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knelson
May 15th, 2008, 12:52 AM
In this (http://forums.usms.org/showthread.php?t=10784) thread Fortress said:


Interesting Race Club thread. There was one post concluding that lactate tolerance was the key for the last 15 meters of a 100, not aerobic capacity.

Which leads to something I've been thinking about lately. I'm sure we've all had races where you try to give it everything you've got at the end and you absolutely turn to jello. I assume this is the lactic acid kicking in. When it hits you slow down very quickly. So how can we train to improve that tolerance?

Here's an article by Genadijus Sokolovas on the USA Swimming website: http://www.usaswimming.org/USASWeb/ViewMiscArticle.aspx?TabId=417&Alias=Rainbow&Lang=en&mid=648&ItemId=1317

In it he talks about lactate tolerance type sets:

Anaerobic Metabolism (Anaerobic-Glycolitic) is the non-oxidative process of recycling of ATP from glycogen. Glycogen is stored in the muscle cells. Glycogen fairly rapidly recycles ATP, but it is slower than from CP. Anaerobic metabolism produces lactate. It is the main energy system for exercise bouts of 30 sec until 3 min. When distances are longer, aerobic metabolism predominates. Anaerobic metabolism has high power, middle capacity, and low efficiency.

Examples of swimming sets and distances that develop anaerobic metabolism: distances of 50 to 300 M/Y, high intensity swimming sets with a short rest interval (i.e., 6-16 x 25 M/Y, 4-8 x 50 M/Y, 2-4 x 100 M/Y, 2 x 200 M/Y with rest interval 20-30 sec etc.).

Anyway, I'm finally getting to my point here. The standard way to do this is using fixed sets like this, but has anyone tried something like swimming absolutely all-out until you hit that lactate "jello" feel where you feel yourself slowing down? At that point maybe do some very slow "active rest" swimming then repeat, etc. The goal being to build up the time/distance you can keep up that all-out speed. It seems like actually confronting that lactate wall like this would be a great way to help with lactate tolerance in races.

Loffe
May 15th, 2008, 03:56 AM
We sometimes did broken 200s with very short rest. Usually this did not mean going all out on the first 50, but trying to get a good time.

But sometimes we did all out as well. All out on the first 50. 10 sec rest. All out on the second and so forth. H U R T as hell. But times in SCM went from 24.9s to 32s in the 50s. So I wonder if that really improved my swimming! And there was no idea trying to do a second one..

Chris Stevenson
May 15th, 2008, 05:35 AM
Kirk,

I am not an exercise physiologist, so this is a non-expert opinion, but I feel like any set above the lactate threshold (which is most sets in my experience) helps develop some "lactate tolerance."

HOWEVER, the levels in most sets also do not approach the high levels that exist at the end of a race. Therefore, I think the body also needs to experience such levels in practice (ie, mimic that feeling you get at the end of the race).

There are probably many ways to do it. My coach prefers to do repeats at race pace with several minutes recovery in between (off the blocks: 5 x 100 on 4:00, 5 x 200 on 7:00, you get the idea). Except for early and late in the season, we do such sets about once every week or two and record the times. The key is to really do race pace, within a whisker of what you would do if you were swimming at a meet at that time of the year.

Like I said, there are other ways too: for example, do shorter distances with little recovery time and push until you cannot go anymore, recover and repeat. Somewhat similar to broken swims but make sure you go to failure. Heck, you can do it with cross-training too (eg, hill sprints).

Another possibility is to use "active rest" more, and this might be appropriate for you as more of a distance type. Here is one set that we did where my lactate levels were pretty darn high by the end. All intervals were 2:15 in my lane; other lanes adjusted as necessary. Everthing was from a push. The idea was not to spend very much time on the wall, to recover while swimming.

4 x 150 cruise: feel stroke, get ready to swim fast
1 x 200 FAST
3 x 150 recover, just make interval
1 x 200 FAST
2 x 150 recover
1 x 200 FAST
1 x 150 recover
1 x 200 FAST

Ideally, the last and first 200 are not that different (much easier said than done) and are within about 10 seconds of your best (rested) 200 time. It kiind of reproduces what a longer race feels like.

Along those lines, sometimes our coach has us do broken swims with decreasing rest: eg a 200 broken into 50s with 10, 7, then 4 seconds rest.

These are just ideas, hopefully they help. All of them really hurt...but that's what it feels like at the end of a race too, and I guess that's the point. You shouldn't do it too often.

meldyck
May 15th, 2008, 08:57 AM
Anyway, I'm finally getting to my point here. The standard way to do this is using fixed sets like this, but has anyone tried something like swimming absolutely all-out until you hit that lactate "jello" feel where you feel yourself slowing down? At that point maybe do some very slow "active rest" swimming then repeat, etc. The goal being to build up the time/distance you can keep up that all-out speed. It seems like actually confronting that lactate wall like this would be a great way to help with lactate tolerance in races.

Kirk,

I typically do two different sets of lactate sets. One is pretty much what you describe: all out 100s with lots of active recovery in between. I usually do these breaststroke and, at 9000 feet training altitude, my best times are about 1:25. The last 25 requires great concentration just to finish and to keep the stroke mechanics as good as possible. My active recovery takes place after that, with the total interval being about 10 minutes. So, that's about a 6:1 rest:work ratio. When I'm training for nationals, I'll go through 4 cycles of this during the last few weeks of hard training before taper. In the active recovery part, I'll swim freestyle at a 2 min/100 pace. In other words, barely above pool current pace but always concentrating on GOOD freestyle technique. During that 40 minute period I'll get in about 2000 yards of total swimming. Typically, my second and third swims will be the fastest with numbers 1 and 4 the slowest. I feel that this trains me for the last part of a shorter distance race.

The other kind of set is to allow the lactic acid to accumulate by doing, say, a set of 50s as fast as you can with short rest. One example for me might be 6 X 50 breaststroke on 90 sec followed by some short recovery, usually a 100 EZ. This is typically a 1:1 work:rest ratio for me. By the end of the hard swim cycle the arms and legs are so heavy that I can't easily move them and each swim requires great concentration. This mimics, to me, the feeling I get in the last few hundred of the mile.

If I lived at sea level, I'd shorten the rest period for each one because the lactic acid can be cleared out easier.

The Fortress
May 15th, 2008, 09:05 AM
What is the theory behind "active recovery"? Are you getting the lactic acid out between fast swims? I have to say, I can't stand it. I just want to go really really slow between swims if I'm doing a set of 5 x 100 on 4-5 minutes. Active recovery seems too hard when I need to gasp for breath.

Chris Stevenson
May 15th, 2008, 09:36 AM
What is the theory behind "active recovery"? Are you getting the lactic acid out between fast swims? I have to say, I can't stand it. I just want to go really really slow between swims if I'm doing a set of 5 x 100 on 4-5 minutes. Active recovery seems too hard when I need to gasp for breath.

I don't know the theory, if there is one. But it can mimic what happens in a race -- say a 500 -- if you realize you've taken it out too hard. You back off slightly for 100-200 and then still bring it back strong. Even a 200 can benefit, regrouping on the 3rd 50 while getting ready for that last push.

Or, in open water swimming, it allows you to respond to sudden changes in the pace of the pack. Fartlek training is a similar idea, really.

If all you want to do is 50s and 100s -- not that I'm saying there is anything wrong with that :D -- then maybe it is less useful. Maybe Tall Paul can tell us if he thinks so, even though he doesn't consider himself a true sprinter he is more of one than I am, and I think I remember reading a post of his saying he did some Fartlek training.

I also don't think the pace need be QUITE as white-hot as when doing 100s on the 5 minutes. Slightly more controlled than that, but still very fast.

pwolf66
May 15th, 2008, 09:49 AM
What is the theory behind "active recovery"? Are you getting the lactic acid out between fast swims? I have to say, I can't stand it. I just want to go really really slow between swims if I'm doing a set of 5 x 100 on 4-5 minutes. Active recovery seems too hard when I need to gasp for breath.

Could be you're still swimming too fast. I have this problem also and have really made a concerted effort to go slow. I can now swim 50m free in 52-53 as opposed to my previous 'best' of 44-45. That 8 seconds makes all the difference in the world with regards to recovery.

Paul

knelson
May 15th, 2008, 10:21 AM
I always thought the very slow swimming helped to clear the acid from the muscles more than just standing around does. I really don't know if this is true physiologically, but just about every coach encourages their swimmers to warmdown after races for this reason.


HOWEVER, the levels in most sets also do not approach the high levels that exist at the end of a race. Therefore, I think the body also needs to experience such levels in practice (ie, mimic that feeling you get at the end of the race).

I agree and I think most people have a hard time pushing this hard in practice. The other thing is I believe it's very difficult to not automatically pace yourself based on the length of the swim. If you're supposed to do a 15 meter blast you'll swim all out, if the set is repeat 100s you'll naturally hold back a little. I'm proposing changing this by not giving a fixed length to the swim. Instead, the goal is to swim at top speed for as long as you can.

The Fortress
May 15th, 2008, 10:49 AM
I'm proposing changing this by not giving a fixed length to the swim. Instead, the goal is to swim at top speed for as long as you can.

This is a change? I can't do top speed for more than a 50. lol

No problem with going slow, Paul. I think of active recovery as something more than lounging around. At least that's what our coach seems to think. Left to my own devices, I'd rather do DAB than active recovery. Since I'm not swimming 500s like Chris, it appears not to matter.

geochuck
May 15th, 2008, 10:58 AM
When I talk Lactate tolerence I look here first. It may not be current but I trust the info here. http://www.brianmac.co.uk/lactic.htm

I have referred this site for a few years.

ande
May 15th, 2008, 11:02 AM
i read sprinters are

Latate intolerant

geochuck
May 15th, 2008, 11:12 AM
Right Ande

Milk is bad and Margaritas are good.

Chris Stevenson
May 15th, 2008, 12:08 PM
When I talk Lactate tolerence I look here first. It may not be current but I trust the info here. http://www.brianmac.co.uk/lactic.htm

I have referred this site for a few years.

Nice site, I'm no expert but I didn't see anything that looked to me to be out of date.

There is always a lot of talk in cycling about raising the lactate threshold (LT) -- actually, usually they discuss it in terms of "power produced at LT". That is clearly important in endurance races.

Most pool races are done well above LT, so two questions occur to me:

-- Is raising your LT beneficial to swimmers who raise well above it? I would guess "yes" but it is only a guess. Doing so might mean that less lactic acid is produced at a given speed (even well above LT), meaning there is less acid to buffer and less pain in a race.

-- If it is beneficial, can it be done in cross-training or is it more muscle- or sport-specific? In other words, does running or cycling (or rowing or whatever) -- in addition to any other benefits it might provide in general conditioning or strength-building -- help raise LT in a way that improves swimming performance?

Keep in mind that LT is often measured against heart rate...but heart rate is muscle specific (eg, using many large muscles will demand more oxygen and increase your HR faster). The important parameter is really "speed/power at the LT" -- in other words, what swimming pace you can hold right at your LT. I am not at all sure that raising my "power at LT" on the bike will have much affect on my "swim pace" LT.

I think exercise physiology is a cool subject, I just wish I knew more about it and could take an educated stab at answering these questions. Anyone here have any knowledge about this?

aquageek
May 15th, 2008, 02:43 PM
What is the theory behind "active recovery"?

That's a euphemism for "sanctioned loafing."

cdrcld
May 15th, 2008, 03:20 PM
Kirk,


4 x 150 cruise: feel stroke, get ready to swim fast
1 x 200 FAST
3 x 150 recover, just make interval
1 x 200 FAST
2 x 150 recover
1 x 200 FAST
1 x 150 recover
1 x 200 FAST



Chris,
Good set. I think I'll do it today. What were the 150s recovery on?
Chris

hofffam
May 15th, 2008, 03:50 PM
It isn't easy to find good research on the benefits of active recovery. Much of what I found was related to body building - and the recovery period was of the between days kind - not between repeats of interval training.

One article I found though said:

1. Active recovery reduces lactic acid, but may not improve performance in that day’s workout.
2. The use of passive and active recovery can be used as another variable in training plans, with each having a beneficial affect.

The full article is here (http://coaching.usolympicteam.com/coaching/kpub.nsf/v/81dec06).

The explanation for #1 above ("may not improve performance") was that although active recovery clears lactic acid faster it also slows resynthesis of muscle glycogen. Sounds like a good news/bad news situation. Passive recovery isn't as good at clearing lactic acid but it allows the muscles to replenish themselves with glycogen.

jim clemmons
May 15th, 2008, 04:04 PM
Chris,
Good set. I think I'll do it today. What were the 150s recovery on?
Chris

I believe part of his point was that everything was on 2:15, including the recovery swims. (for his lane)

Chris Stevenson
May 15th, 2008, 04:15 PM
Chris,
Good set. I think I'll do it today. What were the 150s recovery on?
Chris

Same time as the 200s. It turns out that we also did them today, after I wrote it up. Maybe my coach is a forum lurker...

My lane did them all on 2:15, the next two lanes on 2:30.

ourswimmer
May 15th, 2008, 04:33 PM
My lane did them all on 2:15, the next two lanes on 2:30.

How much rest did those intervals give you on the 200s?

pwolf66
May 15th, 2008, 04:53 PM
How much rest did those intervals give you on the 200s?

I predict about 5-10 seconds. I wouldn't even get that much. Sigh.

Paul

Chris Stevenson
May 15th, 2008, 05:18 PM
How much rest did those intervals give you on the 200s?

A little over 20 seconds; I held 1:53s. But others in my lane got much less, going in the 2:05-2:10 range. Again, the idea is to get most of your rest while swimming the 150s -- which were EASY -- and not on the wall.

The first four 150s were not hard but not quite easy, either: get your stroke and rhythm going, prepare your body to go fast. But once you do the first 200, the 150s should all be very easy, to recover.

Big AL
May 15th, 2008, 05:44 PM
Lactate tolerance stuff is my favorite.

It seems that with the shorter rest, I am driven even more to go faster to earn more rest. As the lactate builds up, it seems the only way to get it out, is to keep going faster.... which works for the first part of the swim, but by the end of the swim it is worse that the one before. It takes a lot of focus to maintain tempo and technique when hitting the wall, but becoming familiar with this "zone" really builds my confidence for the real deal in competition. (like 3x3x200, descend 1-3 on 2:20; My times from last Feb were about 2:08, 2:05, 2:02, 2:05, 2:02, 1:59, 2:03, 2:00, 1:57).

When I'm done with these monsterously painful sets, I like to do active recovery like 12x50s on :40, trying to get down to the same speed as on the main set, but it depends on what the coach has in mind. I am usually 15 sec/100 faster on the recovery set than others around me. I'm usually washed out for the day, but I'm ready to go the next day and rarely need a recovery day after those sets. Speed sets are what kills me and I always need a recovery day afterwards.... anymore.

knelson
May 15th, 2008, 07:18 PM
I held 1:53s.

You, my friend, are a maniac! :bow:

That Guy
May 15th, 2008, 08:15 PM
You, my friend, are a maniac! :bow:

Seconded. :notworthy:

:oldman: Reminds me of a college workout where our distance lane was graced by an alumnus who still held plenty of our school records. He wasn't a distance guy, or even a freestyler, but he needed some aerobic work so he swam with us. We were in taper so the main set was short, something like 10x300 on 3:30. Our coach gave the standard threat about starting the set all over again if any of us went slower than 3:05. We busted our butts and made those 3:05's (ok maybe a couple of them were 3:06's :D)... except up at the front of the line, there was our guest, cruising in the 2:57-2:59 range with no apparent exertion. :cry:

pwolf66
May 15th, 2008, 08:54 PM
A little over 20 seconds; I held 1:53s. But others in my lane got much less, going in the 2:05-2:10 range. Again, the idea is to get most of your rest while swimming the 150s -- which were EASY -- and not on the wall.

The first four 150s were not hard but not quite easy, either: get your stroke and rhythm going, prepare your body to go fast. But once you do the first 200, the 150s should all be very easy, to recover.

Sorry, my prediction was for the entire lane, knowing that Chris would be getting about double that. Sigh. And Chris, easy for me is about :45 per 50 so that would put me starting the next one as soon as I touch. Double sigh.

Paul

JMiller
May 16th, 2008, 01:52 AM
That's precisely why training for lactate tolerance is so crucial for performance. Or, finding a way to help your body make better use of the oxygen/ATP, "naturally".


Anaerobic Metabolism (Anaerobic-Glycolitic) is the non-oxidative process of recycling of ATP from glycogen. Glycogen is stored in the muscle cells. Glycogen fairly rapidly recycles ATP, but it is slower than from CP. Anaerobic metabolism produces lactate. It is the main energy system for exercise bouts of 30 sec until 3 min. When distances are longer, aerobic metabolism predominates. Anaerobic metabolism has high power, middle capacity, and low efficiency.

Examples of swimming sets and distances that develop anaerobic metabolism: distances of 50 to 300 M/Y, high intensity swimming sets with a short rest interval (i.e., 6-16 x 25 M/Y, 4-8 x 50 M/Y, 2-4 x 100 M/Y, 2 x 200 M/Y with rest interval 20-30 sec etc.).

It seems like actually confronting that lactate wall like this would be a great way to help with lactate tolerance in races.

Syd
May 20th, 2008, 10:27 AM
Kirk,


Another possibility is to use "active rest" more, and this might be appropriate for you as more of a distance type. Here is one set that we did where my lactate levels were pretty darn high by the end. All intervals were 2:15 in my lane; other lanes adjusted as necessary. Everthing was from a push. The idea was not to spend very much time on the wall, to recover while swimming.

4 x 150 cruise: feel stroke, get ready to swim fast
1 x 200 FAST
3 x 150 recover, just make interval
1 x 200 FAST
2 x 150 recover
1 x 200 FAST
1 x 150 recover
1 x 200 FAST

Ideally, the last and first 200 are not that different (much easier said than done) and are within about 10 seconds of your best (rested) 200 time. It kiind of reproduces what a longer race feels like.



I tried this set on Sunday. I train SCM so I set 2:30 intervals for myself. I think I went out a bit hard in the first set of 4x150. It resulted in a not-so-fast first 200, but I slowed down a lot on the recovery after that and my times picked up.

Anyway, I managed the intervals quite comfortably but never got to feel that 'jello' feeling in my muscles. I pushed the third 200 particularly hard and came within a hair's breadth of vomiting but, still , no sore muscles. My fourth 200 was 5 seconds slower than my third and it took all my willpower not to bail after at the 100m mark!

So I am wondering if I did it wrong. Why didn't I get that jello feeling in my muscles and rather got the puking sensation? It seems that it was more of an aerobic than a lactate set for me.

Today I did a 200 all out for time and on the final 25 my arms 'went jello' but the time I did today was much faster than anything I did on Sunday.

Chris Stevenson
May 20th, 2008, 11:28 AM
I tried this set on Sunday. I train SCM so I set 2:30 intervals for myself. I think I went out a bit hard in the first set of 4x150. It resulted in a not-so-fast first 200, but I slowed down a lot on the recovery after that and my times picked up.

Anyway, I managed the intervals quite comfortably but never got to feel that 'jello' feeling in my muscles. I pushed the third 200 particularly hard and came within a hair's breadth of vomiting but, still , no sore muscles. My fourth 200 was 5 seconds slower than my third and it took all my willpower not to bail after at the 100m mark!

So I am wondering if I did it wrong. Why didn't I get that jello feeling in my muscles and rather got the puking sensation? It seems that it was more of an aerobic than a lactate set for me.

Today I did a 200 all out for time and on the final 25 my arms 'went jello' but the time I did today was much faster than anything I did on Sunday.

I don't really understand the "puking" vs "jello" descriptions. If you felt like vomiting and died to the point where the last 200 was 5 seconds slower than the previous one, I'd say you were well above your lactate threshold so this was in no way an "aerobic" set. Probably your lactate did not spike to the same degree as it did in the 200 all out.

Were you within 10 seconds of your best recent rested swim? What was the time difference between your "all out" 200 and your repeats? There should not be much difference between the two, the 200s in the set should be close to all out.

To give you a frame of reference: I held mid-1:53s on the set from a push, almost even-splitting (56/57). My best rested time this year was a 1:44. At an unrested meet last fall I went a 1:49 (though it turns out I was getting sick...still, I don't see myself going faster than 1:48, MAYBE 1:47, during the season).

I do think of this set as training more for the 500 than the 200, if that helps at all.

Syd
May 20th, 2008, 12:09 PM
I don't really understand the "puking" vs "jello" descriptions. If you felt like vomiting and died to the point where the last 200 was 5 seconds slower than the previous one, I'd say you were well above your lactate threshold so this was in no way an "aerobic" set. Probably your lactate did not spike to the same degree as it did in the 200 all out.

Were you within 10 seconds of your best recent rested swim? What was the time difference between your "all out" 200 and your repeats? There should not be much difference between the two, the 200s in the set should be close to all out.

I do think of this set as training more for the 500 than the 200, if that helps at all.

Sorry, I should have explained that better. I usually get the puking sensation when (I assume) I am oxygen starved. It seems to me to be more of a fitness issue that arises when I do fast repeats with very little rest in between. I don't necessarily associate it with aching muscles (or perhaps I am just too nauseous to notice).

The jello sensation (someone elses term earlier in this thread...or perhaps in another:o) refers to that feeling of muscle failure in the final stages of extreme exertion: the last 15m of a 100 or the final 50 of a 200. I can have this feeling without necessarily feeling like I want to puke.

The 200's I did on Sunday (with the exception of the last one) were all within 10 seconds of my recent best time. The 200 I did today was only half a second off my recent best time. But today I did a 500 warm up, 12 x 25's kick, two medium-fast 200's to get into fast mode, and then rested for about 4 minutes before I went for that time.

So the levels of exertion were different. And so was the focus. Sunday was all about completing the entire set whereas today was a once off for time.

knelson
May 20th, 2008, 12:43 PM
So the levels of exertion were different. And so was the focus. Sunday was all about completing the entire set whereas today was a once off for time.

And this is the reason why I don't think that kind of set may be ideal for lactate tolerance. I'm sure you are building up some lactate, but not enough for the jello feel. Mentally you know you've got a lot more set to go, so you don't put it on the line like you would in a one-off swim.

Chris Stevenson
May 20th, 2008, 01:15 PM
And this is the reason why I don't think that kind of set may be ideal for lactate tolerance. I'm sure you are building up some lactate, but not enough for the jello feel. Mentally you know you've got a lot more set to go, so you don't put it on the line like you would in a one-off swim.

Maybe. It is very hard to work these sets as hard as you should. That's where the encouragement of a coach or teammates can really help. (I am a real wuss when I work out by myself.)

Perhaps doing "near all out" swims as repeats also tests/hones the ability to recover from hard swims, something that is important in any meet that is multiple days and multiple events per day.

Glider
May 20th, 2008, 02:12 PM
I agree, this is probably not a great lactate tolerance set -- There is too much "recovery time" that allows for the body to remove/clear lactate.

The most common lactate tolerance sets are meant to be closer to race-pace speed and for you to produce AND and TOLERATE the acidosis.

This is usually accomplished through short sprints at near race pace with short rest (e.g. broken 200s, 10x50 on 40, etc.) or medium sprints on medium rest (e.g., 6x100 on 1:10.)

The set mentioned here is more of a lactate production set, and there is a difference. Here the body produces lactate to get used to it and is then allowed to remove it. These types of sets are typically short or long sprints at near race pace with LONG rest (e.g., 8x50 on 2:00, 4x100 on 4:00, etc.


And this is the reason why I don't think that kind of set may be ideal for lactate tolerance. I'm sure you are building up some lactate, but not enough for the jello feel. Mentally you know you've got a lot more set to go, so you don't put it on the line like you would in a one-off swim.

Jazz Hands
May 20th, 2008, 05:00 PM
It's super easy to tell when you are working on lactate tolerance: it burns. You don't have to do this in the pool, either. High-rep lifting is a lot less stressful and should have the same effect, although it won't give you the race-simulation practice.

JMiller
May 20th, 2008, 05:16 PM
There is too much "recovery time" that allows for the body to remove/clear lactate.

6x50 ALL OUT on 3:00 produces lot's of lactate... and you can hold race pace technique, without your stroke falling apart. Training a "broken" stroke will only produce limited results, no matter how much lactate you processed. Your muscles aren't responding in an optimal fashion, so you're preparing for a similar result.

In University we did a test, they actually checked our lactate levels and found out that it took at least 5x200 really easy to flush the lactate completely. So, it stands to reason that max effort sets on longer rest is better for the 100-200 distances.

scyfreestyler
May 20th, 2008, 05:30 PM
6x50 ALL OUT on 3:00 produces lot's of lactate... and you can hold race pace technique, without your stroke falling apart. Training a "broken" stroke will only produce limited results, no matter how much lactate you processed. Your muscles aren't responding in an optimal fashion, so you're preparing for a similar result.

In University we did a test, they actually checked our lactate levels and found out that it took at least 5x200 really easy to flush the lactate completely. So, it stands to reason that max effort sets on longer rest is better.


Yes, indeed it does. This is one of my favorite sets when I want to do something with speed. I generally do this on about 2:00 but by #5 I am falling apart on the back halves. I'll give the 3:00 a shot.

The Fortress
May 20th, 2008, 05:46 PM
Yes, indeed it does. This is one of my favorite sets when I want to do something with speed. I generally do this on about 2:00 but by #5 I am falling apart on the back halves. I'll give the 3:00 a shot.

I just did this set (on 3:00) yesterday after some hypoxic work. lol I was gassed later on ...

Chris Stevenson
May 20th, 2008, 06:16 PM
6x50 ALL OUT on 3:00 produces lot's of lactate... and you can hold race pace technique, without your stroke falling apart. Training a "broken" stroke will only produce limited results, no matter how much lactate you processed. Your muscles aren't responding in an optimal fashion, so you're preparing for a similar result.

In University we did a test, they actually checked our lactate levels and found out that it took at least 5x200 really easy to flush the lactate completely. So, it stands to reason that max effort sets on longer rest is better for the 100-200 distances.

Yes, that's the idea. Although we do not typically allow time for COMPLETE recovery...by the end of the set you're hurting pretty bad. The idea is to go each repeat (50s, 100s, 200s) all out or close to it, recover and repeat.

Doing 50s, 100s and 200s with long rest are subtly different, I've found. For 50s, there is no reason to hold back on each one. It is good physiological training, but I find there is equal value on the "technique" aspect: working on form while at high speed, starts, turns, breakouts.

Jonathan, I have the same opinion of broken sets. We do them all the time. I like them for establishing the feel for race pace, but they do not simulate (for me) the burn in the second half of a true race. In broken 200s, for example, I have little problem holding race pace with 10 seconds rest per 50 -- even that little rest is enough to reduce lactate to below-race levels.

Sometimes we do decreasing rest, like 10/7/4 seconds between the 50s while trying to hold the same (race) pace. That better simulates, for me, the feel of an actual 200 race.

Jazz is right, too: anything that burns/hurts a lot is a good lactate set. Whatever gets you out of your comfort zone is good, and there are a lot of ways to do it. And it doesn't have to be just in the pool...doing anything to failure will work.

Chris Stevenson
May 21st, 2008, 11:40 AM
Okay, now I KNOW my coach lurks on this forum! Today's first main set: 8 x 50 on 3:00 from the blocks.

Quick, someone suggest an easy set! Don't you all think working on two-arm backstroke drills is a good lactate tolerance set?

Actually, it was kind of interesting. Our last set was 4 x 250 free descend on fairly short rest. A primarily-distance swimmer I train with thought that was a much more difficult set than the 50s -- "no comparison" he said -- while for me the 8 x 50 was the harder set. It wasn't that he wasn't trying on the 50s, he just couldn't get into the "red zone."

I guess it goes to show you that not everyone responds the same to a given set.

david.margrave
May 22nd, 2008, 01:00 AM
I think I know the feeling. Like when you swim a 100 or 200, and take the first 50 all out, and then try to hold on. By the end you're about to die.

I haven't felt that for months, since a couple meets in 2007 when I went out too fast. I think maybe I've subconsciously adapted to avoid it. I always try to pace appropriately so I don't hit that barrier.

JMiller
May 23rd, 2008, 03:23 AM
Okay, now I KNOW my coach lurks on this forum! Today's first main set: 8 x 50 on 3:00 from the blocks.

Quick, someone suggest an easy set! Don't you all think working on two-arm backstroke drills is a good lactate tolerance set?

You know it's funny... last night I was swimmin', you know folks, and after practice there was this decent fellow in the next lane. It looked like he was pretty good, and I watched him for a few minutes, then I wondered what set he was doing... I noticed a piece of paper stuck to a kick board, a little wet around the edges, and there was a work-out written on it... So I check the paper...

5x(4X50)
first 4 on 1:10
second on 1:00
third on :50
fourth on :40
fifth round on 1:20 Descend set 1-20 last one ALL OUT

That set looked pretty familiar... So I ask this decent swimmer where he got the work-out. He answers, "from the internet." He was on short rest at the time and he continued on...

Then I started to think it over a little more... That set looked very familiar, close to something I've posted in my 2-week cycle...
So I keep watching this decent fellow...

Soon he's getting more rest, and he says, "You know this set is great, because as you descend you get tired trying to make the short interval, but then the abundance of rest on the last four makes you feel so good. The last 50 All-out feels better than anything. I'm able to do this set and go pretty near as fast as I've ever gone from a push in work-out."

So I continue to watch him push a 27.3 LCM on the last one...

"Whoa, good work man..." we continue to chat...
Then he looks at me, "hey, are you that guy with the goggles, who posts work-outs?"
Ummmm.... (This is where I feel deja-vu, only different)

So, right there it changed for me... It's hard to explain the feeling I was left with, except to say that it was genuine... It turns out he is a master swimmer nearly 40, and doesn't train with a club because of his busy work schedule. We talked for quite some time about different training approaches and the reality of swimming as we age, and how priorities can shift altering the ideal program. Trying to figure out what is most effective for an aging athlete became the next phase of the discussion, and that's when I agreed that it isn't so much about doing what works to be an Olympian, (That is very intense, and could cause burn-out) but doing what works to maintain and prolong race preparation over the years... Two very different concepts.

Syd
May 30th, 2008, 12:13 PM
Anyway, I'm finally getting to my point here. The standard way to do this is using fixed sets like this, but has anyone tried something like swimming absolutely all-out until you hit that lactate "jello" feel where you feel yourself slowing down? At that point maybe do some very slow "active rest" swimming then repeat, etc. The goal being to build up the time/distance you can keep up that all-out speed. It seems like actually confronting that lactate wall like this would be a great way to help with lactate tolerance in races.


Well it seems someone has. Here is an excerpt from the Men's Health article on Ryk Neethling which Paul Smith posted. It seems that part of Ryk's Wednesday practice is exactly what you are proposing - all out until failure.

"If you want to do 50 to 600m races, then you want to focus on shorter, intense lactate-type sets (Ryk’s Wednesday afternoon session - as fast as you can go from start until failure). If you’re training for swimming in an Ironman, then you need to focus on longer distance sets, but you need to “swim smart”." David Moseley January 2005
Incase you missed the post here (http://www.menshealthsa.co.za/index.php?cat=47&art_id=1701) is the whole article.

Tantalizingly, it doesn't say anything more than that on the lactate sets although there is lots of other good stuff in the article.