The promise of the challenge: reduce your Ironman swim time by 10-15 or even 20 minutes. Well, I’ve never done an Ironman nor have I swam 2.4 miles all at once, but I definitely made improvements that would help cut my time!
For 10 weeks, I swam a minimum of 4x/week: Distance day with Alexandria Masters Swimming, and 3 Guppy workouts. I’ve heard several times that in order to maintain your swimming fitness, you need to swim 3x/week: if you want to get better you’d better be getting in the pool 4x/week (at minimum), so that’s what I did.
I typically swam on weekday mornings, but tossed in a few evening swims here and there (two-a-day swims: definitely a brand new concept to me). I took a week off during an intense work trip, and another week of over Thanksgiving when life got in the way, but I got it done.
I focused on form. I did my best to hit interval times. I completed my longest swim ever (3300 yards, or 1.9 miles). I attended a freestyle catch & pull clinic put on by the amazing swim coaches at SwimBox. In total I swam nearly 51 miles over 43 workouts. That’s far!
Believe it or not, the ONLY “toy” used for all of the Guppy workouts (except Masters) was a kickboard, and that was used about 100-300 yards maximum. It was ALL swimming, all the time!
I would highly recommend the Guppy Challenge to anyone looking to mix up their swimming. I found it challenging, thought provoking, and a relief to have a structured program set in place…and I am really proud of myself for sticking to it and getting it done, even over a few crazy months with a lot to focus on. Now that I’m done, I plan to continue swimming 3x/week and maybe tossing in the occasional 4th workout for extra credit and to help continue progressing in the pool.
So what’s next for me this off season? Strength training! Stay tuned for details on that.