Chalkwell Redcaps

Chalkwell Redcaps

Saturday, 18 February 2012

100 x 100's - Ouch, by Lorraine Rate

Training is going really well for me at the moment and I felt the urge to attempt H20's 100x100's for the second time.  All swimmers training for SKS are really working hard and the commitment is really coming through now.  The 100, 100's is session is a killer, as it makes you do the distance with a structure behind it, rather than just swimming along singing and taking in the scenery!

I break mine up into batches of 1k.  The first time I attempted them a month or so back at Garons, Southend, I paused for 30 seconds after each 1k to take on nutrition.  I focused on taking enough rest after each 100 too so that my actual time for the 100 was consistent.  I am trying not to allow myself to become a progressingly slower plodder.  Stay focused, keep looking at the clock, and keep swimming at the same pace.

However, for me, taking too much rest between each 100 leaves me bored and just wanting to get on with the next one.  Although I made the 10k relatively comfortably, I realised that I should be training hard during the 10k in order to get my stamina/endurance levels up.

So this time, it was intended to do it all at speed.  My programme was as follows:-

10 x 100 off 95
5 x 100 off 90
5 x 100 off 1.40
10 x 100 off 95
5 x 100 off 90
5 x 100 off 1.40
2k done.  Take 1 minutes rest for nutrition and repeat the above 5 x.

For me, going off 90 is a killer as it only ever allows me about 7 secs rest maximum.  But, after doing 5 or so, this 7 seconds rest drops to about 2secs rest.  This is why I was realistic and only put 5 of them in.  Do 5, then go into recovery mode for a while, then back into comfortable mode for a while until those 90's come round again.

It worked brilliantly until nature called at the 7k point?   Damn, I purposly did not drink too much before I left home and also visited the loo before I entered the water, but unfortunately, when you are taking on the fluids during the long swims, the inevitable happens.  When you've gotta go, you've gotta go.  All was going well till this point, but I stupidly did a quick leap onto the pool side and both calves cramped up in a terrible way.  I fell back into the water as I was looking rather ridiculous half in, half out with pain etched on my face.  I wasted about 3/4 minutes rolling about in agony then eventually hobbled to the loo.  Damn, damn, damn.  I knew it was going to be tough getting back on track.

The next 1k saw me swimming with flat feet, toes pointing to the bottom of the pool trying to send the cramp away, so needless to say, the 90's didn't happen.  It was now all down to mind games.  Don't let that little man in the back of your head that keeps saying "You've messed up, so go home" get the better of you.  I wanted to listen to him, but being a woman - I didnt !!!!   I had to settle for 1.40's for the rest of the 10k as not only had I lost my mo-jo, but I had also lost my pace-maker, Mr Ben Jacques - whom I am convinced that without him, I would not even have got to 7k.  It's so much easier drafting.

See you in 3 hours time !
Ben, also bailed out at 7k due to neck and shoulder problems.  It happens.  Doesn't matter how focused and determined you are, what happens on the day - happens on the day.

Overall, my pace was a lot faster than the first time I attempted it and there were factors that prevented me from completing my target schedule.  I will attempt it again in a months time.

My New Best Friend - Mrs Tyrant - By Helen Wildin

So here we are in February with 5 months of training to the Big SKS Day but only 3 and a bit months to the Eton 10k. Gulp. When I first started these training programs I thought I would die and was really chuffed when I did a 4.5k “Lorraine killer session” in 2.5 hrs. Little did I know that 2 months later I’d be up to 5.5k and then a 7k and still being pushed and pushed by Mrs Tyrant.

Inspired by a 100 x 100s article in an H2Open Magazine newsletter, a few of us ventured to Garons on January 20 and hurrah we did it !!!! An amazing achievement but I was a bit disappointed with my time as I didn’t really know how to pace it. So Mrs Tyrant, Lorraine has very kindly taken myself and Chatty Jane under her expert wing and drawn up personal training programs specifically to work on speed. It’s been good to see the progress I’m making and being able to tick things off as I go along. I have a much better idea and  understanding of training and of the importance of how to pace things. Plus I’ve had a few Fly and 2-beat lessons from the amazing Tri’N’Swim girls. So, in swim talk, I am now up to 17 x 100s at race pace 1.45 off 2.10 plus 3 x 100s with 5s rest.

Lorraine always makes the sessions interesting and is soothingly encouraging when we are training even though we are forever getting in her way as she laps us for the 100th time. However with the latest kick drill I might not be so enthusiastic….. Nah, bring it on and pass me the jelly beans!

"only those who will risk going too far can possibly find out how far they can go" by T.S Elliot

Helen aka ‘Sparkles’

Thursday, 16 February 2012

Why swim in the sea - By Ben Jaques

One reason I am doing the Southend to Kent to Southend swim is that I love swimming in the sea. Hopefully the challenge will encourage others to give sea swimming a try, maybe not quite so far but at least get in and have a splash about and take advantage of the great resource that defines Southend’s south and east boundary.
People often seem a little wary of sea swimming preferring to restrict themselves to the local pool. There is nothing wrong with pool swimming (I do it most mornings) but if that is the only place you swim you are missing out on some fantastic experiences.
The sea can provide an entire range of different conditions and opportunities. On a calm day it maybe mill pond flat tempting you to float lazily and simply take in the sights, sounds and smells. Another day it may show you its angry side, foaming white water from the crashing waves, great fun to be thrown about by and makes you appreciate its power (you vs the sea - I wonder who will win). And there is everything in between. One thing I particularly enjoy is being in the water whilst it is raining (maybe not hailing as happened one day last summer, that hurt). It feels somewhat illicit, playing in the rain enjoying the pitter patter of the drops on your swim cap and the little splashes on the surface rather than trying to rush through it to find the dry.
The sea does not have lane ropes so you are free to swim where you feel like going and do as you please (keeping an eye out for other water users naturally). One day you may indulge in that lazy float whilst chatting with friends where as on another have a hard, long swim against the tide with the wave and wind fighting you too challenging yourself to go a little faster/further. The choice is yours.
You may have noticed that it is currently winter but that does not have to stop you going in the sea. The water will be cold (measured at below 2°C at a recent visit) but that brings its own joy (honest). Plunging yourself in the icy water is immensely invigorating as your body adjusts to cope. You will not be in long and you may never do it again but do give it a try at least once.

Some people think the sea off of Southend-on-Sea is dirty (north side of the Thames Estuary for those who do not know where Southend is). In the past this would have been true but in recent years the Thames has become far, far cleaner. From what was considered a “dead” river not so long ago, the Thames now supports fish populations that had been missing for over a century and oysters sit on the mud flats (happy to cut the bare feet of the unwary as they walk and play on the mud). And there be seals, but more on them in another post. The water will never be crystal clear as being an estuary there will always be sediment. On a personal level I have never been ill after I have swum in the sea here (and I swim in it a fair amount) which is, sadly, not something I can say about the sea in other parts of the UK.
The estuary is tidal (with the water buggering off about every 12 hours leaving the mud flats) which means that there are currents to be aware of. If you swim close to high tide (you can find the tide times on the BBC or in the local paper) the current is not too strong and generally takes you along the shore rather than out to sea. If you stay close to shore although you will quickly be out your depth you will easily be able to get back to shore. Always do swim within your ability.

Give sea swimming a try, you may find you rather enjoy it.