Robs Blog : Workout of the week

Most weeks have a stand out training session. It might be the first ride of the year in short sleeves & shorts or a trail run in the mountains that I really enjoy but more often it’s a session that I got a kick out of like a breakthrough swim or run. It’s also usually a session that I go into with a sense of trepidation or fear knowing that its likely to hurt. The sense of satisfaction when you finish a particularly hard set though is huge and added to the endorphin hit you get I’m often buzzing for hours afterwards. This week my favourite session was a swim, one that had my stomach nervously turning flips beforehand. Steve Casson our swim coach for the week on the training camp had us do a 400m time trial a couple of days ago to set the pace for this set.
The workout was 10×100 at 1:32 with 23 seconds recovery straight into a 200, 300 & 400 at the same pace with 46 seconds recovery on each of the longer intervals. Steve said that it would feel easy for the first few but would gradually get harder. I didn’t believe it for a minute, it was 4-6 seconds faster than I normally do 100’s which is more than enough to have me working hard from the start. There was 6 of us in the lane split into 2 groups of 3, each group was swimming a different speed so we were likely to lap each other at some stage. I was to lead out the first 4×100 with Emma taking the front for the next 3×100 and Beth taking the lead for the last 3×100, we didn’t get as far as deciding who would lead the 200, 300 or 400. I think we were avoiding thinking that far ahead…like I said nerves..
I was using a wetronome for the first time. It’s a small timing unit that sits inside your swim hat and is set to beep at whatever interval you programme it for. It was set to beep every 23 seconds which was our target time for each length, if it beeped before we hit the wall we had to speed up or if it we were ahead of the beep we should back off. Steve warned us not to go faster for the first few 100’s or we would pay for it later.
I pushed off and as is typical for me started too fast hitting the wall about 2-3 seconds ahead of the beep so I backed off. The next length was still ahead but getting closer. I came in on the first 100 about 1 second ahead. 23 seconds recovery and we were off again, Emma tight on my feet and Beth right behind her. If you are the second or third swimmer you get a big benefit from the lead swimmers draft or slipstream. This means it’s easier for the following swimmers, unless of course you’re following a faster swimmer and if so you’re working just as hard, you’re just moving faster than you can usually maintain due to the draft.
The second 100 was about 1 second too slow. By the third one we were bang on but I was already feeling the weight of the water. I wasn’t under too much pressure yet but I was working hard considering I was only 300m into a 1900m set. The fourth interval was again exactly on the beep and I was glad to hand it over to Emma who was set to lead the next 3x100mts. I settled into a slightly easier effort as I got into the draft and Emma got the pace bang on. Beth was up next and again she was hitting the target pace for all of hers. I wasn’t quite on my limit but the fact that all of the intervals were faster than I could maintain on my own meant I was slowly building more and more fatigue.
All three of us though were worried about the next part. We were working hard now just to last 100mt at the pace never mind 200, 300 or 400. I took the lead for the 200 and came in exactly on pace but had to work hard for it. Emma took the 300 and I stuck to her feet the whole way. My shoulders and arms were hurting at this stage and I was breathing hard. Both Emma and Beth said that they were finished after the 300 but I said I would lead for as long as I could if they started it. I knew if I had someone on my feet that I would be less likely to back off when this one started to really hurt. I told myself its only 16 lengths… The first 200 went quickly enough and still on the beep but then we caught the other 3 swimmers in our lane and I had to pick up the pace to get past them. I was already on my limit and this pushed me over. Seven lengths to go and we slipped off pace for the first time, we were about 2 seconds down. I pushed hard to try to get it back the next length but we were still off pace. My arms were screaming and I was breathing as hard I I could, gagging and swallowing water on almost every breath. I pushed even harder but we lost another second. I accelerated hard off the turn determined to get back the lost seconds. My stroke was a mess at this stage it was all I could do to just turn over my arms. All style was gone out the window to be replaced with a desperate, gasping, windmilling mess. Beep…… Another second gone I reckoned we were about about 5seconds behind target now with……and then I realise I’ve lost count…. Is it 4 or 6 lengths to go???!? I’m so far past my limit I don’t know if I can do 6, but I can’t come up short after doing this much. I decide to do the 6. We lose another second and I somehow manage to dig in and hold it at that to the end. It turns out that I did 2 too many in the end but the sense of satisfaction in completing a tough set was great and I was buzzing for the rest of the day after it.

If you want to follow the numbers more closely I’m on Strava as Rob Cummins Wheelworx or if you’re more of a pictures instead of reading type I post on Instagram as wheelworxrob.

 

Chasing Kona book available

From smoker to back of the pack triathlete to the Ironman World Championships.

Read about how I overcame all of the odds and discovered what it would take to get to the Ironman World Championships – my eBook is now available to buy as an eBook on Amazon UK, Amazon US, Barnes & Noble, and iTunes

It is also available as a paperback at Wheelworx.

If you want to follow the numbers more closely I’m on Strava as Rob Cummins Wheelworx or if you’re more of a pictures instead of reading type I post on Instagram as wheelworxrob.

 

Chasing Kona book available

From smoker to back of the pack triathlete to the Ironman World Championships.

Read about how I overcame all of the odds and discovered what it would take to get to the Ironman World Championships – my eBook is now available to buy as an eBook on Amazon UK, Amazon US, Barnes & Noble, and iTunes

It is also available as a paperback at Wheelworx.

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