Winter Break or “Sport break” as it is called in Sweden

In the area of Sweden I live, week 8 is our winter break, or a direct translation from swedish is sport break A large portion of the people in sweden use week 7,8 or 9 to go skiiing every year. The country splits up this week off so that only 33% of the country try to go up north skiing each week during the winter break.


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Masters Lane 1

I don’t usually write about specific workouts here on my blog. Maybe that’s because I have a training journal that I document everything I do on Jogg.se. Since the fall of 2018 our Masters group has been greatly improved by the presence of a former Syrian distance swim coach Nidal. During his first fall session with us he was there to help our newer swimmers with their technique. Watching everyone in the pull and offering tips on how they could improve their technique. That kind of one on one feedback was greatly appreciated. Then I am not sure how it happened, but with all my traveling in 2019 he took the initiative to offer our distance swimmers a distance workout on wedensdays as an option to the sprint workouts I was writing. With only three lanes, that group swam in lane 1. Up until 2019 we rarely swam anything over 400m at practice, and when we swam what I thought were hard series it was usually base pace for the shorter series and base pace +5 for the longer series.

For example
20x 100
1-5 st1:35
6-10 st 1:30
11-15 st 1:25
16-20 st 1:20 (see how many you can make)

Nidal had a very very different view on what a hard series should be, and maybe after watching us swim for 4 months he saw a pontential in us, that I had not seen. He has no problem asking us to swim 15×100 st 1.25. His practices usually run between 5300-6000m in 90 minutes.

Since I was not able to swim consistantly in 2019 it took me until Jan 2020 for me to even attempt to join that lane. I was happy in my little sprint world with 60 minuets on wednesday’s.

I do not have a clue on how tough 2019 training was, but I do remember him asking Hampus to start at 18:00 instead of 20:00 so that he would have time to swim 6x 1500 with 5 minutes rest. What I do know is that we are 3-5 swimmers each Wednesday that swim sets that for 2 years ago we would have consider a test series, or we would have adjusted the start times during practice. But not in 2020! We might not be the fastest Masters team, but on Wednesday we work just as hard as the teenagers do in the practice before, if not harder.

Last night is a perfect example of being pushed and us swimmers responding:
600 choice
30x 50 swim a3 st :45 (my practices have been start :50-1:00 and based on who is there we pick a time that works that day)
50 easy
2x 400 swim a2 st 6:00 (unusually slow start intervall for Wednesdays, usually we do these on 5:40-5:45)
1500 pull for time
200 easy

When you have a coach standing over you calling out your times, you don’t want to dissappoint. Right now I am nursing shoulder injuries from my 42km swim, so it makes swimming at a fast tempo with little rest difficult. I lost a lot of speed in the fall, but these Wednesday Lane 1 practices are trully the best workout of the week.

Last night I swam the 50’s with fins to save my shoulders, but was able to manage a 20:05 in the 1500m with my new paddles from TYR.

CATALYST STROKE TRAINING PADDLES

Splits from the 1500m I got lapped twice by Hampus and you can see when. My times jumped up to 1:24 and 1:26 when I let him pass on the turn.



Ryan – Pär – Hampus

Looking forward to 2021

Since I am hoping to get another eight swims and even a few Crossfit workouts in this year I am not ready to summarize 2020, but I am keeping my fingers crossed that I stay healthy and can keep my motivation up for next summer.

I only have on goal for 2021, and that is swimming the first 42km Viking Swim in Värnamo on Aug 13th to the 14th. Or if the weather looks good, maybe we start at midnight so the entire swim will be on the 14th. This year I swam 42km in 14 hours with short stops every 3km. Next year with the start being around midnight I will most likely need to get in an energy stop every 40-45 minutes, but only for 45-60s to avoid getting cold, or starting to cramp. Since I will be swimming with a partner, our biggest challenge this spring/early summer will be planning those feeding breaks and what to give the kayaker to hold for us.

Looks like we will get new caps for the race.

And I am not sure if they have decided on the design for the finisher shirts, but I am really looking forward to wearing something like this in just over 8 months.

1,000,000m Swimming and Covid-19

I found it interesting that I did not write about this, but based on my OW season totals I thought I would be able to pass 1,000,000m swimming around the 20th of Sept. But getting sick on Sept 1st did not help. I eventually surpassed the 1 million meter mark on Sept 30th.

Unfortunately, my run for 1,000,000m came at a cost. I am not sure if it was because of my 42km swim on the 16th of August, or if it has more to do with me being on path to double last years swimming totals. Either way, the move back to the pool from OW has not been good for my shoulders. In Oct I was ready to call it a season and start to rehab and get ready for 2021. But then I was persuaded to go to Swedish nationals. Luckily for me it was cancelled because of the Covid-19 restricttions. But it was hard for me to accept that I still needed to rehab if I was going to be able to perform at all in 2021.

Luckily for me, maybe not for everyone, the new Covid-19 restrictions just came to our region of Sweden. This means no team swimming for the next three weeks. It means I will most likely not go to any crossfit workouts for the next three weeks. But it opens the door for me to go to the pool to work on my technique, swim at a slower pace, swim with no programming. I can go to the gym during off-peak hours and work on lifting basics. Heck I can even start going on walks that might lead to me starting to run again.

As negative as I can be when it comes to change I am really going to try to see the positives that can come out of this.

PS I am not affraid to get sick, I am not concerned about my family getting sick, but if me sitting on the sofa fighting with Jeanette about whether we watch Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D or a documentry on Swedish Queens for the next three weeks means we can get closer to a normal situation faster then I am ready to wrestle Jeanette over the TV control 🙂

2020 OW Virtual Grand Slam

Back in April as the world was shutting down I was contacted by Mark Johnston about an online event that he was putting together. It didn’t take more than a day or two and then the event was online, and I was registered and started to recruit others in Sweden and the US to join in.

The idea of being able to compete in a time when all IRL races were being postponed or canceled felt like a really good idea. Nothing beats the heat of the moment, but knowing someone somewhere else was trying to swim faster than me was going to have to be enough this summer.


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42+km swimming, yes swimming

Last year in October I was one of 14 swimmers with the honor to be able to sign up for 42+km swim. The race was called The Viking, and was a two way swim of Vidösternsimmet (21+km). The 14 of us would start at night Friday the 7th of August, calculating average swim speed in order to get to the start of the return no later than 07:00 the 8th. I went all in for this race. I had one of the strongest swimmers I know (Hampus Carlsson) as my partner for the first half night swim, and I started pushing myself on our Wednesday distance workouts like never before with our super distance coach Nedal. In January I took on the 1,00,000m challenge to help motivate me to get the distance training I would need for this years goal.


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Karl-Oskarsimmet 2020

Saturday the 13th of June was the first time in the history of our local OW race that I actually was able to participate. In 2016, it was a very very small race with two distances; 925m and 1850m. I spent all morning helping to get the race area set-up, then all afternoon on a boat keeping an eye on the swimmers. The distance 1850 came from the year that Karl-Oskar and Kristina left Sweden on their way to the US. A masters swimmer and local artist helped up create our logo from a photo of the two. I really like the way it turned out.

Logo made by Mona B Klöfver
http://www.mbkartist.com/

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Beyond Expectations, the month of May

So I recently wrote about missing lots of swimming because of a business trip. But it looks like I was able to bounce back nicely, thanks in part to the start of Open Water swimming and my teammates that show up day after day to swim with me. In the graph below you can see the plateau when I missed 3+ swims. I managed to build back up my buffer by the end of the month.

Progress against the 1,000km target pace

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Rough start to May

My first business trip since the start of the Covid-19 outbreak. I knew that I would eventually have to travel again, and I has 100% aware that it was not going to be easy from being at home for the past five months working out on average 12 hours a week to nothing for upwards of six days. But having the last 3 trips cancelled or postponed I was kind of hoping that this one would be push up too.

Due to the limited access to public transportation and the roughly 1300km distance I had to travel to get to site, I wound up traveling by car for nearly 13 hours on Sunday the 3rd of May with two colleagues headed in the same direction. Everything in the town I was visiting had shortened hours. Most things closed between 1600 and 1800 daily. This limited my options for food and the hotel we stayed at had no fitness room.

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100km in April

I was not expecting this, but thanks to the Million Meter Challenge I have just had my best indoor swim month since I stopped swimming back in 1996. It didn’t hurt that I was able to get in a good 10 day swim streak either. One other time in the last 12 years I have managed over 80km in one month in a pool was back in Jan 2012. I have now had 4 months in a row with over 84km. And now in April thanks to an extra 3km OW swim when putting out the buoys in the lake I landed at 108,560m in April

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