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Couroboros
March 24th, 2009, 06:50 PM
Meet's on Friday, I think. I just started swimming on a team in January and I've done nothing longer than 100 at the four meets I've been to so far. I looked at the events board and turned to my coaches and said, "There must have been some kind of mistake..." Recently, in my "I'm new" thread, I said I wanted to up the ante. Apparently, some divine power was listening.

What strategies do you all have for me? Please give me something, Masters forum, because I'm CLUELESS! Help me, Obi-Wan Kenobi, you're my only hope. //Leia

I feel like Indiana Jones after he's picked off a bazillion baddies and then finally the real big, tough baddy appears onscreen and Indy just kind of looks up like, "Awww, come on... let's just go have a beer, man..." while slowly putting up his fists for what he knows will be a very painful thrashing.

pwolf66
March 24th, 2009, 07:01 PM
For your first 500:

1) Take the first 100 out relaxed then try to build by 100s.
2) Tight streamlines off each wall
3) Kick for the first 5 yards off each wall then ease off the legs
4) Breathe, breathe, breathe. Every cycle (2 strokes) if you can, or at least every three strokes if you can bi-lateral breathe effectively
5) Long, strong strokes.
6) At the 450 mark start to bring the legs in

Relax and have fun

hnatkin
March 24th, 2009, 09:27 PM
You still have 2 days - if you can, try to work in a couple of timed 500s in practice, so you can taste the pain of a longer distance swim. If you take it out too hard, you will choke at the end. You need to know what the right pace to start out with feels like (it will feel slow compared to that 100 pace) such that you can sustain it through the entire race.

Good luck!

KEWebb18
March 24th, 2009, 09:52 PM
Look at it as a new adventure. You may end up liking the challenge of the "middle-distance" events.
Good luck, stay relaxed, and don't worry about swimming fast, just swim your best.

smontanaro
March 24th, 2009, 11:37 PM
That's one thing I liked about the broken 500s I swam over the past couple weeks. I split them up as 200, 150, 100, 50 with a fixed rest between (10s, typically). Since each
successive segment is shorter I should, in theory, be able to swim it at a bit faster pace. Still, time will tell. I've never done a 500 in competition before.

pwb
March 25th, 2009, 12:02 AM
For your first 500:

1) Take the first 100 out relaxed then try to build by 100s.
2) Tight streamlines off each wall
3) Kick for the first 5 yards off each wall then ease off the legs
4) Breathe, breathe, breathe. Every cycle (2 strokes) if you can, or at least every three strokes if you can bi-lateral breathe effectively
5) Long, strong strokes.
6) At the 450 mark start to bring the legs in

Relax and have fun

This is very sound advice. The 500 is one of my favorite events; if it wasn't for the 400 IM, it would be my favorite.

For your first one, just be very careful on that 1st 100. Even now, after having swum too many 500s in my career to count, I am consciously trying to go easy on the 1st 100.

I find that counting my strokes each length helps me to keep on pace, keep relaxed and ensure #5 above.

An ideal first 500 would have you negative split this, so you come into the wall feeling strong and powerful and thinking, "No more of these little sprint events. From now on, I'm maximizing my entry fee and swimming the lovely 500 whenever possible!"

Enjoy it and report back.

Speedo
March 25th, 2009, 10:25 AM
For your first 500:

1) Take the first 100 out relaxed then try to build by 100s.
2) Tight streamlines off each wall
3) Kick for the first 5 yards off each wall then ease off the legs
4) Breathe, breathe, breathe. Every cycle (2 strokes) if you can, or at least every three strokes if you can bi-lateral breathe effectively
5) Long, strong strokes.
6) At the 450 mark start to bring the legs in

Relax and have fun
Although I don't swim the 500 these days, this would be a great place to start I think. As a lurker, I listened to pwolf's advice this last weekend for the 200, specifically; "Use the free speed off the turns" and will employ that in the future. I think that's what #2 above addresses.

ande
March 25th, 2009, 10:47 AM
What strategies do you all have for me?

a 500 is just ten 50's, not a big deal, it's a 5 - 6 minute race

you're hairy,
shave your arms, legs, chest, & back

wear a tech suit, at least pro legs, preferably a full body

Breathe often

Take long smooth strokes
Fast turns
Push off hard & glide far

Correctly split your race / proper pace.
First 50 easy, breathe often, save your legs
hold your 2nd, 3rd, 4th, 5th, 6th 7th & 8th 50's even
keep them with in 0.4 of each other
pick up your 9th 50
sprint your 10th 50
when you slice and dice your times
your 100's should be close to each other
your 250's should be close to each other 4 seconds or less

the biggest mistake novices make is
they swim too hard on the front end of their race and get too tired.
They go out fast and dies

Proper pacing is critical.

Have fun.

Settle into a sustainable pace.

smontanaro
March 25th, 2009, 01:30 PM
a 500 is ... a 5 - 6 minute race

For some folks it is. The agony is a bit longer for the rest of us. :afraid:

Skip

qbrain
March 25th, 2009, 02:10 PM
Sprint ALL OUT on the first 50 and then try to finish the race :)

Promise, it will be a learning experience. One you will never forget.

-- real advice starts here --

Paul's advice is pretty good unless you are not a good kicker. If you are not a good kicker, don't kick any more than you would in warm up until the end of the race. If you think your kick is decent, then it is safe to follow Paul's kicking advice.

Definitely breath as often as you would like.

orca1946
March 25th, 2009, 02:12 PM
First of all - have fun!! Do a pace that you feel good with & start to go faster @ the 350 mark .Tell us how you do.

gigi
March 25th, 2009, 05:17 PM
Couroboros (sp? I can't see the top post anymore) thanks for asking this question! I'm also swimming my first 500 this weekend and I'm digging all this advice you got. I've done a ton of 1/2 mile and mile + open water swims but never a 500, so I'm glad to have this advice.

Good luck to you
and good luck to me

Thanks for the advice everybody

rtodd
March 26th, 2009, 10:22 PM
The advice here is great.

The more 500's you do, you will find that it is actually a pretty "short" race. You don't want to go out too hard and die, but go out too easy and you quickly find the race is nearing conclusion and you can't make it up.

Long strong easy speed in the beginning 250 and then start building tempo and effort to bring it home, with the last 100 at gut wrenching intensity.

jim thornton
March 26th, 2009, 11:27 PM
I agree with Patrick and Paul. However, just for the sake of giving you some other possibilities, here are two opposite strategies I have gotten over the years:

1) From my coach and friend Bill White: Go hard the whole way. Me: But that's going to hurt! Bill: It's supposed to hurt. I took Bill's advice, and got my best time ever, but I was in probably the best distance shape of my adulthood.

2) From my friend Glenn Battle, whom I asked how to swim a 500 when you are not in the best of shape:



0-50: Smooth and fast, just a tiny bit out of your comfort zone.
50-150 smooth and EZ (by this he means in your comfort zone--no sense of lactate build up)
150-200 fast (just a week bit out of your comfort zone)
200-350 smooth and EZ
350-400 fast
400-450 smooth and EZ
50 sprint (well out of your comfort zone)

This actually lets me do a decent 500 early to mid season. I like the fact that you always have something to look forward to! It also keeps your mind so occupied by math that it distracts you from pain.

Putting both these together, I will probably try an amalgmated strategy at my upcoming races. It will be based pretty much on the strategy Mark Vagle provided for the 100:

first 300 Controlled, smooth effort
from 300-400 Stay relaxed, long, streamlined, and smooth
final 100 build to all out sprint with whatever I have left
(and hope the borrowed B70 makes up for any weaknesses in my character)

pshepard
March 27th, 2009, 09:02 AM
I also started swimming in January, and will be swimming the 500 next weekend. Thanks for the posts. I thought the information was relevant. I have done the 1650 free before, but since I never did it before, I didn't take it out too fast. I may take the 500 out a little faster. I have done a 300 in a warm up, so an extra 200 isn't that bad.

flippergirl
March 27th, 2009, 12:08 PM
The advice here is great.

The more 500's you do, you will find that it is actually a pretty "short" race. You don't want to go out too hard and die, but go out too easy and you quickly find the race is nearing conclusion and you can't make it up.

Long strong easy speed in the beginning 250 and then start building tempo and effort to bring it home, with the last 100 at gut wrenching intensity.

I am swimming my first 500 too and just sat down one more time before I hit the road. I now have a plan based on a plan and things are lookin up.
Thank you all for your great advice. You just have to believe... I'm actually smiling! bye and good luck Courobous and Gigi and all!

Couroboros
March 27th, 2009, 07:26 PM
Over!

ande, a 5-6 min race, whaaaaa? Probably for those seasoned dudes. :)

I clocked in at 7:57. A teammate told me it was impressive that I got it under eight minutes and my coach said it was great for a new guy, which is exactly me.

Honestly, I feel like I could've got it under 7 if I wanted to, but I'm still so unfamiliar with the event. I probably took it way too easy. By the time first place finished (he was in the lane next to me), I was starting my eighth 50. Next time, I shall raise the bottom and ceiling. Where I excelled- keeping the 50s timed very closely together.

edit: and dangit, I feel ridiculous that I still haven't progressed to flipturns. I am going to make those my number one priority now.

all in all, I'm very glad my coaches put me in for a longer distance event. All I've swum so far are 50s or 100s thus I was beginning to wonder if the coaches believed I had any endurance potential, which I suppose is silly since of course I do. I really, really want the skill to maintain high speed for longer and longer amounts of time because lately I've been feeling like a firework that flashes really bright for a split second and then goes pitch black.

edit 2: know what? Maybe I misheard... it might've been 6:57. The 500 sure didn't feel as long as eight minutes. ??? There was another teammate that told me I got it in the seven minute range...

Good luck to all of you who still get to swim it! :)

gigi
March 27th, 2009, 07:42 PM
Hmmmm
Under 8 minutes on your first time out, doing open turns, feeling like you took it way too easy...
sounds like you've found your event!

congratulations!

Couroboros
March 27th, 2009, 07:45 PM
Oh okay so I guess it was the 7:57. I'm severely deaf, heh.

I've found my event, huh? I guess this means more 500s. :agree:

Thank you!

rtodd
March 27th, 2009, 08:22 PM
Great job! It's a fun event.

Post your splits when you get them.

KEWebb18
March 27th, 2009, 09:46 PM
GREAT SWIM!

Iowamaster49
March 29th, 2009, 12:48 PM
I'm 49 and had my first masters meet in January. I just completed the Iowa State Championships yesterday. My 500 times were nearly identical at 5:50 and 5:51. I was hoping to drop time, but it didn't happen. I stayed on pace through 300 but started losing it fast after that. It sounds like maybe I'm taking it out too fast since I'm a long ways from negative splits! The meet started at noon, so all I had was breakfast at 8:00 and nothing the rest of the day except gatorade. With 5 events between 1:00 and 5:00 I didn't know when to eat or what to eat!

jim thornton
March 30th, 2009, 10:40 AM
Scott, if you died noticeably after the 300, you definitely took it out too fast. Just slowing down a bit in the beginning can make a big difference in the finish. You might have to consciously tell yourself this otherwise adrenaline takes over.

In terms of eating, eggs seem to be pretty sustaining for me on meet days. Then I take a couple packets of Gu (one of those gels) and pop one periodically throughout the day. This helps me make it through without bonking.

Good luck!

orca1946
March 30th, 2009, 02:51 PM
Not too bad for a start. Good job.

orca1946
April 5th, 2009, 02:37 PM
Splits will give us something to work with.

Dabrodster
April 6th, 2009, 10:53 AM
For your first 500:

1) Take the first 100 out relaxed then try to build by 100s.
2) Tight streamlines off each wall
3) Kick for the first 5 yards off each wall then ease off the legs
4) Breathe, breathe, breathe. Every cycle (2 strokes) if you can, or at least every three strokes if you can bi-lateral breathe effectively
5) Long, strong strokes.
6) At the 450 mark start to bring the legs in

Relax and have fun

Wish I had this info earlier :D
I've only swam one 500 and it didn't go too well lol....
I'll use the next time though and I'm sure it will help tremondously!
Thanks for the info!

Couroboros
April 9th, 2009, 11:50 PM
Uh, no times on the splits, sorry. I wish I had 'em. Pretty low-tech where I was at.

I may be doing another 500 tomorrow. I'm not nervous. Odd. Let's see how many flipturns I can do. :)

knelson
April 10th, 2009, 03:48 PM
I didn't know when to eat or what to eat!

I think the best advice is to eat something small often. Things like fruit, granola bars, Clif Bars, etc. work well for me.

Couroboros
April 10th, 2009, 08:21 PM
Back! I did my second 500 free. Already. I am very happy with the results, but I still want to do even better.

On my first, my time was 7:59. And today's was 7:29. A full 30 second drop. I used a grand total of two flipturns, on the first two 25s. My first 100 was 1:16. In comparison, my 100 free back on Jan. 31 was 1:19. I didn't even sprint on the first 100!

My 50 free time dropped too, to 30.04 (previously 31 something). I used a flipturn. I am happy with the time but I am also banging my head on the pool deck that I didn't just cough out a little more effort to get that under 30.

KEWebb18
April 10th, 2009, 08:23 PM
That is great! You swam really well. Wait until you do flip turns the entire 500 :applaud:

qbrain
April 10th, 2009, 09:14 PM
Congrats Couroboros!

Take the hit and start doing flipturns all the time in practice. You might need more rest initially, but it will really pay off in your next meet.

Have you stopped shrinking yet?

Couroboros
April 11th, 2009, 01:36 AM
I am still shrinking! 185 lbs, 15.5% body fat. Of course, in a way, I'm getting bigger, too, and that's just fine by me. As I've been getting rid of fat and loose skin, plus swimming all this time, my body has been stretching itself out and returning itself to normal posture. It's nice waking up in the morning, going over to the wall, and finding I'm 6'3 (happens about every other morning now).

I've discovered I really like the 500 free. I still love doing the really short stuff, of course, but with the longer stuff, there's more strategy, I think. Plus, for an audience, the longer events seem to have more sustained excitement, like today when a teammate was neck and neck with another swimmer in the 1000 free for the whole race and beat him to the wall by less than a second.

But I do love me some sprints.

Bobinator
April 11th, 2009, 08:45 AM
Good job and great improvements!
Two pieces of advice!
1) Start doing flip turns!!!!! It makes alot of difference and you sound like you want to improve! Every time you do them you will get better....you have to start somewhere!
2) Go ahead and swim the 1,000, it's twice the fun! :) This year my 500 split in the 1,000 was always faster than my open 500. (It was also the first race of the meet/500 was the last) :2cents:

jim thornton
April 11th, 2009, 11:02 AM
Note: I tried to post this as a message on your home page, but it was too long, so I am just posting here on this thread instead:

Hi, Mr. C. Hey, for what it's worth, I just want to congratulate you on incredible commitment to, and improvement in, the sport of swimming.

I am working on what might prove to be my final Men's Health article, this one on the benefits of masters swimming to guys in the MH demographics, and you might just be the Iconic Figure to whom I am trying to reach/speak/inspire with this story.

The editors moved up my deadline, but would you keep in mind the remote (but, in my mind, plausible) possibility of me interviewing you at some point as a quintessential beneficiary of swimming for youngish guys? Possibly even put you in your own sidebar?

My email address is Jamesthornton1@comcast.net. If you have a second and would be up for this--again, not promising anything because the decision is the edtor's, not mine--could you send me your before and after swimming stats-- weight, bmi, state of health, self confidence levels, level of chick magnetization, etc.

It seems to me you really have benefitted greatly already--and the best is yet to come! Thanks, Mr. C. And I must say, it's been sensational watching your progress. You are an inspiration to us all!

geochuck
April 11th, 2009, 12:52 PM
What I would like to know is it the elite Master swimmers that are healthier or the Master swimmers who swim for physical fitness and may or maynot compete???

I was a very poorly conditioned swimmer until I was 29 years old. Never able to do a lot of swimming as a young person. Even though I did swim in the Olympics in 1956 at 23 years of age.

At 29 I switched from low volume training to high volume training inreased distance work along with swimming repeat 100s in around 1 minute and became faster in 50s and 100s then when I younger.

Even though I have #2 Diabetes and high blood pressure which are both controlled by diet and medication. Blood pressure is usually 123 over 72. I feel better then I did when I was in my 30s although a little more wobbly at times. It does correct itself when I do increased levels of swimming biking and walking.

jim thornton
April 11th, 2009, 01:48 PM
Perhaps I could get my editor to let me do two bookending sidebars: the Geochuck and the Couroboros swimming experiences--and how the sport contributes to robustness and resiliency and perhaps chick magnetism on both ends of the male demographic spectrum!

I will get back to you if I still have a job on Monday.

Couroboros
April 16th, 2009, 07:44 PM
Third 500 all done. 7:37.13. I would've gotten under my previous time of 7:29 but I did not have a counter and somewhere in what turned out to be my seventh 50 I lost count. :bitching: I ended up stopping at the wall after the ninth 50 and I could hear the guys on deck yelling that I had one more.

And I have splits...

36.08
1:17.75 /// 41.67
2:03.12 /// 45.37
2:51.54 /// 48.42
3:40.39 /// 48.45
4:27.09 /// 46.70
5:14.83 /// 47.74
6:03.95 /// 49.12
6:50.72 /// 46.77
7:37.13 /// 46.41

Animal
April 16th, 2009, 07:55 PM
You swam a very good race, split wise, especially the 46s at the end. A good race.:)

Rykno
April 17th, 2009, 07:38 AM
And I have splits...

36.08
1:17.75 /// 41.67
2:03.12 /// 45.37
2:51.54 /// 48.42
3:40.39 /// 48.45
4:27.09 /// 46.70
5:14.83 /// 47.74
6:03.95 /// 49.12
6:50.72 /// 46.77
7:37.13 /// 46.41

I'd try working on getting all of your splits under 48.5 then slowly work on under 48 and so on. .5 seconds time 9 gives a 4.5 sec improvement every time you swim.

good luck

pwolf66
April 17th, 2009, 09:04 AM
Third 500 all done. 7:37.13. I would've gotten under my previous time of 7:29 but I did not have a counter and somewhere in what turned out to be my seventh 50 I lost count. :bitching: I ended up stopping at the wall after the ninth 50 and I could hear the guys on deck yelling that I had one more.

And I have splits...

36.08
1:17.75 /// 41.67
2:03.12 /// 45.37
2:51.54 /// 48.42
3:40.39 /// 48.45
4:27.09 /// 46.70
5:14.83 /// 47.74
6:03.95 /// 49.12
6:50.72 /// 46.77
7:37.13 /// 46.41

First off, nice swim.

Now, how did that 3rd 50 feel? I'm a little concerned over an almost 10 second drop from the front 50 to the third 50. Since it appears that you can hold about a 48 second pace per 50, I would suggest that you go out a little easier on that first 50. I think that having a 5-6 second difference first 50 to third 50 would lead you to be able to hold a faster pace thru out the race. The last 2 50s, with 46 pace also indicates that you might be going out too fast then backing down too much. Try to smooth out the downshift.

jim thornton
April 17th, 2009, 09:59 AM
You could try a descending set of 100s as a kind of test:

start wherever you feel super comfortable. for example:

2 x 100 on 2:10
2 x 100 on 2:05
2 x 100 on 2:00
2 x 100 on 1:55
2 x 100 on 1:50
2 x 100 on 1:45
2 x 100 on 1:40 (at this point, you're average :50 per 50 yards)
2 x 100 on 1:35 ( " 47.5 per 50)
2 x 100 on 1:30
and so forth, dropping by 5 seconds every 2 x 100, until you can't make it any more

then work hard in your practices for a month or two, and do the test set again. you'll probably penetrate deeper into fast territory, and it will help you get the feel of a sustainable pace

pwolf66
April 17th, 2009, 11:13 AM
2 x 100 on 1:40 (at this point, you're average :50 per 50 yards)
2 x 100 on 1:35 ( " 47.5 per 50)


Only if the swimmer is coming in right at the interval and is getting zero rest. Training for the 500, I would suggest that at least once a week you swim a broken 500 as 10x50 where you swim each 50 at your target pace, for you I would think that this would be approximately 45 per 50. I would start with 20 seconds rest after each 50. Then decrease your rest and/or pace as you progess.