Two Contrasting Practices
Just had a very interesting experience this week: I've been swimming consistently 5 days/week since February, and have been directing almost all of my attention to SPL work--my goal was to take my initial "best" SPL (when I started after a lengthy break, I was at 14 SPL for 25m, and am now at 13 for 25m) and make it easy to do, then slowly extend distances holding SPL without worrying about tempo or speed for now.
As a result, almost all of my swimming for past couple of months has been extremely slow, focused repeats of very short distances (many 25m, some 50m, and perhaps one 100m repeat per session). This has been spectacularly satisfying, giving me lots of opportunity to focus on technique (balance, core activation, elbow-led recovery, patient catch, etc.).
This week I happened to be starting my session when a couple of VERY fit triathletes I know were starting their own workout. They invited me to join them, and in a fit of open-mindedness, I agreed to give it a try. Here was the workout:
3 times through this set:
1 x 200 (50m all-out, 150 recovery)
1 x 200 (100m all-out, 100m recovery)
1 x 200 all-out
On a whim, I decided I would resist the almost overpowering urge to "TI-ize" their workout by defining the all-out/recovery legs with SPL, giving me TI targets and tasks to aim for. Instead, I would merely try to go faster by increasing stroke rate as much as I could, without counting strokes (which I wasn't even sure I could avoid doing--I've been a compulsive stroke counter for ten years).
This is a long post already, so I'll continue in the next one with my reactions and observations.