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Rykno
April 7th, 2009, 06:59 AM
I thought about "Ask Ande", but then I thought this might turn into a long topic depending on who replies.

alot of times when someone says they died in the last 50 of a 200, the responses are overwhelmingly slow down the first 50, or take it out slower to save yourself.

but I plan on taking a different approach to improving my times. Work on being able to finish my race. I have accepted the fact that for me to sprint under :27 or under 1:00 would take lots of speed work. but I only swim freestyle for fun and training for OW. I prefer IM and breast. Here is my currrent situation: 35 yrs old SCM

masters best 50m free 27.53

masters best 100m free 1:00.85

I got my 200 time down from 2:14 in nov 2008 to 2:10 in april 2009. But my split was 1:01.8.

29.44, 1:01.80 (32.36), 1:35.52 (33.72), 2:10.95 (35.43/1:09.15)

the first response I got from my teammates was you took it out too fast since I came back 7 sec slower. But did I go out too fast, or did I just not swim the last 100 or 75 to my best ability?

I felt I took it out nice and easy with long strokes. I started to pick up the arm speed for the 3rd 50, but maybe that was a mistake, maybe since I can't sprint I should have just increased the depth of my pull instead of the speed of my stroke.

I won't be swimming SCM again until sept/oct but I plan to try to swim it :
29.5 + 32.00 + 32.5 + 32.5 --> 2:06.5 (1:01.5 + 1:04 )

one of the 17 yr olds on our team swims the 50 and 100 around my times, 27.3 and 1:00.25 but he manages to swim the 200 in 2:07.61.

qbrain
April 7th, 2009, 09:01 AM
How did you kick during your race?

I think you should have ideally split 30.5, 32.5, 32.5, 32.5, giving you a 2:07high or a 2:08low, 1:03 + 1:05.

You took it out too fast, but the arm speed might have been fine, you might have given it too much kick the first 50.

Practice splitting well, and remember what you are telling yourself mentally, so you can tell yourself the same thing during the race.

For example, I used tell myself to go slow, don't kick on the first 50 of my 200. Mentally, I thought I was going slow, but in reality, I was so hyped up on adrenaline that I was going out much faster than I felt.

flippergirl
April 7th, 2009, 09:18 AM
How did you kick during your race?

I think you should have ideally split 30.5, 32.5, 32.5, 32.5, giving you a 2:07high or a 2:08low, 1:03 + 1:05.

You took it out too fast, but the arm speed might have been fine, you might have given it too much kick the first 50.

Practice splitting well, and remember what you are telling yourself mentally, so you can tell yourself the same thing during the race.

For example, I used tell myself to go slow, don't kick on the first 50 of my 200. Mentally, I thought I was going slow, but in reality, I was so hyped up on adrenaline that I was going out much faster than I felt.

So you actually don't use your legs at all in the first 50? You only use you arms?

smontanaro
April 7th, 2009, 09:26 AM
One of my coaches at the Northwestern masters program (former LSU swimmer) told me that she would do a 200 build by adjusting the way she kicked. No kicking on the first 50, kick your legs off during the last 50. I think your arms just sort of follow along.

(Running is the same way, at least for me. If I want to up my tempo I focus on swinging my arms faster. My legs might complain but they tend to just follow along, until they give out, of course.)

In both cases you need to make sure that your main power source keeps the same (or roughly the same) "stride length" - doesn't shorten up too much.

Syd
April 7th, 2009, 09:32 AM
Rykno, last October in an LCM meet, I went 2:10:33 . Out in a 1:01:44 and back in a 1:08:89. Almost identical to you. This is what Ande had to say:


yes you definitely can split your 200 better
1:01:44 1:08:89 is a 7.45 sec diff
which is too wide,

you want to keep your 100's within 0 to 4.0

you probably went too hard on the first 100 & it cost you on the 2nd 100
you want to go out smooth and easy, breathing often light kick
so you're fast but feeling good at the 100
swim a strong 3rd 50 and bring home that last one
ideally your 2nd, 3rd and 4th 50 should be very close or even descended
with better splitting you should be able to go 63 65
with more conditioning and speed you'll be even faster I think the key is conditioning. The first 100 is no problem. The difficulty lies in being able to maintain that pace for the second 100. Ideally, I would like to go out in a 1:01 and come back in a 1:04. So I work on it the whole time. I do broken 200's in practice and try and get that second 100 as close to my goal time as possible. If I swim a set of 100's, on the last one, I will go for my race pace back-half-100 time. When I am exhausted at the end of a training session, I do a 100 for time and see how close I can get it to 1:04. I do race pace 200's, too and get times for every 50 so I can see where I am slacking off the pace and all the time I try to narrow the gap between those 100 splits.

You have to concentrate on your stroke. It is so important not to let it fall to pieces. It will only increase the pain. On that third 50 it is very important to keep it smooth and long. No thrashing. I try to extend my reach as far as possible, really work that EVF, keep the hips up and head down. Breathing should be rhythmical. On that final 50, you can go hell for leather.

qbrain
April 7th, 2009, 09:47 AM
So you actually don't use your legs at all in the first 50? You only use you arms?

Hey flippergirl, there is a difference between what I am telling my body and what my body is actually doing. My kick is pretty weak the first 50, but it does exist.

I will give you an example.

First 50, go slow, no kick.
Second 50, build, no kick.
Third 50, strong, start kicking.
Fourth 50, all out, hammer the kick.

That pattern used to result in the last 3 50s being evenly split, and the first 50 being about 2 seconds faster than the others. The first half of my race, my kick is just strong enough to provide balance and rotation, not aide in speed.

At the beginning of the year, I started working on my kick seriously. My kick is now strong enough that I need to replan my 200, because my splits look like a pyramid. It is a good problem to have in my book.

Chris Stevenson
April 7th, 2009, 10:06 AM
I got my 200 time down from 2:14 in nov 2008 to 2:10 in april 2009. But my split was 1:01.8.

29.44, 1:01.80 (32.36), 1:35.52 (33.72), 2:10.95 (35.43/1:09.15)

...

I won't be swimming SCM again until sept/oct but I plan to try to swim it :
29.5 + 32.00 + 32.5 + 32.5 --> 2:06.5 (1:01.5 + 1:04 )

one of the 17 yr olds on our team swims the 50 and 100 around my times, 27.3 and 1:00.25 but he manages to swim the 200 in 2:07.61.



I think the key is conditioning. The first 100 is no problem. The difficulty lies in being able to maintain that pace for the second 100. Ideally, I would like to go out in a 1:01 and come back in a 1:04. So I work on it the whole time. I do broken 200's in practice and try and get that second 100 as close to my goal time as possible. If I swim a set of 100's, on the last one, I will go for my race pace back-half-100 time. When I am exhausted at the end of a training session, I do a 100 for time and see how close I can get it to 1:04. I do race pace 200's, too and get times for every 50 so I can see where I am slacking off the pace and all the time I try to narrow the gap between those 100 splits.

I think there is more than one good way to split a race, if your mentality and training is such that you like to take it out and hold on, that's okay...if you do enough lactate tolerance training and can hold your stroke when tired.

I would slightly adjust your goal splits: 29.5/32.5/32.5/32.5. You'll have no trouble going out in 29.5, the key is to train your body to hold 32.5 with "easy speed" and when tired.

Syd gives you good advice to start you on your way. I would add two pieces of advice:

-- try broken 200s with decreasing rest (eg, 8/6/4 secs at the 50/100/150). I find this can somewhat reproduce the feeling in a 200 race. Try to hold 32.5, ideally on your feet if you have a coach to time (I find it difficult to get a time on the feet without a coach to help).

-- try 200s broken at the 100, with 10-15 sec rest, close to race pace and not letting your 100s get too far apart. You probably won't be able to go quite at race pace (if you can do 1:05/1:08 in-season, I think that would be pretty darn good) but it is good lactate-tolerance training. A slightly-easier alternative is to take 10 at the 100 and 5 at the 150.

Oh, and I don't know your age...but I would advise against comparing yourself to 17-year-olds in terms of splitting. There are teens whom I can beat in most practice sets -- even the longer ones -- and whom I can beat in a 100 race. But they can thrash me convincingly in a 200. I don't think it is just a matter of conditioning but of physiology as well, I think age generally tends to degrade 200s more than 100s. That's just my experience, anyway (I am 44).

Good luck.

CreamPuff
April 7th, 2009, 10:08 AM
How does one know if poor splitting is due to a training issue or a race strategy issue?
Perhaps wide fluctuations or *dying* at the end are due to training issues. . .

quicksilver
April 7th, 2009, 10:30 AM
Dying off on the back half of a 200 certainly has to do with training issues.
But also to consider is that there has to be an economy of energy expenditure. Controlling the flow of energy reserves is a bit of trial and error.

If the analogy of a balloon were used...You can't let all the air out right away.
Saving some release towards the end ensures that it's not entirely empty before the race is completed.


And that said, sprinters and distance swimmers often have an entirely different strategy. So it's not easy to compare how everyone's game plan is mapped out.

smontanaro
April 7th, 2009, 10:33 AM
One of my coaches at the Northwestern masters program (former LSU swimmer) told me that she would do a 200 build by adjusting the way she kicked. No kicking on the first 50, kick your legs off during the last 50. I think your arms just sort of follow along.

(Running is the same way, at least for me. If I want to up my tempo I focus on swinging my arms faster. My legs might complain but they tend to just follow along, until they give out, of course.)

In both cases you need to make sure that your main power source keeps the same (or roughly the same) "stride length" - doesn't shorten up too much.

CreamPuff
April 7th, 2009, 10:43 AM
Controlling the flow of energy reserves is a bit of trial and error.

And that said, sprinters and distance swimmers often have an entirely different strategy. So it's not easy to compare how everyone's game plan is mapped out.

I found that with proper training I know where I am in a race. Trial and error is figured out in practices. . .

That's an interesting thought on sprinters vs. distance swimmer strategy.
If your strategy is this for the 200 -
1st 50 EZ speed (typically you'll be out first in your heat in the first 50)
REALLY Work the 2nd and 3rd 50s
Sprint last 50

Is that sprinter or distance strategy?

To smontanaro's point regarding legs, do the top masters 200 FR swimmers (let's say #1 in the nation and world record holders) all 6 beat kick the entire 200? I thought they did. . . perhaps there's some variation on intensity of 6 beat - but it's 6 beat (I'm talking up to perhaps the 40s age groups).

hofffam
April 7th, 2009, 10:52 AM
When you get on the blocks you have to race the best you can. At that moment you can't do anything about the training that got you there. The only thing you can control is race execution which includes splitting.

So yeah it would be great to say increase your fitness to split 101/104 instead of 101/108. But you can't do that at race time. So Ande's advice is probably spot on. If you go out in 101 and die with a 108 that means you don't have the fitness to go out that fast. 102/106 might be a better race.

Some people will split wrong no matter what. If you improve fitness, will the 101/108 turn into 100/107? I suggest it pays, no matter what, to learn to split your races smart.

quicksilver
April 7th, 2009, 10:59 AM
Is that sprinter or distance strategy?Hmmm?...In the 200, most sprinters by nature will go out and fast and suffer the consequences.

Smart sprinters (having learned not to crash and burn) will go out with the pack and try to use their sprint gear on the last 50.

Distance people seem to churn through the race...like machines.
Steady even splits. Fast and steady. No jack rabbit with death by piano.

ande
April 7th, 2009, 11:02 AM
here's my response (http://www.usms.org/forums/showpost.php?p=176076&postcount=1203)

hope it helps you,

Ande

knelson
April 7th, 2009, 11:18 AM
I think if you want to swim a fast 200 free you really need to take it out hard. Your 100 split was only a second above your fastest 100, and that may have been too aggressive, but I don't think it's totally out of whack.

Here's how Phelps split his 200 free at Beijing:
50.29 1:42.96 (52.67)

That split is about 2.5 seconds slower than he can swim a 100 free. Phelps is not known as a rabbit. If anything he has a tendency to be out in the middle of the pack. If you remember this race, however, he led from the start.

In your case it is clear that you did pay the price for that first half speed. You probably would have been faster if you held back a little. HOWEVER, I think if you really want to improve you 200 free you should be thinking about what it will take to bring it back faster rather than concentrating on being out slower.

quicksilver
April 7th, 2009, 11:42 AM
if you really want to improve you 200 free you should be thinking about what it will take to bring it back faster rather than concentrating on being out slower.great advise.

ande
April 7th, 2009, 12:13 PM
Phelps was incredibly conditioned in Beijing,
his 100 free was 47.5
his first 100 of his 200 was 50.29,
2.8 seconds slower.

adjusted for RYKNO
x / 60.8 = 2.8 / 47.5
x = 3.5

so if you're as well conditioned as Michael Phelps
go out 3.5 seconds slower than your 100




I think if you want to swim a fast 200 free you really need to take it out hard. Your 100 split was only a second above your fastest 100, and that may have been too aggressive, but I don't think it's totally out of whack.

Here's how Phelps split his 200 free at Beijing:
50.29 1:42.96 (52.67)

That split is about 2.5 seconds slower than he can swim a 100 free. Phelps is not known as a rabbit. If anything he has a tendency to be out in the middle of the pack. If you remember this race, however, he led from the start.

In your case it is clear that you did pay the price for that first half speed. You probably would have been faster if you held back a little. HOWEVER, I think if you really want to improve you 200 free you should be thinking about what it will take to bring it back faster rather than concentrating on being out slower.

nkfrench
April 7th, 2009, 02:56 PM
My 2c vote is that your training doesn't include enough lactate tolerance work. Some broken 200's (4 x 50 with 5-10 seconds rest) may help you with pacing. These are very fatiguing types of sets requiring a good foundation of basic conditioning but if you survive them, they do make you faster.

Rykno
April 7th, 2009, 05:51 PM
thanks for all the responses.

I will definitely start doing more lactate sets and broken 200's in april and may before my next meet. it will be hard to compare times since it will be LCM.

after reading through all the posts, I realized something, I am not able to swim fast at practice. or maybe I don't give myself enough rest because I am trying to get in 4-5000m in 90 minutes.

I can swim 10x100 start 1:40 holding 1:15 but if I swim the first one in 1:08-1:10 then the next one will be 1:12 and then slowly end up at 1:17-1:18

I can even swim 10x100 start 1:30 holding 1:20. for some reason I can swim almost anyset 1:20

I think it's definately time to start trying to swim under 1:10 more often in practice. as well as swimming more broken 200's.

someone I swim with thinks its funny that I can barely swim a 50 from a push under :32 but I can swim a 200 from a push at 2:24 splitting 1:11/1:13

all these tips seem like they would help with any 200 free, breast och IM.

I dropped 2 secs in my last IM race even though my first 50 was nearly a second slower. that shows it does pay to take the first 50 out slightly slower. I was able to lower my back, breast and free splits.

Long term goal is still 2:06, but I'll work on trying to swim it 1:03/1:05 then 1:02/1:04 maybe by then I will have gotten my 100 time to 59 low.

Gdavis
April 7th, 2009, 07:04 PM
Here's another perspective. How about moving up to racing a few 400s and then moving back down to 200? For me the 200 is an intriguing mid point between the sprint and middle distance, rather than the "extended sprint" that younger swimmers can consider it. Training for and racing some 400s might help extend your ability to sustain pace at the back end. I'm not suggesting stopping work on sprint and 200 specific conditioning, just complementing it with some longer stuff. IE you zero in on the 200 the race from both sides - up from 100 and down from 400. For me there is also a psychological benefit - if I can do a decent 400, I have confidence to go really hard on the back end of a 200. (BTW Like qbrain I also find that the first 50 sort of takes care of itself and the race seems to be all about getting into that sustainable last 150 pace.)

Rykno
April 8th, 2009, 01:41 AM
funny that you mentioned the 400. I only get to swim the 400 and 800 2-3 times a yr. so it's been a real slow learning curve.

the reasons I have goals of under 1:00 and getting down to 2:06, is that I want to swim the 400 under 4:30 and it will take for me something like 2:12/2:18 currently at 4:41

my 800 goal time is under 9:40, currently at 9:54 down from 10:26 last yr