Iron Mike's Marathon Swims The life so shorte, the crafte so long to lerne

The pool was fast today!

March 31, 2017 / by ironmike

So, two days in a row of good swimming. I love it!

Today I did another CSS (critical swim speed) test. If you don’t know CSS, click the link. I really love the Swim Smooth method; it’s worked the best for me. Anyway, the theory is that you swim a 400 time trial (after a warm-up of course), record your time. Cool down slash easy swim for about 10 minutes, then time trial 200. Then some math is done at Swim Smooth’s website and you come up with the time you should be able to swim to maintain per 100 for 1500.

Back in October, my 400 was 6:15 and my 200 was 3:03. Then in December I improved my times: 5:58 and 2:48. Not too bad, right? Since December I’ve had issues with my elbow, so I’ve been swimming slow and steady, at the most 3x a week. My yardage has been 9-12k a week, not too much.

Well, after yesterday’s great workout, I thought I’d do another CSS test. Hadn’t realized it had been so long. Anyway, I swam the 400 and 200 today in 5:50 and 2:46! I think my times were so good because I’ve been swimming slowly and steadily. I feel wonderful. My new CSS time is 1:32 (from 1:36 in October). So theoretically it means I should be able to do 1500 in 23 minutes. I’ll take that!

2 thoughts on “The pool was fast today!

  1. Donal says:

    CSS isn’t a Swim Smooth development. It was developed by a swim researcher (Ginn) in 1993 and then introduced to the wider swimming community by Ernie Maglischo in his seminal Swimming Faster book. There were if I recall two different tests, the usual 400 m one and a shorter 50m.

    I use CSS for training only after I reach a certain fitness, however there is evidence (and my personal experience) is that it does not do the very thing it is proposed that it does, which is to increase the speed that can swim without exhaustion.

    While it drives cadio improvement and therefore speed, it does also lead to lactic buildup (which it is not supposed to do) and it could be called a lactate threshold session. If it were doing what it was supposed to, then you should be able to swim those sessions repeatedly, whereas in most circumstances, you will need to swim a subsequent recovery (aerobic) or at best mixed session.

    • ironmike says:

      Thanks Donal. Had no idea. I’ve got Maglischo’s book, but it’s in storage back in the states.

      CSS seems to work for me, but my life is neither ordered nor predictable enough for me to really track my progress. I was only able to reflect on my past 3 CSS tests because I happen to be using the same pool for all 3 of them. Next assignment, who knows. I might be back to wearing straps, although I’m hoping for a standard-sized pool instead of my current 33.3-yard-per-lap one.

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