Ok, maybe I’m the last one to join the party on this one, but I’ve just come to the realization that I’ve been swimming MORE yards than I thought! I mean, I knew there was a difference between meters and yards, but I thought it was ever so slight. Technically it is, with 1.09 yards for every meter, but over several hundred meters, it actually makes quite a difference!
All of this was discovered when I read Page’s blog post about her use of this handy swim pace calculator (Page is also training for her first IM – Arizona!). According to this schedule, if my 100 yard pace is 140, then my 100 meter pace would be 149! That’s 9 whole seconds. When I first got back into the pool after taking a hiatus from swimming after my last Olympic triathlon, I was noticing that my times were slower. I got discouraged, thinking that I had suddenly added 10-15 seconds to my 100 time. However, when I had my swim stroke analysis with Jim Vance, he told me that I was swimming 50 yards in 37 seconds and I felt like I was back on my game! As soon as I got back in the pool to practice the technique pointers he gave me, I was seeing the old numbers again and got frustrated but just assumed that my new technique was temporarily slowing me down.
Then, a few weeks ago I realized there was a sign on the wall in the pool area announced that the pool was in meters. I told Mike this and he confirmed that I was swimming a little bit farther than we did at other pools. I didn’t really think about it much, since I haven’t been focused on my pace much lately. However, last week I tried out our local YMCA’s master’s swim and I realized I was actually swimming pretty fast. In fact, this morning I was doing some of my 100s at 1:35!
The funny part is, I’m quite a numbers person (I’m a CPA). I’m really surprised I let this one get past me! Although, admittedly I’ve never been very good with distances and never have had an interest in figuring out exactly how many kilometers are in a mile or anything like that.
So, the moral of the story is that I’ve been swimming more yards than I thought, but at the end of the day, the Ironman is still measured in METERS. Meaning, that although the 2,600 meters I did last week was really closer to 2,834 yards, I still have to swim 4,000 meters on June 24, so really it doesn’t matter.
Really the best part of the discovery of this chart is that I can now predict my race times. According to the handy swim pace calculator, if I usually swim 100 yards at 1:40, then I can expect to finish the Half Ironman in 36:58 and the Ironman in 1:13:55. At this point I tire out when I swim over 3,000 yards, so I know I have some work to do to get to that pace. I’m also not sure I could actually sustain a 1:40 for that distance. At TriRock Olympic, I did the 1,500 yards in 27:02, which is a 1:48 pace and the chart indicated I would have swam it in 26:15 (I think my base was 145 then). It’s hard to say what my base 100 was then and what it is now though. Obviously there are various factors such as drafting and using a wetsuit that can also change things.
Triathletes, does this chart accurately reflect the relationship between your own base and your race history? If you’ve done an Ironman or Half Ironman, were you able to predict your time fairly accurately or did it take longer than you thought?
Everyone else – do you have issues with distance conversions like I do? Don’t you wish the US would just convert to the metric system and made everything easier!?