December 2011

Dec
23

Underwater Kicking with Ankle Weights

Posted by Kevin Doak on Friday at: 6:19pm (December 23rd, 2011)

I had some company while swimming a CW practice at U of M today.  My friend Hulmey proposed that we try some ankle weights on the second round of our kick set.  I was up for trying it but knew it would be tough.  We strung some surgical tubing across the short course pool at 12.5 yards.  We used the cord to make it a requirement to swim half of the set underwater, surfacing only after we had passed the tubing.  It was a great training idea I had forgotten about since my college days.

2 x (round 1 no equipment, round 2 fins with 3lb ankle weights)

1 x 50y Brown pace (half underwater) @ :40
100y Brown pace @ 1:30
2 x 50y Brown pace (half underwater) @ :45
100y Brown pace @ 1:40
3 x 50y Brown pace (half underwater) @ :50
100y Brown pace @ 1:50
4 x 50y Brown pace (half underwater) @ :55
100y Brown pace @ 2:00
5 x 50y Brown pace (half underwater) @ 1:00

As expected the ankle weights were ROUGH.  However, it was an awesome set!  Some of the most challenging underwater kicking I've done!

WORKOUT:

2 x (round 1 no equipment, round 2 fins with 3lb ankle weights)

1 x 50y Brown pace (half underwater) @ :40
100y Brown pace @ 1:30
2 x 50y Brown pace (half underwater) @ :45
100y Brown pace @ 1:40
3 x 50y Brown pace (half underwater) @ :50
100y Brown pace @ 1:50
4 x 50y Brown pace (half underwater) @ :55
100y Brown pace @ 2:00
5 x 50y Brown pace (half underwater) @ 1:00

  

Dec
22

Thanks Coach Richardson!

Posted by Kevin Doak on Thursday at: 8:09pm (December 22nd, 2011)

I was lucky enough to catch up with U of M Womens Head Coach Jim Richardson on Thursday.  Upon beginning my training at U of M, I quickly realized how valudable Jim is to all the swimmers at U of M.  Over the past few months I've truly valued the knowledge he's shared with me on a variety of training topics.

I chose to break away from the CW written practices to work with Jim today.  He recommended a VO2 Max set he has seen work well for his swimmers over the years.  After determining my appropriate paces using an excel spreadsheet filled with equations, he recommended I swim the 75's on the :41 and the 150's on the 1:28.  I knew those times were reachable but quite challenging.

5 x

25y easy + 75y pace
25y easy + 75y pace
50y easy + 150 pace

Each pace swim is "go on the next :10", which basically means you have around 10-15 seconds rest before you should begin swimming again.  The short rest is quite challenging.  I actually did well on the first set hitting my first 75 on the :41.5 and the second on the :42.  The 150y was harder at 1:30 but still within range of my target.  The 2nd round got predictably uglier.  I knew I would have a hard time holding those times with my training background.  My 75's crept into the :42 and then the :43 second range.  Not where I wanted them to be, but not embarassing just yet.  My 150's were a different story.  I've never been an impressive 200y backstroker, but the 1:36 time within my 2nd round was enough for Coach Jim Richardson to change the set for me.  I enjoy that Jim provides straight talk feedback.  He encourages me when appropriate and when helpful, yet simply explains that "Lets change the 150's for the rest of the set, you'll get there but you're not quite ready for this format yet".  It was an effective method of conveying that I just can't hang with the full set just yet.  He changed the remaining 2 rounds to:

25y easy + 75y pace
25y easy + 75y pace
50y easy + 50 pace

The 75's held steady at :42's and the last 50y pace was first a :24.2 and then a :24.5.  I think I finished up the set well considering my recent training background.  I think overall it was a great set.  I will continue to swim the set and make progress.

Dec
18

Holiday Training Trip to Ann Arbor Michigan coming up!

Posted by Kevin Doak on Sunday at: 10:34pm (December 18th, 2011)

Saturday was Race Pace as usual.  The sprint group had a 3 round set with some abstract distances which ultimately prevented any useful times from being reported besides the last 25y.  Overall I swam respectable times.  I kept up with others on the underwater kicking but I was consistenty touched out by U of M's :47.5 backstroker.  I really want to dominate that underwater kicking and I'm taking the correct steps lately to make that happen.

The holiday training schedule looks manageable thus far.  The pool is open all week for 2 hour sessions at least once a day, who knows for the week after that.  I've received some invites to train with a few local teams which I may combine with some light motivational speaking and instructional time as well.  I've always enjoyed giving back to the swim community.  I've been hoarding some of the CW workouts in my locker as I prepare to train alone for 2.5 weeks beginning on Wednesday.  Although it's not a big change from my recent workout situation, it's still a bit different than at least having others in the pool area training at the same time.  The benefit during this time will be that I can train in the main competition pool each day.  I'm really hoping either the pool manager and/or I can set up the pool long course.  It's been weeks since I've been able to train anything but short course yards.  I have some great VO2 Max sets planned for the holiday break!

WORKOUT:

3 x

87.5y Dive fast @ 1:20 
37.5y Dive fast @ :45
25y Dive fast @ :30

12-15 mins cool down between rounds 

Dec
15

On the bike and more core workouts!

Posted by Kevin Doak on Thursday at: 11:06pm (December 15th, 2011)

I consulted a strength coach recently to develop some core workouts I can do in the free time that's been created by my inability to practice with the team.  I have a 4 day per week rotating workout schedule for abs.  It involves some very difficult exercises.  The "candlestick" is really the only one I've found that I simply can't peform well at all.  It involves extending your torso and legs straight up so you're balancing on your head and shoulders.  You are allowed to grab the bench below you to hold yourself down.  At this point you keep your core and legs straight and SLOWLY lower feet to the ground.  It becomes harder the further away from 90 degrees (vertical) you get.  I get to about 60 degrees and my legs basically drop to the floor.  I give anybody credit who can do this exercise properly.  I have a long way to go!

I've started riding the stationary bike to improve my leg endurance.  Tuesday I did 15 minutes at level 12 maintaining around 100 RPM.  Thursday I only had time for 20 minutes at level 14 maintaining 95 RPM.  I really enjoy the bike, it's a fantastic workout and I believe it can help my kicking endurance.  Although my training situation is annoying, it's giving me a little more freedom in my workouts which is nice.

Dec
14

I need more Kick Sets like that

Posted by Kevin Doak on Wednesday at: 9:59pm (December 14th, 2011)

Today we had a kick set which again, focused on speed rather than endurance.  I've taken a renewed interest in my underwater kicking (yet again).  Since this team does far less kick sets than I'm used to.  I need to be working on my kicking during EVERY set to make up for it.  Today I had my fastest 50y Kick in memory:

I kicked 50 yards in 26.3 seconds from a push.  I think that's pretty good.

Others on the college team were even faster, I know a few guys can go 23 seconds or less.  I was in a different pool so I couldn't hear the times.

The kick set also had a 25 yard swim portion to it.  I was holding solid 10 and 11 second 25 yard times:

11.11
10.90
10.76
10.70 

Although I can still improve, I'm happy with mid ten second 25y swims for now.

Dec
12

First truly aerobic set in a LONG time

Posted by Kevin Doak on Monday at: 10:51pm (December 12th, 2011)

The sprint group I'm part of avoids aerobic sets like the plague.  Today we had 10 x 200y on 2:20/2:30.  We were able to pick our interval.  Although the set was written as a freestyle only set, I chose to swim it backstroke.  I knew the slowest possible interval of 2:30 would be a challenge since I haven't done an aerobic set in quite some time.

The set went something like this:

1 x 200y white pace @ 2:30
1 x 200y pink pace @ 2:30
8 x 200y best average @ 2:30 

This set got ugly pretty fast.  I started at a leasurely 2:12, then a 2:14, subsequently 2:16, 2:18, then 2:20.  At that point, I was directed to switch to freestyle on the 6th 200 in the set.  I reluctanly made the change and only switched back to backstroke on the last 200.  The entire set was not a proud moment for me.  It reinforced my feeling that I need far more aerobic work in my workout schedule.  I think I would have been better served by a more liberal interval.  I was getting around 10 seconds of rest for a 200 yard swim... not ideal.

Training Quote
"Set '2B' is an extra 1,000 yards! You're not a 14 year old girl anymore Doak!" - Bobby Savulich
Dec
11

Thanks for saving my seat

Posted by Kevin Doak on Sunday at: 9:23pm (December 11th, 2011)

While at Winter Long Course Nationals in Atlanta, USA Swimming was offering autograph signing by some Olympians and National Team Members.  I don't know all the big names in swimming but one stuck out at me...  Nick Brunelli.  I remember meeting him at the Pro Swim League meet in Ann Arbor a month prior.  He struck me as a nice guy the few times I interacted with him at the meet.  The only good swim I had at the Pro Dual 1 was my 100m backstroke which was a 58.02.  That performance still ranks as my best swim ever "in-season".  I was tired and worn down and I was half a second off my lifetime best time (without a tech suit) in the event.  In that particular race, I happened to finish 0.01 seconds ahead of Nick Brunelli.  Now, back to Nationals 2 weeks ago... I passed by a line of kids waiting for swimmers autographs, one of the swimmers being Nick Brunelli.  Since I'm a fan of comedy, I considered going up to him and saying "Hey Nick, thanks for saving my seat" and would be sure to follow it with a laugh to ensure he knew I was joking!

It was the first time in my life that I saw a moderately famous swimmer who I beat (once), surrounded by people who wanted their autograph.  It was a bit ironic to me.  To clarify, there is not a single person on this planet who would say that I'm a better swimmer than Nick Brunelli.  If I had to guess, he is either not a backstroker and/or had a bad race while I had a good race.  Regardless, it's a funny story I've told a few times.  I definitely respect Nick Brunelli, many would agree he's a very talented athlete!

Dec
10

Almost walked out

Posted by Kevin Doak on Saturday at: 10:33pm (December 10th, 2011)

Another day being the outcast.  Today was a race pace day.  An entire practice dedicated to elevating yourself to the effort and speed we will experience during a race.  The only space available to me was in the diving well.  Let me explain my training setup for today:

  • I'm in the warm diving well, warm water makes you swim slower because your body heat maxes out quicker.  Makes you feel lethargic
  • The lights are off above the diving well and yet turning on 50+ 400w metal halide bulbs hardly seems like a worthwhile investment in my 2 hour practice.  Therefore I'm training in dim lighting, more annoying than unworkable
  • No backstroke flags.  I'm a backstroker, I need to know where the wall is.  A quick workaround I've frequently used is to just look for the pole which the flags are hung from.  Unfortunately the poles were missing today.  Therefore I need to swim an alternate stroke.
  • I'm away from the team and coaches, nobody to motivate me or push me in any way.  I have to keep track of my own intervals and times.  Because of my placement in the pool area, I have a limited view of the pace clocks.

As usual, all of these situations have nothing to do with the coaches.  At this point even letting me train honestly seems like they're doing me a favor.  So to recap, I'm in a warm diving well with no lights, no lanelines, no flags, no other swimmers, no coaches and nobody timing me. I try to be positive but shortly after I enumerated all the distractions and negative points of today's training situation, I packed up my equipment bag and put it away.  I walked over to the head coach and let him know I though it would be better if I just came in alone sometime tomorrow (sunday).  He disagreed and urged me to stay and do the workout.  I agreed, grabbed my bag and did the workout alone, again.

Today I found some strength in totally ignoring the team during the workout.  While swimming I had to go out of my way to view the team. The water level in relation to the deck requires me to lift myself out of the water to check what is happening in the other pool.  I decided that rather than try to check where the rest of the guys were during the practice, I would swim entirely at my own pace.  This had it's benefits and also it's negative points.  I found that I could do the harder workout (Middle Distance) and add a little more rest in since I was doing it backstroke and butterfly, yet I knew I was not pushing it as hard as I would have been if I had been part of the group.  In the end I did get a great workout but still found myself very discouraged about my situation.

I'm very sore from weights and an ab workout I created for myself.  I also did about 5 minutes of a hip flexer workout that a guy who trained with the Navy Seals taught me.  I just demolished my hip flexers, it's really quite painful, which clearly means I need to do it more often!  If this horrible training situation has taught me anything it is to become more organized regarding my own workouts.  To me, that means beginning to gather all the best parts of what I've learned from CW as well as my favorite sets from high school and college.  I know I can train myself well, and although I don't want to, it's really looking like that might be my best option in the immediate future.  I'm looking into options, but I will leverage my own training experience to get through this.

Dec
9

My swimming career deserves better

Posted by Kevin Doak on Friday at: 11:20pm (December 9th, 2011)

I need to preview this post with, the coaches and the CW program as a whole has done as much as they could to help me during this time.  They have gone out of their way to enable me to get the best workout as possible while being separate from the group.  I said it directly to the coaches today... "thank you for being accomodating regarding this situation", I think it was well received.

That being said, his training situation is a real disapointment, and by no fault of the coaches.  Today my warmup and then main set was interrupted three times, asking me to move locations in the pool area.  This process was the only way to adhere to the rules set by the lack of training waiver.  I ended up in the 15 meter pool trying to do a set the rest of the swimmers were swimming in a 25 yard pool.  I feel distractions everywhere.  All week I've been unable to just focus on my workout.  I'm very frustrated with the situation.

I'm getting nearly nothing out of this training program lately.  Once again, this has nothing to do with the coaches.  It's just a horrible situation, and it's nobody's fault.  Just a real downer.  My overall feeling is that my swimming career deserves better.

Dec
8

Good Kick Set

Posted by Kevin Doak on Thursday at: 11:45pm (December 8th, 2011)

Today I swam separate from the Sprint group, this will be a long 4 months.  It was a recovery workout which ended with a good kick set (below).  I'm beginning to push the limits with my underwaters.  I've learned that this team does not put as much of a priority on dedicated kick sets as I'm used to.  I'll need to work on my kicking within all swimming sets, arguably what I should have been doing for months (or years) now.  I still think there is a great value in kicking sets though.  Today I was going 9 dolphin kicks off each wall, quite an upgrade from my former 5 kick goal.  I'll need to get this number up to around 12.  Not just 12 kicks, but 12 GOOD kicks, which is my other difficulty.  I can kick forever, but actually producing massive propulsion is a different game entirely, a feat I've really only mastered off the start. 

So much to work on, good thing I have the rest of my life to train!  Unlike pretty much everyone I've ever trained with, I can't see myself ever quitting swimming.  Many swimmers get burned out, I just love it more and more.  My current training speed bump is a downer for sure but nothing can stand in the way of my love for the sport.  I'll get through this, 2012 Trials are important to me, but they won't be my last Olympic Trials, or my last important meet.  I'll figure this out and make it work for me.

WORKOUT:

4 x 200y @ 2:45 with fins, all underwaters are fast

50y with 25y UW, open turn, 25y UW
50y with 7m UW, swim to wall, flip and 7m UW
50y with 12m UW, swim to wall, flip and 12m UW
50y with 15m UW, swim to wall, flip and 15m UW

Dec
7

Another frustrating day

Posted by Kevin Doak on Wednesday at: 11:56pm (December 7th, 2011)

This afternoon I swam a workout alone while the combined CW and U of M team swam the same workout in the other pool.  This will be a difficult arrangement.  I find myself looking over toward the team, basically longing for the good-ol-days (last week) when we were all equal.  Now I feel like a 2nd class citizen, getting the leftovers of workouts and the coaching interaction.

I'm trying to find the good in the situation but it's difficult.  One pro is that I get my own lane in a fantastic pool each day, something most Masters swimmers would drool over.  Another pro is that have more flexibility in my day to day schedule since I'm certainly not required to be at practice... ironically it's the opposite.  The benefits seem to stop there unfortunately.  I will not be traveling with the team for a holiday training trip to the Florida Keys, a trip I was looking forward to.

Today was my first day using my legs during practice in almost a week, I did some arm workouts after my knee injury to let it heal.  It felt like I had to wake them out of a coma.  I was not fast at all today.  Swimming 50y race pace around :27 seconds... really quite pathetic for me.  Without anybody to push me, I will have to embrace the self motivation power I used to have all the time while training alone.  It's a tough transition, one I hadn't planned on making at this point in my training with CW.

My practices seem to be more annoying than anything, I find myself wishing I could just be back with the team, it's a major distraction.  I'm tempted to just train at entirely separate times than the team.  Somehow it seems less painful emotionally to just do my own practice without the team in the water.  It will allow me to just focus on my workout and not worry about what I'm missing out on 20 yards away in the other pool.

I'll get through it.

Dec
6

A new challenge with an old twist

Posted by Kevin Doak on Tuesday at: 7:22pm (December 6th, 2011)

Today I had a brief meeting with Coach Mike bottom and Coach Mark Hill.  The topic was how to handle the recent situation with my Olympic Training Waiver.  Last week my waiver was denied.  This means that since I graduated in 2003, I could have trained for the 2004 games (which I didn't) and the 2008 games (which I did).  Since I'm going for the 2012 trials, this means they are counting 3 Olympic Games so far.  This exceeds the amount to qualify for the waiver.  The massive downside that I'm not allowed to train with the U of M team.  This wouldn't be a huge deal except for the fact that all the other post grads have received their waiver and are training alongside the college team.  This leaves me training alone for the next 4 months with very few practices I can participate in.

Today was the longest practice of my life, it was 1.5 hours.  Statistically nowhere near the longest practice I've ever done.  My mind was going in circles trying to make sense of the short meeting I had with the coaches immediately before my workout.  Although this isn't the case, I feel like I just got kicked off the team.  Things were going so well and all of a sudden I can have no day-to-day interaction with the team I've grown close to over the past 8 months.

Although the waiver situation is cut and dry, I keep going over it in my mind.  Desperately trying to figure out why the rule even exists.

I feel like I'm back where I started, training alone every day.  I want so much to see the positive in this... like, I'll get to do more kicking! Yet, I know I'll lose so much elsewhere in my training, all the support, the motivation I gain from a group workout and the interaction from the coaches.  It's a sad day in my training.

My knee is 100%, I'll be back in the water tomorrow.

Dec
5

A FULL two days off

Posted by Kevin Doak on Monday at: 8:58pm (December 5th, 2011)

I think I'm ready for my first day back in the pool tomorrow.  I'll probably do a weights workout in the morning and focus on my arms for at least another day to allow my knee to heal.  Pending on how that all turns out, I think I'll be ready to train hard again.  I have about 7 months befor the Olympic Trials.  I'm feeling lucky that I have enough time to heal up and get even more serious about my leg workouts.

Dec
4

A great experience in Atlanta

Posted by Kevin Doak on Sunday at: 11:24am (December 4th, 2011)

Atlanta was a very relaxing meet for me.  Ironically it was one of the biggest meets of my life with some of the fastest swimming I've personally seen.  With my knee injury both mentally and physically affecting my race, I had no expectations at all for my performance.  The benefit was that I wasn't stressed about my races at all, it was quite refreshing really.  I caught up with quite a few other swimmers I knew at the meet.  While in town I got to see a great friend and also enjoy my time with my teammates.  I took more of a service roll by driving everybody around to warmup and restaurants.  Naturally I took as many pictures and video as I could as well.  It was nice to offer that to swimmers with more important races than mine.  It was a great trip overall.  The warmer weather was a nice change as well.

My 100 back was really as fast as I could have expected it to be.  My knee was in pain for every day leading up to race.  It affected how I prepared for the meet most of all.  The morning of my race (7 days after I injured it), it actually felt quite normal and therefore probably had little to do with my overall time.  I think it mostly just negatively affected the week leading up to the meet.  I basically wrote the meet off as a mini vacation rather than a competition.

I'm back in Ann Arbor and ready to train.  Unfortunatley nobody in my training group swam well, it's alarming to almost everybody.  It's clear something needs to change about our training.  If it's not obvious, I haven't been entirely happy with the things we've been doing in practice lately.  I know I need different training than the other guys.  I don't know what changes the coaching staff has in store for us but I will be taking a more central role in my day to day training.  It will be an interesting hybrid combining the best of what CW has taught me along with some sets I know work well for me.  I'm excited to take my training in a different direction!  The next few days will be interesting from a coach/swimmer point of view since changes for the entire group are obviously needed.

It's good to be home

Dec
2

58.43 in the 100 Back LCM, satisfied, and ready to come home

Posted by Kevin Doak on Friday at: 11:48pm (December 2nd, 2011)

After a morning of relatively no knee pain, I got through my 100 Back just fine.  I actually swam it and split it quite well.  I had no expectations at all prior to my event so long as I finished the event, I was going to be pretty impressed.  I took out my first 50 in a 27.82, a little slow for me, ideally I want to be out in a 26.xx but my fastest thus far has been a 27.1x.  I had a good turn and relatively impressive underwaters to touch in a 58.43, a good time considering the rough health week I had.  I had a chance to swim the 100 free tomorrow in a time trial but decided to scratch in favor of taking some time for my knee to heal.  I'm eager to return home and begin training again!  Thanks for the good time Atlanta!  Great pool and great meet!

Dec
2

100 Back LCM at Winter Nationals in the Morning

Posted by Kevin Doak on Friday at: 12:36am (December 2nd, 2011)
100 Back LCM at Winter Nationals in the Morning

I swim the 100 back in the morning.  My knee is definitely not as pain-free as I would have hoped, it's been 7 days since I injured it.  Unfortunately I was only able to give it one day to heal, last Sunday.  I really think I just need to take a few days entirely off swimming for it to completely heal.  I'm still limping around.  I probably shouldn't race in the morning but since I drove all the way down here, I will give it a shot.  I would really like to be a 58.xx but I think that's asking a lot out of my body at this point.  I will take that first 50 out hard and try to hold on!

Dec
1

50 Free Results from Nationals

Posted by Kevin Doak on Thursday at: 1:03pm (December 1st, 2011)
50 Free Results from Nationals

It was a painful race.  I did as well as can be expected while injured.  I swam a 24.32.  Since I had no expectations for the race, I'm satisfied with my time.  I have the 100 back tomorrow.  I imagine that will be another difficult race.  Time to warm down.

Dec
1

50 Free LCM Time Trial today!

Posted by Kevin Doak on Thursday at: 9:30am (December 1st, 2011)
50 Free LCM Time Trial today!

Today I time trial the 50 Freestyle at the 2011 Winter Nationals in Atlanta, GA.  I'm not in the best shape to swim, my knee is still hurting and it's difficult to kick hard or start well.  I don't think I'll have a very good time but I'll give it my all.