of the month came today as did our breakthrough set of 10x100's on 3:00 all out sprints.  In the past I like mostly everyone else did them all freestyle.  Month to month my times fluctuated with some months better than others.  These breakthrough or check sets are suppose to give us a snapshot on were one is in training.  In theory we should be improving month to month.  I have mixed emotions about this type of set.  On one hand I feel once a month is too much.  Also since it is announced before hand attendance at workout drops significantly for this day.  Which is good as we have 2 persons per lane but I don't think anything that discourages swimmers to show up is good for anyone.  On the other hand those who do show up seem to be more of a cohesive group of swimmers cheering each other on and giving words of encouragement.  Also when you do have that good month of swimming it only encourages you to train harder.

Personally this month was a mixed bag for me.  I started with the intention of doing 5 butterfly and 5 freestyle.  On my first 100 I came in at 1:04.  That was a bit too fast to keep up although looking back in time I remember when I did an off the block 100 butterfly and was happy the day I went under a 1:08 with a personal workout best of 1:06.  At a meet I'm still hovering at 1:00 with the goal of breaking that mark.  My second 100 butterfly I slowed up to a 1:05 and felt like crap,  My legs and arms were sore and the hot water made me fill ill.  My third 100 was aborted after a 50.  I gave up.  I know I should have continued and pressed forward at a slower pace but I just didn't want to.  The fourth 100 I switched to backstroke just to see what I could do.  I did a total of six backstroke each one getting slower 1:06 / 1:07 / 1:08 / 1:09 / 1:10 / 1:10.  The final and 10th 100 I did butterfly with a time of 1:06.

Afterwards the coach gave us all a speech on how we should be all doing these all freestyle to get an overall feeling of how we are in our training or at least do the same thing from month to month.  Now not to make this a bitching post I found it interesting that I heard a rumor that one of the elite faster swimmers was telling the other elite faster swimmers to skip the workout this month as they are on a National's training program.  These are the people who wanted this set to be a monthly thing in the first place.  It'll be interesting the 1st Monday of the June which is IGLA if we do this this set or not.  I hate when swim practices become political or pissing contests. 

Back to me...with limited time and workouts I need to figure out how to still work on my butterfly, do some good distance freestyle workouts and then add in some good backstroke workouts now that I know that stroke is also a strength for me.  Also after a few weeks of no weight training I need to get back to the gym.  Even though I was tired and sore more often when swimming I think my swims were a bit faster during workouts.  I seemed better adapt at swimming  in the pain and not giving up so much.