Steve Howard a 58 y.o. TI enthusiast from Lafayette LA began working on distance swimming (and triathlon) last year as the centerpiece of a quest to improve his health. Early on, to sharpen his motivation, he began entering open water events, culminating on July 16 in completing the 6-Mile Kingdom Swim in northeast VT , an impressive accomplishment for someone so new to swim training. Steve finished in 5 hours 17 minutes, a pace of about 3 minutes per 100 yards, wearing a wet suit. Afterwards, he told me his next goal was to complete the 10-mile edition of the Kingdom Swim in 2012. I suggested that completing 6 miles already demonstrates great endurance and that a better goal for now would be to focus on improving his speed or pace, with the help of a Tempo Trainer and Stroke Count. Here’s Steve’s progress report:
Terry since the 6-mile Kingdom swim on July 16, as you recommended, I’ve been working on ‘measured pace improvement’ by focusing on metrics of Stroke Length and Tempo, rather than yards swum. In just over two weeks, I’ve improved my pace per 100 yards for a 1-mile pool swim from 2 min 33 sec to 2:15 to 2:06. My goal of maintaining a 2 min/100 yard pace for a continuous mile is now in sight. Also, by completing my daily distance swim in 40 minutes or less, I now have 20 minutes for drill practice as my warm-up and warm-down and still complete my practice in an hour.
Many folks overlook metrics like this, but being an engineer, I really enjoy looking at them. And they really help me improve!
Steve’s next event will be the US Masters National 2-Mile Cable Swim in Lake Placid on Aug 13 (the Betsy Owens Memorial Cable Swim) joining me and other TI coaches and swimmers.
Goals are good for both health and performance. Steve’s goals of improving endurance, then improving speed, are both good for his health and happiness. Tracking progress toward goals in objectively measurable ways is best of all.