One of my favorite things about running is its amazing portability. You can run
anywhere, so long as you have your shoes, making it easy to squeeze in while you’re traveling.
I’m writing this from New Port Richey, Fla., where I’m visiting my parents for the week. I have been taking some time off from running to nurse a sore hip. The portability is sorely missed.
There’s a beautiful outdoor public pool near my parents’ house, and I almost always try to squeeze in a swim while I’m here. The outdoor pool is ideal in the winter, but not so great in the summer, when it’s so hot midday, it’s literally hard to breathe. So I headed out at 6:30 a.m. Monday to try to squeeze in a workout before things got really uncomfortable. Perspective on “uncomfortable:” When I left the house, it was 91 degrees, 99 percent humidity. The pool temp was the same, making the workout feel a bit like doing step aerobics in a hot tub (not that I’ve done this. I’m just sayin’).
Making things worse, a club swim team kicked me out of the main lap pool and into a 20-yard kiddie pool. I’m not so great at math on a normal day, but converting all my normal sets from 25-yard laps to 20-yard laps was about all I could take before sunrise.
However: The coach, a fit-looking middle-aged man with a booming voice and a stopwatch, apologized for the situation, anc invited me to swim with his masters swim team this morning. At 5:30 a.m. Because I’m a little crazy, I decided this was a good idea.
I’ve never felt super-comfortable with masters teams. There’s something awkward about meeting a bunch of strangers in your bathing suit. My last experience involved a big group of snooty patooties who informed me that theirs was “kind of the fast lane,” and an older dude who said, without a hint of kindness of humor, that I could only swim in his lane if I didn’t run him over. It felt like the middle school lunchroom all over again, except I never had to wear a bathing suit while searching for a table in seventh grade. Then again, I also never got to blow past the so-called “fast lane” in seventh grade, which I did at that practice.
So. This morning, I headed out for the workout. Last night’s hail storm had cooled the pool temperature to 88 degrees, and I was one of only a few swimmers to join the coach in the water, meaning I had my own lane. It was GREAT. He prepared a workout tailored to the heat, with lots of sprints followed by a decent amount of rest (why didn’t I think of that?).
Here’s the workout, if you’re interested in replicating it. It would work for any ability, if you adjust (or forget about) the intervals, make the whole thing freestyle and/or skip some of the sets as you see fit.
Warmup set: 10X100 w/ 5 seconds rest
20X50, first 25 stroke, second 25 free, on 1 minute
21X25, in sets of three, with first 25 easy, second medium, third hard, on 40 second (kick it up to 30 seconds if you’re not battling heat exhaustion). Stroke or free; just keep it the same stroke for each set of three.
I added: 5X100, first lap non-free
4X25 sprint, 4X25 no breath
In other news: I hit the treadmill for 30 easy minutes yesterday (only chance to run was midday, which is seriously dangerous here), and it felt OK while I was running! I kept it to about 8:40-minute miles except for the last two minutes, when I just had to kick it up. Hip hurt a little after, but it felt amazing to run again. In a desperate attempt to make it feel better, I have been taking glucosamine again, and also my mom’s fish-oil pills, which allegedly help knock down inflammation.
The weird thing: The pills might actually be helping! Then again, I could just be desperate. Has anyone else tried these with good results, or heard any evidence to suggest I’m not just crazy?
I’ll continue to blog/Tweet/etc. when I can grab a few minutes of Internet access, but will be back to normal next week.