The Case for Swimming.
After having blabbed about wanting to spend more time running, I read an article by Dan Empfield, at this link: http://www.slowtwitch.com/mainheadings/swimcenter/case.html. It emphasizes that you can get more bang for your buck by just increasing swim distance, since overall you can achieve more speed with less effort by putting more time into the swim.
This is something I should have remembered from back when I first started swimming. My first year or two in the water was basically just learning to get from one end of the pool to the other, over and over and over, doing a few sprints intervals each session, doing some indoor tris, and learning to love the water and enjoying it as a crosstraining tool but not really seeing any real benefit to my running. I wasn't biking outside yet either, so triathlon wasn't on the horizon yet for me.
But once I joined a masters group (by default--I just happened to show up to swim one day when they were meeting and they invited me to join them), things changed dramatically. While I honestly can't say I got faster in the swim, although I must have, I did develop swim endurance, and surprisingly enough, my running improved by at least 90%.
After spending an entire running season trying to break 23 min. in the 5k, the following spring, after my winter of masters training, I easily--and almost effortlessly--jumped to 22:20 for my first 5k of the season in March, progressing down to 21:05 in June, before unfortunately an injury besieged me and set me back once again. But that's not the point I want to make. It was the high intensity of the swimming that allowed the running to seem easier and my legs to fly faster.
So, maybe I need to rethink my plans? Maybe a masters swim group this winter? That certainly would break up the boredom and monotony of putting in the swim miles, that's for sure. THINK BIG.