View Full Version : Assessing Practice Effort

February 25th, 2002, 10:58 PM
I have always been fascinated/amazed by some of the training regimes that come across this web site. The time intravels really amaze me.

My point in writing this is to gain some perspective: I can swim about a :56 100 free 2:05 200 free. In practice I can hold say 10 100's on 1:15 @ 1:40 and feeling like I am getting something from the workout. From what I am seeing here, people should be chucking soap at me from the pool deck... By the way, what system am I training with a set like this (aerobic, VO2max, frisbee chucking)?

Given the times I listed (or any other times), how do you assess your percentage of effort (90% effort is what speed), and how much rest should be assigned to each level of intensity (I consider it a given that any input are guidelines not to be stuck to hard and fast).

The thought in the back of my mind is about an article I read from a Triathelete (last name Allen I think) who said too many people train in a garabage middle zone where their fast stuff is not fast enough and their slow stuff is not slow enough to hit the right systems.

Many thanks for any input.

Chris Beardsley

P.S I am a youngin' (or so I am told) @ 28

February 25th, 2002, 11:22 PM
I wish there was a way to let people know how young you
are on this site.

Beards, I can easily hold 10x100 @1:40 at 1:15.
No way I could do a :56 @100 or 200 @2:05. More like
1.01 and 2.14.
I'm 49.


jean sterling
February 26th, 2002, 12:41 PM
I can think of two ways to measure practice effort.

One way is perceived exertion - are you out of breath at the end of a set, or are you able to talk to the guy in the next lane, or would you be able to burst into song? The aerobic zone is where you can talk fairly easily; being able to sing means that you are below the target zone to be aerobic and not working hard enough. Oh, being able to sing after an easy warmup might be acceptable, but you shouldn't be able to sing at the end a good workout set. You have gone anaerobic if you are breathless and not able to talk to the guy in the next lane at the end of a set. This should be your state when you are supposed to swim hard.

The second way to measure practice effort is by using a heart monitor. You can figure what your theoretical max heart rate is (I think it is 200 - your age), then you can figure what heart rate would be in the aerobic zone (I think it is 70% - 85% of max). Anything above 85% is anaerobic and anything below 70% is too low to be aerobic. A good portion of your workout should be in the aerobic zone. Sprints and hard efforts should be above the aerobic zone, while warmups and cooldowns should be in the low aerobic range or below. I sometimes use a heart rate monitor when I am going to be doing some sets that are to be done "hard" - it keeps me honest. :)

Tom Ellison
February 26th, 2002, 01:44 PM
If I do not get lactic (sp?) built up at some point toward the end of my hard set...ie: dry heaves...then I do not think I pushed hard enough.
I am 52 (next Monday). I try to keep my heart rate under 175 to 180 and then when I do bump up there I only do so for short periods. Often I work out in the 140/150 range.

jim thornton
February 26th, 2002, 01:57 PM
A couple notes:

1) maximal age adjusted heart rate can be crudely estimated by subtracting your age from 220, not 200. I think the perceived exertion "talk" test actually works better.

2) a good test for aerobic conditioning in swimming is the so-called T-30 test. Here's an excerpt from an article I wrote several years ago for Men's Journal magazine:

T-30 Swim Test

How to take the test: This classic assessment for competitive swimmers provides a good indication of your so-called anaerobic threshold, explains Ernest Maglischo, Ph.D., the former head swim coach at Arizona State and author of Swimming Even Faster. "What it signifies," he explains, "is the fastest speed you can sustain without a significant increase in blood lactate levels. If you try to swim faster than this pace, you generally have to take long rests to recover."

After warming up, have someone time you for exactly 30 minutes. Keep track of your total number of yards during this period. Unlike running, which almost anyone can do with reasonable competence, swimming skill varies tremendously, which makes it impossible to come up with meaningful population norms. A well-trained collegian, for example, may be able to swim 3,000 yards or more in a half hour. A poor swimmer might expend the same amount of effort thrashing back and forth for 500 exhausting yards. For this reason, the best way to use the T-30 test is as a gauge for your own individual improvement. As you get into swimming shape, repeat the T-30 every month or two to chart your progress. Note: you can do any stroke--or even just kick--during the T-30. Just make sure to swim it the same way during follow up testing so the comparisons will be valid.

NOTE: what you can do is calculate your average 100 time during this 30 minute swim (for example, say you swim exactly 80 lengths of a 25 yeard pool in a half hour; this would mean you swam 2000 yards in 30 minutes, so your AT time would be 1:30 per hundred. You can then use this as a starting point for sets. A very challenging aerobic set for you would be 10 x 100 on 1:40 (doing 1:25s); a faster "quality" set might be 10 x 100 on 2:00 (doing 1:15s).