I Love IM Practice
Like Alan, I'm thoroughly enjoying the addition of an IM focus in my training right now. Here's how it fits in and what I get out of it:
1) As I will turn 60 in 3+ months I've been thinking about my performance goals in the 60-64 age group. My top priority is to swim well in 1 mile to 5k Open Water events (though I will also race at distances up to 10k and am even contemplating the USMS 25K championship race, which is held every other year.) I find that I swim better and place higher in open water races, starting in June if I have swum good pool times in Masters meets from March through May.
2) Because my focus will be almost exclusively on crawl/freestyle for OW season, I want to balance that relatively narrow focus by doing a lot more training and racing in shorter and non-free events during the winter and spring pool-racing season. To keep my sense of purpose-and-urgency at a high level I set performance goals in events like 200-400 IM and 200s in the three other strokes. I especially love racing the 400 IM in Masters events because it requires so many skills. Not just the ability to swim with reasonable efficiency in 4 different strokes, but the ability to swim a good 100 Breast AFTER swimming 100 Fly + 100 Back. I.E. How you combine the strokes is even more important than how you swim them individually and not easy to master.
3) Having a different set of challenges and goals during Jan through
early May allows me to maintain a high level of mental freshness and focus as the calendar moves to June through early Sept and I shift to new goals and the new challenges they present.
Head Coach & Chief Executive Optimist
May your laps be as happy as mine.
My TI Story