Monica’s Mile: Test Your Limits

Monica’s Mile: Test Your Limits

Sweat from the Heart: Coach Bree’s Blog on training and racing. 

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Sunday, January 4th, was the third annual Monica’s Mile swim event. I look forward to this event every year for so many reasons. The biggest reason is because it’s a fundraiser for Monica Caban, a local triathlete, that was injured (hit by a truck from behind) during a training ride. The love and financial support at this event from our local community help offset her rising medical bills. Another reason is that it’s a great way for all of us to get together and inspire one another. We are most definitely inspired by her! This year, Monica WALKED in AND swam without any aid. Last year she rocked the swim with a pool buoy, this year, she crushed it without one! Amazing! Simply amazing! And lastly, so we can test our limits during the swim event – whether you choose the one hour or one mile swim option.

But first, I HAVE to show you our “formal” swimsuits. Isn’t this amazing!?


Okay, to continue…

I’m sharing my swim experience at Monica’s Mile in hopes it inspires you to push it in training and test your limits. I challenged my athletes earlier in the week, and I hope to do the same for you, too.

When you test your limits, you learn so much about yourself and your capabilities. Many of us let doubt and fear control our training and racing. Make this the year you tear down walls and push beyond what you think possible!

Here’s what I told my athletes:

Do you want to get faster, because if that is your goal, you need to swim your Tpace (threshold pace). Period. If you swim slower, how you are going to get faster? If you want to go the next level in your training and racing performance, you have to push yourself and get used to being uncomfortable. The more you can put yourself in the “hurt box” and stay there even when it begins to get really uncomfortable, then the sooner you will go to the next level. But, if you are happy with training at a pace that is comfortable to you and enjoy racing and aren’t shooting for a specific time goal, then please don’t feel you have to change that just because of what I’m saying. If at the end of a race, you are proud of your accomplishment, then I am also proud. And, even when you hate your performance, for whatever reason you have, I am STILL proud of you!

And then I shared my swim experience:

When my swim block started, I looked at the clock and took note of the time. I wanted to be sure I knew when my hour would be up. I quickly settled into a comfortable rhythm and all was going well. I felt relaxed and comfortable – which was my plan for the first 200. Then I do a medium and fast 200. But my medium and fast felt the same, so I ditched the medium pace and went with easy and fast 200s on rotation. In my excitement, thinking I have completed a lot of time, I look at the clock and turns out I have only swum for 5 minutes. Fantastic. Heartbreaker. Sigh. Yeah, that’s when I knew this would be a looooooong hour.  I looked at my Garmin to see my current pace. I was shocked when I saw 1:20/100yd. My current Tpace is 1:20/100yd. I swim this pace in my workouts, but I have rest between sets. I was planning to swim non-stop.  I had 55 minutes left and didn’t know if I could maintain my Tpace. I knew it could be done, but didn’t know if I had it in me. I had two options: slow down (what I *really* wanted to do considering my plan was to swim 1:25/100yd), or see how long I could hold it. I chose to see how long I could hold it. Turns out, I held it for most of the way. For the hour, my overall pace was 1:21/100yds (a few tenths of a second away from 1:22, but who’s counting!? Ha!). Was it uncomfortable? YES! Mentally AND physically. At the 30 minute mark I was overheating in my swim cap, wishing the swim would be over with. I put myself in the hurt box and stayed there. It was uncomfortable, but I told myself it was temporary. That it would be over the moment I stopped. I had 10+ hours left in the day to be lazy and comfortable, so being uncomfortable for 30 more minutes didn’t seem so bad. I want to go to the next level, and it’s only going to happen by pushing myself past my limits. I tested my limits that day and was successful.

Same goes for you. If you want to get better, don’t just put in the miles, but do it at a pace you are capable of doing (based on your assessments/time trials). Don’t sell yourself short in training and racing. Break through your limits. (Disclaimer: this does not mean every workout should be hard or fast. I’m just saying that on key workouts, where speed is the focus, don’t sell yourself short).

If you swam Monica’s Mile, here is the link to compare your pace to your yardage swum::

So, I challenge YOU. Are you wanting to get faster and go to the next level? Are you pushing yourself to get there? If you aren’t, then you won’t get there. Make this the year you put yourself in the “hurt box” and get uncomfortable. Make this the year you break through barriers you have placed on yourself. Make this the year you accomplish more than you thought possible.


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