Aerobic Enlightenment

It has taken some time and overcoming being too confident, excited, ignorant, naive and a noob but I have reached a point of enlightenment (not absolute enlightenment). Since Matt has started coaching me he has preached building aerobic fitness and that without a sound aerobic base your body will not be able to endure the high intensity and volume needed to be successful in long course racing. Fortunately I just came to realize was the true importance of aerobic fitness based on my recent reflections on my swimming.

I have made steady progress with my swim that has become a catalyst for motivation. Every swim session I have schedule I go into it with the expectations of killing it, and there in lies the problem. I do the prescribed yardage and drills but I tend to swim faster than I should (at times way too fast). I obviously thought there was no problem with this since my muscular, aerobic and anaerobic fitness levels were increasing and my splits were decreasing. With in the last month however my times have not been dropping as consistently as I would like them to and my overall fitness level is not on such a steep ascent. So here is what I realized after reflection on my swimming coupled with an article I read on, " the zone three plateau" and Matt's persistent emphasis on building (key word) and stretching (another key word) my aerobic fitness.

I need to stop trying to crush my swim splits. If the swim set calls for me to swim at T-pace (Test Pace: your avg 100yds split based on a 1000 yd time trial swim) then I must swim at that pace despite being able to swim faster. The reason being is that by swimming faster then prescribed I am working out incorrectly there by not achieving the sessions intended goals which in turn sabotages my season goals. In addition, by swimming faster I am not building my aerobic fitness rather pushing my anaerobic fitness. You may think this is not a problem but an individuals cells can only produce energy in that anaerobic threshold for a very short time. By continually working in the anaerobic threshold I'm prematurely starting to build on a yet-to-be solidified foundation (my aerobic base).

I believe they key to understanding the need to continually build and stretch ones aerobic foundation would be the ability to push yourself physically while remaining in that aerobic zone versus crossing over into the anaerobic zone or threshold. By continually building and stretching out the parameters of my aerobic zone ( controlled and efficient utilization of oxygen, lowered heart rate and blood pressure, improved efficiency of my circulatory and cardiovascular systems, etc) I can work harder comfortably. If I continue to make this training mistake I will surely negate the time I have sacrificed and dedicated to preparing for this season. I need to believe, live and practice the idea of expanding my aerobic fitness.

It's not about training harder, it's about training smarter!


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