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nhc
November 9th, 2008, 03:58 PM
I have a question about practicing for speed and endurance. Consider two practice patterns:

a. You focus on improving speed in 25m swims; i.e. you don't swim consecutive laps, but pause for seconds/minutes after each length. After some months you will have increased your speed for very short distance (25m), but you don't know your speed for longer distance.

b. You focus on endurance by swimming non-stop for as long as you can, without regard to speed. So after some months, you will be able to swim some 1000s, in moderate or low speed.

What I am interested to know is, which practice pattern will likely help achieve the other practice goal more? In other words, will (a) help improve endurance more, or will (b) help improve speed more?

rtodd
November 9th, 2008, 04:13 PM
Make the distance in "A" 100's and you can achieve great results. If you only do "B" you will be really good at swimming slow.

tomtopo
November 9th, 2008, 06:04 PM
Swimming like most sports is very specific. If you want to get faster you need to reduce your 25 time (from a push-off). If you have a specific distance you want to improve on then you need to train with distance in mind. In my opinion, swimmers should train like the world class runners train. If you want to train for a marathon then get you'd better get some yardage under your belt. If you want to improve your sprinting, then do a lot of it.

I believe speed is the most elusive swimming trait that is rarely over-emphasized by swimming coaches. A one second drop from a push-off can relate to great drops in a 100 or 200. You need to rest a lot between bouts if you're going to get faster.

If you want to improve you cardio, you should try keeping your target HR
(220 minus your age) in that zone for periodically longer periods of time.

Experiment for a time to see what training regime gets you the results you're looking for. Don't forget to train smarter and that means improving the technical aspects of your swimming.

Good luck!

mjgold
November 9th, 2008, 06:14 PM
That's the one thing that I wish our coaches encouraged more. When our lanes don't meet the intervals, we're supposed to just go, not rest for 30 seconds. They also do the stroke work at a very slow pace, so I get stuck behind someone when I'm trying to do breaststroke at race pace (even when I'm leading the lane!).

nhc
November 9th, 2008, 06:50 PM
Thanks for the comments. There is no doubt that for speed, you should train for speed, and for endurance, you should train for endurance. Please read my question carefully :).

Another way to ask my question is: if you can only do ONE of (a) and (b), which one would you choose, for as much improvment as you can get?

Alternatively, which practice pattern (if you can only stick to one) will give you more in making progress in swimming?

My own answer: I personally tend to choose (a), because I think in the process of improving speed you will have increased endurance, too, even though your new endurance capacity has not been tested by actual long distance swimming (suppose some day you suddenly need to swim long distance, you may be surprised to find that you can swim much longer than months ago). On the other hand, simply swimming long distance is not going to improve your speed much.

(I know my question sounds a little odd, so please bear with me :))

mjgold
November 9th, 2008, 07:33 PM
I'd prefer A. I would rather work on speed and do shorter lengths than spend the whole practice doing one long-ass swim. You might have to wake me up halfway through so I don't drown from boredom.

Chris Stevenson
November 9th, 2008, 08:20 PM
My own answer: I personally tend to choose (a), because I think in the process of improving speed you will have increased endurance, too, even though your new endurance capacity has not been tested by actual long distance swimming (suppose some day you suddenly need to swim long distance, you may be surprised to find that you can swim much longer than months ago). On the other hand, simply swimming long distance is not going to improve your speed much.

(I know my question sounds a little odd, so please bear with me :))

Well, first of all, I don't know why this is an either/or question. Mjgold talks about how he would get bored with distance swims...I would be bored to tears with only one type of training, particularly if it consisted of all 25s.

But to get to your question: while doing 25 repeats can help your endurance some, it is not good training for longer events. As others have said, you get good at the things you practice...if you want to have a good mile or OW swim, that's the kind of training you should do.

And besides the physiological aspects of training, in order to have a good sense of pacing, you need to do longer swims at fast pace. You need to learn how hard you can push your body and still stay at lactate threshold. If all you do is 25s, I guarantee you'll be terrible at pacing no matter how much endurance you think you've gained. (How much endurace you DO gain depends on how much rest you take between 25s, and how many you do.)

Bottom line: if you want to be good at sprinting 25s and 50s, go for A. If you want to be a well-rounded, versatlie swimer, vary your training a little more than either plan.

mjgold
November 9th, 2008, 08:37 PM
Well, first of all, I don't know why this is an either/or question. Mjgold talks about how he would get bored with distance swims...I would be bored to tears with only one type of training, particularly if it consisted of all 25s.

But to get to your question: while doing 25 repeats can help your endurance some, it is not good training for longer events. As others have said, you get good at the things you practice...if you want to have a good mile or OW swim, that's the kind of training you should do.

And besides the physiological aspects of training, in order to have a good sense of pacing, you need to do longer swims at fast pace. You need to learn how hard you can push your body and still stay at lactate threshold. If all you do is 25s, I guarantee you'll be terrible at pacing no matter how much endurance you think you've gained. (How much endurace you DO gain depends on how much rest you take between 25s, and how many you do.)

Bottom line: if you want to be good at sprinting 25s and 50s, go for A. If you want to be a well-rounded, versatlie swimer, vary your training a little more than either plan.

You're missing the point. It's a desert island type of question I think. Obviously doing just one or the other is stupid, and there's no reason why you can't do both, but he's trying to have a little fun by seeing what people would choose if they only could do one. So, before you attack me, try not taking it so seriously.

pwolf66
November 9th, 2008, 09:15 PM
You're missing the point. It's a desert island type of question I think. Obviously doing just one or the other is stupid, and there's no reason why you can't do both, but he's trying to have a little fun by seeing what people would choose if they only could do one. So, before you attack me, try not taking it so seriously.

Um, Michael? You might want to consider switching to decaf if you are perceiving Chris' comment as an attack.

Chris Stevenson
November 9th, 2008, 09:17 PM
You're missing the point. It's a desert island type of question I think. Obviously doing just one or the other is stupid, and there's no reason why you can't do both, but he's trying to have a little fun by seeing what people would choose if they only could do one. So, before you attack me, try not taking it so seriously.

Attack you? Hmmm, you need to dial the sensitivity down a little, I think.

I got the point and answered the question as posed, I think: IMO training only 25s doesn't prep you adequately for racing long swims.

FlyQueen
November 9th, 2008, 10:22 PM
Well, I personally often find Chris quite rude ... :lmao:

:smooch:

james lucas
November 10th, 2008, 12:11 AM
If you're on a desert island, shouldn't you be swimming long and slow ... away from the island?

mjgold
November 10th, 2008, 12:15 AM
Attack you? Hmmm, you need to dial the sensitivity down a little, I think.

I got the point and answered the question as posed, I think: IMO training only 25s doesn't prep you adequately for racing long swims.

Man, I really need to learn how to communicate on these boards, because I'm beginning to realize I am terrible at it. I was being sarcastic with the "attack" comment. I do think you misunderstood the point of the question though. I think he is aware that it is an unrealistic question, but you're supposed to play along and just pick one. Realistically, even for sprints you would want to do more than 25s I would think; however, if I could only ever do one again, I would much prefer mixing it up with different 25s than just doing 1,000 yards of freestyle night after night. :yawn:

Sorry about the confusion. I was trying to be lighthearted, but I guess I don't convey that well over the internet. Maybe I need to up my use of smileys.

Chris Stevenson
November 10th, 2008, 12:34 AM
Man, I really need to learn how to communicate on these boards, because I'm beginning to realize I am terrible at it. I was being sarcastic with the "attack" comment.

No harm. Sarcasm doesn't transmit well electronically.

Mostly I was responding to the comment that training 25s could accomplish both objectives. But I could argue both sides easily enough:

-- doing lots of 25s with low rest will help you develop endurance; doing few of them with lots of rest can develop speed

-- doing 1000s at moderate pace develops endurance; varying speed during the 1000s (fartlek training) can develop both speed and endurance.

Of course, if I'm on a desert island, maybe I'd rather have the ability to swim LONG distances instead... :)

FlyQueen
November 10th, 2008, 09:04 AM
The real question is if you are on a deserted island who is with you ... that will influence whether I want to swim away or stay ... See, if Aaron Peirsol is on my island I have no need for endurance training ... if I'm stuck with the chick who cut me off twice then slammed on her brakes and flicked me off then I'm hoping the sprinter ability goes away and I can swim away ...

pwolf66
November 10th, 2008, 09:24 AM
Well, I personally often find Chris quite rude ... :lmao:

:smooch:

Only when he beats me in the pool, which so far is on EVERYTHING except breaststroke :eeew:

:mooning:

Chris Stevenson
November 10th, 2008, 09:53 AM
See, if Aaron Peirsol is on my island I have no need for endurance training

A lot of good possible replies to this, alas I'm not sure any suitable for the forum.:bolt:

aquageek
November 10th, 2008, 11:01 AM
I'll take the minority view here and state that I find workouts with a lot of 25s to be particularly boring and not in the least helpful, unless you are 8/under. The only exception is 25 uw's, which are fun, until you pass out.

Paul Smith
November 10th, 2008, 11:43 AM
None of really like Chris or Geek so no worries...

I hate questions like this as well because I can't see any possible scenario where you would ever have to choose.

Regarding speed...if you want to swim a fast 10k (or mile, or 200) it all starts with a fast 25. No water the distance if you don't do speed work you simply won't see the same improvments.

The worlds elite milers (sub 15:00) pretty much can all swim the 100 in under :50...the key is not blowing up when you shift gears and that comes with doing a lot of faster interval training over all distances.

The Fortress
November 10th, 2008, 11:50 AM
I'll take the minority view here and state that I find workouts with a lot of 25s to be particularly boring and not in the least helpful, unless you are 8/under. The only exception is 25 uw's, which are fun, until you pass out.

I find in my advanced old age that I enjoy training as an 8 & U.

That was the wimpiest personal attack I have ever seen ... Step it up, Chris!

mjgold
November 10th, 2008, 12:47 PM
No harm. Sarcasm doesn't transmit well electronically.

Mostly I was responding to the comment that training 25s could accomplish both objectives. But I could argue both sides easily enough:

-- doing lots of 25s with low rest will help you develop endurance; doing few of them with lots of rest can develop speed

-- doing 1000s at moderate pace develops endurance; varying speed during the 1000s (fartlek training) can develop both speed and endurance.

Of course, if I'm on a desert island, maybe I'd rather have the ability to swim LONG distances instead... :)

Doing 1000s probably is better, since you could just vary the speeds and even strokes I guess. Maybe the fact that I think I would drown trying to complete a 1000 pushes me towards the 25s. :drown:

Chris Stevenson
November 10th, 2008, 05:19 PM
Maybe the fact that I think I would drown trying to complete a 1000 pushes me towards the 25s. :drown:

I remember reading an interesting comment in a cycling magazine. Someone observed that we always seem to spend the most time on things we are very good at (in the context of cycling, for example, it might be climbing or time-trialing) and not very much time on things that actually need improvement.

In reality -- according to the author -- it should be the other way around: spend enough time on our strengths to maintain them, and spend more time improving on our weaknesses.

I know I am guilty of that. Like Geek, I find 25s (even UW ones) quite boring, and I don't work on my raw speed enough even though I know I would benefit.

Of course, that isn't to say I will ever work much on breaststroke. A man has to have standards.

anita
November 10th, 2008, 06:29 PM
Of course, that isn't to say I will ever work much on breaststroke. A man has to have standards.

Funny, I was just thinking this while swimming this morning. I have a Check Off Challenge T-shirt and the only blanks left are the 200 breaststroke and 200 back. Since I don't compete in meets I time myself at practice and then come home and see how I stack up to the times in the USMS database.
This morning I went for the 200 breaststroke. Still haven't recovered. Won't ever do it again. But I get to check the dang box off.

Oh, and to stay on the subject, I'd take 4 x 1,000 over 20 x 25 anyday.