Training throughout the long winter months of bitter cold, grey and snowy days here in Chicago going back-and-forth in a 25 yard pool seems a bit like a rodent running around in circles on one of those wheels in a cage in a kids room!
Seemed like it would never end, but then again this is the plight of a marathon swimmer, patience, patience, patience.
The light at the end of the tunnel is a long "test" swim in Tampa Bay, FL covering 24 miles, routing us from the barrier islands up to almost the tip of the Bay. Salt water, potentially rough conditions but warm water will be a good first test of mind and body. This will test the endurance as this is not a race for me but a testing ground for the same distance as the English Channel, albeit in domestic warm waters.
For comparison: running one mile is about the same as swimming 4 miles from an energy use perspective!
Training has been consistent (other than two weeks of having a sinus cold and lung crushing mucus) booking 30 - 35,000 yards per week on average. Now, that I am back to myself, 35,000 per week has been consistent and this week just a hair over 40,000 yards which is the longest training week to date for me yet. Needless to say I am happy with the build up plan and that I have been able to maintain some semblance of life and work. Like everyone else, 5 a.m. comes early and now I actually beat the clock waking up so I guess that means I am tuning into the schedule and workloads. My shoulders while tender are holding up well. About a month ago I went back to my PT Doctor and engaged him in what I would call forced PT/disciplined land based workouts with his supervision focusing on yoga and opposite core muscle groups in the neck and shoulders. It has been a blessing and I would strongly urge older readers to consider this to mitigate the wear and tear on the body.
Here is a sample workout from yesterday (8000 yards):
Warm-up 1600 as mixed 400's swimming, kicking, pulling and drills
8 x 800's broken up as 800, then 8x100 speed - (whole thing times 4)
Some days the workouts are broken into a morning 5000 yard effort and then a lunch time 3000 yard effort. Saturdays continue to be straight 1.5 hour swims where I will cover 6000 yards pretty comfortably. Everything so far is according to plan