T-50 hours or so until the aperitif for Open Water Season 2010. I’ll train right through most of my summer schedule, but I wouldn’t dare attempt a 10K unrested. So, I’m taking the week off from weightlifting and doing 3 days of below-average swim yardage. In these last few swims I’ll focus primarily on “feel,” not the clock. If I can swim “effortlessly,” the pace will take care of itself.
To help me build into a 10K feel, I’ve been doing (after a brief warm-up) a set of 12×100 LCM on descending intervals. I start with 2 on 1:45 and lower the interval by 5 seconds every 2 — so the last 2 are on 1:20.
My aim is to swim the last 2 at approximately 10K effort and speed, and to swim the first 2 no more than 5 seconds slower than the last 2. So in my case, I might swim the first 2 at 1:19 (giving me 26 seconds rest), and the last 2 at 1:15 (5 seconds rest).
Most important, my pace should descend by more than my effort. In other words, I swim faster over the course of the set not by increasing my effort, but by increasing my “effortlessness.”
Distance swimmers experience this subjectively as “feel” or “rhythm.” Objectively, this is a function of efficiency – in stroke technique and in energy metabolism.
By repeating the set several times this week, I can gauge the progress of my taper, and hopefully swim similar times with less effort – within each set and across the week.