Wednesday was my now-usual pool training session at Victoria Park.

Victoria Park Pool

Victoria Park Pool

I worked from home on Wednesday, so and decided to drive down instead of ride so I was there early for a change…and managed to snap a pic. The days are also starting to get a fraction longer, so there was a touch of purple in the sky still. The air was plenty chilly but still and clear.

The crew rocked up and we started with a warm-up.

We followed up with two drills and two variations each.

First drill was a sculling drill. The variations were in hand position. These drills are slow and steady, but “Sculling is arguably one of the most underused swimming drills to increase good feel of the water and improve the initial catch and thrust of all strokes.

Second drill was a high elbows/finger drag drill. Both of these exaggerate the arm movements. This works on making good arm technique feel natural, and also helps with body rotation. I don’t mind these ones as in general they aren’t too far from swimming normally. They don’t feel too weird, uncoordinated or uncomfortable like some drills can.

We did a bit of a high-heart rate lead up to the main event…the dreaded TIME TRIAL!

A time trial is a set distance, usually done under controlled conditions like a pool, at regular intervals during your training to monitor progress. Ideally, any training program is designed so that you should see improvements or hold steady at your time. The bad news is that a time trial is hard work! You want to get the best time possible, so that means swimming hard for the whole distance.

In reality, for me at least, there are times when I’m training hard with a goal in mind, giving up a lot of things that are bad for me, and really focussed on swimming, In race season, when I’m doing timed swims almost every weekend, I am also pretty settled into the pace of a race and what I need to do and how I need to be thinking to do my best times. Under those conditions I can usually manage consistently improving times.

Of course, believe it or not, I’m not actually a professional athlete. I do this for the love of it and not as a job. I also am not as young as I once was, and have limited time and resources, and I have a partner and family and job and other hobbies that make demands on my time and energy. I wasn’t actually there when this squad did earlier time trails, so I don’t necessarily have anything to make excuses for, but it is worth noting that unless you really are a professional athlete, life can sometimes get in the way of your swim times. I blame (in no particular order) a bunch of things that are all kind of intertwined and connected:

  • Seasons (race/not race, weather, holidays)
  • Injury and illness
  • Time available to train (longer days in summer help)
  • Goals and other motivational factors
  • needing a rest
  • how often you’re training
  • occasionally having to give time and attention to other things. Like work (sigh), family, friends and significant others.

So it seems the world is full of great excuses. And a good time trial every now and then can keep you on track.

And speaking of things to keep you on track, the crew went out for dinner afterward to a local pub with a fancy upstairs room and a killer gnocchi.’Twas lots of fun and lots of laughs, and we may have pioneered the concept of “seasonally adjusted time trials”

post swim get-together 4SEASons August 2012

post swim get-together 4SEASons August 2012

If you happen to have stumbled here without knowing me already, that’s me with the bad post-swim hair, 2nd from the front on the left.