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Allen Stark
March 14th, 2009, 08:02 PM
I have heard that some Masters coaches are more interested in general fitness than speed.What is your experience? Do you feel that your coach prepares you to swim 50s and 100s?Is sprinting a regular part of practice at least once a week and if so do you do it as a main set or as an add on at the end?Do you do lactic acid sets?How much do you work on starts and turns?

geochuck
March 14th, 2009, 08:41 PM
Master coaches I have come across want everyone to be a four stroke swimmer. Breaststroke and backstroke are not for me.

They spend very little time on sprint work. They spend most of their time doing finger drag drills, fin swimming, paddle work, pull bouy swimming, one arm swimming, stroke counting, and bilateral breathing. No time is spent on racing dives, turns or sprint swimming.

Donna
March 14th, 2009, 08:54 PM
The coaches I have had never focused on sprints. That is one of the reasons I chose to swim with a kids team last year, to learn how to sprint again.

My first year back to swimming with a bad back after 3 weeks in the water I went a 31.77 in the 50 Free. 3 years later, with a better back and I still could not break :30 for a 50 free. After 6 months with Rick Benner I learned to sprint and lead off the relay at Nationals with a 27.83. Yes it was more expensive to swim with the kids but it was well worth it.

This year I had the option of going back to my old masters coach and knowing I would lose my ablity to sprint or to coach myself, I chose to coach myself. I want to maintain my ability to sprint as well as do distance.

el desmadre
March 14th, 2009, 09:10 PM
The masters coach is in a tough position. You have to please a wide variety of grown-ups who know what they want out of a workout. Sprinting a 50 or 100 is pretty specialized thing to do, compared to general fitness/muscle tone goals or the long-distance requirements of triathaletes (which I think a lot of masters swimmers are).

I feel for a masters coach; you cant please eveyone all of the time...

ViveBene
March 14th, 2009, 09:22 PM
I have heard that some Masters coaches are more interested in general fitness than speed.What is your experience? Do you feel that your coach prepares you to swim 50s and 100s?Is sprinting a regular part of practice at least once a week and if so do you do it as a main set or as an add on at the end?Do you do lactic acid sets?How much do you work on starts and turns?

My coach gets at fitness (:)) through a variety of things, including sprints. There is no one stroke or one set = fitness. You do have to tax the body somewhat for fitness to occur.

tdrop
March 14th, 2009, 09:39 PM
The majority of our training is endurance based, but we do sprint pretty often.

Sometimes as I'm coming to the end of a season I'll break off from the group a bit and do some sharpening work, i.e., sprinting. That's my taper. I spend about three weeks working on speed and recovery.

Jazz Hands
March 14th, 2009, 09:41 PM
My team (masters, mostly college students) is very recreation and fitness focused. I think a lot of the swimmers are there just to get some cardio in the big blue wet thing.

ViveBene
March 14th, 2009, 10:04 PM
Jazzy,

:rofl:

Thanks.

I haven't smiled in a long time.
That was good for a belly laugh.

funkyfish
March 14th, 2009, 10:13 PM
My wife's not a master's coach, but she teaches adults at varying skill levels. For the ones who can already swim fairly well, she writes a sprint workout and a distance workout and lets them pick, but also tries to get them to mix it up a bit.

I could be wrong, but I believe that the coached master's sessions in my neck of the woods are focused on fitness more than racing (which is fine as most master swimmers are in it for the fitness), so I wind up doing my own thing. This works out ok as I'm more of a sprinter than a distance person.
:applaud::bouncing::banana:

Ahelee Sue Osborn
March 14th, 2009, 11:59 PM
Over the past 25 years, I have been a member of 4 large USMS clubs.
UC San Diego
USF
Davis
NOVA

I've trained with many other smaller teams in traveling as well.

All 4 of the large teams and most of those I have visited, run a practice schedule that seems a variation of:

Monday - Mid-distance Free
Tues/Thur - Stroke/IM
Wednesday - Big freestyle distance
Friday - Fast/Sprint/Fins
Saturday - Intensive or distance
Sunday - Recovery or technique practice

If your club does not have some kind of regular practice rotation, and you feel you are missing something in particular...

"Go talk to your coach"
(thanks Ben Shepard!)

"Asking"
(thanks Ande - Swim Faster Faster)
U.S. Masters Swimming Discussion Forums - View Single Post - Ande's Swimming Tips: Swimming Faster Faster

If you're a sprinter and you have not read Ande, Paul, or Erik's advice here on the forum, then do that next.

Or checked periodically Ande or Fortress' blogs where sprinting fast is of the utmost importance.

Ande?
He is the MASTER of, "Assigned XXX, Did XXX"

Fortress?
She is Bad A** fast - and super smart.
Interesting variations of dynamic sprint training - weight lifting - dryland - swim sets - and hands down, the best discussions/comments among masters swimmers out there!

A former coach of mine, used to get insulted when I did not do everything as assigned when he coached. Luckily, he wasn't on deck very often.

But after venturing out to look for coaching not offered within my own club, I found insight and experience worth trying in my own practices - right here.

It can be tough to have the confidence to add or change up the training everyone else in the pool is doing - like herded sheep.

Sometimes, all we need is the confidence to try something new. Follow our intuition.
Ande gives some good advice on how to accomplish this in practice quite stealthly...

Swimming changed a lot for me in the last year... just about the time I found these forum discussions.
(A treasure chest of coaches)

As a coach on deck and a swimmer in the pool, I have found that there are many masters swimmers who are incredibly knowledgeable and generous with their advice. Just because I'm the coach on deck does not mean I am the end all. My swimmer and I are a working team.

As a coach, I've tried to be open to contributions and suggestions from the pool.
I have learned more from real swimmers about swimming than anyone else.

Some things DO change.
Swimming is one of them.

Very grateful for that and all the good (sometimes sarcastically offered) advice from swimmers.

rockky
March 15th, 2009, 08:28 AM
Why is sprinting/speed training not 'fitness' work?

Ken Classen
March 15th, 2009, 01:26 PM
The masters coach is in a tough position. You have to please a wide variety of grown-ups who know what they want out of a workout. Sprinting a 50 or 100 is pretty specialized thing to do, compared to general fitness/muscle tone goals or the long-distance requirements of triathaletes (which I think a lot of masters swimmers are).

I feel for a masters coach; you cant please eveyone all of the time...

As a long time masters swimming coach my favorite workouts to coach are race centric practices. I was fortunately able to coach two last week. We share the pool with the College team, an age group team and us. The college team is winding down with a few going to the show next week, the age group team is at the sectional Zone championships which allowed our group to have lane choice (very rare), access to the starting blocks and use of the starting equipment etc.

I don't want this to sound like a bunch of excuses but as, el desmadre, pointed out it is very difficult to be all things to all people in a masters swim program. In general to support membership numbers, which make aquatic directors happy, most workouts tend be general aerobic to anaerobic threshold type practices. We try to have a one or two stroke oriented workout, and one sprint focused workout a week. Over my years of coaching I've noticed when we pre-publish the type of workout we get less swimmers on stroke & sprint days.

Also, we masters coaches don't always communicate the sprint concept well to our swimmers. Sometimes coaches confuse short sets with sprint sets and don't necessarily understand the amount of rest/active recovery (very generous) that they must provide in that type of workout for the swimmer to go full speed and get the benefit.

Finally in my experience the average pool manager/administrator thinks of masters swimming like a buzzing mosquito that just annoys them. They tend to make it difficult to offer a rich offering and allow coaches to lead. And surprise some members will express there discontent over certain types of workouts to them. Instead of trying to set expectations, directing them back to the coach and pointing out the workout type was published, they tend to come back to us and ask for adjustments etc.

geochuck
March 15th, 2009, 01:45 PM
Sprint workouts are thought to break swimmers down physically by some coaches.

Why is sprinting/speed training not 'fitness' work?

isobel
March 15th, 2009, 02:22 PM
I coach in a really small pool, with a huge range of swimmers crammed into two and a half lanes. Distance is hard, because people get run over, but I still do it with them. We also do a lot of stroke. Sprints are hard because not everyone wants to race, and people want to get those yards in. However, I occasionally do sprint sets, but it is hard when for half the lane swimmers get tons of rest, and for the other half of the lane, they are kind of cheated out of really getting to sprint. We only have three practices a week, an hour for each (the limits of our Y).

It's hard to find the balance. I'm working on it. One of our previous coaches, much more experienced than I am, regularly would have us do a sprint at the end of practice for time, and regularly had us do what for me was continuous threshold training. Since I am not a sprinter, that helped me with my pace for distance.

What is a good amount of rest for a sprint of 100? Of 50? Of 200 (based on my group: most swimmers sprint a 100 free on 1:20 or 1:35, but a few sprint on 1:05 or 1:15? The 1:20, 1:15, and 1:05 sprinters are all in the same lane. The 1:25, 1:30, 1:35 sprinters are all in the next lane. The 1:45, 1:50 sprinters are in the next lane.)?

We have an exuberantly enthusiastic team that likes to go to meets, just not superfast swimmers except for a very few.

2:30 for the 100 for the fastest group? 2:45 for the next fastest? 3:00 for the last group?

Still learning; appreciate feedback.

Spock
March 15th, 2009, 02:41 PM
True sprint training is extremely hard and takes tremendous dedication and focus. It is very easy to simply go through the motions, resulting in a so-so workout. Much more difficult to slack off doing 12x100's on the 1:15 or some such aerobic set.

Fortunately, I have a program that allows me to adapt workouts to my sprinting (i.e. in the 10x100 example I might do 6x100's on the 2:30 easy/hard.

Jason Lezak is famous for self-training as a sprinter. IMHO, it's not just the masters programs that don't train sprinting correctly. Take out Auburn, Michigan, Arizona and a handful of others and the yardage is too high.

swimmj
March 15th, 2009, 03:09 PM
We follow a rotation and have a sprint day once a week. We also do some other sprinting during the week, depending on the time of season. We are working more now on race pace swimming. In December, it was more pace work in preparation for the hour swim.

--mj

Chris Stevenson
March 15th, 2009, 05:52 PM
In my experience -- I've been on several teams, but I can't say if it is a good sampling -- it is unusual for masters teams to do lactic acid work.

I don't believe this is necessarily the coach's fault; many masters swimmers are only interested in total yardage, getting in the maximum distance in the minimum time.

Of course, it is the coach's job to try to sell the concept that quality work is also good for fitness, but we masters people are mighty stubborn...

The Fortress
March 15th, 2009, 07:27 PM
True sprint training is extremely hard and takes tremendous dedication and focus. It is very easy to simply go through the motions, resulting in a so-so workout. Much more difficult to slack off doing 12x100's on the 1:15 or some such aerobic set.

Fortunately, I have a program that allows me to adapt workouts to my sprinting (i.e. in the 10x100 example I might do 6x100's on the 2:30 easy/hard.

Jason Lezak is famous for self-training as a sprinter. IMHO, it's not just the masters programs that don't train sprinting correctly. Take out Auburn, Michigan, Arizona and a handful of others and the yardage is too high.

Most masters programs aren't for sprinters. The good programs do include the kind of variety Ahelee listed above. However, that is still not usually the kind of training pure sprinters will benefit from most. It's the kind of program that will improve a mid D swimmer's performance in mid-D events and sprints. So sprinters must either adapt the workout, like Ande, or train alone some.

I agree with Chris. Most masters swimmer don't seem to like lactate or sprint work much or grudgingly do it. It's more common to hear a masters swimmer want to decrease a workout interval than to increase it.

Allen Stark
March 16th, 2009, 01:28 AM
I coach in a really small pool, with a huge range of swimmers crammed into two and a half lanes. Distance is hard, because people get run over, but I still do it with them. We also do a lot of stroke. Sprints are hard because not everyone wants to race, and people want to get those yards in. However, I occasionally do sprint sets, but it is hard when for half the lane swimmers get tons of rest, and for the other half of the lane, they are kind of cheated out of really getting to sprint. We only have three practices a week, an hour for each (the limits of our Y).

It's hard to find the balance. I'm working on it. One of our previous coaches, much more experienced than I am, regularly would have us do a sprint at the end of practice for time, and regularly had us do what for me was continuous threshold training. Since I am not a sprinter, that helped me with my pace for distance.

What is a good amount of rest for a sprint of 100? Of 50? Of 200 (based on my group: most swimmers sprint a 100 free on 1:20 or 1:35, but a few sprint on 1:05 or 1:15? The 1:20, 1:15, and 1:05 sprinters are all in the same lane. The 1:25, 1:30, 1:35 sprinters are all in the next lane. The 1:45, 1:50 sprinters are in the next lane.)?

We have an exuberantly enthusiastic team that likes to go to meets, just not superfast swimmers except for a very few.

2:30 for the 100 for the fastest group? 2:45 for the next fastest? 3:00 for the last group?

Still learning; appreciate feedback.

If you want to do 100 sprints 3 min intervals are too fast,allow at least 5.Better for sprint work is 25s or even 12.5s on the min.
I hate lactic acid sets as they really hurt,but if one is going to swim a fast 100 they are really useful and my 2009 resolution was to do at least 1 set/wk mid-season(now).My current set is 50s all out on the minute until my stroke breaks down(which now is about 6,but I have been forcing myself to do them just a couple of weeks(started "mid-season"Mar 1st.)

stillwater
March 16th, 2009, 06:25 PM
It seems to me that speed work and stroke work are easily mixed with fitness training. Different lanes have different send off times. Pick your posion.

I try to limit lactic acid levels, and elevated heartbeats. You have a finite number, why waste them?

hofffam
March 16th, 2009, 06:55 PM
I coach in a really small pool, with a huge range of swimmers crammed into two and a half lanes. Distance is hard, because people get run over, but I still do it with them. We also do a lot of stroke. Sprints are hard because not everyone wants to race, and people want to get those yards in. However, I occasionally do sprint sets, but it is hard when for half the lane swimmers get tons of rest, and for the other half of the lane, they are kind of cheated out of really getting to sprint. We only have three practices a week, an hour for each (the limits of our Y).

It's hard to find the balance. I'm working on it. One of our previous coaches, much more experienced than I am, regularly would have us do a sprint at the end of practice for time, and regularly had us do what for me was continuous threshold training. Since I am not a sprinter, that helped me with my pace for distance.

What is a good amount of rest for a sprint of 100? Of 50? Of 200 (based on my group: most swimmers sprint a 100 free on 1:20 or 1:35, but a few sprint on 1:05 or 1:15? The 1:20, 1:15, and 1:05 sprinters are all in the same lane. The 1:25, 1:30, 1:35 sprinters are all in the next lane. The 1:45, 1:50 sprinters are in the next lane.)?

We have an exuberantly enthusiastic team that likes to go to meets, just not superfast swimmers except for a very few.

2:30 for the 100 for the fastest group? 2:45 for the next fastest? 3:00 for the last group?

Still learning; appreciate feedback.

My coach of the last few years left - and it was a sad day for me. He understood sprinting and lactic production sets.

Every Friday the focus of the workout was lactic production. We repeated a 3 week cycle as follows:

Week1:

12 x 50 on 2:00 best effort on every one

Week2:

6 x 100 on 4:00 best effort.....

Week3:

100 free on 4:00 best effort
2 x 50 free on 2:00 best effort
4 x 25 free on 1:00 best effort

(repeat one time)

These sets will hurt and you will likely die midway through. But you will get faster and your body will adapt to the lactic buildup.

aztimm
March 16th, 2009, 07:04 PM
My team (Sun Devil Masters) typically has at least 2 sets most days, a longer and a shorter. Generally, the faster people do the longer, and the slower do the shorter. I usually just don't want to move, so I do whatever set the lane decides (usually the distance option). When I have done the shorter, it doesn't seem like a true sprint to me, but simply a shorter version of a workout.

However, as a general rule, Fridays are designated, "Fast Fridays." Usually shorter (no more than 200), usually more rest (such as 100 on 3+ min). Of course the coach does occasionally throw a wrench in the madness. A few weeks ago we had the option to do whatever distance on a 6 min interval--Some did 50s, and some did 400s, some did a mix of different things.

I do try to swim with other teams when I travel, and not many do much sprinting, although it could just be the days I'm there didn't match to their sprint days.

isobel
March 17th, 2009, 11:46 PM
My coach of the last few years left - and it was a sad day for me. He understood sprinting and lactic production sets.

Every Friday the focus of the workout was lactic production. We repeated a 3 week cycle as follows:

Week1:

12 x 50 on 2:00 best effort on every one

Week2:

6 x 100 on 4:00 best effort.....

Week3:

100 free on 4:00 best effort
2 x 50 free on 2:00 best effort
4 x 25 free on 1:00 best effort

(repeat one time)

These sets will hurt and you will likely die midway through. But you will get faster and your body will adapt to the lactic buildup.

Thanks to everyone for the feedback on sprint times/distance.

We are gearing up for a big meet in 10 days. I am coaching this Thursday (the day after tomorrow). Would it be a good idea to give the Week 3 set for people, or is this too close to the meet?

And are sprints of free good for helping people who are sprinting stroke to get ready, or should I throw in an option of stroke sprints?

Where I swim (different team), we have been doing regular practices, then going to the blocks and doing 4 x 50 sprints for every practice the last 3 or 4 practices. Yah. I do not like to sprint!

tomtopo
March 18th, 2009, 11:30 AM
The research shows that specific trainining (race pace / lactate) is critical to improved performance. A set in and of itself can contribute to an increase in cardiovascular and general fitness but if you want to be good at a specific race, you must train for that race.

Paul Smith
March 18th, 2009, 12:04 PM
I see more and more teams starting to follow the kind of calender that Ahelee mentioned...but as many here have pointed out it can be a bit of a challenge coaching larger groups with diverse interests...even if it is ultimately to ehri benefit to do this type of training.

I think as a rule coaches need to explain/sell the concept...start by calling it "speed" work vs. "sprinting". As Grant Hackett's coach pointed out in an ASCA article last year...all swimming is about speed...Hackett can go 49+ in the 100 (LCM) but is a forace in the mile and even the 10k.

I'm proud to say that I've been "selling" this to a group of multisport athletes I coach and today...after months...one of them even got on the blocks (wetsuit and all) for a set of fast 50's.

Doug Adamavich
March 18th, 2009, 12:37 PM
Years ago (OK, half a lifetime ago) my college coach famously said:

"In order to swim fast one must swim fast."

Pause for a Zen moment...now ponder that pearl of wisdom.

That comment was directed at the entire team (both men and women), not just the sprinters. Speed work is essential in all aspects of swimming. One must vary speeds to discover feel, pace, and threshold limits. Simply swimming moderate/slow distance sets will help, but adding sprint sets will make a distance swimmer a better swimmer. Ditto for triathletes, especially during the start of a swimming leg.

Mix it up, vary your speed, and get out of your comfort zone! That is the only way to stay fresh and improve your performance.

So swim fast, at least every now and then.

AnnG
March 19th, 2009, 11:31 PM
We have been adding in a lot more sprinting and lactic acid sets this year, I have never sprinted this much as a Masters swimmer, from the blocks no less. I am very tired a lot of the time but I am hoping for a payoff come short course nationals in May . . .

Typhoons Coach
March 20th, 2009, 10:03 AM
I have heard that some Masters coaches are more interested in general fitness than speed.What is your experience? Do you feel that your coach prepares you to swim 50s and 100s?Is sprinting a regular part of practice at least once a week and if so do you do it as a main set or as an add on at the end?Do you do lactic acid sets?How much do you work on starts and turns?

For me, as a coach, I concentrate on what that particular swimmer's goals are. If they aren't going to compete in meets then I don't really focus on speed, but I focus on the fitness and enjoyment of the sport. However, if someone is looking to qualify for nat's then I will be looking to design a practice that concentrates on speed and race technique.

Overall, it all depends on the swimmers in the pool.

geochuck
March 20th, 2009, 10:12 AM
You sound like the coach I would like to have. Many coaches are not flexible and feel you should do what everyone else does and everyone must follow the program. When I coach I deisign workout for the Individual.

When Do coach I only look after 1, 2, 3 or 4 at a time. I am back from Mexico where I worked mostly with special need swimmers. I really enjoyed this.

ViveBene
March 20th, 2009, 10:22 AM
...I am back from Mexico where I worked mostly with special need swimmers. I really enjoyed this.

Quick digression - George, I would love to read more about your work with special needs swimmers. (I think you mentioned one qualified for trials with Paralympics?) Would you be interested in writing something for the online USMS newsletter, or perhaps the magazine?

:applaud:

Chris Stevenson
March 20th, 2009, 12:32 PM
For me, as a coach, I concentrate on what that particular swimmer's goals are. If they aren't going to compete in meets then I don't really focus on speed, but I focus on the fitness and enjoyment of the sport. However, if someone is looking to qualify for nat's then I will be looking to design a practice that concentrates on speed and race technique.

Overall, it all depends on the swimmers in the pool.

I agree that there are different swimming populations with different needs. Even among competitive athletes, some will have pretty different needs than others (eg triathletes and OW-focused swimmers, compared to sprinters). Neophyte swimmers may need a lot more technique-oriented coaching than others.

But I disagree very strongly with the notion that speed-work -- maybe "high intensity" work is more apt -- is not appropriate for fitness-focused swimmers. Most spinning classes, for example, will vary the tempo and intensity during the course of the exercise. Why shouldn't swim practices do the same?

isobel
March 20th, 2009, 12:55 PM
Week3:

100 free on 4:00 best effort
2 x 50 free on 2:00 best effort
4 x 25 free on 1:00 best effort



I had our team do this set last night. The concept of doing a 100 on 4:00 was totally alien to them. Then when they did their first 50, they saw how hard it was, even with the extra rest.

Everyone, all abilities, did what I called this "speedwork" set per someone on this thread's suggestion. And all lanes did the sprints at the same time, so it felt like a team effort.

They were totally into it, and it was a change from what we usually do. They were really tired after doing the set but didn't hate it. I think all the swimmers on the team I coach like to see their progression and have benchmarks, so I think doing this sort of set every now and again is a good idea.

Again, thanks for the feedback on sprinting intervals/sets.

Chris Stevenson
March 20th, 2009, 02:22 PM
They were totally into it, and it was a change from what we usually do. They were really tired after doing the set but didn't hate it. I think all the swimmers on the team I coach like to see their progression and have benchmarks, so I think doing this sort of set every now and again is a good idea.

Exactly! The coach has to sell the idea, too: get fired up, push the swimmers in a positive way, encourage trash-talk and some racing, joke about (in a nice way!) the Sammy Save-ups. We have a good time on test-set day even though it is painful.

Sometimes we have age-groupers practice with us for one reason or another. One time we had a 14-year-old girl, quite shy, who was initially taken aback by the banter. She was doing 200 IMs next to a masters swimmer and with each rep, he was getting closer and closer to beating her (she was holding pace, he was getting faster). When the coach noticed and asked, "Are you going to let the old guy beat you," she fired right back with "he wouldn't be able to win if he hadn't been loafing on the early ones!" Everyone cracked up.

These are hard sets but fun too. Newer swimmers can chart their improvement. Old hands can try to hold times that they did when younger. We have plenty of non-competing swimmers who do the sets, and they must not mind too much b/c they keep coming back.

aztimm
March 20th, 2009, 04:12 PM
We have plenty of non-competing swimmers who do the sets, and they must not mind too much b/c they keep coming back.

In my group, most swimmers will do/tolerate a set like this once a week. Even then, the coach usually offers some sort of alternative. Today, we had our Fast Set (http://forums.usms.org/blog.php?b=2197), but the coach offered a longer alternative (actually a timed mile and some other stuff). Having just done a timed mile on Wed, I opted for the fast set, as did everyone else.

We've had cases where some swimmers will get out of the workout lanes and do longer sets on their own in the lap lanes if they don't like the sets.

rockky
March 20th, 2009, 09:59 PM
Give me identical twins, same swimming capacity.....U train Betty one for 4 months 5500yds a day with predominantly only threshold intensities or under; I'll train her lovely sister, Hedley at 2500 yds max with predominantly atp-pc and lactate tolerance training (periodized appropriately of course) as the core.
At the subsequent Apalacian swimin hole showdown, Hedley will rip Betty a new one from every distance from 400 on down.

jordangregory
March 21st, 2009, 11:12 PM
Rocky,
I would bet that Hedley could win in the 50 and 100, possible the 200, but nothing greater. Definately not the 400.

jim thornton
March 22nd, 2009, 12:17 AM
For what it's worth, here is a really challenging sprint-ish/middle distancy training set that works pretty well with a range of swimmers. The ones who want to sprint get a good lactate training session; those who don't still get a good fitness workout.

First, take your 200 freestyle race time and divide it in 4 to get your average 50 pace. For example, if you can swim the 200 in exactly 2:00, your pace will be :30.

You then swim 5 sets of 8 x 50 on 1:00. Within each set, the odds are easy active rest, the evens faster.

Set 1: odds easy, evens 200 pace +2 seconds (in above example, hold :32s)
Set 2. " ; evens +1 (e.g. 31s)
Set 3. " ; evens +0 (30)
Set 4. " ; evens -1 (29)
Set 5. " ; evens - 2 (28)

It looks easy, but if you really try, it get brutal by the end. You can rest a minute between the sets.

ViveBene
March 22nd, 2009, 09:16 AM
But I disagree very strongly with the notion that speed-work -- maybe "high intensity" work is more apt -- is not appropriate for fitness-focused swimmers. Most spinning classes, for example, will vary the tempo and intensity during the course of the exercise. Why shouldn't swim practices do the same?

I strongly agree w/ above statement, and perhaps even to the point of desiring a moratorium on putting "fitness" in front of "swimming." Fitness applies across the spectrum of swimmers. Calling one group "fitness swimmers" and the others not is a distractor.


For what it's worth, here is a really challenging sprint-ish/middle distancy training set that works pretty well with a range of swimmers. The ones who want to sprint get a good lactate training session; those who don't still get a good fitness workout.

First, take your 200 freestyle race time and divide it in 4 to get your average 50 pace. For example, if you can swim the 200 in exactly 2:00, your pace will be :30.

You then swim 5 sets of 8 x 50 on 1:00. Within each set, the odds are easy active rest, the evens faster.

Set 1: odds easy, evens 200 pace +2 seconds (in above example, hold :32s)
Set 2. " ; evens +1 (e.g. 31s)
Set 3. " ; evens +0 (30)
Set 4. " ; evens -1 (29)
Set 5. " ; evens - 2 (28)

It looks easy, but if you really try, it get brutal by the end. You can rest a minute between the sets.

This looks good. I think it has come up before (likely in a blog or an online coaching session). I'm going to try it.
:)

Chris Stevenson
March 22nd, 2009, 01:20 PM
...desiring a moratorium on putting "fitness" in front of "swimming." Fitness applies across the spectrum of swimmers. Calling one group "fitness swimmers" and the others not is a distractor.

I see your point, although the term is a convenient way to label those who have little desire to go to meets (nothing wrong with that).

Certainly the term is better than "non-competitive swimmer!"

I would even label myself as a fitness swimmer, in that keeping fit is still my primary motivation in training. The competition and all that just helps me work harder. (Meeting people from other places is nice too.)

CoachML
March 22nd, 2009, 10:43 PM
I have heard that some Masters coaches are more interested in general fitness than speed.What is your experience? Do you feel that your coach prepares you to swim 50s and 100s?Is sprinting a regular part of practice at least once a week and if so do you do it as a main set or as an add on at the end?Do you do lactic acid sets?How much do you work on starts and turns?As a coach I use sprints to fine tune their stroke and develop mental toughness. I do 25 yd. sprints and require them all to dive, stream line past flags, keep their head down, arms in perfect position, feet kicking steadily, good amount of effort put into it, I make sure they finish from the flags to the wall with out breathing, and a nice touch.

Since I'm a middle school coach I work on one at a time. I'm currently on stream line past flags w/o breathing, and no breathing between the flags and wall. It's a great form of punishment, and a great reward is saying "you worked so hard today, we wont do sprints".

Ultimately, you play how you practice. If you practice nothing but long distance and go slow, you can't expect to go fast when you need to.

Ahelee Sue Osborn
April 12th, 2009, 06:42 PM
"In order to swim fast one must swim fast."

Pause for a Zen moment...now ponder that pearl of wisdom..

I LOVE THIS THREAD...

Don't let it die until every USMS coach sees it or one of their swimmers forwards it for their coach to read!

By the way all of you distance swimmers, Dave Salo, whether you like him or not, notoriously calls his DISTANCE SWIMMERS - LONG SPRINTERS!!

I LOVE THAT SECOND to this thread since the thread impacts masters swimmers first.

hofffam
April 13th, 2009, 01:08 PM
I had our team do this set last night. The concept of doing a 100 on 4:00 was totally alien to them. Then when they did their first 50, they saw how hard it was, even with the extra rest.

Everyone, all abilities, did what I called this "speedwork" set per someone on this thread's suggestion. And all lanes did the sprints at the same time, so it felt like a team effort.

They were totally into it, and it was a change from what we usually do. They were really tired after doing the set but didn't hate it. I think all the swimmers on the team I coach like to see their progression and have benchmarks, so I think doing this sort of set every now and again is a good idea.

Again, thanks for the feedback on sprinting intervals/sets.

This kind of set really is best when the whole group does it. The fight to not slow down too much is just that much stronger when the group does it together. These kinds of sets kill me. I recover very slowly and am completely trashed at the end.

Ahelee Sue Osborn
April 14th, 2009, 12:44 AM
So now that it is championship time... are some of your coaches dishing out some nice race prep sets and practices?

Fast swimming off the blocks - relays - 2 turn 25s - broken swims and all those cool race prep pieces of your swims?

This can be tough for coaches who work with teams only sending a few swimmers to the big meet.

I like to have everyone participate in race prep practice sets regardess of their meet participation. That way everyone sharpens up and gets a little faster.
Never fails either, that some swimmer (or several) contact me about swimming with the team for the first time ever.

"Taper and Race Prep practices can be so much fun going into the big meet - hope you're all getting some!

Charge
April 14th, 2009, 07:39 AM
When I have my own lane, I just tell my coach I'm working on sprinting. So if he gives us 10x200 I'll do 50 sprint 50 easy on the same interval, then get some extra rest while they finish up each 200.

Speedo
April 14th, 2009, 07:39 AM
So now that it is championship time... are some of your coaches dishing out some nice race prep sets and practices?

Fast swimming off the blocks - relays - 2 turn 25s - broken swims and all those cool race prep pieces of your swims?

This can be tough for coaches who work with teams only sending a few swimmers to the big meet.

I like to have everyone participate in race prep practice sets regardess of their meet participation. That way everyone sharpens up and gets a little faster.
Never fails either, that some swimmer (or several) contact me about swimming with the team for the first time ever.

"Taper and Race Prep practices can be so much fun going into the big meet - hope you're all getting some!
Is this what you would suggest a month out? I'm sort of a sprint/middle distance freestyler w/ a distance-oriented coach. I was a little concerned today when he told me his thoughts on how I should taper. I've got Zones 2 weeks prior to Clovis.

He suggested resting 5-6 days prior to Zones, work hard the week after, then do another 5-6 day taper for Nats. This sounds like more of a distance swimmer's taper to me, and from what I remember, 5-6 days is when you start to feel like crap during a taper.

On the good side, he made it sound like I could borrow a tech suit, which I don't own. But I have to say I'm a little concerned about a new suit and different taper. I'd rather work through Zones and concentrate on Clovis. Any thoughts, or am I stealing this thread?

elise526
April 14th, 2009, 07:52 AM
Is this what you would suggest a month out? I'm sort of a sprint/middle distance freestyler w/ a distance-oriented coach. I was a little concerned today when he told me his thoughts on how I should taper. I've got Zones 2 weeks prior to Clovis.

He suggested resting 5-6 days prior to Zones, work hard the week after, then do another 5-6 day taper for Nats. This sounds like more of a distance swimmer's taper to me, and from what I remember, 5-6 days is when you start to feel like crap during a taper.

On the good side, he made it sound like I could borrow a tech suit, which I don't own. But I have to say I'm a little concerned about a new suit and different taper. I'd rather work through Zones and concentrate on Clovis. Any thoughts, or am I stealing this thread?

You might want to ask your coach to explain the logic behind the plan he/she suggests. The plan is somewhat different than just swimming hard up to five or six days before Nationals and then resting for the first time.

Speedo
April 14th, 2009, 08:25 AM
You might want to ask your coach to explain the logic behind the plan he/she suggests. The plan is somewhat different than just swimming hard up to five or six days before Nationals and then resting for the first time.
You're probably right- I'll talk to him about it. I'm sure the time prior to the 5-6 days will not be a mid-season type regimen, but the "work hard the week after Zones" made me nervous. Then again, I haven't tapered in decades and the plan may have changed a bit.

The Fortress
April 14th, 2009, 10:32 AM
Is this what you would suggest a month out? I'm sort of a sprint/middle distance freestyler w/ a distance-oriented coach. I was a little concerned today when he told me his thoughts on how I should taper. I've got Zones 2 weeks prior to Clovis.

He suggested resting 5-6 days prior to Zones, work hard the week after, then do another 5-6 day taper for Nats. This sounds like more of a distance swimmer's taper to me, and from what I remember, 5-6 days is when you start to feel like crap during a taper.

On the good side, he made it sound like I could borrow a tech suit, which I don't own. But I have to say I'm a little concerned about a new suit and different taper. I'd rather work through Zones and concentrate on Clovis. Any thoughts, or am I stealing this thread?

I wouldn't worry too much about Zones, if I were you. Book a massage after to help speed recovery to prep for Nats. I would try the tech suit. Maybe give it a whirl in practice if you want to see how it feels.

The proposed plan may work for college kids, not such a good plan for masters perhaps. Even a sprinter extending up to 200s shouldn't be "working hard" less than a week before Nats. 5-6 days is more of a mini taper or distance taper. I followed Chris Stevenson's taper plan for Auburn and it worked very well (see "Drop Dead Taper" thread). You need a plan to taper and drop weights too. Maybe the following:

3 weeks out: drop cross training, drop or taper weights depending on how much you're doing (I think Wally and Chris S. drop weights 3-4 weeks out, but they heavy lift 3x a week)
2 weeks out: drop weights, drop yardage slightly, drop intensity -- no hard aerobic work, fewer sprints
1 week out: drop yardage and intensity, only do a few fast 50s and 25s with a couple meet warm ups at the end of the week.

I frequently hear swimmers I respect say that we need more rest than we think. You've worked really hard this year. I'd give a real taper a shot.

Speedo
April 14th, 2009, 11:34 AM
I wouldn't worry too much about Zones, if I were you. Book a massage after to help speed recovery to prep for Nats. I would try the tech suit. Maybe give it a whirl in practice if you want to see how it feels.

The proposed plan may work for college kids, not such a good plan for masters perhaps. Even a sprinter extending up to 200s shouldn't be "working hard" less than a week before Nats. 5-6 days is more of a mini taper or distance taper. I followed Chris Stevenson's taper plan for Auburn and it worked very well (see "Drop Dead Taper" thread). You need a plan to taper and drop weights too. Maybe the following:

3 weeks out: drop cross training, drop or taper weights depending on how much you're doing (I think Wally and Chris S. drop weights 3-4 weeks out, but they heavy lift 3x a week)
2 weeks out: drop weights, drop yardage slightly, drop intensity -- no hard aerobic work, fewer sprints
1 week out: drop yardage and intensity, only do a few fast 50s and 25s with a couple meet warm ups at the end of the week.

I frequently hear swimmers I respect say that we need more rest than we think. You've worked really hard this year. I'd give a real taper a shot.
Thanks- I agree about Zones. We're also on the same page with the taper concept- the schedule you outline above is what I was anticipating I'd do.

I'm still lifting 3x/wk but am into the "Taper" phase of Lezak's weight routine. My last lifting day will be 2wks before Nats, and I think it's 1 round of 10 reps; light and for speed. I don't think my skinny a$$ needs as much rest from weights as Wally or Chris. So I'll be able to rest from weights since I do that on my own.

Also still doing the AFAP stuff 2x/wk outside of practice- I was thinking I'd do that up until Zones and then start to cut down 2 weeks before Nats. Will definitely take the advice on massage and tech suit if it is an option.

Ian Smith
April 21st, 2009, 02:21 PM
For the first time I have recently had an ex-competitive sprinter (NCAA from the early 90's) as a Masters coach. He 'manages' the reps and sets I swim (or don't swim) in a lane with mostly fast 30 & 40-something middle/long distance women. (FINA masters top 10'ers or equivalent). I go last in the lane so don’t get in the way.

After my first serious meet of the year, I can report that it makes a huge difference to follow a 'coach-managed sprinter program' within a standard master's set-up. As has been said here often, the 'managing' has to do with how much to sit out (rest) and which reps to do at what pace (mostly when to go easy or really fast).

Especially important was how he managed the taper period (two weeks in this case) – no thinking required; just follow the coach's orders.

Anyway it worked well - at age 68, this weekend I did an LCM 50 free in 27.50, LCM 100 in 1:02.81 & LCM 50fly of 30.68 – improvements over my times two years ago of 27.90, 1:04 something & 31.02 respectively. The right coach can indeed delay the ravages of aging - except for fly swims. I'm still trying to figure out fly; maybe I should get a monofin….

A spin-off benefit of a coach who knows what he is doing is that I have been more consistent in attending practice (3 x /week) and dragging myself off once a week to the weight room (not coached). I know I should do more, especially weights – it does help.

Ian.

jim thornton
April 21st, 2009, 05:17 PM
Ian,

You Canadians have become the envy of the world, or at least my world.

I feel horrible for asking you this, but your swimming times are so good and so improved that -- forgive me, mother Leslie! -- I must ask if there have been any wardrobe changes since your times have dropped?

To wit, in the lingo of you foreigners (whose ranks I hope to shortly join; uno momentito, por favor), has your swimming costume changed at all, possible vis a vis the adoption of another colony, New Zealand's, greatest contribution to the world since sheep and the Flight of the Conchords?

As for joing your ranks, you are 12 years my senior, plenty of time for you to have conceived me in your first moments of manhood in yesteryear.

And even if technical fatherhood is dubious, are there any laws in Canada proscribing the late life adoption of a 56 year old American nary do well and his family?

I want to be like you, Ian, and this starts with becoming your Canadian son! For some reason, your colleague from BC, George Park, has thus far balked.

Congratulations on amazing times!

The Fortress
April 21st, 2009, 05:23 PM
Don't worry, Ian, I believe you, as I think weight lifting/sprint specific training accounts for some of my recent time drops. Jim still believes that there is "no scientific evidence" to support the proposition that weight lifting helps sprinting. We who lift believe this is a rationalization for him to avoid picking up anything more than a 3 pound weight.

Congrats on your impressive swimming!

jim clemmons
April 21st, 2009, 05:31 PM
We who lift believe this is a rationalization for him to avoid picking up anything more than a 3 pound weight.

I think you meant 3 pint weight?

jim thornton
April 21st, 2009, 05:47 PM
Jim, Jim! What's next? Kicking sand in this weakling's face? Have you bested my 53.25 100 yet this season? You probably have, and if so, DO NOT READ the next sentence.

Drive for show, putt for dough.

Leslie, this may seem a bit counterintuitive, but there is one way to get me to stop railing about the unfair advantage of the B70. And that is to help me get my absolute best times while wearing one.

Only if this happens will I have an incentive to join you in a fine case of folie a deux. The incentive will indeed transform as if by magic the moment I begin setting PRs in a B70.

Right now, or course, it's still in my interest to think that all my "betters" are beating me solely because of superior technology.

However, if my own times do manage to leap frog past theirs, then I will gladly join you in believing till my dying breath that the B70 provided at most a borderline trivial benefit to me, that the vast majority of my improvement is a case of....hmmm, let's see. Practices haven't been going that well. No weightlifting whatsoever.

I got it!

I have more character than the people I beat! Yes, I am sure of it. If my times drop via a B70, it will be because I have miraculously, and completely independently of the suit, rallied a leap of personal character to the fore!

And if I continue to swim in the mediocre fashion that has become more rule than exception, it is because others (like Mr. Clemmons and his merciless bullying tactics and calling of attention to my weakness!) are cheating through technology and the kind of psychological warfare tactics not practiced quite so brutally since the days of Don Shollander in the urinals of whatever the Olympics he practiced them!

geochuck
April 21st, 2009, 05:51 PM
Jim I would like to have you as part of the family. First four things that must happen.

1. You must cheer for the Vancouver Canucks hockey team...

2. You must cheer for the Toronto Blue Jays baseball team...

3. You must cheer for the Toronto Raptors basketball team...

4. Most important cheer for the Hamilton Tiger Cats football team...

jim thornton
April 21st, 2009, 06:05 PM
done
done
done
and done!

jim clemmons
April 21st, 2009, 06:09 PM
Jim, Jim! What's next? Kicking sand in this weakling's face? Have you bested my 53.25 100 yet this season?


No, I failed miserably. Only a 53.31...what you don't want to know is what I swam beforehand. Still think I could go a mid to low 52, rested.

Ian Smith
April 21st, 2009, 10:54 PM
Yes Jim, I patronize NZ products – mostly their Marlborough region Sauvignon Blanc but also their swim apparel.

It’s funny though, with all the talk about buoyancy (mostly by people who haven’t tried them, I’m sure), I found there was no extra buoyancy. None. Zero. Zip. In fact, I felt gypped because I expected some magic floating feeling and there was nothing.

But…..it is slippery. I noticed it on the first push-off from the wall – you go further than normal. This saves a few strokes after the dive and each turn. (I’m looking forward to a short course meet)

As per Ande’s recommendation, I tried the suit at a practice. On a purely subjective basis, in a set of SCM 100’s free, a rep with the suit that felt like it was swum in 1:20 was actually done 1:15 - so it seems to provide some reduction of effort.

Not being one of these 9% body-fat 20-somethings, I get the benefit of the compression that you get with all full body suits (the “jiggle factor” benefit which is very big in sprints). At 6’ and 165lb, I took a size 26 – seems good so far.

In all, it just seems like a logical step in technological progress but hardly a giant step. The biggest improvement for me came from a very sprint specific 50m focus but I have to say I was a bit (pleasantly) surprised with my 100m time. A 100 is the beginning of long distance for me.

A purely subjective wild ass guess is that the suit itself is worth something like 0.1 secs per dive and turn and 0.3 secs per 50m swum at my pace.

However the suit is one of many factors:

This year’s time = Last year’s time + age time effect – new tech suit effect – sprint specific coaching effect – weights benefit +/- training effort

I have room for improvement in the weights and training effort departments (at least until the age effect becomes exponential) Unlike Jim, I believe in all this but have to battle my laziness habit and actually do it (get my butt to the gym & pool).

Ian.

PS:
Jim, haven’t you heard? – they’re building a zillion dollar wall along the border – to keep you from escaping? You won’t be able to get out. In the meanwhile, just go get a loan from one of your government-owned banks and get yourself a B70 – you will be pleased by the results (do weights too – don’t do as I don’t do, do as Fort says).

jim thornton
April 21st, 2009, 11:22 PM
Jim, thank god! Let me reiterate, a little bit louder this time!

Drive for show (as in the 25k, 1560 and/or 1650, etc.) and putt for dough (as in the 100, marquee event, where a .06 second victory is to swimming what the pleistocene era is to the geological time scale.)

I am quite sure that rested you could have gone faster! Maybe even .05 seconds faster. I am also quite sure you, well, DIDN'T!

Ah, the crowing of a weakling! What a wonderful sound to the ears of the weaking who makes the crowing sound!

Ian, I must say that when I saw that you had posted a reply, my heart leapt up.

A bidding war! I thought. George and Ian have to come to fisticuffs over the rights to adopt me and call me son!

Alas, the only good news in your missive was that you did wear a B70, and despite incredibly good times, it didn't make a tremendous amount of difference.

I am left praying that I, similarly be-suited, might soon experience tremendous time drops too, at which point I guarantee I will proclaim that the suit did not make any appreciable difference for me either!

Zip! Nil! Nada! Bupkis!

I will swim not for personal glory, though--only to make you proud enough of my efforts to reconsider the adoption matter that is so very close to both of our hearts.

Like an East German begging to be free of his nation's tyranny, please Ian! Do not forsake your greatest admirer! Allow me to escape the land of impoverishing freedom of markets if not souls!

Oh, and it goes without saying I am George's greatest admirer, too.

And for that matter, given his proximity to cheap pharmaceuticals available at every bodega without a prescription, the epic distance swimmer Jim "Long Drive Champ" Clemmons as wel--one year or two years my senior, 06 seconds my inferior, but in every other way my very defintion of a hero and favorite rich uncle who knows how to help his nephew! And I don't mean tough love! Quite the opposite.

The Fortress
April 21st, 2009, 11:33 PM
A purely subjective wild ass guess is that the suit itself is worth something like 0.1 secs per dive and turn and 0.3 secs per 50m swum at my pace.

However the suit is one of many factors:

This year’s time = Last year’s time + age time effect – new tech suit effect – sprint specific coaching effect – weights benefit +/- training effort


I think there is some discrimination going on here ...

When I say things like this, I get a laundry list of reasons why I am extremely delusional. But you got off scot free, Ian!

Jim is BS-ing you though. He has had a great year in the pool. No reason for it not to continue, despite the hypochondriasis.

Carry on with the wine drinking and fast swimming!

Chris Stevenson
April 22nd, 2009, 02:55 PM
Alas, the only good news in your missive was that you did wear a B70, and despite incredibly good times, it didn't make a tremendous amount of difference.

I am left praying that I, similarly be-suited, might soon experience tremendous time drops too, at which point I guarantee I will proclaim that the suit did not make any appreciable difference for me either!

Zip! Nil! Nada! Bupkis!

Thinking about my last meet, I have come to realize that these suits are truly miraculous.:bow:

I wore a tech suit on my first event of the meet and then wore briefs only for all other events.

Now, it goes without saying that the tech-suited event was my best of the meet.

But consider!!! My best brief-clad race was the one immediately following that race. And my worst brief-clad race was the last one of the meet!

What other conclusion can we draw from this, other than the fact that the effects of this incredible technology last well beyond the time you actually wear the suits??? The longer it was since I last touched, felt or smelled the suit, the worse my performance.

As a matter of fact, I had a mild case of sniffles before my first race. GONE! And so was my mild elbow pain!

I pity those who attempt to train in any "old school" manner. I have knowledge of ongoing experiments...these are secret, pending publication, but I feel compelled to share some of the results: actually practicing in the water is no longer necessary!

All you need to do is roll out of bed, put on the suit, get back in bed and grab another 30 minutes of sleep. With a proper-fitting suit, the results of this behavior are completely indistinguishable from spending an equivalent amount of time training in the pool. Or lifting weights.

Experts were divided as to the mechanism, but the several speculated that the suits hampered breathing, resulting in hypoxic training.

And we all know what that's worth.

jim thornton
April 22nd, 2009, 10:08 PM
Thank god, Chris. Finally you are talking sense!

I hadn't thought about the sniffing of the suit, but I now plan to sleep the night before with the B70 wrapped tight as a sleep hat around my head, mouth, and nostrils.

Just as the magic shoes helped that clod footed ballerina dance as if inspired by the gods themselves, look for a slightly less mediocre than usual performance from this aging Zonesman this weekend!

Unlike Mohammad Ali, I will not predict exactly what round my old PR for the 200 freestyle will fall.

But you might want to look at me at the 137 yard point in the race, at which point I can virtually guarantee that the elapsed time will be less than my lifetime best final time for the 200!

jordangregory
April 29th, 2009, 04:30 PM
For the first time I have recently had an ex-competitive sprinter (NCAA from the early 90's) as a Masters coach. He 'manages' the reps and sets I swim (or don't swim) in a lane with mostly fast 30 & 40-something middle/long distance women. (FINA masters top 10'ers or equivalent). I go last in the lane so don’t get in the way.

After my first serious meet of the year, I can report that it makes a huge difference to follow a 'coach-managed sprinter program' within a standard master's set-up. As has been said here often, the 'managing' has to do with how much to sit out (rest) and which reps to do at what pace (mostly when to go easy or really fast).

Especially important was how he managed the taper period (two weeks in this case) – no thinking required; just follow the coach's orders.

Anyway it worked well - at age 68, this weekend I did an LCM 50 free in 27.50, LCM 100 in 1:02.81 & LCM 50fly of 30.68 – improvements over my times two years ago of 27.90, 1:04 something & 31.02 respectively. The right coach can indeed delay the ravages of aging - except for fly swims. I'm still trying to figure out fly; maybe I should get a monofin….

A spin-off benefit of a coach who knows what he is doing is that I have been more consistent in attending practice (3 x /week) and dragging myself off once a week to the weight room (not coached). I know I should do more, especially weights – it does help.

Ian.

Ian,
Would love to hear more about how your coach manages the spinters. I am always trying to find new ways to get faster.
Does your coach have sprinters off by themselves every day? Once a week?
What was your taper like?
Greg

Ian Smith
April 29th, 2009, 09:40 PM
Ian,
Would love to hear more about how your coach manages the spinters. I am always trying to find new ways to get faster.
Does your coach have sprinters off by themselves every day? Once a week?
What was your taper like?
Greg

Greg,
Perhaps I'm lucky in that I go last in a lane with three (max 4) others who are younger and are middle/long distance, all-strokes swimmers. They are slower than me in a 50m but miles faster in anything over 100m. i.e. I need more rest than them in practice even (especially!) for 25m or 50m reps.

It is easy for the coach to manage me since I am the only ‘sprinter’ he tracks and I am going last in the lane, so can stay out of the way of the others. I can sit out 50s or leave 10 or 15 seconds behind them if I want to speed up, without interfering. They are used to me and know what I'm doing so that helps.

Here is one example using some of our typical SCM times (Hey, we’re not that fast!! this just shows the principle)

……..if there is a set of say 6 x 100 on 1:45 (a tightish interval for me if I'm swimming all on 1:20 – I would not be able to speed up much if some reps had to be faster than others) The others can swim all 6 in 1:15 but the coach might ask for the 3rd and 6th one to be hard. I can get those down to 1:10-1:13 as do the others. i.e. I come down from 1:20 to 1:11 say, and they come down from 1:15 to maybe 1:09. And he plays with the intervals, squeezing and/or relaxing them depending on where we are with respect to target meets.

This uses 100s as an example but he does this sort of thing with all distances 25, 50, 75, 125 etc and with different strokes & kicking, pull, skulling etc. The result is that closer to race time 1:45 does not seem as tight anymore and you can crank up the speed when needed. There is some speed work at every workout, even during the aerobic build-up phase early in the season.

He intersperses the fast, shorter stuff (as in the 6x100 above) with "active recovery", longer "stretching out" 200s free or choice. While the others all do the 200’s, the coach has me do 150’s (more rest for me allowing to be faster on short stuff) and in taper sets, maybe only very easy 100’s. (more rest yet)

The taper is pretty standard – shorter and shorter with higher intensity and longer rest (+ active EZ recovery) as you approach the meet. My lane mates get antsy when we do 50’s on 1:30 so in the interspersed longer distances they can swim harder for longer – this keeps them happy (but makes them stale in my opinion, but what do I know about over 100m)

To help me figure out fly I may do free/fly in some 25m combinations when others do IM or back (they are fast enough). Although, I almost never do more than 25m fly at a time but usually a brisk pace. Again, I can do speed while they are working hard on evil stokes & the like.

Prior to the current coach, it was pretty well fitness/triathlon type training but what he does here with me may not be manageable in other programs. Per week, I have two coached sessions of 1 ¼ hours and one uncoached with a triathlon group where I make my own mods to their workout with the same strategy as above.

I hope this helps (BTW, Ande has good stuff on sprinter training in his SFF series),
Ian



Ian