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ande
June 11th, 2008, 12:47 PM
Less is More for Paul Smith

http://www.swimmingworldmagazine.com/lane9/news/18153.asp?q=Less%20is%20More%20for%20Paul%20Smith

That Guy
June 11th, 2008, 01:45 PM
Less is the new more.

meldyck
June 11th, 2008, 03:36 PM
Bah, humbug. More is the ONLY more. Let Paul play to his heart's content with the new psychosport routines. I'm into Jack Lalanne's plan: exercise until you drop

Chris Stevenson
June 11th, 2008, 04:18 PM
Bah, humbug. More is the ONLY more. Let Paul play to his heart's content with the new psychosport routines. I'm into Jack Lalanne's plan: exercise until you drop

"Quantity has a quality all its own," huh? It works for some.

Some random thoughts, in no particular order.

-- Everyone is different (eg, disposition, talent, type of swimmer) and has different circumstances (family, job, injuries, swimming/coaching availability). There is more than one "right" way. Certainly there are some core principles in training but we know less than we think. I hate it when someone (including me) pronounces such-and-such as THE method to train.

-- Beware of fads. It is worth looking at what others are doing, including elites but take it all with a grain of salt (including all this unsolicited advice). It may not work for you or even for the majority of people.

-- The pendulum seems to be swinging against over-training/over-distance, which IMO is mostly a good thing, but this method has produced a lot of very very fast swimmers (as well as a lot of shoulder injuries and burned out swimmers). It isn't complete junk.

-- Listen to your body. Are you dragging and are your tiimes getting slower over an extended period of time, even though you are working harder than ever? You need more recovery. Take an easy day or three. Or seven. (I need to listen to my own advice on this score.)

-- During taper time, err on the side of too much rest, not too little.

-- Most importantly: have fun and be healthy. Don't be afraid to try new things or mix things up to keep your interest high. Fast times are fun but they are not the be-all and the end-all. If you have a sub-par season, so what? You just spent months in a healthy endeavor and socialized with fun people. Hopefully you'll have many more years of swimming with your fair share of successes.

This is not meant to be a dig at Paul or his training methods. He is obviously an excellent swimmer and trains intelligently. But you never know if it will work as well for you, and it doesn't invalidate your training if you have a different approach.

Jazz Hands
June 11th, 2008, 04:32 PM
-- The pendulum seems to be swinging against over-training/over-distance, which IMO is mostly a good thing, but this method has produced a lot of very very fast swimmers (as well as a lot of shoulder injuries and burned out swimmers). It isn't complete junk.

It's also worth noting that most of the swimmers who have success with low-yardage training put in some serious yardage when they were younger. I know Paul Smith did. I'm doing very short workouts now, but I built most of my speed in high school, when I was swimming a lot of slow 200s every day.

scyfreestyler
June 11th, 2008, 04:34 PM
I think it's pretty incredible that he understands swimming and his body well enough to have such incredible results with such little pool time.

Kudos to Mr. Smith.

Paul Smith
June 11th, 2008, 04:46 PM
And to be clear about a few things:

- I have never said (although I'm sure it sounds like it) that my way is the best and/or only way to train.

- The quality vs. quantity debate has been around for decades, Mission Viejo vs. Sam Freas is an example of a great gap back in the late 70's/early 80's

- I agree with the "fad" thing, however for me I think being around the college athletes that I have the last few years has opened my eye's more to the "old is new" ideas regarding strength training.

- Jazz, low yardage in my case (about 10-15,000m a week) is quite different than yours...but 'm more interested in my 200 than the 50's.

As for the interview, she didn't quite get it as i was telling it...my primary point was "masters" swimming for me was about the social side, part of the reason for me training and competing with kids is of no interest. As for the training side, I was trying to explain to her that I have a singular focus when working out (swimming, lifting, cycling, etc.) and that is to be faster in my races...fitness is a secondary benefit and because I'm more interested in racing than worrying about my weight I'll bail out of workouts and take rest days in a heartbeat if I'm not maintaining technique do to fatigue...ask Perry & Commings...I drive them crazy with how I train!

Last but not least...not that it matters except for being accurate...I swam in the 81' games not the 87' ones and was on the 4 x 100 free relay that won not an individual event.

The Fortress
June 11th, 2008, 04:50 PM
"Quantity has a quality all its own," huh? It works for some.

Some random thoughts, in no particular order.

-- Everyone is different (eg, disposition, talent, type of swimmer) and has different circumstances (family, job, injuries, swimming/coaching availability). There is more than one "right" way. Certainly there are some core principles in training but we know less than we think. I hate it when someone (including me) pronounces such-and-such as THE method to train.

-- Beware of fads. It is worth looking at what others are doing, including elites but take it all with a grain of salt (including all this unsolicited advice). It may not work for you or even for the majority of people.

-- The pendulum seems to be swinging against over-training/over-distance, which IMO is mostly a good thing, but this method has produced a lot of very very fast swimmers (as well as a lot of shoulder injuries and burned out swimmers). It isn't complete junk.

-- Listen to your body. Are you dragging and are your tiimes getting slower over an extended period of time, even though you are working harder than ever? You need more recovery. Take an easy day or three. Or seven. (I need to listen to my own advice on this score.)

-- During taper time, err on the side of too much rest, not too little.

-- Most importantly: have fun and be healthy. Don't be afraid to try new things or mix things up to keep your interest high. Fast times are fun but they are not the be-all and the end-all. If you have a sub-par season, so what? You just spent months in a healthy endeavor and socialized with fun people. Hopefully you'll have many more years of swimming with your fair share of successes.

This is not meant to be a dig at Paul or his training methods. He is obviously an excellent swimmer and trains intelligently. But you never know if it will work as well for you, and it doesn't invalidate your training if you have a different approach.


Well put.

For Paul and others, "less is more" (in the pool) works amazingly well! Since I can't kill myself daily in the pool, I'm hoping it's true and follow this philosophy! ("Less is more" as a general workout model stinks though. Tapering stinks too, but I understand it's a necessary evil to swimming fast and I like swimming fast or trying to.)

Do I see a new masters swimming book entitled "Less is More!" in Paul's future? If so, he has to learn how to use your and you're correctly. lol

poolraat
June 11th, 2008, 05:32 PM
I like the "Less is More" concept. Since I'm a comfort swimmer, I can easily adapt to this type of training routine.

TheGoodSmith
June 11th, 2008, 06:00 PM
Perhaps the Evil Smith should apply his "less is more" philosophy to his Wendy's lunch orders or his 3rd glass of vino in the evenings.

Remember the cardinal rule of masters swimming - It's not how fast you go.... it's how good you look.


John Smith

chowmi
June 11th, 2008, 06:07 PM
Paul is sooooo awesome and soooooo inspiring!

Did you know that McDonald's and Wendy's in the same area are often priced differently? With my 2 kids in tow, this could be up to a $1.50 difference. And, some places have the $1.00 hamburger combos after 5 PM. You just don't get a toy surprise. You'd better check to make sure your take out is at the cheaper one. Plus mix and match on the 99 cent menu (Wendy's) or $1.00 menu (McDonald's).

chowmi
June 11th, 2008, 06:20 PM
Oh no, totally went off on a tangent. Must redeem myself. Think, quick....

Ok, "less is more" truly is - if you believe it! I agree 100% with 3, maybe 4 (1 goof off day) workouts per week. It's just no fun for me going to the pool more than that. Properly setting your goals, and taking stock of all the other factors in your life (like Midas points out) are the hardest parts. Ooops....I mean Fortress.

Define your goal - it may not be like anyone else's, so don't worry if you are doing something completely different!!

My main goal is to not swim hurt. Meaning no hurt back, no dull achy pain, and certainly no sharp stabbing pain! No interest to "feel the burn" of aerobic sets soo...I never do 'em! Compromise: Average less than 2,000 per workout all year. No stamina to do 100+'s. Start dying at the 20 yard mark but can still fake my way home in SCY or SCM.

And.....I get to pick up my daughters who are soooooo cute without back pain now.

Robert Strand
June 11th, 2008, 06:32 PM
I think he is to tall and should'nt be allowed to swim in USMS events. Height limit should be 6ft. 3 inchs.

CreamPuff
June 11th, 2008, 06:51 PM
This all makes sense to me now.

"The fitness element is secondary."

meldyck
June 11th, 2008, 07:36 PM
"Quantity has a quality all its own," huh? It works for some.


Chris,

you have to be very careful about how much credence you give to anything I post: my first comment was AT LEAST a 3/4 dig at my buddy Paul. I do that every chance I get.

That said, for me (as you point out each of us is different) working longer and harder has been the key I believe (please note that I have no way of proving this belief) to swimming success. I put in far more yards in the pool than ever before but don't swim one single junk yard. As I have posted on other threads my time is swum at very slow pace trying to get exactly the stroke mechanics I want. The remainder of the time is very high intensity, not paying attention to the details but hoping that the slow training has caught on. I like my results: going from an occasional Top Ten performance to more than 20 per year and breaking one national record all in the last 5 years. Most swimmers won't train with me because of the slow swimming aspect. The only other swimmer I've ever met who is willing to do what I do is my wife who has made extraordinary strides in her swim performances over the last 5 years. Last SCM season she had more Top Ten times than I did.

We have a training philosophy called by one former coach of mine 'Train until you can't, rest until you can.' This means do the Jack Lalanne thing (train until exhaustion) and go home to rest. Next day do it again. When you reach a point where you can't do a particular performance test (lifting, biking, swimming, speed walking all have different test parameters) you quit. Take a day off. After your day off quiz yourself on how you feel. If the answer to your question is that you'd rather not train then don't. Take another day off. Continue this pattern until all systems are again ready for hard training. I can't tell you how many times I've suited up when I'm at the limit and just couldn't persuade myself to get into the water (i.e. the mental attitude was not there). I changed back into street clothes and went home. How many swimmers do you know who will do that?

I have two bad shoulders and one bad knee from too many years of playing English Football. After 25 years, all is re-habbed (no operations). Since starting with the current training program I've never had an injury (been with it now for 7 years). Everything about me seems to be getting stronger. I can lift more than I could as a teenager. I swim faster now than I did in college.

So, the 1/4 of my first post responding to Paul was very serious. I'm now up to about 120 minutes a day of HARD training (no wimpy Leslie stuff...) - that's over 700 hours per year. For me, more is more.

ehoch
June 11th, 2008, 07:37 PM
I see this all different -- I would not even call Paul's approach "less is more". Sure yardage will vary from a 50 sprinter to a Miler --- but the only thing I care about is how much yardage are you able to do AT OR ABOVE RACE PACE. I would guess that Paul is doing quite a bit of that in his 3 or 4 workouts a week. Even if you swim every day for 6K - I bet that you can only go fast 2-3 sets per week - even for a 200 swimmer that may be a total of 2000 yards at race pace (and that's high) - the rest is made up of kicking / pulling and garbage yards. So Paul chooses to leave out the 5,000 yard "recovery workout" the day after pounding out some broken 200s.

One of my first coaches explained it best - the only reason to do long sets in the beginning of the season is to be able to do MORE quality towards the end. The problem is that many coaches used to destroy the swimmers so badly early on, they could never recover to do the quality work - or the coaches did not even do those quality sets in the later part of the season.

meldyck
June 11th, 2008, 07:38 PM
I think he is to tall and should'nt be allowed to swim in USMS events. Height limit should be 6ft. 3 inchs.

Wait a minute, Bob. There probably should be a size limit on your guns as well. I don't think my 6-foot tape will go around your upper arms.

Paul Smith
June 11th, 2008, 08:00 PM
I see this all different -- I would not even call Paul's approach "less is more". Sure yardage will vary from a 50 sprinter to a Miler --- but the only thing I care about is how much yardage are you able to do AT OR ABOVE RACE PACE. I would guess that Paul is doing quite a bit of that in his 3 or 4 workouts a week. Even if you swim every day for 6K - I bet that you can only go fast 2-3 sets per week - even for a 200 swimmer that may be a total of 2000 yards at race pace (and that's high) - the rest is made up of kicking / pulling and garbage yards. So Paul chooses to leave out the 5,000 yard "recovery workout" the day after pounding out some broken 200s.

One of my first coaches explained it best - the only reason to do long sets in the beginning of the season is to be able to do MORE quality towards the end. The problem is that many coaches used to destroy the swimmers so badly early on, they could never recover to do the quality work - or the coaches did not even do those quality sets in the later part of the season.

Hoch...Exactly!

Guess I just am a "long winded" write always trying to explain and get people worked up at the same time!

Bob...play nice!

Mel...sadly the digs have been almost exclusively via forums and not nearly as often sitting at a bar or in the pool...are you and your lovely Mrs. joining Team AZ in Portland?

John...you take that mentality to an extreme, we all know you binge and purge to maintain your college weight. Or wait, is it just that you make such horrible margs that your throwing up and staying skinny? get you ass back in the pool...your getting fat!

meldyck
June 11th, 2008, 08:06 PM
Mel...sadly the digs have been almost exclusively via forums and not nearly as often sitting at a bar or in the pool...are you and your lovely Mrs. joining Team AZ in Portland?


Not going to Portland. We are closing on a new condo in downtown Denver next week and need all our free cash to buy wine and swim at Lowry...

smontanaro
June 11th, 2008, 08:55 PM
Less is the new more.

We Unix geeks have known that for many years.

Skip

Jazz Hands
June 11th, 2008, 09:05 PM
We Unix geeks have known that for many years.

Skip

:joker:

The Fortress
June 11th, 2008, 09:30 PM
My main goal is to not swim hurt. Meaning no hurt back, no dull achy pain, and certainly no sharp stabbing pain! No interest to "feel the burn" of aerobic sets soo...I never do 'em!

No kidding! Injuries are the worst. If my shoulder is happy, I'm happy. More than 4x a week or mega-yardage and I won't be happy. I feel the same way about aerobic work for the most part; I'd just rather do fast stuff.

5000 yards of "recovery"?!?! Huh? Blech.

Allen Stark
June 12th, 2008, 02:53 AM
I am a strong proponent of race pace work and quality over quantity.I know that doesn't work for everyone,whether for physiologic or psychologic reasons.I think(hope) there are somethings we can all agree on,namely that technique,consistency and dedication are important.I suspect almost all Top Ten swimmers take swimming seriously and most study the sport.

JMiller
June 12th, 2008, 03:23 AM
Interesting article Paul, I agree with most of what you said. Also, pretty good replies so far;

Although, when it comes to swimming specific core training, I think this is one of THE best methods to train.:D
http://forums.usms.org/showpost.php?...2&postcount=24 (http://forums.usms.org/showpost.php?p=115322&postcount=24)


Less is More for Paul Smith

aquageek
June 12th, 2008, 07:38 AM
What is really less about this, pool time or yardage only? The article implies about 3 days a week of swimming and then 2-3 days more of other fitness activities. It's still a lot of training, which is very admirable. There are many weeks where I will swim only 3 days but will also spend the other 3 or 4 doing other stuff. End result is much better fitness, much better swimming. Sometimes less is really a whole lot more.

pwolf66
June 12th, 2008, 10:27 AM
but the only thing I care about is how much yardage are you able to do AT OR ABOVE RACE PACE.

um, how can you do that? If Hulk can practice faster than Hulk's race pace then Hulk must be swimming too slow in races. :drown:

Hulk confused

Sam Perry
June 12th, 2008, 10:34 AM
I would guess that Paul is doing quite a bit of that in his 3 or 4 workouts a week.

If you call swimming last in the lane with every toy imaginable that you can swim with, then yes Paul is doing quite a bit for his 3-4 workouts per week.:mooning:

Chris Stevenson
June 12th, 2008, 11:43 AM
If Hulk can practice faster than Hulk's race pace then Hulk must be swimming too slow in races.

A swimmer's standard response to a coach's call to swim at race pace..."which race?"

I do most of my swimmer faster than my 10k race pace...

Chris Stevenson
June 12th, 2008, 12:07 PM
the only thing I care about is how much yardage are you able to do AT OR ABOVE RACE PACE.

This is oversimplifying a bit. I think race-pace training is the MOST important aspect of a training regimen, but not the ONLY important aspect.

Even if you count things like drills or hypoxic work as "recovery," there are still lots of other important things in training besides warming up to do race pace, doing race pace, and recovering from it.

Let's look at Paul's training. What purposes do weights and spinning serve? They are not recovery and they are not race-pace training. He has said that he is not interested in fitness for its own sake, he wants to swim fast. So he must think these things help him do that. (Paul, I don't want to misrepresent you, pls correct me if I'm mistaken.)

As I've said elsewhere, I am a believer in spending time in all the training zones. There are good guides out there, mostly based on heartrate, but my quick and dirty guides are:

Zone 1: warmup, easy recovery
Zone 2: long pace work (eg 1st half of a 10k race), well below lactate threshold.
Zone 3: at or near lactate threshold (maybe a little above, maybe a little below)
Zone 4: well above lactate threshold, very very close to race pace. An example would be a 5 x 100 test set on 4:00 (we did just that set this morning)
Zone 5: all out sprints

In addition, I like to do pace work at target paces. For example, broken 200s with 10-20 seconds rest at each 50, not necessarily (or even primarily) for the conditioning aspect but to get a good sense for what it feels like to swim at the desired speed. This sort of thing can help you take out your races at the appropriate pace.

Too many masters swimmers spend excessive time in zone 3 (or lower) and don't hit the upper zones. Basically, what I'm saying is that I believe a good training program is more than just Zones 1 and 4/5, though obviously different types of swimmers (sprinters, distance types) may choose to allocate their time differently.

There are other, finer distinctions out there (eg dividing each zone into "A" and "B"). There are other terms, too; the U of Richmond coach uses terms like "sprint endurance" and "anaerobic power" and the like. I join his team once a week this summer so he sent me his training plan for a typical week.

Monday a.m. : aerobic endurance and short sprints (15 m)
Monday p.m. : intense aerobic endurance and excessive drills
Tuesday a.m. : anaerobic endurance (this week 4 x [4 x 75 @ 1:30])
Tuesday p.m. : lift
Wednesday a.m. : speed (this week: Lauren = 4 x [1 x 75 fly @ 2:00, 1 x 50 fly @ 2:00, 1 x 25 fly @ 2:00, 100 EZ]; Katie = 6 x [1 x 50 fly @ 2:00, 1 x 25 fly @ 2:00])
Wednesday p.m. : low intensity aerobic and drills
Thursday a.m. : intense aerobic endurance
Thursday p.m. : lift
Friday a.m. : anaerobic power
Saturday a.m. : Speed, lift, and more

He is an excellent coach -- we have OT qualifiers and all-americans, pretty good for a small school -- and has all his swimmers (a women's team) wear HR monitors, and hits all the zones. A typical morning practice is 5500-6500, depending on the day, so he doesn't kill them with distance.

This is just an example of what I mean, of course, not meant to be a blueprint. And I can't always decipher all his phrases, so don't ask...obviously typical masters won't do doubles like this.

The Fortress
June 12th, 2008, 12:35 PM
Let's look at Paul's training. What purposes do weights and spinning serve? They are not recovery and they are not race-pace training. He has said that he is not interested in fitness for its own sake, he wants to swim fast. So he must think these things help him do that. (Paul, I don't want to misrepresent you, pls correct me if I'm mistaken.)

As I've said elsewhere, I am a believer in spending time in all the training zones. There are good guides out there, mostly based on heartrate, but my quick and dirty guides are:

Zone 1: warmup, easy recovery
Zone 2: long pace work (eg 1st half of a 10k race), well below lactate threshold.
Zone 3: at or near lactate threshold (maybe a little above, maybe a little below)
Zone 4: well above lactate threshold, very very close to race pace. An example would be a 5 x 100 test set on 4:00 (we did just that set this morning)
Zone 5: all out sprints



The problem with "less is more" is that it's too much of a slogan and somewhat deceptive. If all you do is swim 3x a week, 95% chance you won't be tearing up the pool. You have to do "more" -- whether it's spinning, weights, running, core work, etc, to be competitive and race at a high level.

Plus, working out only 3x a week is not the best for weight control, especially as you age. I know Paul said he doesn't care about his weight, but I guarantee most other people do and would prefer to be lean and trim than the alternative. I don't know about the men's locker room, but I haven't found or seen a single fegirl who isn't checking out how her butt looks in her fastskin.

The other thing of note in the article is that Paul adopted this type of training partially in response to two shoulder surgeries. Anyone with shoulder issues might be better served opting for "less is more" in the pool. Oh, I did see Paul admit he swims for "fitness" in that article too!!

I hate zone 2, Chris. I do zone 2 stuff on the running trail or bike. I don't know whether this is really effective or not. Plus, if you're only swimming 4x a week, it's very hard to hit all those different zones and sub-zones in the pool!

ande
June 12th, 2008, 12:41 PM
I like your zone example

I do most of my training in zone 1, but it's the training I do in
zone 4 and 5 that makes the difference.

"An example would be a 5 x 100 test set on 4:00 (we did just that set this morning)"
hey chris how did it go?

ande



Zone 1: warmup, easy recovery
Zone 2: long pace work (eg 1st half of a 10k race), well below lactate threshold.
Zone 3: at or near lactate threshold (maybe a little above, maybe a little below)
Zone 4: well above lactate threshold, very very close to race pace. An example would be a 5 x 100 test set on 4:00 (we did just that set this morning)
Zone 5: all out sprints

Tim L
June 12th, 2008, 12:45 PM
Hulk,

I don't know about Paul or Erik's specific training habits, but I assume they mean that they do 50s in practice at or above their normal race pace for a 100 or 200 in a meet. Not even Ande can swim his meet times in practice although he seems to get close.

I find this "less is more" discussion interesting because it seems like almost all masters swimmers that are somewhat serious have pretty much the same training patterns - Paul's training doesn't seem unique unless you are comparing him with much younger swimmers. I swim 10 to 14k per week depending on the time of year and it sounds like just most everyone swims between 8 to 15k per week. Ande seems to swim almost every week day so I bet even Ande swims at least 10k per week even though he does a lot more sprints than most of us and he does a lot of weights too. What makes us different is, perhaps, the quality of the yards that we put in during that time. It seems like Paul's training time is probably about average for a masters swimmer especially given how much he does outside the pool. Obviously, he is more fit than most of us given his ability to take a 200 out fast and hold that pace which means he must have genetic attributes that are better than average or he trains with more intensity than average (probably both).

My questions to everyone are -

Does anyone here train substantially more than 15k per week or significantly under 10k per week and why? I am sure there are masters swimmers out there that must swim a lot of yards, but I just haven't run across many. Maybe I just don't know the training habits of many masters swimmers and everyone is doing 20k or more per week.

What percentage of your yards do you spend swimming at a pace that would equal or better your second half splits in a 100 or 200 free?

I think I probably only do 200 to 400 yards per week at a time that I would consider equal to my second 50 in my 100 Free race and probably 400 to 800 yards at or better than my last 100 in my 200 (these yards are almost all 50s). Anyway, I am well under 10% and probably in the 2 to 3% range for quality yards. Sometimes during the year (like now) when my next meet is 6 or more months away these intense yards are very low. I do virtually no work on 25s or 50s trying to get as close to my meet 50 times as I can like Ande does, but I should some. When I first started back in swimming 4 years ago my quality yardage were less than half (maybe zero that first year) of what I currently do and my goal each year is to increase those intense yards and I also increase the intensity as I get closer to a meet (I usually only swim competitively in the spring).

I definitely agree with Erik and Paul that if you can increase your quality yards at 100 and 200 race pace, you will consistently improve your race times. The difficult part is actually doing it. I don't like pain or even mild suffering much.

I am sure Hulk likes pain so you should do all your yardage as close to race pace as possible, but no one expects Hulk to go as fast or faster than your meet times in practice.

Tim

JMiller
June 12th, 2008, 12:48 PM
Ya okay, less is more, and more or less, I agree with this more.

If you are doing 400-600 (broken up, but total meters) at faster than 100-200 race pace everyday, then that kind of less is more.

Although, there shouldn't be any allusions here, training this way is physically demanding, and is more harder. (Translation for Hulk)


I like your zone example

I do most of my training in zone 1, but it's the training I do in
zone 4 and 5 that makes the difference.

"An example would be a 5 x 100 test set on 4:00 (we did just that set this morning)"
hey chris how did it go?

ande

Jazz Hands
June 12th, 2008, 12:51 PM
um, how can you do that? If Hulk can practice faster than Hulk's race pace then Hulk must be swimming too slow in races. :drown:

Hulk confused

Broken swims and assistance (stretch cords, fins and paddles). I do fast 25s with fins, which are faster than I ever go in a race.

The Fortress
June 12th, 2008, 01:03 PM
Hulk,

I don't know about Paul or Erik's specific training habits, but I assume they mean that they do 50s in practice at or above their normal race pace for a 100 or 200 in a meet. Not even Ande can swim his meet times in practice although he seems to get close.

I find this "less is more" discussion interesting because it seems like almost all masters swimmers that are somewhat serious have pretty much the same training patterns - Paul's training doesn't seem unique unless you are comparing him with much younger swimmers. I swim 10 to 14k per week depending on the time of year and it sounds like just most everyone swims between 8 to 15k per week. Ande seems to swim almost every week day so I bet even Ande swims at least 10k per week even though he does a lot more sprints than most of us and he does a lot of weights too. What makes us different is, perhaps, the quality of the yards that we put in during that time. It seems like Paul's training time is probably about average for a masters swimmer especially given how much he does outside the pool. Obviously, he is more fit than most of us given his ability to take a 200 out fast and hold that pace which means he must have genetic attributes that are better than average or he trains with more intensity than average (probably both).

My questions to everyone are -

Does anyone here train substantially more than 15k per week or significantly under 10k per week and why? I am sure there are masters swimmers out there that must swim a lot of yards, but I just haven't run across many. Maybe I just don't know the training habits of many masters swimmers and everyone is doing 20k or more per week.

What percentage of your yards do you spend swimming at a pace that would equal or better your second half splits in a 100 or 200 free?

I think I probably only do 200 to 400 yards per week at a time that I would consider equal to my second 50 in my 100 Free race and probably 400 to 800 yards at or better than my last 100 in my 200 (these yards are almost all 50s). Anyway, I am well under 10% and probably in the 2 to 3% range for quality yards. Sometimes during the year (like now) when my next meet is 6 or more months away these intense yards are very low. I do virtually no work on 25s or 50s trying to get as close to my meet 50 times as I can like Ande does, but I should some. When I first started back in swimming 4 years ago my quality yardage were less than half (maybe zero that first year) of what I currently do and my goal each year is to increase those intense yards and I also increase the intensity as I get closer to a meet (I usually only swim competitively in the spring).

I definitely agree with Erik and Paul that if you can increase your quality yards at 100 and 200 race pace, you will consistently improve your race times. The difficult part is actually doing it. I don't like pain or even mild suffering much.

I am sure Hulk likes pain so you should do all your yardage as close to race pace as possible, but no one expects Hulk to go as fast or faster than your meet times in practice.

Tim

My team trains about 17,000 meters a week in four practices. That's way too much for me and too much zone 3. I swim 10,000-13,000 yards a week on average (although I don't pay much attention to my yardage or track it). If I'm doing a speed workout, I'm usually around 2500-2700 or so. When I swim a zone 4-5 set, which I do a goodly amount of because I'm not a fan of zone 2-3 so much, I usually use a 1:4 ratio of swim:recovery. I don't mind the pain when doing these quality sets because you get so much rest. Much more fun (for me) than swimming endless laps where I lose count and get bored. Like Jazz, I love fins for speed work.

knelson
June 12th, 2008, 01:08 PM
Does anyone here train substantially more than 15k per week or significantly under 10k per week and why?

I usually shoot for 20K minimum, around 25K max.


What percentage of your yards do you spend swimming at a pace that would equal or better your second half splits in a 100 or 200 free?

Probably 1-2,000 yards/meters. Usually closer to 1,000, but I'd like to do more. Definitely less than 10% of my total yardage.

Tim L
June 12th, 2008, 01:11 PM
Chris must be a PhD or something. Much more technically oriented than the rest of us, but I agree that hitting as many zones as you can in the course of training has to be good. Unfortunately, I don't get out of zones 1 to 3 much and I spend as little time as possible in zone 1. Zones 4 and 5 are probably 2 to 5% of my swimming depending on the time of year. No wonder my 200s stink.

Chris, what percentage of your weekly workouts do you spend in each range? Just curious. Thanks for your help.

Tim

Jazz Hands
June 12th, 2008, 01:16 PM
Chris must be a PhD or something. Much more technically oriented than the rest of us, but I agree that hitting as many zones as you can in the course of training has to be good.

I don't think what he's saying is very technical. It's pretty important to understand how training relates to racing, and that's all he's talking about.

mctrusty
June 12th, 2008, 01:18 PM
I usually shoot for 20K minimum, around 25K max.


I've been up to 20-25k meters these last few weeks, swimming with the OW + Tri crowd up in Boulder. I'm planning on doing the Horsetooth 10k race in August.

Once fall comes around I'm going to drop back down to middle distance work, more in the 10-15k yard range and a lot more fast, broken swimming.

JimRude
June 12th, 2008, 01:28 PM
FWIW (from a 40-44 fatty who's just on his way back into shape after a 20+ year lay-off, and who trained 15-20,000/day in college in the early 80s):

I'm a sprint breastroker who can bluff a 50 or 100 free on occasion.

I will alternate "fast" or "lactate" days with aerobic/recovery days. I will typically swim 5-6 days per week. I lift weights in the evenings, every other day. Occasionally I will run (I have run many marathons, half-'thons and 10ks in the past, but now my knees won't hold up) or cycle on a road bike for the variety.

Acknowledging my poor but improving conditioning, I find that I typically swim between 2,500 and 3,500 meters per workout.

On the fast days, this is +/- 1,000 warm-up, then a quality set - could be 6x50 on 2:00 all-out, could be 2-3x broken 100s, etc - and then a recovery or kick set.

On the aerobic/recovery days, this is +/- 800 warm-up, then a main set - could be 5x 5x100 (swim free, pull breast, kick w/ fins, swim breast, etc) with 15-20 sec rest after each 100 - then a warm-down.

Though I try to do my fast swims fast - my effort is certainly 95-100% - I find that I am nowhere near race speed. For example, I am hard-pressed to swim a 50m (SCM) breast in practice faster than 34 (albeit from a push), and I would hope to be 30+ LCM this summer.

I think that as we get older, the key is to maintain our youthful "speed" - anyone with decent shoulders can slog out a postal swim (what we used to call LSD - long slow distance), but it takes a certain type of training to be able to perform at race pace. I think this is why most of the workouts described here are variations on a theme: not too much yardage, ample recovery time, focus on speed and technique.

Of course, YMMV, especially if you want to swim a decent LCM 200...

Just my two cents worth...

JMiller
June 12th, 2008, 01:29 PM
Chris is a professer, and a world record holder in multiple events.

I guess that makes him a "textbook jock":joker:


Chris must be a PhD or something.
Tim

Tim L
June 12th, 2008, 01:35 PM
Jazz,

You are right, it isn't very technical. It does seem more systematic approach than me, but I make up my workouts as I am in the water that day. I guess I need to think about my swimming more!

I am impressed by the yardage and quality yardage that some of you put in. I guess my hypothesis about "average" being 10k to 15k might not be correct and I definitely need to increase my zone 4 and 5 swimming.

Tim

gull
June 12th, 2008, 02:27 PM
I don't know about the men's locker room, but I haven't found or seen a single fegirl who isn't checking out how her butt looks in her fastskin.


Truth be told, Geek has been known to ask if a particular suit makes his butt look big.

I believe that our program is pretty typical--18-20K/week, a mix of En1, En2, and En3, main set averaging 1200-1500 yards, descending to race pace with occasional timed swims. I found that I needed to develop a solid aerobic base to complete long course workouts. And I agree with the other posters--recovery (within sets, between sets, and between workouts) is a much bigger issue in Masters than it was back in the day (when Carter was in the White House).

Midas
June 12th, 2008, 02:28 PM
I have, if I'm extremely lucky, 1.5 hours a day, five days a week to train. When work or life (two toddlers and an adoring wife) interferes, I get even less. I try to swim 3 days a week, for a total of about 10-12,000 yards. I've decided I'm a scrawny wimp so I've been hitting the weights the other two days. That is hardly an ideal training regimen to be highly competitive outside of masters swimming. But that is the beauty of masters swimming. I agree with Tim L that many of us just don't have the time to do more than this. Fortunately I get to compete against my peers rather than the age-groupers who would just kill me given all the training they do.

There are plenty of masters swimmers who put in more yardage, though. I'm pretty sure those folks serious about open water swimming tend to do more. 10-12,000/week is not going to cut it on those 10K open water marathons (and probably doesn't even cut it for the 2-5k swims). There are obviously those among us focussed on pool competitions as well who train more. Those folks have a significant advantage (beyond the 50s and maybe the 100s) over those of us who can't (or won't) spend more time in the pool. More power to them! I'd probably be joining them if I could. Competing is fun! I'm (so far) glad I've gotten back into it.

aquageek
June 12th, 2008, 02:34 PM
I believe that our program is pretty typical--18-20K/week, a mix of En1, En2, and En3, main set averaging 1200-1500 yards, descending to race pace with occasional timed swims.

Now I understand why you moved to TX. You had to flee to a land of pansy workouts. If you ever want to man-up, you are always welcome back in NC. Bring your Starbucks card.

And, I've found that Speedo suits make my butt look quite nice, fegirlie nice.

Chris Stevenson
June 12th, 2008, 02:41 PM
Chris, what percentage of your weekly workouts do you spend in each range? Just curious. Thanks for your help.

Despite my admitted geekiness, I am actually not anal enough to give you precise numbers. I have never kept a training log until just recently, after being cajoled into it. I like the training philosophy but will not feel compelled to spend an exact amount of time in each zone.

Like Fortress, I dislike zone 2 and probably spend the least amount of time in it. In fact, one reason I like cycling is that, at least when riding on my own, I tend to spend time in zones 2-3, with the occasional hill sprints thrown in. (Riding with the triathletes pushes me into higher zones).

At least 2-3 sets a week are in zone 4. I don't do enough in zone 5, I don't have a sprinter mentality. I usually just hope that doing weights makes up for it to some extent. I use zone 1 a lot, recovering from hard efforts.

I hope that helps.

gull
June 12th, 2008, 02:56 PM
Now I understand why you moved to TX. You had to flee to a land of pansy workouts. If you ever want to man-up, you are always welcome back in NC. Bring your Starbucks card.


Tell you what, how about a postal challenge in the fall? 400 free, short course meters. You can swim it at Hillsborough, and I will swim it in Dallas. Loser will have to change his forum name to "Pansy" for a month.

Chris Stevenson
June 12th, 2008, 03:07 PM
"An example would be a 5 x 100 test set on 4:00 (we did just that set this morning)"
hey chris how did it go?

Backstroke from the blocks on "go" in a SCY pool, I went 54, 55, 55, 55, 56.

I was REALLY sucking wind after the last one. I would say I was on avg about 0.5sec slower than a month ago. But I've been training quite hard lately and my legs have been really tired from some recent cycling, so I'm still reasonably pleased. A typical in-season time in a meet for me is 53-low.

Tim L
June 12th, 2008, 03:33 PM
Chris,

Thanks for your responses. I am just thinking about what I need to do to improve in the next year without increasing yardage and it is really helpful to hear what works for others and how everyone spends their time in the pool. I will modify my training a bit. I will hit zone 4 and 5 more often and throw in some weights. After reading about your training, I probably have spent less time in zones 4 and 5 than I thought - yikes.

Nice swims on the 5 X 100s.

Tim

pwolf66
June 12th, 2008, 03:42 PM
Backstroke from the blocks on "go" in a SCY pool, I went 54, 55, 55, 55, 56.



Jeez, I doubt I could do that FREESTYLE. Yikes.

Paul

some_girl
June 12th, 2008, 04:02 PM
I believe that our program is pretty typical--18-20K/week, a mix of En1, En2, and En3, main set averaging 1200-1500 yards, descending to race pace with occasional timed swims.

That's a bit less than our program, but pretty typical, I think. Is that in an hour? Our main sets tend to be more like 2000-3000 in Chris's Zone 3, with a drill, sprint, or kick supplemental set after, but we have 1.5 or 2 hours. (Because I go a lot, that ends up being ~25k a week; then again I have no childhood base, so I think it does me good.)

I am pretty impressed at the people who can get close to even in-season times in practice. For my 50, in-season is about 1.5s off my rested time and my practice time is about 2s off that. For the 100 it is probably more like 4s and 3s.

gull
June 12th, 2008, 04:20 PM
That's a bit less than our program, but pretty typical, I think. Is that in an hour?

That is what we are currently swimming, long course, in a little over an hour. Some days our main set is closer to 2000.

Paul Smith
June 12th, 2008, 05:59 PM
Let's look at Paul's training. What purposes do weights and spinning serve? They are not recovery and they are not race-pace training. He has said that he is not interested in fitness for its own sake, he wants to swim fast. So he must think these things help him do that. (Paul, I don't want to misrepresent you, pls correct me if I'm mistaken.)

Chris, typically I focus my training on the 200 free....than adjust somewhat based on wether I want to extend my range up (to the 500) or down (to the 50).

If its "up" (as it was for Austin) I'll do more aerobic based interval training sessions on a spin bike a couple times a week trying to move my HR into the 150 range over for 2:00 then recovery till it drops below 110...if it takes more than a minute to recover than I know I'm fatigued and/or a bit overtrained....which means recovery workouts till I'm feeling "fresh" again...could be 1-3 days. of light swimming or easy spins keeping heartrate below 120. I will also lift 1-2x a week max but still focus on explosive lifts...I always want to be powerful enough to blow by someone anywhere in a race and I believe this helps develop that kind of power.

If its "down" (Portland), I'll still spin (or row) but change the intervals to 30 seconds with 1-2:00 recovery again based on HR. In the water I do tons of 200 pace work...I need to have easy speed right at :30 seconds (LCM) for a 50 and HR under 150...so lots of descending sets, broken 200's (enjoy that wednesday Sam?!) However I also need to be aware of the tempo change for my 50/100 so even when given longer swims (400+) I'll cruise a 50 and work the turns and/or breakouts...or middle 25's (again talking LCM)...idea is to increase hand speed without slipping so instead of say 28-30 strokes per 50 I'm in the 36-38 range...HR needs to jump to 150 and not bow up. weights are 3x a week here alternating with swim days, typically 3 days working out/one full day off.

Spinning for me is a much easier way to push HR work...I can't even come close to it in a pool (not to mention my shoulders won't allow me anyway). Laura's the same...but a real animal; last week over a 1 hour spin she kept her HR over 170...took less her than 2:00 to drop below 90..she is and always will be in far better shape than I but again her "primary" goal is working out for fitness, for me I want my fastest swims in the meet practice...being fit is just a nice benefit of my workouts.

So where am I at? Still struggling with speed and pretty broken down...managed a 24 minute 2k open water swim last weekend keeping my HR in the 140 range till the last 500m where it went to 165 by the finish so my base is OK...now I need to find that "snap" for breaakouts/fast 25's/50's.

PS, I never even come close to meet times in workouts...never have.

Allen Stark
June 12th, 2008, 11:57 PM
I swim a little over 8000/wk with a 1:3 ratio of race pace to recovery swims swimming 4X/wk.On 2 of those days I also spin(but not as much as Paul,I never seem to have time for more than 30 min,usually less) and lift(and balance ball and I do RC exercises every workout.)(The race pace work starts 15 wk before a taper meet,but with 3 taper meets/yr that is most of the year,the other time is long/slow swims,drills and rest my shoulders and knees.)

Peter Cruise
June 13th, 2008, 12:51 PM
Okay, continuing the "less is more" theme, what does Paul (and anybody else) consider to be the ideal warmup at a zone or nat champs-type meet for a sprinter (bearing in mind always, that it can be a gong show trying to what you want in crowded conditions).

Paul Smith
June 13th, 2008, 01:02 PM
Okay, continuing the "less is more" theme, what does Paul (and anybody else) consider to be the ideal warmup at a zone or nat champs-type meet for a sprinter (bearing in mind always, that it can be a gong show trying to what you want in crowded conditions).

Peter, personally I don't feel there is any "ideal" warm up for either a meet or in workout. For me its a matter of warming up till I feel ready to swim fast...at some meets that has been less than 500 yards (I will however always do a mix of swim, drill, kick, fartlek)...conversely some workouts I've never gotten warmed up...and this season for weeks I feel has entirely been warming up!

pwolf66
June 13th, 2008, 01:04 PM
Okay, continuing the "less is more" theme, what does Paul (and anybody else) consider to be the ideal warmup at a zone or nat champs-type meet for a sprinter (bearing in mind always, that it can be a gong show trying to what you want in crowded conditions).

Peter,

Keep in mind that I am not a huge fan of extended warmups. What I try to do is get in an easy 300-400, usually 200free, 100back, then I mix it up based upon lane conditions and while I'm doing that get a feel for the walls, flags, landmarks etc. Then I try to get in at least a 50 of every stroke that I'm going to swim with an emphasis on turns at a medium-fast pace. When the sprint lanes open up is when I get down to business. I first do 2-3 starts fast to breakout then swim easy just to get a feel for the block. Then I do 1 start full up sprint each for free, back and fly. I then do a 2nd start of each to a turn to ensure my spacing is right. All told that gives about a 600 warmup. But I know quite a few swimmers who easily double that as a warmup.

Jazz Hands
June 13th, 2008, 01:05 PM
Okay, continuing the "less is more" theme, what does Paul (and anybody else) consider to be the ideal warmup at a zone or nat champs-type meet for a sprinter (bearing in mind always, that it can be a gong show trying to what you want in crowded conditions).

Big meet warm-up is overrated. The excitement of the event leads to a nervous system fight-or-flight response, which is very good for athletic performance.

Midas
June 13th, 2008, 01:16 PM
I will also lift 1-2x a week max but still focus on explosive lifts...I always want to be powerful enough to blow by someone anywhere in a race and I believe this helps develop that kind of power.



Paul, maybe you've answered this elsewhere (maybe even in this thread), but can you talk about how do you do your weightlifting sets? Do you go for max weight, or a weight sufficient to allow you to do a set number of reps (like 10-15)? Do you mix it up?

Thanks much!

meldyck
June 13th, 2008, 03:49 PM
Okay, continuing the "less is more" theme, what does Paul (and anybody else) consider to be the ideal warmup at a zone or nat champs-type meet for a sprinter (bearing in mind always, that it can be a gong show trying to what you want in crowded conditions).

I like to get in 1500-2000 at big meets, Peter. By the way, what's a sprint?

Peter Cruise
June 13th, 2008, 04:06 PM
Mel, over in the ladies locker room I'm sure they could make a smart-alec response or two to your question...

meldyck
June 13th, 2008, 04:19 PM
Mel, over in the ladies locker room I'm sure they could make a smart-alec response or two to your question...


I've been hoping for weeks to get an invitation into the ladies locker room but, so far, nothing...

The Fortress
June 13th, 2008, 04:40 PM
I've been hoping for weeks to get an invitation into the ladies locker room but, so far, nothing...

No one else needed an invitation! lol But c'mon in ... we're a friendly bunch. (Except when I'm cranky.) :drink:

Sprints should be confined to pools. :)

meldyck
June 13th, 2008, 08:15 PM
No one else needed an invitation! lol But c'mon in ... we're a friendly bunch. (Except when I'm cranky.)


Ummm. I wasn't referring to the Discussion Thread....

Do you think Grace would approve?

Allen Stark
June 13th, 2008, 08:49 PM
For meet warm up I do my regular warm up of 700 yd,which consists of swimming very slowly at first,with fist swimming.Then I slowly increase pace until I get up to 200 pace by the last 50-100.Then I do 25(with dive if possible) at race pace.Then its 300 cool down and I'm out of the water.