Read Roberto Pavoni’s latest ‘Racing Line’ blog from April 2013
Since my last blog, most of my time within swimming has been focused on training towards the British Gas Swimming Championships in June, which are serving as the World Championship trials.
There have been a few exciting occasions along the way, though, namely the British Gas International Meet which was held in Leeds, in March.
Here I entered all my main events (200m & 400m IM, and the 200m Fly) as well as the 100m Fly. My coach and I preceded this event with a large block of speed work and my training for this period was largely aimed around speeding up the first half of my races.
This helped me to do some personal bests in the 100m events, which I swam at a Derventio Excel Meet in February. The question we wanted to answer was whether or not this sort of training would also work when it came to the longer distances and my main events.
Unfortunately, on this occasion, I felt as though I was lacking the level of endurance that I needed to be able to challenge my bests on the longer events. So in Leeds I had a mixed bag of racing.
I began the competition with a best time in the 100m Fly, which I was really happy with, and again proved the speed work we had been working on was effective. But the next day, in my 200m Fly, I really did feel like a different swimmer.
It goes to show that every race is different and whether you have a great swim or a terrible swim, tomorrow is a different day.
My time was not as quick as I had expected, and after an especially good heat swim I was hoping for so much better. Whenever I don’t swim as well as I know I can, it’s always really disappointing to think back to how much hard work my coach and I have put into things. But the only thing you can do is learn from your mistakes, and then forget the race and move on.
On the third day was my main event, the 400m IM, and I came away with a gold medal, which was fantastic! My time was okay, nothing special, but I had raced better than the previous night and so I was relatively happy with my performance.
And then on the last day I put in a really encouraging time in the 200m IM, and won a silver medal. My time was less than a second away from my best, which for that time of the season was better than I had expected. It just goes to show that every race is different, and whether you have a great swim, or a terrible swim, tomorrow is a different day.
Once the competition was over, I enjoyed a few days away from the pool before starting the next training cycle. I took my girlfriend to Venice for a long weekend and we had such an amazing time. Some great pictures and some incredible food!
The new cycle moved to the other end of the spectrum, and I went from doing intense speed work to intense endurance work. I had four weeks of extremely high volume swimming.
During these weeks it is very easy to become run down, because you are swimming further, for longer and have less chance to recover in between sessions. It was really important to make sure I was eating, drinking and sleeping enough, to minimise any risk of getting ill. Last week was the final week of my endurance block, and I swam the furthest I have ever done in one week.
I was making several trips to the physio so I could have my shoulders taped up to prevent an injury from repetitive strain. I felt as though I could fall apart at any moment! I was bringing home bags of ice after evening sessions so that I could lie in an ice bath to help repair my muscles. Suffice to say I’m glad it’s over now!
I made several trips to the physio to have my shoulders taped up to prevent injury from repetitive strain.
Looking forward, next week I fly to Cyprus for a 10-day training camp with my Loughborough ITC squad. I’ve been there many times before and the facilities we use were built for the British Swimming Holding Camp before the Athens 2004 Olympics. The 50m pool and hotel are really impressive, and the food is always nice too, which certainly helps.
After this there are only about seven weeks until the World Championships trials and so things in the pool will start getting very specific for me. By this I mean I will be doing a lot of work on the skills of each of my strokes, but also making sure I can hit my race pace for each of them. Everything in this period is geared towards trying to replicate the pace I need to hit in order to reach my target on race day.