This morning I had my Cardio Point assessment to see how my training is improving my heart rate zones – or not. I am pleased to report I am going in the right direction. The two areas I have been focusing on is building my lower aerobic base and increasing the fat calories I burn in my Zones 2 and 3. If you are interested in what exactly the five heart rate zones are, check out this article at Life Time Fitness, my gym. I have been able to improve my zone 1, my base, and I am burning more fat calories in zones 2 and 3. My anaerobic threshold has remained the same, but I wasn’t training to improve that the past two months. The walking I have been doing on my active rest days has been paying off.
After the assessment I put on my swim suit and headed to the pool. Thankfully my gym has two indoor pools – a lap pool and a leisure pool. The leisure pool was packed with families and children taking lessons. The lap pool has five lanes and for most of my swim I had a lane to myself. I swam 2,500 meters, a modified endurance workout I have been doing lately. After a 1,000 meter warm up I went into 4×100 on a 2:15 sendoff. My first 100 I came in on 1:56 – I wasn’t trying for speed and I wasn’t gasping for air when I finished. Wow, I felt great! The remaining 3 were also strong coming in between 1:58 and 2:03. Just 6 weeks ago I was swimming my 100’s around 2:10. The improvement is such an encouragement to me and confirmation that I can get faster. Next I did a 400 on a 9:00 sendoff. I came in on 8:23 – still very good for me. Next was another 4×100 on 2:10 this time. By this point I was feeling the fatigue and my shoulder had been hurting since I got in the pool. I did the set, but was consistent 2:02-2:05 on coming in and I knew at the end I was going to be ready to wind this workout up. I did a 200 set on 4:20 and the warmed down with 100. For the week I swam 14,000 meters after running a half marathon on Sunday. I felt good about my training.
I have learned several things this week. First and foremost, I am listening to my body more and more. I am not slacking on my training at all, but I am taking rest where I need to and making adjustments as the aches or tiredness directs. Second, I see the benefits of cross training and how it is effecting my running. When I was running 5 times a week and pushing myself hard without a rest day last year, I actually regressed in my heart rate zones and showed classic overtraining. By taking a rest day and only running 3 days a week while I am focusing on my swimming, I have improved my heart rate zones and my efficiency. So I am “in the zone” and it is a good place to be.
Finally, I want to share what a joy it was when I finished my swim and headed to the sauna. It is right in front of the leisure pool and the entire wall is glass so you can see the pool. The children’s swim classes were in progress. I loved watching the children struggling with determination to get to the wall and the glee on their faces when they made it. The instructors were enjoying it too. As I watched them I thought to myself I really hope they stick with it, learn the importance of strengthening their heart through exercise, and make it a way of life to carry on so they too will stay in the zone.