May 8, 2008

A new form of torture

I have many times in the past ruminated on the blissful pain that is "kick sets", so it was with restrained optimism that I watched to coach walk over with the kick board this morning at swim practice...

Before I continue, let me explain a bit more what I mean by kick sets. The concept is pretty simple, you hang onto a kick board and flap your legs back and forth in a pattern that is supposed to resemble the kicking you would do during your normal swimming. A typical kick set would consist of 10 - 25 meter kick on 1 minute. This means that you kick the length of the pool and then wait for the rest of the minute bfore starting over. The ten at the beginning means you do this pattern 10 times. The key is that the faster you finish the interval, the more rest you get so if it takes 50 seconds to kick the distance, then you get 10 seconds of rest. Take 58 seconds and you only get 2 seconds to catch your breath.

This set is pretty tough for me because I don't go very far or fast when I kick from a combination of inflexible ankles and legs, and probably poor form. Most men aren't very good kickers from what I've read so I'm not entirely alone on this. Sometimes to make the set a bit tougher, the coach will ask us to do 5 - 50 meter kick on 2 minutes, or two lengths of the pool with the remainder of the 2 minutes to rest. This just means that my legs are really burning towards the end, and I need every second of recovery. You can't slow down either, because then your legs never recover.

So, back to this morning... it would seem that there isn't a way to make kicking a whole lot tougher but clearly this was one factor I didn't consider. How 'bout if we take out all of the rest! My coach handed me the board and said "10 minutes, just keep kicking and see how far you get". Ouch!

I tried to stay steady and push pretty hard but not all out to start. I quickly figured that 250 meters was my baseline, and I needed to reach that at a minimum. The first 50 meters hurt, but I built a bit of a cushion finishing in under 100 seconds. The pace was good, it would get me to 300 meters but I wasn't sure I could keep it up. Every 50 meters got progressively harder as the lactic acid built up in my legs and I ate into my cushion. I knew I could definitely make it though, the question was going to be could I get an extra 25 meter length in. Finishing the 250 meter length, I had 40 seconds to spare and I just went all out. I was kicking towards the clock so I could see the seconds ticking off through the haze as my vision started to blur! The last fifteen meters were at a sprint pace, furiously churning through the water... and I was just short!

I think I touched the wall at around 3-4 seconds over the ten minutes and just hung there for a few minutes trying to catch my breath and get my legs back. My coach graciously allowed me to count 275 meters as my total though, very considerate of him I thought. All and all, it was a bit exhilarating and more interesting than the last practice, but I'm definitely sore now. Still looking forward to my next session though!

Oh, and Matt... where were you??


Matthew M. 7:42 AM  

What a shame, I didn't make it!!!

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