Think you’re working out hard? Consider Katie Pumphrey’s week


Katie Pumphrey works out at the Merritt Athletic Club in Baltimore as she prepares to swim the English Channel (Photo by Jonathan Newton / The Washington Post)

Be sure to check out my story today on Katie Pumphrey, a 26-year-old woman from Baltimore who has decided to swim the English Channel as a way of confronting the chronic pain she has lived with for nearly two decades.

What does it take to swim the English Channel? Well, it's known as "the Mt. Everest of open water swimming" for a reason. It's 21 miles across, but because of the shifting tides, almost no one goes straight from England to France. The water is cold, so hypothermia is a constant worry. Waves, salt water, jellyfish, weather--they're all part of the deal.

And then there's the training. Pumphrey's swim is 17 months away, but she's already racking up 25,000 or 30,000 meters a week in the pool. That total will peak at around 60,000 weekly as the swim nears.

Here is Pumphrey's workout log from last week.

Monday, March 17th: 4,600 Meters.

20 minutes stretching, 30 minutes dry land core/upper body exercises.

Evening swim workout with the Charm City Masters:

Warm Up: 1000 Freestyle

200 Individual medley kick/drill

6 x 50 Free  1:00 (50 meters in one minute)

A.

4 x 100 Free 1:40

4 x 100 Backstroke 1:55

4 x 100 Free Pull (no kicking) 1:45

B.

3 x 50 Free  :50

3 x 100 Back 1:50

3 x 200 Free Pull 3:30

C.

2 x 25 Free :30

2 x 100 Back 1:45

2 x 300 Free cool down

Tuesday, March 18th: 8,000 Meters

Morning Workout: Solo swim - 2 1/2 hours.

5 x 1,500

1- Free, 2- Free Pull (no paddles), 3- Free Descend (increase speed each 50 or 100 meters) by 500, 4- Free Pull (no kicking, with paddles), 5- Free swim with paddles.

500 Free/Backstroke easy

Wednesday, March 19th:

1 hour yoga.

Thursday, March 20th: 8,000 Meters 

Morning workout:

1 x 1,000 Free smooth

2 x 500 Free/Free Pull

1 x 1,000 Free – Negative split (second half faster than first half).

1 x 1,000 Free Pull (w/ paddles, drop foam buoy @ 500 meters) Negative split.

1 x 1,500 Free Smooth (1:30 pace).

1 x 1,000 Free Build (gradually increase pace).

1 x 1,000 Free w/ paddles, descend by 100 meters.

500 Cool down

Friday, March 21st: 4,000 Meters

Morning workout with Charm City Masters.

Warm Up:

400 Free

4 x 100 Back (50 drill/50 swim)

4 x 50 Free push pace 1:00

A.

10 x 75 Free 1:10

10 x 50 Back :55

B.

10 x 50 Free :45

10 x 25 Back :30

C.

10 x 25 Free :30

500 Free Pull – smooth

250 Cool down

Saturday, March 22nd: 5,700 Meters

Morning workout with Charm City Masters

Warm Up:

400 Free

300 IM Kick/Drill/Swim

4 x 50 Free push pace 1:00

A.

5 x 100 Free 1:45

2 x 250 (150 Free, 100 Back)

1 x 500 Free Pull

B.

2 x 250 (150 Free, 100 Back)

1 x 500 Free - smooth

1 x 500 Free Pull – stretch out

C.

1 x 500 Free - Build

1 x 500 Free Pull – negative split.

1 x 500 Free w/paddles – finished at 6:43.

300 cool down

Sunday, March 23rd:  Rest

We'll check in on Pumphrey from time to time over the next 17 months to see how she's doing.

Lenny Bernstein writes the To Your Health blog. He started as an editor on the Post’s National Desk in 2000 and has worked in Metro and Sports.
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