Training Logs

Jon’s Training Log   Jon’s Old Training Logs

Wed, 19 Aug – Team workout plus short warm-down for 4K. Leave tonight for Spain.

Tue, 18 Aug – 6K in the lake in the early AM. Glare from rising sun was quite severe. Can only be worse in the open ocean. Strokes felt a bit clunky.

Mon, 17 Aug – 5200 yds this AM. Hard 2500 at the end. Pool only open 6-7:30 mornings this week.

Sun, 16 Aug – 6800 yds in the lake today swimming very easy. 3 days until we leave for Spain – still many details to take care of.

Sat, 15 Aug – 10Km swim this AM as part of USMS postal (after a 100m warmup). Went as guest of Paul McClintock to Westwood pool in Thornwood – my first time ever there. A nice simple 50m pool in a nice facility. Got there at 5:30 and started swimming at 6, timed by Paul’s wife Fritzi and their son Craig, who holds most of the varsity swimming records at Pace. Paul was 20-25 yds ahead of me at 2000 but at some point after that started to cramp up. I caugtht him at about 2500 and his cramps got so bad he just hung on for 5K. As for me, I kept a pretty steady pace, giving it about 80% effort, finishing in 2:50. 15-20 minutes after the swim I started to feel quite good – not a particularly hard day’s work. Gaining confidence for the Strait!

Fri, 14 Aug – 8100 yds in the pool this AM. Pushed myself a bit, first with Paul M. swimming in the lane next to me, and then towards the very end with Loren swimming next to me. Noticed how much faster I was at the end when I focused on streamlining, with high elbows. My body has come to accept this kind of distance as routine.

Thu, 13 Aug – 6800 yd lake swim at noon in on-again, off-again rain. Sun peaked in towards the end. Air temp was 71 F, water perhaps a couple of degrees warmer. Took it slow and easy. Felt ready for the Strait.

Wed, 12 Aug – 8600 yds this AM. Worked hard for last 1000 or so of a 2000 from 2500-4500 when Paul McClintock joined me, and then worked moderately hard on a 2000 from 6000-8000 when Loren, the Alcatraz swimmer, joined me. She mentioned how, even with a wet suit and neoprene cap, in the 54 degree water of Alcatraz her hands and feet went numb. She wore a large mask so that less of her face would get numb! After swim weight: 142 lbs.

Tue, 11 Aug – 45 minutes in weight room. Day off from swimming or anything aerobic today.

Mon, 10 Aug – 8800 this AM. Worked hard on a 2500 from 2750-5250 trying to keep up with Martin on his 100 IMs in the next lane, then did some smooth alternate side breathing stuff and cruised in.

Sun, 9 Aug – 6800 yd lake swim in the late afternoon. Dark sky, 73 F outside; water serveral degrees colder. On and off rain, at times heavy. Was waiting for the thunder to rumble in but it never did. A bit chilled and stiff throughout, worrying all the while about how I’m ever going to make it in the colder waters of the Strait for at least three times as long.

Sat, 8 Aug – 8200 yds in the pool where I spent many days during my summers before college. Nostalgic but with more than the normal sadness that accompanies such feelings. Mrs. Cohen, one of our neighbors, related a sweet story about my mother and how she was overjoyed by the simple pleasures in life, always content with what she had in life. Good to take such stories to heart.

Fri, 7 Aug – 9200 yds this AM with a fair amount of alternate side breathing. Felt smooth despite a crowded pool with more turbulence than usual.

Thu, 6 Aug – 6400 yds in the lake at lunch. Absolutely brilliant day here in NY – high 70s and low humidity. Weeds getting really bad. Hopefully there will be a lane around them for another 13 days!!

Wed, 5 Aug – 5200 yds this AM. Started off with 3300 yds workout with team, followed by a 200 pull and a 1700 swim. Good to do intervals for a change. 2×100, 2×200, 400, 2×200, 2×100 free ladder felt especially smooth. Had an early morning appointment so had to do a short workout.

Tue, 4 Aug – 8K lake swim in thick fog this AM. Had to hug the bank early on to find my way, making for a very long 8K. Air temp only 67 F when I got out so a bit chilled. Have decided to make every 4th day a non-aerobic day to try to better maintain my body weight.

Mon, 3 Aug – 9700 yds this AM. Felt very smooth. Did more alternate side breathing than usual.

Sun, 2 Aug – 32 mins on water rower.

Sat, 1 Aug – 8800 yds in two separate lake swims of 4800 then 4K. Much easier than doing 8800 in one workout, be it a pool workout or one continuous lake swim – no comparison in fact.

Fri, 31 July – 8600 yds this AM. Felt pretty decent during and feeling reasonably good now as well. Taking a smaller/peaking breath on last breath before a turn seems to help me get closer to the wall for a big push off. After Gibraltar I am going to work hard on my flips so I keep momentum throughout my laps – one of my biggest racing weaknesses. Small increase in my after-swim morning weight today (140.5, up from 139.5 – but had been about 142 for most of year).

Thu, 30 July – 8300 yds this AM. So many mosquito bites I decided not to swim outside today. A bit of nausea while swimming – not sure what that’s about. Boy I am spending a lot of time in the water….

Wed, 29 July – 9K yds in the pool this AM. Pushed myself on a 2K from 5100-7100 yds then a bit shot. When I wasn’t pushing myself against someone in a neighboring lane my stroke was getting very short and choppy.

Tue, 28 July – 8K lake swim this AM. Nice not to wake up at 5 AM like I do on M,W,F and instead just trudge on over to the lake where I am completely in my own zone. Pushed today’s swim further than I intended though.

Mon, 27 July – 8300 yds this AM. Losing weight down the stretch just like last year. Absolutely must do something about that – water will be cold!!

Sun, 26 July – 8800 yds in the lake. Except for some seriously goopy eyes feel pretty good. Had almost a whole checken before starting out and that sat in my stomach for the first 4000 or so.

Sat, 25 July – 10K yds in the lake. Slow and steady. Definitely harder than 10K in the pool, but feeling reasonably good afterwards.

Fri, 24 July – 10K yds this AM in the pool. My longest ever single session pool workout. Did more than my usual amount of alternate side breathing which felt good – I stretch out more when breathing on alternate sides. Feeling good now.

Thu, 23 July – Had an early morning appt. so got to Pace a half hour before the pool was to close and decided to go to the weight room instead. Pretty decent 30-35 minute weight room session. Then 30 mins on water rower in the evening.

Wed, 22 July – 7500 yds this AM. Felt a little sloppy early on and then strong towards the end.

Tue, 21 July – 6K lake swim in a steady, sometimes heavy rain this AM. Air temp 65 F, water somewhat warmer. Seems a lot harder to swim in such a rain than in good weather – do your arms do more work cutting through the heavy, rainy air?

Mon, 20 July – 8100 yds this AM. Started off slow but picked up steam at the very end. A 2-3 minute chat with 1800 to go provided welcome rejuvination. Feel much better now than after yesterday’s swim.

Sun, 19 July – 6400 yds in the lake in the late afternoon. Thought it would be a piece of cake but guess I was just tired from yesterday. Looking forward to swimming in the pool tomorrow and *not* killing myself. One month until we leave for Spain. Today also marks one year since the 25K.

Sat, 18 July – 16K lake swim in 4 1/2 hours. Totally whipped. Incredibly monotonous going back and forth 40 times. My longest ever practice swim (2nd longest swim behind last year’s 25K race). Definitely not yet ready for the Strait.

Fri, 17 July – 8500 yds this AM. Feeling pretty good now but still hard to imagine that Mark & I swam a little more than three times this far almost exactly a year ago.

Thu, 16 July – 6800 yd lake swim. Very stiff and slow. Lake a bit cold; downpour started 5 mins after I got out.

Wed, 15 July – 8400 this AM. Feel great now. Maybe day of weights did me some good.

Tue, 14 July – 30 mins in weight room at lunch time. Aerobically a complete day off.

Mon, 13 July – 7K this AM. Eyes were burning during 2nd swim yesterday and then very red and gunky when I woke up this morning. Also something in my ears. Remember similar things at the peak of training last year. 5 mile run at lunch in Rockafeller Park. Will sleep well tonight.

Sun, 12 July – 5600 yds in two separate 2800 yd. lake swims (one in the AM, one in the PM). Felt like almost a day off at this stage in my training.

Sat, 11 July – 10K yds in the lake this afternoon. As I’ve noted before, not quite sure about the distance – possibly a bit of an underestimate. Took me 2:50. Very sore, eyes puffy. Felt like I was swimming quite slowly but hit my distance objective. Four 10-15 sec. Powerade stops after each 2000. May try for 15K next weekend. Definitely don’t want to do it, but think it is important for my body to have the memory of this distance.

Fri, 10 July – 5450 in short pool workout this AM. Pushed myself hard during a 2000 to keep up with my teammates doing 100s in the next lane.

Thu, 9 July – Working from home today so took advantage and did a 6K lake swim at lunch time. Air temp was a bit nippy: 68 F at start, 70 F at the end, but water was fine. Storkes seemed a bit stiff and inefficient.

Wed, 8 July – 8400 yds this AM. Unless qualified, yards are pool yards – like this morning. Was determined to push myself through the next level of fatigue. Have been in a cycle where I do a hard day, then an easy day, then a hard day – but very rarely two hard days in a row. Today’s workout gives me three 7K days in a row and today’s total yds is about my high water mark for the year so far. Thinking about doing a 10K in the lake this wkend but we’ll have to see about that….

Tue, 7 July – 7100 yds this AM. Very tiring after the 7200 late yesterday. I’m clearly not in the shape I was in last year with 5 or so weeks to go.

Mon, 6 July – 7200 yd continuous lake swim this afternoon. Actually very hard to say exactly how far – one way back and forth, as the crow flies, is roughly 400 yds according to Google maps, but because of increasing weeds which I have to swim around, as weather warms up the distance gets somewhat longer. Anyway, very sore and tired now. Noticeable biceps pain in my right arm.

Sun, 5 July – 6000 yd lake swim today. Lots of weeds to swim around. Tired now.

Sat, 4 July – 8400 yds in two separate lake swims: one of 3200 yds and the second of 5200 yds. Did the first one in cargo-style swimming trunks because my kids insisted that I not wear jammers to our 4th of July lake party. At 3200, the velcros that was keeping the suit together was no long sticking together, so in lieu of letting the suit fall off I called it quits.

Fri, 3 July – 6000 yd lake swim in the early afternoon. Very easy, smooth pace. Water temp finally comfortable (low-mid 70s). Intended to go a bit further but got out at site of lightening.

Wed, 1 July – 7100 yds this AM. Hard 2000 pacing myself against Paul McClintock. We both did 2000s but he started out 500 ahead. I fell 25 yards behind over a net of 1500 yds. We were just about even for these kinds of sets last year so maybe I am slowing down, or not in quite as good shape as I was.

Tue, 30 June – 4800 yd early AM lake swim. Very cold, though air temp was up to 68F when I got out. Just when I thought lake was finally warming up…. Tops of fingers were losing sensation already by 2800 yds in.

Mon, 29 June – Grueling 8200 yard workout this AM. I was already beat after first 4K. After a stout cup of coffee a few neurons seem to be firing and I can again count myself amongst the living.

Sun, 28 June – Light 3100 yard workout while visiting my brother.

Sat, 27 June – 5600 yd lake swim. Water several degrees warmer than in recent days, perhaps 70-ish. Air temp started out in mid-high 70s and sunny then dropped down to 70 and very overcast by the end. Rain supposedly heading in. Swim was pretty relaxing, though did feel tired and sore over the last 800 yds.

Fri, 26 June – 8250 yd pool workout this AM. Sore and exhausted now – mostly exhausted. Core of workout was a 2000 and a 3000. Looking forward to day when this kind of distance is not such a killer.

Thu, 25 June – Cold 2400 yd lake swim at 8 AM. Air temp 66 F, water slightly colder. Then off to my middle daughter (Maddy)’s middle school graduation, and 30 mins on water rower tonight.

Wed, 24 June – 6750 this AM. Body still felt the chill from yesterday – odd how that works. Very sore and stiff also; guess because I never really warmed up. Flip turns very poor. First day of our swim window just two months away.

Tue, 23 June – 4000 yd lake swim this afternoon – very cold. Trying to imagine staying in water this cold for five hours instead of one. Yikes. And fighting big seas and chop to boot. The only way I was able to stay warm was by swimming fast throughout. Just slowing down at the turns I got cold. Driving chills as usual afterwards.

Mon, 22 June – 7200 yds this AM after three days of not doing very much. Good to get in some decent yards but felt very sloppy until the last 3000 or so.

Sun, 21 June – Caught in a downpour after about 900 yds into my lake swim today – another 100 yds to get back to shore. Lake was extremely cold after chilly, near monsoon, conditions here all week – water temp perhaps in the mid 60s. After getting back home did 30 mins on water rower. Two months from now we will be in Spain.

Fri, 19 June – Quicky 2750 today at lunch.

Thu, 18 June – 6K in an hour and a half at noon today. Felt stonger as the workout wore on.

Wed, 17 June – 6650 at noon today. Just long slow stuff – didn’t kill me.

Tue, 16 June – 7450 yds this AM. Longest workout of the year so far, but took it very slow and easy. A 2500 and a 1500 with other stuff thrown in around them. Not terribly tired now.

Sun, 14 June – 4400 yd lake swim. Not quite as cold as yesterday but cold. Waited to the end of the day again because there was a kids birthday party at the lake that I wanted to avoid.

Sat, 13 June – 4800 yd lake swim. Began about 6:30 PM in a light ran. Water was surprisingly cold after a cold week here and lots of rain. Towards the end my fingers began to get numb as my core body tried to conserve heat. As soon as I got out, I dried off and changed out of my swim trunks and into dry clothes. Driving chills but not as bad as I’ve had them at various other times. Worried about my ability to stay warm in the Strait. Water temp today probably comparable to what it will be there.

Fri, 12 June – 6450 this AM with an intermezzo to do some above & below water fliming with Dr. Marty. Perhaps because of that not too tired now.

Thu, 11 June – 5550 this AM. Just Steve Yates and me for the beginning of the workout. He continually smokes me on backstroke, today cruising in at 2:50 on a 200. Then he beat me for the first time ever on a 200 IM. Ah well – congrats to you, Steve! He has been working hard on his IMs and it shows.

Tue, 9 June – 5150 this AM. Have been having problems with allergies and puffy eyes so a bit sluggish this morning. Finished up with a 1000 that seemed like it would never end.

Mon, 8 June – 6100 this AM. Freestyle ladder then IM ladder with Martin and Carrie. First time I’ve done any real fly in a long time. Unfortunately back to my old, sloppy cadence. Flips today were reasonable.

Sun, 7 June – 4400 lake swim this evening. Regurgitated something or other during the swim – not pleasant – but figured I better get used to it since it may happen in Gibraltar due to swells and sea sickness. Water temp about like yesterday though I was not chilled this time when I got out.

Sat, 6 June – 4800 lake swim today. Felt very strong. A bit chilled once I came out and a bit cold in the water at times. Water about 70 F, though temp varied considerably in different parts of the lake.

Fri, 5 June – 4800 this AM. Totally distracted by stuff at work.

Thu, 4 June – 6050 this AM. All freestyle. Better flips than in many weeks though still far from what I’d like. Felt surprisingly refreshed after today’s swim. Had been having some discomfort in my right biceps, but feeling quite a bit better. Day off yesterday helped.

Tue, 2 June – 5650 yds at lunch with a 2500 straight swim at comfortable cruising speed. 100 frees a bit faster than in past days. Not too taxing a workout.

Mon, 1 June – 5650 yds this AM. Stroke feels like it is just getting worse. All freestyle workout. 1500 has been my longest straight swim in awhile. Should push that to 2000 or 2500 this week.

Sun, 31 May – 34 mins on water rower. All through the day felt a chill in my bones from yesterday’s lake swim. Worrisome. If cool next weekend will experiment with taking in warm fluids during swim.

Sat, 30 May – 3600 yd lake swim. Lake temp in high 60s, air temp 73F. Was cold during swim, especially in shaded parts of lake and had driving chills when I got out. Good to not push myself too hard on total yards. Have just started adding flax seed oil to my protein shakes – 120 calories per tablespoon – hopefully will help with the weight gain.

Fri, 29 May – 6300 yds this AM. Only Carrie and me for team workout. She is slow but steady and needs very little rest after sets. We did 3300 together and then I slogged through some more on my own. Very tired this morning. Flips still ugly and times quite poor.

Thu, 28 May – 5950 yds at noon. I seem to be getting slower, but the yardage alone doesn’t seem to be wiping me out – which is good for the psyche. Important not to come to the pool day in and day out just wanting the workout to be over with.

Wed, 27 May – 5850 yds this AM. Flip turns still sloppy, as is stroke, but at least turning up the notch a bit yardage-wise.

Tue, 26 May – 5200 yds at noon. Terrible flip turns. Stroke seemed sloppy also. All freestyle.

Mon, 25 May – 2000 yd lake swim after drive back from PA. Lake temp in low 70s, so already warmer than Gibraltar will be.

Sun, 24 May – 30 mins on elliptical machine plus light weights at hotel fitness room.

Sat, 23 May – 3100 yds at Penn State outdoor pool, starting with a decent 600-500-400-300-200-100 free, while rest of my family went to the Creamery.

Fri, 22 May – 4800 yds this AM. Heading to PA for long weekend – hope to find water.

Thu, 21 May – 4450 yds at noon. Tried to work out a few things – body dolphins/streamlining off turns. Most important thing for me seems to be focusing on looking back at the wall off of turns. Hopefully with enough work the streamlining and body dolphins will become second nature. Easy workout.

Wed, 20 May – 5K yds this AM. Swam with the team, then some on my own, and then off to a dental appointment. In team workout we did a 1K – which is very long for our practices. Felt strong but Martin kicked my butt. Then Steve Yates kicked my butt in some 100 backs on 1:50, though once again I managed to come in under 1:30, at least on the first.

Tue, 19 May – 5350 yds at noon. Freestyle felt smooth, however cramped up quite a bit in my legs in middle-end of workout. Need to drink more and have powerade handy as I’ve noted a couple days back.

Mon, 18 May – 32 mins on water rower. Pool closed today. Another cold, damp day.

Sun, 17 May – 32 mins on water rower. Cold and damp here this weekend. Temp only reached 52 F today. Know I should have gone for a swim in the lake anyway, but didn’t. Pace pool closed tomorrow and supposed to be cold outside again.

Fri, 15 May – 6100 yds this AM. Need to start varying my training a bit to get through this mentally – add some lifting/stretching/running, and presumably, as a consequence, not get to the peak yardage of last year.

Thu, 14 May – Relatively easy 5600 at lunch today. A lot of smooth, easy freestyle and a little bit of back. Started to cramp up in my legs towards the end. Back felt fine.

Wed, 13 May – 6500 yds this AM. Felt like a lot of yards. Not ready for a steady diet of this! Did a 500-1000-2000 with various things thrown in. Almost all freestyle with a tiny bit of back. The 2K was not as bad as I anticipated. Need to start bringing Powerade to workouts.

Tue, 12 May – Nice and easy 4150 at lunch. 500-1000-1000 with some other stuff thrown in, especially some 100 backs with long underwater dolphins off the starts. First 1K seemed like it took forever, but got in the zone on the second. Back feels good.

Mon, 11 May – Slow but steady 6600 yds this AM. First workout of the year by myself, with masters team swimming in lanes beside me. Did a 500-1000-1500-1000-500 with short stuff interspersed between. Doing backstroke in between felt good, especially stretched-out underwater dolphins. When I come out of my underwater dolphins I don’t ride as high in the water as normally, which slows me down – not sure why. Did not flip on longer sets.

Sat, 9 May – 4350 yds this AM, beginning with team workout. Creaky and slow. For first thousand yards focused on bilateral breathing. Should make billatersal breathing a regular part of my routine, along with light weights and stretching once a week.

Fri, 8 May – 5400 yds this AM. Total slog. Very achy and stiff today – throughout my back and shoulders. Times quite slow. Guess I need to start doing longer swims alone very soon, but not looking forward to it.

Thu, 7 May – 4100 yds at lunch today. Rushed due to deadlines at work. Back felt good. Lots of back-back-breast-free IMs since on self-imposed no-fly diet.

Wed, 6 May – 5400 AM yds. Tough team workout with focus on distance. Back sore afterwards.

Tue, 5 May – Another back-friendly day: 4700 yds at lunch. Back felt much better, but I am not going to take chances so no fly for at least another week. Worked with Mani towards the end – he is getting ready for Nationals at the end of the week in Fresno. He has a chance at a couple of National records in the 75-79 age group. He is 75 – amazing how young and strong he looks. With him watching I managed to do a 28 second 50 free from a push off. In my opinion the key to such a race is to kick like hell and just forget about breathing – at most one breath down and one breath back. Still don’t have the knack of flips at full speed.

Mon, 4 May – Back-friendly 4950 yds this AM. Only swam back and free. Focused a bit on Dan’s flip-turn suggestions. Not gliding into the wall anymore – key is being as comfortable flipping when my right arm is last to pull out as I am when my left arm is last to pull out.

Sat, 2 May – 3000 yds this AM. No fly. Still painful/sore lower back. Also pain in right shoulder making it hard for me to fully extend my arm, perhaps a result of trying to compensate for back pain. Good pointers from Dan after workout on my flip. Gliding in to wall too long with my arm extended. Better to take a strong stroke and glide in with arms at side, or better still to stroke in (little-to-no glide), propelling head down. Also need to focus on bringing my head straight down; if head goes down somewhat sideways, body will follow.

Fri, 1 May – 4600 yds this AM. Back sore again. No fly, just a handful of flips. Did my first ever sub-1:30 100 back in a workout. Starting to get the hang of that stroke.

Thu, 30 Apr – 3400 yds at noon trying to minimize stress on lower back. Flips but no fly. Times were reasonable. No significant pain today but will continue to be cautious.

Wed, 29 Apr – 3350 yds this AM. Lot of pain in lower back. After a few hundred yards stopped doing flips. No fly. Even had to come in easy on open turns to minimze skeletal jolt.

Tue, 28 Apr – 4300 yds this AM. Lots of soreness/stiffness in lower back throughout workout. Wonder if I brought this on by playing golf on Sunday, though looking back I had back pain already at the end of last week.

Mon, 27 Apr – 4300 yds at noon with Steve Yates. Good workout. Haven’t swum with Steve in awhile but it is always a challenge. Lunging forward better on fly. Worked on 50s with underwater dolphins after flips.

Sat, 25 Apr – 3600 this AM after a barely serious team workout. Then 800 yards in my lake for total of 4400 on the day. I estimate water was 8-10 degrees warmer than last weekend. Outside temp reached 90 F today! Had trouble cutting a straight line.

Fri, 24 Apr – 4600 this AM. Woke up with a sore back; especially hard to warm up. As a result took it easy through the team workout and in my short follow-on. Though I was just cruising, times were not terribly slow.

Thu, 23 Apr – 5150 at lunch. Crux was a 4×50 fly with fins (1:00), 4×50 fly without fins (1:00) without break and after similar sets of free and back (though free on :50). Turned out not to be so hard since I loafed the fins part and still came in at about 40 seconds by virtue of a nice first kick. Fly without fins was in very poor form. Need to carry over what I was doing with fins to what I do without fins. Satisfied with my freestyle today – managed stretch out and elongate my stroke, plus good flips.

Wed, 22 Apr – 5150 this AM. Laid awake last night thinking about all the work I haven’t gotten done in the last couple of days. Way too much stuff piling up. Not clear how I will find the time to ramp up yardage in the next month.

Tue, 21 Apr – 4000 today at lunch. Felt good. Trying to assimilate tips from the weekend.

Mon, 20 Apr – 5400 this AM. Breastroke quite good – held my own against Martin. Turns especially strong. Improvement a result of watching this great YouTube video:

Sun, 19 Apr – Quick swim in the lake but basically a day off. Air temp 61 F, water temp about 50 F. Put on both silicone and neoprene caps. Lasted about one minute, though could have gone longer. Perfectly fine afterwards – no chills at all.

Sat, 18 Apr – 800 yds worth of races in 2 1/2 hour meet at Yonkers. Arrived 10 minutes before my first race. Say 2000 total yards for the day. Poor times. Worst turn of my life on the 50 free. Want to record several good pointers I got: (i) Too much side to side motion with my hands on my freestyle, sometimes crossing my midline. Should be pulling through approximately even with my shoulder. (ii) Need to keep my hands and fingers more relaxed,(iii) I am coming out of my tuck too early on my flip turn (iv) Often I take too many kicks into the wall before my flip – should take an extra stroke rather than all the kicks, (v) On breastroke, need to keep a tight underwater streamline, (vi) breasktroke dive and turns should be deeper – use the single dolphin kick to get back to near the surface. A lot to think about!

Fri, 17 Apr – 4400 easy yards this AM in preparation for local meet tomorrow. Amazing how close my 100 free times are swimming easy vs. pushing it. Worked on my flips again at end of workout.

Thu, 16 Apr – 5650 this AM. Just a lot of short stuff with big intervals during team workout. Flips were sloppy, especially doing 100s against Martin, losing ground on each turn. After team workout did 12 free-to-back 50s, flipping right onto my back, which was good medicine.

Wed, 15 Apr – Long, slow 6450 yds this AM, starting with easy team workout.

Tue, 14 Apr – 5750 yds this AM. Team workout focused on breast & back so easy to put in the extra yards. Felt pretty strong but strokes did not seem smooth. Not working my arms hard enough in breastroke. Signed up for two breastroke events in meet this weekend so probably should spend some solo time working 50 breasts focusing on nice wave action and effective sculling with my arms and hands.

Mon, 13 Apr – 4250 yds at noon by myself. Felt a bit stiff after two days out of the pool – then at one point had some shoulder discomfort. Flips were good, especially when I remembered to look back at the wall, but fly was not as fluid as last week.

Sun, 12 Apr – 39 mins on water rower.

Sat, 11 Apr – Pool closed for weekend on account of Easter. 37 mins on water rower.

Fri, 10 Apr – 4800 AM yards. Pushed myself against Martin in a mostly free workout. Felt good. Flips not bad but could be better. Fly felt good – closing in on Martin speed-wise.

Thu, 9 Apr – 4250 at lunch by myself. Late start but got the most out of the workout. Good stretching out. Free felt good.

Wed, 8 Apr – 5350 this AM. Three straight tough team workouts. Really tired this morning.

Tue, 7 Apr – 5400 this AM. Tiring team workouts last two days. Worked out kinks in my flips after workout – well worth the time. Again flipping too far from wall and not pulling hard in. Best thing to work this out is doing stand-alone flips right onto my back. Maybe tomorrow will do 50s, first lap free, 2nd lap back, flipping onto back with one or two body dolphins to start back length.

Mon, 6 Apr – 5450 this AM. Team workout very unusual, courtesy of Steve Miller, including things like 100s with 3rd lap fly. Flips were not so hot, but better towards the end.

Sun, 5 Apr – 37 mins on water rower. Have entered another meet in two weeks. Not sure if I am really interested in doing another meet or just want to put off the big yardage ramp-up a little longer.

Sat, 4 Apr – 4100 this AM. First 2700 with team focused at the end on starts, turns and under-water dolphins. Continued this on my own – trying to easily flup directly onto my back from a flat start with a freestyle approach, and then with a backstroke approach, and then in a 50. Next have to add body dolphins.

Fri, 3 Apr – 4550 this AM. Had my pre-Gibraltar physical as required by ACNEG yesterday, including a tetanus shot which left my left shoulder sore during workout, and even more so now. Otherwise felt decent. Pushed by Paul Hoffman who swam in the lane next to me. He is slightly faster than me and has great push offs on his turns, so made me really focus on getting good push offs myself. Satisfied with my turns today.

Thu, 2 Apr – 4800 this AM. Just Steve Yates and me for team workout and, as usual, we pushed ourselves hard through what was a pretty grueling workout. Flips not as crisp as in recent days. Shoulders sore, perhaps from new style of doing fly.

Wed, 1 Apr – 5250 this AM depsite not sleeping well again. Freestyle and flips good, trying to streamline off the turns. Working on the new butterfly cadence suggested by Robert – if I could only figure out when to breathe doing things this way – perhaps breathing to the side would work, like Robert himself. Need to spend some dedicated time working on my back flip, tranistioning into dependable, good, body dolphins. Perhaps the key is to go deep yet stay streamlined. Very important for me to do this in a way that doesn’t cut all my momentum – very hard for me to gain momentum back on my backstroke once I’ve lost it.

Tue, 31 Mar – Didn’t sleep well and had to be at Southbury, CT early, so instead of going in the opposite direction to swim, made it a semi-off day and did a 22 min stint on the water rower.

Mon, 30 Mar – Nice easy 4450 at lunch today. Comfortable splits but nice long streamlined turns. Also worked on my fly, a la Robert. Seems to work great if I can just stay at it.

Sun, 29 Mar – Not so happy with my times today. Only thing I can clearly identify on the 100 IM (first race) was that my arms went back and forth on the start, wasting time – should go directly out with as big a spring as possible. In the 100 breast, never got a rhythm going, probably the result of not dropping my head deep enough/going underwater like I should with appropriate up and down momentum. About 2500 yds today. 22 mins on water rower after drive home.

Sat, 28 Mar – Today’s races: 200 fly, 200 IM, 50 free in a 200 medley relay and 50 free in a 200 free relay. Surprisingly comfortable on the fly. Improved a lot on my time from last year, but not as much as I wanted (sub 3:00). Could have gone out a bit faster or worked the third 50 a bit harder. Robert says I need to streamline more on my turns and my cadence is still not right. 200 IM was OK but my fly was very sloppy so a lot of possible improvement there. 50 frees surprisingly fast, especially given that my turns, especially on second, was not good. Since I am turning closer to the wall than I used to, going at higher speeds than in workouts, my body instinctively twists (thinking that a direct turn will be too tight) and the result is a sideways flip. Need to practice flipping at high speed. Total of about 2700 yards today.

Fri, 27 Mar – Easy 2700 AM yds in preparation for meet this weekend.

Thu, 26 Mar – 4400 yds this AM. No one but me at team practice. Again prepping for New England’s, not killing myself on anything. Got to 1:13 on a 4 x 100 (2) descending free set. Should be able to do better. Flips still good since turning closer to wall. Feeling positive about the meet.

Wed, 25 Mar – 3500 yds at lunch, prepping for New England’s. Did a 150 fly and a bit later a 300 IM. Both felt OK, bordering on good. Flipping closer to wall making a huge difference. All in all, feel pretty good – wish I were doing some pure freestyle races and my back flip is not there. Beyond the meet, feel like I am poised for a spurt of improvement.

Tue, 24 Mar – 5250 yds this AM. Felt very smooth, perhaps because there were no long sets. Flipping closer to the wall per a suggestion of Steve Miller, which is making a big difference. Have to keep reminding myself of these silly, simple things. Also, keeping a tighter backstroke kick, trying to kick with my hips instead of the big muscles of my legs, per Brad’s suggestion – also seems like a great idea. Good endurance on fly today.

Mon, 23 Mar – 4300 yds at noon. Worked on my turns after warming up, especially looking down as I approach the wall instead of looking up and cutting my momentum. Difficulty is judging the distance to the wall that way.

Sat, 21 Mar – 37 mins on water rower.

Fri, 20 Mar – 4650 this AM. Got smoked by Brad Polhill in a couple of 100s. Was him swimming exceptionally fast and not me apparently. Another sobering thought: during a team 500 free, Martin did a continuous 5×100 IM!! The thought of trying such a thing makes me want to take a very long nap…. Tomorrow after workout need to start from scratch again on my flips.

Thu, 19 Mar – 4700 today at lunch. Good thing Steve Yates was there to push me through a couple of sets. First set after warmup was 5×100 IM (1:45) which left me a bit drained so I likely would have loafed through a few follow-on sets otherwise. Need to spend a bit of concentrated time on my flips – progress I had made seems to be slipping away. Key is flipping directly on to my back.

Wed, 18 Mar – 4550 today at lunch. Nothing very stressful. Started with a 1200. Flips getting worse again. Mani says my butterfly and breastroke are better.

Tue, 17 Mar – 5750 not very high quality yards this AM. Slow intervals and no one to push me during team workout – but gald to have put in two 5K+ days in a row.

Mon, 16 Mar – 5850 yds this AM. Most yard in a very long time, though not at all stressful. Good team workout, followed by a bit of drill work and easy yards. Solid flips most of the way made the workout a lot easier.

Sun, 15 Mar – 37 mins on water rower + a little work on flips at hotel pool where we were holding Tova’s birthday party.

Sat, 14 Mar – Approx. 3700 this AM. Did some interesting deconstructionist butterfly and backstroke drills with Robert Goldbloom at the end. Basically learning to do one arm fly with a proper kick at the end of my stroke and then another kick to follow. Amaxing to watch Robert do this right underwater – how the undulation and kick coincide to deliver propulsion just at the right moment. I am realizing that swimming is like learning to play the piano with your whole body. Since I do so much wrong, I have to get back to basics and learn to do simple things right – but just like in piano, sometimes the simple things (coneceptually) are not so simple (especially when through the years you have taught your muscles to react in a different way). In the backstroke, I am very flat. To better turn, say to my right, I need to take a little sideways kick with my right leg. Amazing how hard it is for me to even take a little sideways kick. Lastly – on fly I have to remember to avoid plunging with my arms, which robs my stroke of the proper initial outward sweep. Lots to work on!!

Fri, 13 Mar – 4900 yds this AM. Felt pretty good. At end of team workout did 6×50 (1:30) with first lap no breaths. Did numbers 2-6 fly out (no breaths). Surprisingly easy and fluid. Need to try some sets of easy 50 fly, breathing every other stroke. Wonder if that would work. Do I dare try every other stroke breathing for the 200?

Thu, 12 Mar – Worked from home today so didn’t waste the gas to drive into the pool. 33 mins on water rower.

Wed, 11 Mar – 4K at lunch time by myself. Woke up with very sore shoulders, presumably from butterfly drills yesterday. Still sore through warmup so had to ease into workout and focus on my flips – which was good medicine because my flips were quite good today. Still much room for improvement, but I feel like my freestyle will be at a new level once I get my flips to the point where I naturally want to flip onto my back.

Tue, 10 Mar – 3700 at lunch time, starting with some butterfly drills. Did the workout with Steve Yates. The total distance may not be exactly accurate. Short but hard workout. Although at the time the fly drills did not seem hard, the follow-on yardage was rough going. Steve said I still have too much up and down motion on my fly.

Mon, 9 Mar – 4900 this AM after a night of sharp stomach pains. Not high quality yards, but glad to have not skipped the day, and then at the end of the team workout glad to not have skipped out on on my solo stuff. Need to give myself some little reward if I can manage to flip onto my back rather than doing one of my 2/3rds corksrew things. Also, I have all but forgotten about tucking my chest into my knees on the push off, and also should be using Robert Goldbloom’s suggestion of squeezing my ears with my shoulders for extra streamline.

Sun, 8 Mar – Solid 37 mins on water rower. Need to figure out a simple way to add some flexibility training into my Sunday workouts.

Sat, 7 Mar – 4400 this AM. Worked a bit on underwater dolphins, but they are pointless (except in fly) unless I can get my flips to be more crisp. Must get my flips better before New Englands!!

Fri, 6 Mar – 4350 this AM. Swam in same lane as former Dartmouth swimmer Jeff Couture (class of ’84 – held the school record in the 200 fly for several years). He is out of shape but still way faster than me. His push offs take him half way across the pool, seemlingly without any effort. Anyway, I managed to hold 1:10/1:11 for a set of 8×100 on 2 (broken in the middle for 1 minute rest). Quite tired after that. Was tempted to call it quits after the 3300 yd team workout, but pushed on for a bit more.

Thu, 5 Mar – 4750 this AM. Hardest set was a 4×200 IM which we did on 3:45. Managed that comfortably. Tried to keep my arms locked on recovery and body low on fly which seemed to help. Slow intervals, but somehow quite tired. Yardage should be higher by now and I should be getting in occassional double workouts. I am definitely being a slacker….

Wed, 4 Mar – 4600 at noon. Toughest set was a 4×50 fly (1:00) at the end of the team practice. Need to figure out how to keep my fly more level, especially as I get tired and stroke decays.

Tue, 3 Mar – 5250 this AM. Felt sluggish but also felt guilty for missing yesterday. Hardest set of team workout was 3×300 IM (5:30) – which seemed like the wrong kind of set for me at this stage, since it is too long for me to work on problems in my fly. Focused at end of workout on turns, noticing slight improvement.

Sun, 1 Mar – 35 mins on water rower.

Sat, 28 Feb – 4K this AM starting with moderate team workout and finishing up with about 1K worth of slow 50s focusing on flipping directly onto my back. 3 things I’d like to work on in near term: (i) flipping directly onto my back (ii) breastroke turns (smooth incorporation of one body dolphin), and (iii) pressing down with my chest and lunging forward with my arms in fly.

Philipp’s Training Log

Mon, 08 Sept – horible time at the pool in Sindelfingen, 50 m lanes but crowded like the NYC marathon, did 500 m for warm up and added a 1500 endurance swim. Everyone else here thinks in yards, time for me to introduce the metre: The Metre

Tue, 09 Sept – had a good start doing techniques and arms for 1200 m, then went over to do 8×100 m starting every 2:00 m. I feel heavy in the water and my stroke is not very powerfull at the moment. Have to improve breathing as well.

Fri, 12 Sept – short swim during lunch brake. 1800 m, warm water.

Sat, 13 Sept – Did some fun in the pool and taught a bit swimming so didnt get much more done than 800 m I think.

Tue, 16 Sept – Did some 2000 m alternative swimming, which my coach says is good to train the muscles for stability. I can feel my six pack growing whoooo ;-).

Wed, 17 Sept – Getting a cold, couldnt swim my training and will probably not make it back into the pool till friday if at all. Then heading to Budapest for a few days off. Doubt I will do some swimming there.



  1. Hallo!

    Ich weiß ja gar nicht, wie kalt Gibraltar ist! Mich hat es grad am Kanal erwischt – bin in der Kälte doch eingegangen.

    Helfen tut (außer Futtern) regelmäßig ins kalte Wasser über den Winter – wenn auch nur kurz. Eisbäder zu hause. Wenig oder keinen Kaffee trinken, Körper nicht mit Säuren überlasten.

    Frage lieber Leute, die Gibraltar schon geschwommen sind!


  2. Nice blog you have here. I pretty much lurk the internet when I’m bored and read all I can about the organic lifestyle, but I really liked you view on things. I’ll bookmark the site and subscribe to the feed!

  3. Hi,

    Good luck to you all, .

    A colleague of mine and me want to swim this in parallel (we have just swum the English Channel in a relay team in 15 hours) and considering doing this in Sept 2009, single swim to Africa then get lift back on boat!.

    Who have you booked this through is it ACNEG?
    If you have any info that would help us with the booking would be greatly appreciated.


    Bernie Stone

  4. Great site. I’m on of a group of Gibraltarian open water swimmers. We’re doing just over 2km 5 days a week with slightly longer swims on Sunday mornings (probably 4km this weekend). We are casting longing looks across the Strait and might go for it next summer. Grateful for any suggestions.

    I see from your photos that you ended up on the Ceuta-Morocco border with the Guardia Civil and Moroccan police or army looking at you. Was it that you were pushed too far Eastwards by the current?

    I was involved in a 70km trek in the Rif last year for Action Aid. If we go ahead with this it’ll also be for charities (yet to be decided).

    • Thanks Albert. Swimming the Strait is definitely a great adventure and I highly recommend it. Indeed the current got very strong on the second half of our swim and for awhile we were worried that we would get swept out beyond Ceuta. If you read through our various blog postings you will get a good sense of the logistical and physical preparation required. Congrats on your Rif trek and if you end up putting up a web site for your swim of the Strait do send us the link. Good luck!

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