Up until this point, I haven't spent much time in the pool beyond 2,000 yards consistently. However, over the past few weeks, I haven't done a single swim under 2,800 yards. And it has been paying off as well as taking it's toll.
Long swims in the pool are tough. Walking through the door from the locker room to the pool and thinking about how many times I have to lap back and forth across the water is sometimes daunting. Before having a coach all I could think about was how to break down the session into something manageable that didn't seem like an overabundance of the same thing. I was always stuck thinking about 100yd repeats just to keep them somewhat short, but long enough to feel like I was making a difference in the total.
With having a coach now, the long workouts in the water don't seem so bad. Looking at warm up sets as warm up sets means I really take it easy to get settled into the session instead of rushing through the first several hundred meters to get me going.
One of the things I have noticed that has made these longer days in the water more bearable has been the break down of the main sets. Yes there are still 8x100yard sets or something to that effect. But when it comes to the main sets, the rests are all based on how hard I work. So leaving on a given interval instead of resting a certain interval. For me, leaving on 1:45 has been both a relief and a curse. Take for example my last workout of 4,000 yards. I was doing 8x100 yards leaving on 1:45, odds were with a pul-buoy, evens were regular swim. Pulling off the pull sets below 1:40 was tough after doing 2,000 yards already, but knowing the next set was going to be faster with the same effort made them easier.
The key thing for me to get through these long days is to find my rhythm. Finding my cadence is huge. How fast I can maintain without over-exerting myself. I do everything I can to stay within my limits. Swimming has a lasting toll on your body, especially hard and/or long days. After days like these, I feel both physically and mentally exhausted. One of my favorite things is just the feeling of knowing how much good I did for myself and my body. Long days in the pool are tough mentally and physically. I have a love/hate relationship with them. I hate the time leading up to them, I don't fully enjoy the amount of time they take, but I love how I feel when I am done. My body feels weak and exhausted, but I know how much better I just made myself.