It’s Friday and my training plan has a 1.7km swim and an 8km aerobic run listed under today’s date. I finish work at 4pm today, my partner has the day off work, it’s been glorious weather the past few days and I am in the middle of finishing off the native garden at home so I decide that I don’t want to train this afternoon. Instead, I will do my two sessions today as a brick.
I drive to the Thornside community hall, which is about 4km from the Cleveland swimming pool. We used to do this run-swim-run session with the Brisbane Bayside Runners and Walkers so I know the terrain well. I sling my Camelback over my shoulders and set off down the road at a steady pace. The run is supposed to be aerobic and my training guide says that means the slower the better. However, I really don’t have the patience for slow so I decide to do my aerobic session at about 70-80% effort. I complete the 4km run to the pool in 21:38, a pace of 5:24. My second kilometre was the best at 4:42 pace.
The pool is fairly crowded again and there is no dedicated slow, medium or fast lane. Instead, everyone is just mingled in together. Without beating my drum, I’ve found over the past months that I’m almost always the fastest swimmer in the pool (other than the squad kids but they don’t count because they have a full 5-6 lanes of the pool to themselves with their coaches), so it’s sometimes difficult choosing a lane but more so when there are breast strokers in every lap lane.
I chose a lane that looks okay and set off on my 300m warm up. After some stretches I do 8 x 50m sprints with 15 seconds between each. Now, I know that 50m sprints are frowned upon in a crowded pool but I figure that if the slow swimmers can do whatever they want (including standing chatting across the whole end of the pool making it impossible to even do a touch turn, let alone a tumble) then I can sprint past them to my heart’s content. And I do.
After my sprints I settle into 3 x 300m steady pace (about 80%) with 20 seconds rest between each. Before I start my 300s I change into the next lane over after the group of women using it leave. As I get through my first 100m a father and son join me in the lane. Their pace is okay but they don’t know how to tumble so they both kind of bob around blocking the end of the pool at the end of each lap. I indicate that I want to turn and they just stare so I cruise between them and tumble anyway. They don’t block the end of the pool again for the rest of my set. And hopefully they will not block anyone else’s lanes either in future. I didn’t do it rudely but after giving them a chance I just did an easy non-splashing turn between them.I finished with an easy 100m comprised 50m breast stroke and 50m Biondi fly.
I know I sound like Mr Cranky Pants about the pool situation but it is very frustrating when it is totally chaotic. The pool managers should have signs to indicate fast, medium and slow lanes. Most pools have them but a few local ones still haven’t worked it out. The thing is that most swimmers will probably sort themselves out but there are always those few newbies who don’t understand the basic rules:
- If you are slow – accept it and swim with the other slow swimmers. I started my season in the slow lane and loved it but now I want to be able to actually get a decent session in.
- If you want a rest, stand to the side of the lane, not right smack in the middle where lap swimmers need to turn.
- If you want to chat, there are plenty of seats available in the stands or stand to the side of your lane not in a big bunch across the whole end of the pool
- This one’s not a rule but a tip – gentlemen, wear speedos because board shorts will only slow you down and make you feel like you are drowning. No one is going to look at your package because we’re all focused on that long black line at the bottom of the pool.
Oh well, by the end of March the pools will be almost empty again and by mid-April only the hardy winter swimmers will be left. And last season I found that the winter swimmers all knew about fast, medium and slow lanes.
After my swim I ran back to the car. I ran the first 1km relatively slowly (5:45 pace) but then relaxed into a rhythm and got back to the car with a 4km time of 21:44, just 6 seconds slower than my first 4km and at a pace of 5:26.
Total: Run 4km @ 5:24, Swim 1.7km, Run 4km @ 5:26