Building distance nicely

 The pool is treating me well these days with minimal shoulder discomfort, but it's literally being a pain in my neck. I've started swimming less with my fins but the dork snork continues to be a fixture in my workouts. Not that I can complain, it sure beats not getting in the water! Plus, I'm finally getting some 3-mile pool swims in and my distance is ramping up smoothly. Next week is my first 10-mile training week since December. Honestly, I'm a little nervous. Last week was only 16,000 scy and I was beat by Friday morning, but then again I crammed it all into four consecutive days because I had a date yesterday (Saturday) with the ocean and FREEDIVING! 

Omg. My new love. It's the perfect compliment to my intense OTD capstone weeks and training in the pool. I feel like a real mermaid when I slip below the surface and race toward the bottom (or a target). So far I'm hitting 20m (66 feet) pretty consistently and comfortably, and 10-15m dives feel perfectly relaxed. I love the feeling of the water giving me a big hug and sharing her treasures with me, like sea anemones and delicious Dungeness crab. Another perk of freediving is the training perfectly compliments swimming. I started working on flexibility, posture, and breathwork for freediving but noticed that my swimming is feeling stronger and closer to the effortlessness I remember from before my injuries. The O2/CO2 tables are particularly great and I'm now only breathing every 5 strokes rather than every three, I simply don't need the air after 3, and limiting the number of times I turn my head to breathe is helping with my neck pain. Freediving is great for rest days/weeks by giving me a way to be outside and in the water without having to train. It's not like a complete rest day... I'm actually frequently more tired after a day of freediving than I am after swimming 3 miles! But it allows my shoulders to rest and that really is what is important right now. 

Anyway back to the swimming. 

My training plan has me building distance by roughly 10% a week, with the rest week of 10K built-in every 3 weeks. I think this is going to work really well this time around and help me stave off injury and prevent overtraining. It's a challenge because some weeks I hit my target distance on Thursday and I just want to keep swimming because I feel good. But that just means I've got more in the tank and will be ready for next week of training, especially if I take the extra days off and don't push it. As good as the pool is, I am getting a little frustrated by it. Staring at the black line isn't my favorite thing, but my neck isn't quite better enough to swim open water and sight constantly. Plus, the river is still below 50 and I need to get an hour workout in every time I get in the water. Under 50 I can do it, but I'm drained for the rest of the day. Plus, I'm rapidly approaching where the roughly 2 miles I swim in an hour open water doesn't fit within my training plan except for on rest days. So I guess for now I'll continue swimming in the pool, staring at the black line, and visualizing distance in my head off of landmarks I'm familiar with from the Willamette and the Columbia.

It's hard toeing the line between overtraining and undertraining and hopefully this year I'll find more balance.


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