Thursday morning I cranked out another 2500 yards. I’m logging more yardage in the pool these days than I have since the summer of 2006. I used to overtrain my swim. Once I realized that I went the opposite direction and started only logging 1000-3000 yards in an entire month! I put 13,000+ yards in the pool in January and will exceed that this month. Swimming is the single sport of the three that I’m the most “naturally talented” in. I still don’t feel like I need to log endless yards in order to be among the top 5% swimmers at most races, but I do feel like it’s a good way to rebuild a base early in the season.
Now, for the story of the tortoise (weird word). I stopped training by heart rate a few years ago and decided to keep it old school by training by “feel” instead. Awhile back I had my VO2 max tested and my training zones set for me by my late friend Jon and his business partner Barry. This season I decided I would get back to letting science dictate my training. The early base building season is best suited for easy zone 1 and 2 training. For me, that means keeping my heart rate under 155 beats per minute on the run (and 142 on the bike). When I first started wearing the monitor again I soon realized that most of my running is done in the mid to high 160s…often in the 170s. Those heart rates don’t feel that difficult, but the simple truth is that for the early season it’s just too fast. You have to build an aerobic base to build your speed upon later. Today I had a 60 minute run to get in. I decided I would keep my heart rate in zone 2. Unfortunately that meant running a 9:25 pace the entire way. Trust me, it wasn’t easy. I would have rather run a 7:00 pace the entire. It’s just tough to run that slow when you’re not used to it. My race pace is still 6:15 or so, but for now on my “long” runs I’ll be a slave to my monitor and keep it slow…real slow…like a turtle…or a tortoise.