Let me count the ways.
OK, this isn’t a poetry lesson, but was prompted by this mornings pool session. 10K is about as much as I have time to do in my early morning pool training session. Work is terrible inconvenience that way. I’ve done many different 10K sets over the years, usually swum as broken interval swims. The standard Open Water training set of 100 X 100m on 100secs is particularly popular.
However today was a first for me, a 10K straight swim. I wasn’t particularly looking forward to this format, as it’s a long continuous swim with no breaks, no toys (paddles / pull buoy etc). Just you, your thoughts and the occasional glance at the clock. Those who know me and have swam with me know of my inability to count more than a few lengths. I’ve often lost count on 100m repeats. “How many’s that?” or “are we there yet?” seems to preface all my conversations while on long repeat sets. I’ve resigned myself to this fact and now for long swims I time myself and work out my distance based on time spent swimming.
This works for a couple of reasons. Primarily, I can’t count anyway and if your count is to be accurate, you need to swim at a steady pace. That way you can easily work out your distance based on how long you’ve been swimming. It’s even better if your steady pace works out at an even number. So for this set I decided to hold 1:30 per hundred, not too taxing and works out at 15 mins exactly per 1K. That would give me a total swim time of 2 1/2 hours, about as long as I have available at that time in the morning. There is a minute hand on the pace clock so that makes it ideal for counting.
So starting off at about 1:27 per 100, I started ticking off the 100’s. I had some drink lined up, so decided to stop on the half hour and have a drink, emulating my intended channel feeding schedule. So to keep within the time allowed, I needed to build up a small buffer, say 10 secs every 2K (30 mins). So I plodded along at the 1:30 ish pace until the last few 100’s of the 2K and then sped up slightly near the end to build up the small buffer. This 10 sec was enough to take a small swig and carry on, keeping to the target time.
So as the swim progressed people came into the lane, swam for a bit then left. This actually helped break up the swim: there’s not much to look at in a pool. I found the pace very comfortable and apart from an intermittent cramping in the arch of my right foot, incident free. I ticked off the 2k’s and slowly but surely got to the end.
I did an easy 200 backstroke swim down at the end just to do a bit of a stretch. So a good start to the day and another 10K set completed. Let me count the ways? Straight through is another way, done and dusted.