Back to the Pool–the end of Summer.

This morning I had a choice, I could drive to Cornwall and do the 5K Steeplechase or go to a pool and do drills.

The steeplechase is a 5K race the Cornwall Multisport club puts on and is a lot of fun. The event has wave starts based on your age. This, in theory, levels the playing field and anyone is capable of winning the event. There will of course be two times…the race time and your time based on the wave start.

I woke up to rain this morning and it cemented the deal. Given that Cornwall is 1 hr 30 minutes away…it’s a tough sell to go that far for a 20 “some” minute race in the rain.

So there I was, jumping into the pool and looking around underwater. If I could have sighed…I would have. It did not seem like long ago I had left the pool in utter disgust and burnout from hours of lap swimming.

Living in a Northern Climate, we triathletes have a very narrow window to swim outside (even with a wetsuit). We normally have to wait until mid June to start and begrudgingly accept the reality that by the end of August we’re losing our ability to swim consistently. Oh sure; we will swim outside beyond August, but its hit and miss and the temperature is dropping. It becomes the pool or nothing.

So I grabbed my workout sheet and started reviewing what I was up to for the morning session. It was an upper body workout that involved some basics and then some sprints. Not very long and not very hard, but considering I am within a week of a “B” race….probably perfect. See below;

( swim workout courtesy of TriCoach – Richard Cadman )

Workout #6 d:  10 x 25 -Off the wall – Pull Buoy Sprint  (for arm strength.)

Once thru drill sets, then Sprint 10 x 25m.






Front Crawl

200m Swim

Easy and steady, warm up




5 sec. rest, swim back front crawl












10 sec rest




5 sec. rest, swim back front crawl












Rest approx 1-2 min, to even minute






Total metres


Rest as much as needed


Approx time

15-20 min




10 * 25  Full Speed+ Pull Buoy,   then 25 m easy recovery as slow as possible




10 x 25m

Full Out Speed

Swim back very slowly.


Hold good technique.


Concentrate on rapid acceleration off the wall, not time.






200-Cool down.



Total: 1300m



As I examined the workout structure, I thought back to where I was last spring when I left the pool for what seemed like the last time. My Ironman was still in front of me and I was sick of swimming laps. The endless workouts back and forth had driven my brain into a coma and I could no longer see how they benefitted me or my race.

But then something funny happened. My open water swims and my races!

Swim in Rideau FerryAs I swam, I found myself employing those techniques naturally and without a lot of thought. The previous year, was all about “just” getting through a swim. This year, I was actually in the swim.

Okay to be clear – I am not saying or claiming I came out first, but for me to be a solid mid-packer; I am good with that.

As I swam more, I started strategically using some of those “lap” sprints during the race and I realised that they were working. I could speed my way through a turn and not get dropped or dunked. Also, swimming up and down a course, I started to notice that I was no longer straying and as I sighted every 12-15 strokes, I was staying true to my marker.

I looked at the workout sheet and simply acknowledged what was coming. Another fall, another winter and another spring of laps. It’s the way it is and it’s what I choose to get the type of race I am chasing.

No more complaints about endless laps…that is sooooo last year.

Over and out


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