Thursday, March 03, 2011

Train Smart, Race Fun

Bear with me while I set this up:

  • A few weeks out from the Austin half marathon, I swam a 400IM on a whim during our group swim practice.
  • I also happened to be re-reading Gold in the Water as I typically do about once a year. The book mostly focuses on an elite swimmer trying to make the 2000 Olympic team in the 400IM (that might have been the impetus to give swim it at practice, I can't quite remember).
  • Around the same time, I found out short course Masters Zones would be in San Antonio in the beginning of April.
  • Also around the same time, I tweaked my Achilles training for the Austin run. That shot my mood way into the dumps. I still wanted to race, but my enthusiasm for it was lacking.
  • Right when all this was happening, over on Endurance Corner, team member Mike Coughlin wrote an article on "keeping it fun" during winter training.(I also interviewed Mike for an upcoming athlete profile -- keep an eye out for it).
  • All this got me thinking about a fun challenge. I've never raced the 400IM in a meet. I don't even think I ever did a 400 off the blocks in a practice as an age group swimmer. In fact, I don't remember ever doing a 400IM at all in practice without having to fall back on some one-arm fly.

You can probably see where this is going:

I've decided to take up scrapbooking. I'm very artistic.

I also decided to sign up for the 400IM at Masters Zones. It's a fun challenge for because it's such an unknown; the distance and strokes aren't a mystery, but it's the question of "how fast can I go?"

Gordo has me on a plan to get ready for the event without totally falling off my run and bike work.

At some point, I'll probably pick some other events to swim at the meet. Driving more than three hours for a 400 yard race isn't quite worth it. Tack on another couple hundred yards of events? Totally worth it.

Zeros Update
I mentioned in January that one of my goals for 2011 is to have less zeros than in 2010 (a "zero" being a day without some kind of exercise).

So far, I'm not off to a stellar start, but I've got 10 more months to go.

January 2010: 11 zeros
February 2010: 6 zeros

January 2011: 13 zeros
February 2011: 7 zeros

So I'm three zeros in the hole already. I've been righting the ship the last few weeks though.

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