I finally made it back to the pool today. The last Back to the Pool post should have made it clear that my swim workouts are not entirely unstructured, just mostly so. I picked up some kicking drills from an online source, and I figured that when I get too frustrated by the fast lane not being fast enough or too many collisions or whatever, I could move over to the medium lane and do those drills.
It turns out, December 28th is a good day to go for a swim workout, as the lanes were a lot less busy. I warmed up with 10×25; and for once I remembered to take it easy on the warm up so I could keep my technique clean and have plenty of gas for the main set.
I decided on a little experiment before moving to the kick drills. I did two sets of 100m (4x25m):
- On the first set, I simply timed the 100m swim. I came in at 1:46 which sounded good, but comparing it to race paces of over 2 minutes doesn’t make a lot of sense, since I’m going a lot longer in those cases. Still, I wanted it for reference.
- The next set, I counted the number of strokes it took me to complete one length, and averaged out over 4 lengths (stroke count is considered an important measure of your efficiency in the water). It came out to 24 strokes to complete 25m which surprised me; I’d never had a stroke count less than 25 before.
Due to the lack of traffic and according to the average pace in the lane, I was able to do my kick drills (12x25m) in the fast lane. Doing drills like this was a little tedious at first, but once I felt I was getting the hang of it, the lengths started ticking off faster, it seemed.
I re-did the two sets of 100m coming in with a time of 1:42 and a stroke count of 23. That looks like improvement , though it’s not entirely conclusive since I ended up really sprinting the last timed length to pass a swimmer and avoid a traffic jam in the middle of the pool.
I’m encouraged by the potential of technical drills, especially ones based around my kick. From what I’ve read, off-season is ideal for technical work, since the cold weather takes time away from doing more serious distance/volume (even in pool swimming, as the winter drive to/from the pool eats up more time than it would). I’m also hoping that any improvements in kick strength/power/efficiency pay dividends into my cycling and running due to stronger legs and core.