Well if I can't run I figure I better HTFU and actually push the swim workouts. Since starting back up swimming I have mostly just been getting in easy meters to loosen up the legs for the next run, maybe a few 100 meter sets to feel like I actually worked, and I have been adding in a good dose of kicking to strengthen my hips, but I haven't really pushed myself that hard. Since I won't be on the track tonight I decided I should up the effort this morning in the pool and try to simulate a hard track workout a bit, at least aerobically if I can't simulate the physical pounding. I've done some googling to try and find good swim workouts for runners and I have to say I haven't found much. I think a Runners World article quoted the following two workouts for runners:
1. Swim 4 to 6 x 25 meters hard, with 30 seconds of complete rest between repeats. Build up to 6 x 50 meters. Always finish with several minutes of easy swimming.
2. Swim 2 x 100 meters hard, with a 2-minute rest between repeats. Eventually work up to 2 to 4 x 200 meters.
Seriously? The rests are incredibly long and the distance is a bit weak. I guess if you never swam before this might be sufficient, but in my head I am thinking if I want to simulate 15-20 hard minutes of track work I need to do 15-20 hard minutes of swimming.
Way back in 2004 is when I got started with the endurance sports via Team in Training. Our coach was an excellent swimmer so I got plenty of workouts to do. Now I am making it up as I go, but I remember I never had any trouble cranking out sets of 100s on minimal rest, but as the distance got longer I tended to fall off. So I decided this morning to do some 200s and see what I could do.
800 meters of warm up: 2* 200 swim, 100 kick, 100 pull
Timed the 200 meter warm up swim to get an idea of what I do with a moderate effort and it was 3:35ish
Then I did a main set of 4*200 meters with 20 second rests. The interesting thing about the pool is I have no feedback like I do on the track, no Garmin to tell me if I am "on pace." But for some reason I do well with this. First 200 I go by effort, I work hard, check the time when done, and try to give the same output or harder the following set. A lot of times in the pool it feels like I must be going slower as I start to go anaerobic in the later sets and my breathing goes from every 5th stroke to every 3rd, but I have found that typically I actually get a little faster. Today was no different. 3:20, 3:20, 3:15, 3:13. I was breathing heavy and definitely working hard, but it felt good to push myself and I would say the effort was equal to my 800s or 1000s on the track.
Followed the main set up with a cool down of 100 kick, 100 pull, 100 swim, 50 breast, and 50 back to round out 2000 meters in about 45 minutes.
It's a start. Way back in the day when I was in a swim club I know we used to spend several hours in the pool. Not sure if I have the mental fortitude (or the drive to get up early enough) to get in 5000 meter workouts by myself several times a week, but we will find out!
Ideally I would be doing pool running to replace any running I can't do, but the pool at my gym has no deep end and the tendon is irritated on push off so I don't think that is an option right now. I find it hard to believe that there isn't more information out there on actual swimming as a substitute for running with some sort of equivalent workouts. I realize it is inherently different. Swimmers have to do a lot more technique work and the workouts are inherently more interval based, but you would think that there would be some information on what type of workouts would work best if you simply can't run or do any weight bearing. Right now I am thinking perhaps a few days of hard intervals and a few days of longer steady swims. We'll see. Hopefully this is a very short term problem!