This email arrived in my inbox on Monday:

“Hi Swimmers
The regular Time Trial (TT) in the pool helps to measure your improvement from the training you have been doing. At the last TT 56% of people improved their time over 500m. That is a fantastic result. We’d like to see this trend continue!
Usually the TIme Trial in the pool comes as a surprise, but training for a specific goal is effective in increasing your motivation and enjoyment of training.
Imagine if we all set our selves a goal of swimming at least 5 seconds faster at our next time trial. That seems very achievable – 1 second faster per 100m.
To achieve an improvement is performance we need a plan.
Next 500m Time Trial date is on 5th September 2012
Keep coming to Wednesday 6pm for the regular pool session coached by Kingy
ADD from tomorrow>>>
Tuesday Time Trial Training  >> 4 week effort – called 4Ts
4Ts session
6pm Tuesday Victoria Park Pool
Swim with the coach/s
Warm up 200m
15-20 x 100m on YOUR TT pace with 15 seconds rest between each 100m
Warm down 200m
You will need
1.       Watch
2.       Be able to operate and read the time on your  watch (or ability to read the strange clock at Vic pool)
3.       Your TT pace (we will have a sheet for this)”

On Tuesday I had plans, but they were with Fiona who fully understands the importance of swimming, so I rescheduled and trundled off to the pool for an extra session. Last year I was doing 3 sessions a week plus boxing all winter, so really it’s just back to the same for me, rather than adding an extra session altogether.

The session was quite different in a couple of ways. For a start, the coaches were swimming with us. Usually at least one of them stays out of the water to answer questions and provide directions and offer feedback and advice. In this case, too, the session, what it would involve, and what it was designed to achieve was fully spelled out beforehand.

These sessions are quite simply designed to get us used to swimming a certain pace consistently without burning out too quickly or tailing off too much at the end.

This is harder than you’d think.

For a start, I had a new watch and just could not seem to figure out how to get it to work properly to time my laps. In the end I had to just stop playing with it and took note of the time and did the sums in my head. Hoping this will improve with time.

Making this more difficult is the fact that I’ve found with swimming (and particularly when I box) thatI become less and less able to deal with numbers the more tired I get. I find this particularly funny given it’s my job to work with numbers every day…and give me an hour at the pool or punching, and I can’t add two and two together! Still, with 4 weeks of focus, I’m hoping that I’ll be able to get the hang of it.

Watch this space…my time trial was a full 30 seconds slower than I did for one in February this year, so with a bit of focus and strategy I’m hoping for big results!