It seems that my increased swimming volume is showing not only in my improved swimming durability but also in my speed.
5 weeks ago I was barely able to hold sub-2min pace for 5x100s. And now it is no problem.
I went to get MRI yesterday and waited there for over an hour so by the time I was done I had around 30min to swim. I was contemplating to skip the swim and just go stuff my face with pastries from Back Factory (when you are in Germany you need to go there! It is delicious and reasonably priced) but then I told myself to stop being an idiot and went to the pool. I was still hoping that they will not let me in because the last entry is 1 hour before closing and it was already past that but no such luck, they let me in:( So I decided on 300m w/up, 9x100 @2min descend 1-3 + one last fast 100 (to make it to 10x100), 200m c/d.
I did this descending thing 2 weeks ago (but 15x100) and my paces were around 1:58, 1:55, 1:53 (the last one felt like all-out sprint) so I was thinking about hitting the same paces.
But then I went the first one in 1:46 (new 100m PR in this pool), second on 1:49, third in 1:47 so I said screwed it and just do all of them under 1:50 @ 2min send-offs. And I did (all in 1:47-48 range) and it was not hard at all! It felt good and controlled.
I know that the part of it is due to my arms being fresh (very easy 1.1k swim Sat and Sun off) and I did only 10 of them but it is definitely MUCH MUCH MUCH better than just one month ago.
I call that success.
But running…. I had 70min with 15m tempo on tap this morning. Plan was 30min w/up, then tempo and the rest cool down. Today was the first time I used Garmin on an easy run (that 30min w/up) and geeez. I was going 9:20 pace (mostly slight uphill and headwind but still) and dying. Well, that’s great. JUST GREAT. Much worse than I expected. I was (surprisingly) not freaking out about it though, because I am still using “7 months off running” excuse that helps me get over my very slow paces. The only problem was how the hell I was going to do that tempo run and not die. The tempo was supposed to be 15min at 10sec per mile slower than my 10k pace. (I got little lost in calculation there because I did not calculate it beforehand using excel or calculator. My calculation went something like this: So my 10k pace is maybe somewhere around 4:20-4:30/k pace based on the fact that I am dying at 4:00 pace while doing 5x1k repeats with 3min rest. And that’s like what? 6:50/mile? No, that does not seem right if 6:24/mile is 4:00/k. But if my 10k pace is 7min that’s really pathetic and I sure can run faster. But can I? Apparently I have been doing my easy runs at 9+min pace so maybe I indeed cannot. And I just got completely confused trying to convert my 5x1k intervals pace per kilometer to my 10k pace per mile minus 10sec. You are probably confused as well by now, aren’t you? So I decided that 4:30-4:40/k as tempo pace sounds reasonable at this point although it is very close to my former easy runs pace….baby steps, baby steps…that’s my mantra these days when I see my running times)
However, that tempo went better than expected. First 3.5min were uphill (and I was at 8:10 pace at the end of that hill…), then 7.5min slight downhill and tailwind (got pace down to 7:10 (4:29) by minute 11) and the last 4min were slight uphill with headwind. I ended with 4:24 pace (which is 7:02/mile. I realize that mixing all these different numbers and paces is confusing but that’s only because the Americans cannot be like the rest of the us and use metric system:))). Which is faster than planned and expected. But I was thinking that I would slow down going back up in the last 4min but I did not.
I am the last person to say that GPS watches are accurate and therefore the paces might be few second off of course so I do not dwell on those numbers way too much. Although of course they do give me confidence.
That tempo felt good. I kept the cadence high and thought about staying “tall” and using core to move the legs.
I think that I can go little faster for little longer and maybe I can sneak under 21min on Friday. Or maybe not. Because that would mean going 4:12 pace instead of 4:24, which is quite a difference. I am also not used to suffering and getting out of my comfort zone, which is needed for 5k races. One must train to learn to suffer and I am not there with my training yet so the only way to learn that would be to slam the door and keep my hand in it for 20+min.
So we shall see. But I am definitely not expecting any miracles.