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humanpunchingbag
October 8th, 2009, 10:27 AM
I have been following a few training logs here and I note a heavy emphasis on "race-pace" training with ample recovery time. I have to assume this works well since the people posting are swimming far faster than I. so here is the question: when performing a high intensity set like that, is the emphasis on maintaining the speed, taking as much recovery time as you need to keep up the speed, or should you maintain the selected turn-over time and struggle to maintain the speed in the face of increasing fatigue? If you are finding a pace too steep to maintain the speed, do you slip to a slower pace, or should you just take a break and restart the set at the same pace after a bit of recovery? I am specifically refering to speed sets done at 90 percent of race-pace or better.
The same question should be applied to stroke technique: as I fatigue my stroke tends to break-up a bit (Ok: a lot). In training should I select paces that allow me to always maintain a "perfect" stroke, or should I push into the "red zone" where I am fatigued enough that my stroke is getting ragged? BTW: my "ragged" stroke is quite a bit faster than my technical stroke, but it really is quite "splashy". My daughter actually calls me "Dr.Splashy" when she teases me.

qbrain
October 8th, 2009, 10:47 AM
My opinion is that you take as much rest as you need for speed work, and swim distances that allow you to maintain your race quality stoke. If you want to do 10 repeats, and on #10 you can only hold it together for 25 yards, then do 10x25, not 10x100. There are several people here who like Xx25 on 2:00, several people did 3x100 on ~6:00 last week and I do a main set that is 1x200 AFAP about once a week.

If your splashy stroke is faster than you perfect stroke, you need to figure that out. When you stroke falls apart, it should be slower, not faster, otherwise you would want to fall apart. But a great problem to have.

Sprint training is a completely different philosophy than "normal" training to me. When I get in the water for a sprint workout, it is much more a meet mentality. Just get ready for the main set, hammer out the main set, everything else is pretty easy recovery/drill type work.

dsyphers
October 8th, 2009, 10:49 AM
Great topic! I'll be very interested in the seasoned veteran/coach replies. I've only been back to swimming for a little over a year, and have confronted this same question. I came up with an answer that seems to work for me, and have moved my times down a lot, but I really would like to see what people with more experience have to say. I'm looking forward to this thread!

BR KnuckleDragger
October 8th, 2009, 10:57 AM
You definately want to mix up your sets:

Aerobic sets ie - 10 x 100's with 20 - 30 sec rest intervals (holding or descending your times) If you can hold a 100 Free in workouts on 1:10 then swim these on the 1:30

Anaerobic sets ie - 6 x 100's with 10 second rest intervals. If you can hold a 100 Free in workouts on 1:10 then swim these on the 1:20

Race sets ie - 4 x 100's with 2 - 3 minute rest intervals (trying to achieve your race time) If you can hold a 100 Free in workouts on 1:10 then swim these on the 3:00 and try to go under 1:00 for each swim.

My take...

bamueller
October 8th, 2009, 04:24 PM
I am not really sure I am sold on this concept, but what I just read says that high-intensity training is better for us then higher volume (longer yards/meters). http://www.pponline.co.uk/encyc/0952.htm

I am not sure I buy into it 100%.

I am willing to try more sprint work on my off days rather than just rack up yards like I have been doing. It does make sense that, "if you want to swim faster in meets, you need to swim faster in practice," but at some point you need to have a good aerobic base, which equates to more yards in my book.

BR KnuckleDragger
October 8th, 2009, 04:55 PM
I wasn't saying you just swim 10 100's, it was an example of one type of set that you should mix up. You need to train your muscles aerobically, anaerobically and then push them to anaerobic threshold (race pace). That way you are training your fast and slow twitch muscles.

I read that Jason Lezak swam 2000 yards/meters a day to get ready for Beijing; Pure quality race sets.

It doesn't make any sense at all for a sprinter or a stroke specialist to swim endless slow yards. I believe that's what we did in the 80's.

Intensity is more important than yardage.

That is what our youth was for, developing our aerobic base.

Chris Stevenson
October 8th, 2009, 05:20 PM
at some point you need to have a good aerobic base, which equates to more yards in my book.

I do my fair share of aerobic work; there are even times I'll jump in with the age-groupers and do a 7k-8k workout. I think it is valuable, but generally I think of aerobic work as mostly important for (active) recovery.

I certainly do not think of these types of workouts as "building my base." My aerobic base is just fine for the races I swim, and even longer races. As proof, I never have trouble making even the most challenging long AG workouts, which in my mind proves that my aerobic base is just fine. (I'd have more trouble doing them 10X a week...but I think that ability is almost meaningless for pool races).

If I were training for something like 10K open water swims, maybe I would think differently.

Bottom line: doing high-intensity repeats up to the distance of your chosen race DOES improve your aerobic base. There have been all sorts of studies to show that. It isn't like doing (say) race-pace 100s stresses ONLY your anaerobic system, even though you are well above lactate threshold.

To address the OPs question, I think there are basically two reasons to do "race-pace" or "race-intensity" sets (the difference between these two is subtle).

-- To work on your technique at the speeds you will be using in a race. You want to make sure that your efficiency doesn't drop as (say) turnover increases. Also you need to do things like turns and breakouts at race speeds. Working on these things at slower speeds is good when making a change and building "muscle memory" but eventually you need to do them at race speeds.

-- To spur physiological adaptations to high lactate levels. (There may be other adaptations but I don't know enough about this field to say.)

For the first reason, you need to take as much rest as needed to achieve race pace. You don't necessarily need to do it over the whole race distance (if you can do a race at goal race-pace in practce...you need to set new goals!).

For the second reason, though, you could theoretically produce LA levels similar to what you get in a race without quite getting at race-pace; I call this "race intensity." I'll give you an example: in our practice we will often do the following two sets:

-- 10 x 100 on 2:00 from a push, go for best average; work:rest ratio is about 1:1
-- 5 x 100 on 4:00 from the blocks, go for best average; work:rest is about 1:3

Certainly I can hold a significantly better avg on the second set. But by the end of the first set I am hurting pretty badly, and I am sure that my LA levels are as high as they get in races even though I wasn't going quite race-pace.

If you plotted LA profiles over the course of the sets, I bet you would find greater spikes in the second set but that the overall levels were pretty similar. Both sets have similar (tho not identical IMO) phsyiological effects in producing LA-tolerance.

One caveat: the less rest you get, and the longer the set, the harder it is to push yourself well beyond lactate threshold. At some point you are no longer training for 100s & 200s but for longer races (400IM, 500 free, and longer).

Anyway, all this is my :2cents:. Ignore as you see fit!

Allen Stark
October 8th, 2009, 05:21 PM
When you are doing race pace work definitely adjust the rest to maintain the pace,otherwise you are just training yourself to swim slow and/or sloppy.My solution to the"aerobic base" problem is to do long slow stuff in Jan and Feb and never take significant time off to decondition.

The Fortress
October 8th, 2009, 06:33 PM
I am not really sure I am sold on this concept, but what I just read says that high-intensity training is better for us then higher volume (longer yards/meters). http://www.pponline.co.uk/encyc/0952.htm

I am not sure I buy into it 100%.

I do. And it works well for me.

That said, I am a sprinter. For me, medium paced aerobic sets are largely worthless. I do them on occasion as part of a recovery workout or with my team. Right now, my workouts consist almost exclusively of AFAP sprints w/mega rest, recovery swimming and some hypoxic/SDK work. I also do a large percentage of kicking.

Very thoughtful post, Chris.

aquageek
October 8th, 2009, 07:02 PM
I'm in week 2 of a new routine that I think might take hold. I do high aerobic, but just shy of sprinting, shorter sets 2-3X/week. 3X a week I do a more traditional Masters workout which is longer yardage and diversity of stroke/speed/pace, etc.

As of right now I'm digging the diversity. We'll see if it sticks, hope so.

My two favorite, or hated, sets are 10 X 300 on a tight interval for high pace and 5 X 100 on 5:00. Both hurt like the mother scratcher but seem to be good for me. It's pretty hard to top 5 @ 5:00 for a quality set.

My philosophy - do what you hate and you are bound to improve.

Jazz Hands
October 8th, 2009, 07:07 PM
Fatigue is the most overrated element of training. Suffering is not the thing that makes you faster. I'm with those who prefer to call it "practice" rather than "workout" to emphasize the primary goal of training. Take more rest.

aquageek
October 8th, 2009, 07:23 PM
Fatigue is the most overrated element of training. Suffering is not the thing that makes you faster. I'm with those who prefer to call it "practice" rather than "workout" to emphasize the primary goal of training. Take more rest.

I actually agree with this. If you can't give it a good effort due to fatigue you should back down to something manageable. A fatigued workout is just misery.

ehoch
October 8th, 2009, 07:26 PM
Since I am one of the big "race pace" proponents, I am going to add my 2 German cents -

I think it's pretty shocking how few yards many swimmers spend at race pace or faster. All the other yardage is simply done to get ready for these sets. A 100 sprinter needs a base (small base), so he can do more race pace stuff and recover faster.

Just swimming "fast" is not swimming at race pace. Race Pace is just that - you have to maintain the same pace as your goal in your "target race" - same number of strokes per length- same turnover.

You can not do that, if you swim a set in the same distance as your target race. So if you are a 200 swimmer - you can either do broken 200s or swim 100s with tons of rest. 100 swimmers can do broken 100s or just 50s.

Example - 200 swimmer wants to break 2:00. Let's say you swim a set of 100s from a dive, you have to hit your target going pace on every one (add maybe a second for suit / shaving) or at least 59s to the foot !

Or the same swimmer does a set of broken 200s from a push -- all the 50s need to 30.5 or faster with as little rest as possible.

Chris has more of a distance swimmer focus / plan: I could not hold my 200 race pace on 4x100 every 4 minutes -- he seems to be able to do so, each person is different.


I am not really sure I am sold on this concept

You do some base in the beginning of the season, depending on your main event - if you don't do race pace stuff at least 6-8 weeks out from your meet, you are in trouble.

orca1946
October 8th, 2009, 07:42 PM
Splashy is the hands making this not the under water pull!

Herb
October 8th, 2009, 08:22 PM
For some reason I can't convince myself to do multiple reps at race pace. If I am going all out I want to do it just once and see what my time is. Once a week starting a month out from the meet I might do 1x200, 1x100, 1x50 free and 1x50 fly (the events I do).

But I suppose I've got to start doing sets like 5x100 on 5:00 or 10x25, if the evidence backs it up. I know I suck compared to most everyone else here so that should be evidence enough. At the same time, I do wonder if for someone like myself that has just recently come back if I get more out of continuing to build up my aerobic base more and more because that is what I feel like I need.

The Fortress
October 8th, 2009, 08:30 PM
I get more out of continuing to build up my aerobic base more and more because that is what I feel like I need.

This is what every master reflexively seems to think ... I'm not sure why ... 80s hangover? Train all the energy systems, but if you don't step up the race pace work, it's difficult to get faster at your distances.

Ehoch,

You do race pace throughout the season, right? Not just the last 6-8 weeks out? I think we all agree that Chris is not necessarily humanoid in the pool ...

Herb
October 8th, 2009, 09:19 PM
This is what every master reflexively seems to think ... I'm not sure why ... 80s hangover?

...70s hangover. In all the years and countless yards of age group swimming (the last time I swam competitively), I don't know if I ever did any true sprint sets.

The Fortress
October 8th, 2009, 09:25 PM
...70s hangover. In all the years and countless yards of age group swimming (the last time I swam competitively), I don't know if I ever did any true sprint sets.

I had a 70s hangover as well ... But I love masters because I got to rid of that hangover/distance mentality, train completely differently now and really mix it up. So much more fun and varied than endless sets of 10 x 200 fly. And much more bang for the buck.

humanpunchingbag
October 9th, 2009, 12:17 AM
...70s hangover. In all the years and countless yards of age group swimming (the last time I swam competitively), I don't know if I ever did any true sprint sets.

I definetly have 70s hang over. I like big meters. But the time has come to dispense with the big meters (actually, in another 5000 meters I will have completed 1 million meters this year and will have reached my stupid goal, so now is the time to reset my goals. This year is speed). So I want to illustrate my point (even though my questions have been aswered perfectly,thankyou).

This morning I knocked off 4600 meters in about 1 hour and twenty minutes. I stole a set from Chris and mixed in some stuff I just like doing because.... I just do. Keep in mind that my only real goal is to go a sub 5:00 400 meters free. I would really like to go 4:50 or better. There was a time I dreamed about going sub 1:00 for a 100 meter back, just like I did back in the day, but then I actually swam 100 meters back in a race. Dreams do not die all that hard when you are pushing 50.

I warmed up with 500 meters kick/ stroke drill, trying to stream-line off every wall for 5 to 10 meters. (500)

I did 400 meters at race-pace plus. My final time was 5:25. Not great, but exactly where I wanted to be for this set.(500+400/ 900)

I cooled off with 500 meters kick fly-flutter kick mixed by 100 (900 +500/1400)

I did 2x200 meters; attempting to split substantially faster than I did the 400 straight. 2:35 for both and I definetly was feeling numb by the last fifty of both. Not bad: my goal is a sub 5 minute 400 free, therefor I was just off race-pace.(1400+400/1800)

I cooled down with 500 meters kick/ stroke drill, working on stream-lining again.(1800+500/2300)

Then 4x100. Cut the splits again. All four were 1:16, but not as painful. Likely I was not pushing hard enough. By this time I should have been below my goal time for race pace.(2300+400/2700)

Another 500 kick (2700+500/3200)

Then 8x50. Cut the splits to well below my 400 free race pace. Cruising in at 35s and 36s. Not bad, not great. Was still huff and puff, but not that numb, can't feel your legs pain that, to me, means lactic acidosis.(3200+400/3600)

I finished the session with an easy 10x100 pull working on my stroke and stream-lining.(3600+1000/4600 total)

So my question comes in: the fifties. I did a similar set the other day: 10 x 50meters on 50 seconds, trying to maintain 35 seconds (faster than race pace for my 400 free). I got to the fifth rep and was done. I had to take a breather and start all over. I managed the 10 fifties but felt I had crapped out by taking the extra minute breather at the half way. Today I managed to make all 8x 50 without the break, but I stepped the turn-over back to 55 seconds. WAS THIS JUST ANOTHER COP-OUT? Or did I do it right: maintain the speed and allow myself more recovery to do so? (BTW: I do several sets each week with more rest going as fast as possible)

So here is another question: if time is at a premium, say you have one day a week where one hour is absolutely all you are going to get in the pool, how do you manage your time most efficiently? Do you get in there and do a 70s style grinder, trying to cover as much distance as you can in that 60 minutes, or do you do a nice warm-up and then burn up the pool with high intensity speed sets? (I recently came across an article in a MMA combatives magazine showing some scientific data that documents greater benefits from short duration, high intensity training versus lower intensity, longer duration. I think I might know this answer already)

Allen Stark
October 9th, 2009, 12:32 AM
If your goal is to get in as much yardage as possible do that,but you said your goal is to swim fast,so swim fast.Your "cop out" idea is old(obsessional?) thinking.The goal in the workout is to train your body to go the speed you want in the race.Swimming slowly or sloppily won't forward that.I do think that lactic acid tolerance sets are good for sprinting if not done too often.My "favorite"(I hate these)is 50s on the min all out as many as I can do and have some semblance of a good stroke(usually 6-8).I do these with fins to let my body know this is different from race pace(and to shred my legs.)

Speedo
October 9th, 2009, 07:15 AM
in another 5000 meters I will have completed 1 million meters this year .....

This morning I knocked off 4600 meters in about 1 hour and twenty minutes. ...

Keep in mind that my only real goal is to go a sub 5:00 400 meters free. I would really like to go 4:50 or better. ....

Today I managed to make all 8x 50 without the break, but I stepped the turn-over back to 55 seconds. WAS THIS JUST ANOTHER COP-OUT? Or did I do it right: maintain the speed and allow myself more recovery to do so?....
IMHO, you are in desperate need of some speed training. Take it from a recent convert. You are doing a tremendous amount of yardage for someone who isn't going under 5:00 for a 400m free. Don't get me wrong- I'm not knocking you, I just think you need to ditch the old-school, "face down" mentality and incorporate more quality training (and subsequently less yardage) if racing is your goal. You will save time in your workout and get more speed in your 400. :2cents:

psyncw
October 9th, 2009, 08:06 AM
I am in full agreement with everyone on race pace training. It is SO frustrating knowing this will help my swimming and get me closer to my goals, and then show up at workout day after day to sets with 10 secs rest no matter what the set is. Both the coaches and lane mates complain if they get too much rest! "oh you got 20 secs rest on that, we need to adjust the interval."

I know this is very common for other teams and many swim on their own to train properly which really diminishes the social aspects of swimming. Maybe for those in the PV area, we should set up workout team with this type of training? What do others PV swimmers think?

pwolf66
October 9th, 2009, 08:30 AM
I am in full agreement with everyone on race pace training. It is SO frustrating knowing this will help my swimming and get me closer to my goals, and then show up at workout day after day to sets with 10 secs rest no matter what the set is. Both the coaches and lane mates complain if they get too much rest! "oh you got 20 secs rest on that, we need to adjust the interval."

I know this is very common for other teams and many swim on their own to train properly which really diminishes the social aspects of swimming. Maybe for those in the PV area, we should set up workout team with this type of training? What do others PV swimmers think?

You sound like you swim for the same team I do. The lack of race pace work is extremely frustrating. Whenever there is any thing 'fast', the interval doesn't change and in some cases the interval is even shorter to compensate for all that 'rest'

The Fortress
October 9th, 2009, 08:42 AM
I am in full agreement with everyone on race pace training. It is SO frustrating knowing this will help my swimming and get me closer to my goals, and then show up at workout day after day to sets with 10 secs rest no matter what the set is. Both the coaches and lane mates complain if they get too much rest! "oh you got 20 secs rest on that, we need to adjust the interval."

I know this is very common for other teams and many swim on their own to train properly which really diminishes the social aspects of swimming. Maybe for those in the PV area, we should set up workout team with this type of training? What do others PV swimmers think?

I hear this ("that's too much rest") sometimes at my team practices. However, our coach is reasonably good about getting in some quality work. We even do fast stuff off the blocks now. One thing I'll do on occasion if I want to take a generic aerobic set and make it a quality set is to wear fins. Then my speed is up and I get plenty of rest. Of course, this may piss off your lane mates. Or maybe they'll understand what you are trying to accomplish.

It would be fun to have a "race pace" workout group, but the logistics would be difficult with the PV area being so large.

qbrain
October 9th, 2009, 08:53 AM
(I recently came across an article in a MMA combatives magazine showing some scientific data that documents greater benefits from short duration, high intensity training versus lower intensity, longer duration. I think I might know this answer already)

You do.

A lot of MMA fighters are underconditioned aerobically. They need to be able to go near full throttle for 10, 15 or 25 minutes, with about a minute break every 5 minutes. You need to be able to go full throttle for a little over 5 minutes since the 400M is a target race of yours. Luckily, you only have to go one round.

Keeping that in mind, you are not copping out on the 10x50s set, but if that set is to train for the 400, what should your goal be for the set? If you are training for increased speed, ignore your goal time, hammer out AFAP 50s and take lots of rest. If you are training race pace, treat it like a broken 400, hold 37s, and see how little rest you can get away with.

That workout you posted was pretty tough. Another thing that we weren't allowed to do when we were kids was recover, instead swimming broken down for months before tapering. When lifting, it is common to rest to near full recovery before lifting again so that the muscle is stronger the next time around allowing you to push a little harder each workout. Someone who lifts everyday splits their body parts up, or never develops much strength. Doesn't it make sense that swimming would be the similar?

qbrain
October 9th, 2009, 09:08 AM
I am in full agreement with everyone on race pace training. It is SO frustrating knowing this will help my swimming and get me closer to my goals, and then show up at workout day after day to sets with 10 secs rest no matter what the set is. Both the coaches and lane mates complain if they get too much rest! "oh you got 20 secs rest on that, we need to adjust the interval."

I know this is very common for other teams and many swim on their own to train properly which really diminishes the social aspects of swimming. Maybe for those in the PV area, we should set up workout team with this type of training? What do others PV swimmers think?

You could pull and Ande and skip repeats to get the work to rest ratio you want. The problem with this is if you want to do anything longer than a 100, it starts becoming very likely that you are going to be lapping people on your fast stuff, and then sitting out the next one. Kinda annoying.

I think most people want the aerobic benefits of swimming. They are "glorified lap swimmers" to borrow a term from Fort. Then there are the OW, tri and D swimmers, none of which usually want or need sprint training. Swimmers who want sprint training are out numbered. This is probably why you see so many solo practices by sprinters.

pwolf66
October 9th, 2009, 10:13 AM
I think most people want the aerobic benefits of swimming. They are "glorified lap swimmers" to borrow a term from Fort. Then there are the OW, tri and D swimmers, none of which usually want or need sprint training. Swimmers who want sprint training are out numbered. This is probably why you see so many solo practices by sprinters.

Speed is speed and training to be faster in a 50 will translate to being faster in a 100, 200, 400, 1000, 1650, etc.

aquageek
October 9th, 2009, 10:24 AM
Speed is speed and training to be faster in a 50 will translate to being faster in a 100, 200, 400, 1000, 1650, etc.

I don't know about this wolfy. As a general rule I can see that as the case as devoting more time in the water should increase your overall speed. But, I've seen plenty of hot shot sprinters try the 500 or really the 1000 or 1650 and come totally unglued with less than impressive results. But, the sprint training probably got them to the point of being able to try something different, which is what you may be referring to.

pwolf66
October 9th, 2009, 10:39 AM
I don't know about this wolfy. As a general rule I can see that as the case as devoting more time in the water should increase your overall speed. But, I've seen plenty of hot shot sprinters try the 500 or really the 1000 or 1650 and come totally unglued with less than impressive results. But, the sprint training probably got them to the point of being able to try something different, which is what you may be referring to.

I over simplified but assuming that the swimmer has a base of training then being able to swim a 50 faster should create an increase in ability to swim longer distances. It's not going to be a direct relationship. I.e if I can swim a 50 1 second faster then I should be able to swim a 200 4 seconds faster.

bmswim
October 9th, 2009, 10:46 AM
I am a believer in high intensity race pace sets with lots of recovery. FWIW i am a sprinter.

My dilemma is that I am training a swimmer for the 500 yd Freestyle and do not have as much experience in this area. I have been training him for the past 2 years. At the start of training his time was around 6:45 - 6:50. We have got him down to a tapered time of 5:00.17.

He took over 3 months off of swimming and has just returned (been in the water for about 7 weeks of training). He as been swimming 5000 - 7000 yd practices 4-5 days per week w doubles twice a week. On the days that he does doubles, the second practice is short recovery (1200-2500 yds).

His most current meet time is a 5:26. This is about what I expected considering his current workload and the 3 month layoff.

Currently I am considering dropping his yardage to the 3500-4500 yd range and work more on his speed than endurance. I was planning on doing this for 3-4 weeks of training (high intensity/high recovery sets). How much will this effect his endurance? Any suggestions or opinions will be greatly appreciated. Thanks

pwolf66
October 9th, 2009, 11:17 AM
Is he doing any race specific training? Such as broken 500's of 5x100 with 15s rest between, goal of holding target pace? Or 10x50's same thing?

bmswim
October 9th, 2009, 11:24 AM
Yes, in-fact he has done the 5 X 100 set several times. He usually does this set on 1:20 and averages the 100s @ 1:06-1:07. He has also done this same set on 1:10 and was able to hold 1:08. I just feel he is lacking in speed. His best 100 so far this season has only been :55. I would like to see him swimming :52-:53 before he tapers.

qbrain
October 9th, 2009, 12:33 PM
Speed is speed and training to be faster in a 50 will translate to being faster in a 100, 200, 400, 1000, 1650, etc.

That is total and utter crap to put it nicely.

My 50M free is 4 seconds faster than my wife's. My wife's 1500M free is 3 seconds faster than mine, using times at the same meet. That is a personal example, but plenty of similar examples.

You can easily benefit at one end of the spectrum at the expense of the other.

aquageek
October 9th, 2009, 12:49 PM
That is total and utter crap to put it nicely.

I don't think wolf was comparing one person to another, but one person to him/herself.

The Fortress
October 9th, 2009, 12:57 PM
That is total and utter crap to put it nicely.

My 50M free is 4 seconds faster than my wife's. My wife's 1500M free is 3 seconds faster than mine, using times at the same meet. That is a personal example, but plenty of similar examples.

You can easily benefit at one end of the spectrum at the expense of the other.

I think it would be frightening to see how slow I'd go in a 500 free ... :afraid: I don't think my 50 speed translates at all.

qbrain
October 9th, 2009, 01:12 PM
I don't think wolf was comparing one person to another, but one person to him/herself.

Thanks Geek, but it is still crap. Paul's example is valid for someone who is out of shape. If I am out of shape, running will improve my 50 free times because my physical condition is so bad. Can we overgeneralize a little further and just say exercise is exercise?

Your 50 time does not have to improve for your 1650 to improve and vice versa. If I stop swimming aerobic sets completely and adopt 8x25 AFAP on 4:00 only workouts, what will happen to my 50 and my 1650? What happens if I only train distance endurance sets of repeats 400 or further after that sprint training? Will my fast twitch response decrease thus hurting my 50 performance at the benefit of my 1650?

This thread is specifically about sprint training vs. old school middle distance training. If Paul's overgeneralization is really true, then there is no problem training 10x100 to get faster at the 50. Being able to hold the shortest rest repeat possible would be great, or at least as good as 3x100 on 6:00 AFAP, because speed is speed.

I am calling Paul out for doing a drive by sound bite. I know what he meant, but that differs from what he posted.

jim clemmons
October 9th, 2009, 01:15 PM
I don't think wolf was comparing one person to another, but one person to him/herself.

Absolutely.

ande
October 9th, 2009, 01:24 PM
"Dr.Splashy"

you wrote: "I note a heavy emphasis on "race-pace" training with ample recovery time."
~ ~ ~> yes if you've read Swim Faster Faster

Tip 01 is Swim fast in practice

Tip 03 should be named: Kick Fast in Practice

It works pretty well, but you don't need to do it every day, once or twice a week is enough. It depends on what your goals are.

When performing a high intensity set like that,
is the emphasis on maintaining the speed,
taking as much recovery time as you need to keep up the speed,
or should you maintain the selected turn-over time and struggle to maintain the speed in the face of increasing fatigue?
~~~> Do sets different ways on different days,
Coaches create "instructions" for sets &
make the rules then follow them.

A set made up of
+ Distance,
+ repetitions,
+ Stroke/s,
+ swim, kick, or pull
+ equipment,
+ interval & effort, &
+ instructions: how to do it, times to hold, things to do

Each set needs to fit in with the athletes daily plan & season plan

like 10 x 100 on 2:00
could have the following instructions:

1) best average which means hold around the same time, which starts out easy then gets difficult

2) descend 1 - 5, meaning get faster on each one, often coaches say
60%, 70%, 80%, 90%, 100%
you'd have wide drops maybe 1:12, 1:08, 1:04, :59, :55
Eddie Reese might say 83%, 88%, 93%, 95%, 98% or 88%, 90% 92% 94% 96%

3) best effort taking 4 dolphin kicks off each turn

4) EVEN SPLIT

5) FROM A PUSH OR FROM A DIVE

6) assign an activity during rest, like 15 sec vertical kick or get out and do 10 push ups or 10 press outs

7) assign a breathing pattern, breathe every 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8 or 9 strokes or breathe 1, 2, 3, or 4 times per 25

Coaches have dreamed up tons of ways to torture swimmers,
some instructions are easy, some are challenging, some stretch swimmers, & some are impossible

An athlete's performance on sets reveal their talent, focus, determination, mental toughness & fitness level.
Michael Phelps can do things in practice that are impossible for most swimmers.
Like
10 x 100 flutter kick with a board on 1:10

read the fast friday practices on my blog (http://www.usms.org/forums/blog.php?u=3156)
we very rarely do the same thing, but we do occasionally revisit sets.
I think it's good to do a few test sets, where you can compare your performance from earlier in that season or previous seasons


If you are finding a pace too steep to maintain the speed, do you slip to a slower pace, or should you just take a break and restart the set at the same pace after a bit of recovery?
~~~> When given a set, you need to start around the correct pace, if you start out too hard, you'll settle into a pace that's a little slower than what you could have held if you did it right.

I am specifically refering to speed sets done at 90 percent of race-pace or better. The same question should be applied to stroke technique: as I fatigue my stroke tends to break-up a bit (Ok: a lot).
~~~> Attempt to keep it together when you're falling apart,

you should maintain "perfect" stroke & go into the "red zone"
sometimes your stroke might feel ragged but it isn't actually that bad, though if you're swimming butterfly, you can definitely fall apart

I'll go on record and say meets are the best way to train. Enter them and do a few practices like you were in a meet.
Get in
warm up
get out rest 10 or 15 minute
step up and race an event
swim down
rest 10, 15, or 20 minutes
step up and race another event.
(repeat 2 or 3 more times)

Do lactate swims where you go very hard on lots of rest
like 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9 or 10 x 100 on 6, 7, 8, 9, or 10 minutes, best effort on each
which means step up and race, let the time be what it is. Don't hold back, but do split the swim right

Also keep in mind, each practice has a time budget, coaches have to fit work outs within the allotted time.

Hope this helps you,

Ande

gull
October 9th, 2009, 01:31 PM
There is an excellent section on race pace sets for specific events in Maglischo's Swimming Fastest.

aquageek
October 9th, 2009, 01:34 PM
Thanks Geek, but it is still crap.

Well, crap is a bit strong. I happen to agree with Paul. I have seen numerous examples where he is right. I think our own Jazzbone might be living proof with a pretty impressive 500. I happen to think if you train hard for a 50 or 100 you will see improvement in the 500, but maybe less so in the 1000 or 1650.

I did my first 1.2 OW race having never done more than a 200 and having trained only for 100s and 200s. But, that was probably me just keeping it real with my abilities.

The Fortress
October 9th, 2009, 01:37 PM
Well, crap is a bit strong. I happen to agree with Paul.

You just disagreed with him above! You have to admit "drive by sound bite" was pretty funny.

My first 1.2 OW race was comical. As I'm sure my hypothetical, never to be experienced, 500 would be. Consequently, I am going to stick to kicking your butt in the 100 back.

aquageek
October 9th, 2009, 01:42 PM
You just disagreed with him above!

Until his clarification, which I did agree with. Plus, it is Friday and I'm feeling agreeable now. And, Paul might beat me up since he outweighs me by at least a Clydesdale.

qbrain
October 9th, 2009, 02:03 PM
Well, crap is a bit strong.

Crap was the only thing I could come up with that wasn't already censored. But the next time I expect you to come to the rescue of a damsel in distress, I will tone it down. How is "an unknown brown smear on the sole of my new shoes." Is that more appropriate?


I over simplified

Can't you see I am just expounding on Paul's own admission Geek?

pwolf66
October 9th, 2009, 02:23 PM
Increasing speed over all distances can only be measured in the context of the specific swimmer.

How is it difficult to beleive that if you increase your speed in the 50, it is impossible to carry a portion of that speed increase into the longer distances? Again, I am NOT saying it's a direct linear relationship.

Every pool race is made up of 1 or more 50's strung together. The 50 is the building block for EVERY pool event. So improving your 50 time (be it an all up sprint or holding a faster pace) is the only way to swim faster over longer distances.

How's that crap taste now??????

qbrain
October 9th, 2009, 04:05 PM
Increasing speed over all distances can only be measured in the context of the specific swimmer.

How is it difficult to beleive that if you increase your speed in the 50, it is impossible to carry a portion of that speed increase into the longer distances? Again, I am NOT saying it's a direct linear relationship.

It is difficult for me to believe that if Grant Hackett stopped training like Grant Hackett and started training like Cesar Cielo that his 50 time would improve and his 1500M time would improve.


Every pool race is made up of 1 or more 50's strung together. The 50 is the building block for EVERY pool event. So improving your 50 time (be it an all up sprint or holding a faster pace) is the only way to swim faster over longer distances.


LOL, really? That has nothing to do with sprint training vs traditional training. If what you originally meant to say was that to swim faster you have to swim faster, well I will be happy to agree 100% with that.

BR KnuckleDragger
October 9th, 2009, 04:11 PM
[quote=qbrain;195962]It is difficult for me to believe that if Grant Hackett stopped training like Grant Hackett and started training like Cesar Cielo that his 50 time would improve and his 1500M time would improve.


Well actually Dave Salo at 'SC said Ous never trains for 1500's in workout by swimming 1500's...He strings together 100's trying to hold :58's

...RACE PACE...

qbrain
October 9th, 2009, 04:18 PM
Well actually Dave Salo at 'SC said Ous never trains for 1500's in workout by swimming 1500's...He strings together 100's trying to hold :58's

...RACE PACE...

Yeah, so? Are you contradicting me, or randomly quoting me?

The Fortress
October 9th, 2009, 04:19 PM
Well actually Dave Salo at 'SC said Ous never trains for 1500's in workout by swimming 1500's...He strings together 100's trying to hold :58's

...RACE PACE...

Sure, but he's doing them on short rest, which is traditional, no? I can't imagine he's "stringing" together 100s @ 6:00.

JimRude
October 9th, 2009, 04:37 PM
FWIW, following my annual August/September deconditioning ritual at Lake Tahoe, I spend the first 4-6 weeks of my season getting back into a semblance of shape. Most of this swimming is technique work, some short aerobic sets, and so forth.

From mid October through July, I would say that 90% or more of my swimming is either getting prepared to swim fast (aka warm-up), swimming fast (25s through 125s, with moderate or lots of rest), and recovering from swimming fast (active rest or warm-down).

I rarely swim more than 3,000 yards in a workout, and not more than 15-16,000 a week. My speed days consist of as much yardage as my recovery days, because of the "active rest" swimming I do.

I try to lift weights every other day, shoulder pain permitting.

YMMV, of course, because, as Fort would say, I am an "evil-stroker".:banana:

ehoch
October 9th, 2009, 05:12 PM
"that's too much rest"

Here is my response to that phrase - "if you think you are getting too much rest, you are swimming too slow. You should be begging for more rest."

Not sure who is on what side of the argument between gbrain and Paul - but in my experience, the limiting factor for getting faster for most senior level swimmers (not Masters) is lack of speed and not endurance. It is much easier to give a natural sprinter some endurance than giving the distance swimmer actual speed. Let's say you want to break 20 minutes in the 1500 Free -- or hold 1:20s -- you will have to be able to hold about 1:15s or faster in the 400 -- you will have to go in the low 20s for the 200 -- you have to go 1:10 or faster in the 100.

Somebody mentioned Hacket - 14:34 in the 1500 -- or 58.3. His best 100 is 50.2 or 51.7 from a push. His average 1500 pace is 12.7% slower than his max 100 pace. If your best 100 is 1:10 and you have Grant Hackett type of endurance, you can hold 1:19s.

I trained with Mellouli (well not with him - more behind him) in 04 -- he has great natural speed - he swam on 200 Free relays at NCAAs.

chaos
October 9th, 2009, 05:12 PM
our masters coaches like to mix things up a lot. my recent lane mates are smoking fast triathletes that shiver in 80 degree water... so they usually trim the rest intervals to single digits. i have to admit; i enjoy sets of 100's - 500's at a fast pace with a few seconds rest much more than i do "quality" or race pace sets. i hate, hate, hate tapering. i average between 40 and 50k per week.
of this i swim 5-6 sessions with a masters group, 3x solo pool or OW continuous swims. i value shivering as an isometric workout.
i haven't raced in a pool in a couple of years, but i'm pretty certain i could hit PR's in everything over 100yds. without "the suits".

aquageek
October 9th, 2009, 05:26 PM
i enjoy sets of 100's - 500's at a fast pace with a few seconds rest much more than i do "quality" or race pace sets.

Finally, someone who knows what they are talking about. Boo boo to the rest of you. This is the gospel, do not dispute it!

pwolf66
October 9th, 2009, 07:43 PM
It is difficult for me to believe that if Grant Hackett stopped training like Grant Hackett and started training like Cesar Cielo that his 50 time would improve and his 1500M time would improve.

You don't think that Hackett incorporated speed work in his training? But le's leave the top .1% of the 10% of the human race that swims out of the picture.

What I see from the traditional Masters swimmer is a hesitancy to do speed work. Thinking that the only way to get faster swimming the longer events such as the 500 and up is to swim more 500s and up. Neglecting speed training is missing a key ingredient in improving. Or as Ande says to 'swimming faster, faster'. Does that mean 100% of the time doing sprint training? Heck no. But does that mean there should be some all-up sprints in the training plan? Oh yeah.

qbrain
October 9th, 2009, 08:26 PM
Not sure who is on what side of the argument between gbrain and Paul

Me neither. I think we are both on the same side actually. Speed work is important and we are quibbling over technicalities in what was actually said.

aquageek
October 9th, 2009, 08:30 PM
Me neither. I think we are both on the same side actually. Speed work is important and we are quibbling over technicalities in what was actually said.

Oh, I got lost, thought we were just making fun of Paul and had abandoned the swimming aspect.

qbrain
October 9th, 2009, 08:40 PM
Oh, I got lost, thought we were just making fun of Paul and had abandoned the swimming aspect.

Abandoned is a strong word, but we were making fun of Paul.

Jazz Hands
October 9th, 2009, 08:46 PM
How is it difficult to believe that if you increase your speed in the 50, it is impossible to carry a portion of that speed increase into the longer distances? Again, I am NOT saying it's a direct linear relationship.

Every pool race is made up of 1 or more 50's strung together. The 50 is the building block for EVERY pool event. So improving your 50 time (be it an all up sprint or holding a faster pace) is the only way to swim faster over longer distances.

Yes. I look at it this way. In any race distance, you wish you could swim as fast as your 50 the whole time. The only thing holding you back is fatigue. Fatigue is an inability to maintain top effort and top speed. Endurance means that your drop off in effort/speed over time is more gradual. But if your top speed is higher, you can manage the same performance in a fatiguing distance as someone with less speed but more endurance, because you have more speed in the first place to give up to fatigue.

This is actually the reason I did a "fast" 500 at nationals. My 500 was not actually fast for someone with my 50 time. In fact, it was horrible, because I have horrible endurance. But it was also the fastest 500 of my life, because I used to swim it when my 50 was two seconds slower. Speed is speed.

aquageek
October 9th, 2009, 08:55 PM
But if your top speed is higher, you can manage the same performance in a fatiguing distance as someone with less speed but more endurance, because you have more speed in the first place to give up to fatigue.

I think I concur with this possibly up to a 500 but it is absolutely no guarantee in a 1000 and certainly not a 1650 or longer OW races, in the least. If you consider a 1650 is 33 X 50 then someone's top speed in an all out 50 is pretty much irrelevant. I say this in regard to folks who can do a sub :26 50, not someone who can go a :21 versus someone who can only muster a:40 on a 50 but has crazy endurance.

chaos
October 10th, 2009, 12:04 AM
I think I concur with this possibly up to a 500 but it is absolutely no guarantee in a 1000 and certainly not a 1650 or longer OW races, in the least.

when i first started swimming masters, i would enter all the freestyle events and was always distressed to get dusted in the 500 and 1000 by people who i beat handily in the 50 and 100. the 200... well nobody really cares about the 200 anyway.
while i can't claim much improvement over the last decade in the short stuff, my distance times continually improve....
today's main set:
5x 100 on 1:20 went :06, :05, :06, :07, :06 on 14 SPL
5x 100 on 1:15 went :07, :07, :07, :06, :07 on 14 SPL
5x 100 on 1:10 went :05, :07, :07, :07, :07 on 15 SPL

tomorrow, day off from swimming

sunday, 4-6 hour swim at coney island 60-61 degrees

monday, 5x 25 sprint from blocks on 5:00 (just kidding)

Chris Stevenson
October 10th, 2009, 07:29 AM
The 50 is the building block for EVERY pool event. So improving your 50 time is the only way to swim faster over longer distances.

Well, of course that isn't true. You can increase either raw speed or endurance or both. Last season my 100 times were significantly faster than previously and virtually all the improvement came on the back-half of the races.


in my experience, the limiting factor for getting faster for most senior level swimmers (not Masters) is lack of speed and not endurance. It is much easier to give a natural sprinter some endurance than giving the distance swimmer actual speed.

Well, "endurance" is too broadly defined the way both of us are using it. There are different aspects, like lactate tolerance, aerobic efficiency, etc.I think I have good lactate tolerance but I just can't crank our 100 after 100 (or 50 after 50, if Paul prefers) holding a fast pace like a true distance guy like Jeff Erwin. Jeff doesn't have much speed but seems to do okay in 400/500 and up...:)

It is an interesting thing to go to USS meets and compare. By USMS standards I am a middle-distance, 200-type of guy. 200 back, for example, is probably my best event, a shade better than my 100 times. But at USS meets that isn't the case at all: I am more of a "sprinter" and my 100 back and 100 fly times are significantly better (relative to competition, or various time standards) than the 200s. This supports your point about senior-level swimmers needing more speed.

I don't at all think masters swimmers are too "endurance" oriented; I think the longer events are generally slower than the shorter ones. This isn't a surprise, given the limited amount of time we have to train.

That said, I think far too few masters teams do race-pace training. (Which isn't quite the same thing as speed work, of course.)


In any race distance, you wish you could swim as fast as your 50 the whole time. The only thing holding you back is fatigue. Fatigue is an inability to maintain top effort and top speed. Endurance means that your drop off in effort/speed over time is more gradual. But if your top speed is higher, you can manage the same performance in a fatiguing distance as someone with less speed but more endurance, because you have more speed in the first place to give up to fatigue.

I don't think it is quite that simple. I think the optimum mechanics for a pure speed event are not quite the same as in a long event. In a sprint, for example, I'll generally sacrifice DPS for turnover.

********
The above comments are just quibbles, however. I am not trying to say speed-work isn't important: I think it is. And I agree with a lot of what is being said about it. But let's not go overboard: a fast 50 is not all you need to be a good distance guy.

It may not even be a requirement. Yes, all other things being equal, it is better to be able to call on some speed. At World Champs, I was amazed at the speed and incredible kick that the top distance guys would show on the last 50.

But I've known quite a few distance studs who were slow as molasses in short events (relatively speaking, of course). Some people are simply built to favor slow-twitch. And I think there is some evidence that too much endurance work is bad for sprinters, and vice versa.

I would love to do more speedwork. (Well that isn't true, I dislike it, but I know it is good for me.) But we only have a limited amount of time to train. Every practice we do 3 good sets, and one of those is usually a kicking set of some kind. So there is always the question: so I "spend" this set on speedwork or should I do something else that I need? I agree that speedwork is important but since I don't really like to race 50s -- they aren't real events, are they? -- sometimes it gets lost in the shuffle. (Of course the coach makes these decisions, I just go along for the ride. What complicates things for the coach is that -- being masters -- not everyone is at every practice.)

ourswimmer
October 10th, 2009, 03:36 PM
What I see from the traditional Masters swimmer is a hesitancy to do speed work. Thinking that the only way to get faster swimming the longer events such as the 500 and up is to swim more 500s and up.

This is a pretty big straw-man. I doubt anybody seriously thinks the way to get faster in the 500 is to swim repeat 500s. I am a decent miler among women of my age, and the only time I ever swim a nonstop mile is in a race.

Some people do think that the way to improve one's 500 is to work on dropping the interval upon which one can repeat 10 x 100 on minimal rest, and you are probably right that most such people should do more sets of 5 x 100 on tons of rest, even if we hate hate hate them.

SolarEnergy
October 10th, 2009, 08:55 PM
Speed is speed and training to be faster in a 50 will translate to being faster in a 100, 200, 400, 1000, 1650, etc. I agree here, at least to a large extent
It's not going to be a direct relationship. true that. But the relationship is nonetheless stronger than most triathletes (for example) would think.

while some seem to see crap ( :) ) through this statement, I see a real silver bullet for large number of triathletes.

In fact a lot swimmers having learned to swim as adults (which is the case for most triathletes coming into the sport from running or cycling background) never had the chance to learn how to swim fast. Those for whom holding 1:30/100 (a dream for many triathletes) is no problem tend to forget that at early age, they went through a lot of short distance high speed work. We grow up sprinting, develop our feeling for water as well as a specialized muscle balance through sprinting, and tend to start building real endurance on these gains little later in age.

While this principle remains true for those who are still in their learning process, for accomplished and highly trained swimmers the relationship may be weaker (for some), if not reversed. (e.g. well trained mid distance swimmer, the 50 under 27 the 400 under 4:10 over focusing on the 50m may see a drop in mid distance performances)

But anyone who's not capable of descending the 1500 under 26-27min should definitely experiment a very strong relationship between pure speed improvement and performances over longer distances.

humanpunchingbag
October 10th, 2009, 09:53 PM
So I finally crossed my Rubicon this morning: I logged 1 million meters in the pool this year at the Canadian "Million Meter Challenge". Now. I have dedicated myself to actually swimming fast,especially in that darned 400 meters free. I did my first real speed work-out today: less meters, one dedicated race-pace set of fifties, then one set of pure as "fast as I can swim" fifties, all mixed with light aerobic sets to cool down.
One observation: are these work-outs supposed to be so exhausting? I have been pretty much flat for the rest of the day. Is this common when you shift from typical meter heavy training to high intensity training?

Chris Stevenson
October 11th, 2009, 07:52 AM
Are these work-outs supposed to be so exhausting? I have been pretty much flat for the rest of the day.

Yes. Don't do them every day. If you do two-day meets, then doubling up -- two days in a row --can be useful on occasion to simulate how the meet might feel.

qbrain
October 11th, 2009, 09:17 AM
One observation: are these work-outs supposed to be so exhausting? I have been pretty much flat for the rest of the day. Is this common when you shift from typical meter heavy training to high intensity training?

Yes, you should be some where between a really hard regular workout and a one day meet.

Allen Stark
October 11th, 2009, 10:24 AM
So I finally crossed my Rubicon this morning: I logged 1 million meters in the pool this year at the Canadian "Million Meter Challenge". Now. I have dedicated myself to actually swimming fast,especially in that darned 400 meters free. I did my first real speed work-out today: less meters, one dedicated race-pace set of fifties, then one set of pure as "fast as I can swim" fifties, all mixed with light aerobic sets to cool down.
One observation: are these work-outs supposed to be so exhausting? I have been pretty much flat for the rest of the day. Is this common when you shift from typical meter heavy training to high intensity training?
Yes,they should be exhausting(take note of that you "maximize my distance" people) so don't do them 2 days in a row very often.

smontanaro
October 11th, 2009, 07:32 PM
Practice for the new season just started (first one was Tuesday evening) and I've been out of the water since mid-July. Today as the final set before warm down we did 5*100 on 3:00. We were supposed to hold as fast a pace as we thought we could. When my arms bagged out I couldn't make my legs kick either. I am pretty wiped. On the plus side I should sleep well tonight. Don't know if I'll be able to move tomorrow though...

Skip

dsyphers
October 11th, 2009, 11:04 PM
I really liked this thread. It was quite useful to see the different replies/approaches. I am about as strong at freestyle sprints as I am at distances (I compare with the ratings calculator at www.egswim.com/ne ), with my 200 just a wee bit better than the other distances. Therefore, my workouts are a hybrid of sorts, with the centroid probably a middle distance workout. Ive had some big improvements in my 200, 500 and 1000 times during the past year, but was concerned about the slowing rate of improvement in the 50 and 100. Further, I seemed to be approaching an asymptotic limit to my 200 times, and the only room for improvement was to swim the shorter distances faster too.

After checking with my coach about how to swim the shorter distances faster, I created a workout mix that included occasional (once or twice a week) race pace workouts for the shorter distances -- following the advice that swimming faster in practice leads to swimming faster in races. It was only after I started doing this that my 200 time plummeted, and both my 50 and 100 times once again saw real improvements. No races recently for the longer distances, but my workout times for the sets between 200 - 500 have also been falling. At the start of the summer I had a target of workout distances in the 3000-4000 yard range -- thinking that more yards was what I needed. After switching to include race pace work, most workouts are around 2500 yards (but take about the same time because of expanded recovery time).

It helped to see all the different thoughts out there, and some of them will inform my future workout plans. I'm a convert, though, for the idea that without a faster 50, that 200 and 500 won't improve as much, or as quickly. Race pace work for the shorter distances, as one component of a workout plan, has definitely helped me get faster across the board.

humanpunchingbag
October 11th, 2009, 11:53 PM
Yes,they should be exhausting(take note of that you "maximize my distance" people) so don't do them 2 days in a row very often.

So I trained again today (Sunday is a great day for me to train: I get to sleep in, not worry about work, and with snow on the ground up here, no lawn to mow either). I made it sort of a recovery day: 4700 meters at a moderate pace, half backstroke, half front crawl, and evenly split between kick, pull and swim. I was actually feeling pretty good in the water, so I interjected some full-out as fast as I can swim 25s of backstroke. I would do a short set of swim, kick or pull, then throw in just two fifties: sprint down, coast back. It felt really great. I could get addicted to this stuff. I ended up doing close to 500 meters swimming as fast as I believe I can, half of that backstroke (something I have not done for nearly thirty years)

Back to harder work tomorrow. I kind of have a plan for tomorrow that goes something like this:

1200 warm-up: 4-4-4 swim kick pull.

4x100 on 2:00 going sub 1:15 (remember my goal is 4:50 or faster for the 400)

600 kick (or so) concentrating on streamline off the walls and maybe descending groups of 50s to speed.

3x100 on 2:15 going sub 1:12

600 pull (or so) concentrating on exact stroke placement, pull through and high elbow recovery. I used to work on breathing, but now I have given that up, realizing that once I get tired I am going to breath only on the right side and every time I can. Doing anything else destroys my stroke altogether.

2x100 on 2:30 going sub 1:10

600 stroke: backstroke used to be my "speciatlity", so I likely will work back. Doing this is somewhat questionable: I do not have "flags" up most of the time (I only get those when the age-group team is in) and doing back with no flags just destroys my stroke as I google around looking for the wall.

100 meters full out, hold nothing back.

200 warm-down, maybe with fins on so I can just cruise and work on stroke without any effort.

Am I on the right track for the mid-distance freestyle events? (BTW: I really could care less about sprints, so I will likely never concentrate on them for front-crawl)

Chris Stevenson
October 12th, 2009, 09:00 AM
I do not have "flags" up most of the time (I only get those when the age-group team is in) and doing back with no flags just destroys my stroke as I google around looking for the wall.

(A) Use the laneline color change instead of the flags.
(B) Count your strokes over the whole lap, it is surprisingly effective.

Once you're comfortable with the idea and you've settled into a reproducible stroke count, you may only need a quick glance at the laneline for confirmation that you are on target.

The main problem is if your attention wanders a little and you forget to count your strokes...

SolarEnergy
October 12th, 2009, 12:26 PM
The main problem is if your attention wanders a little and you forget to count your strokes...
Solution for this is to try to observe a reliable pattern.

We always begin each length on the same arm (right arm for most).

For me, when swimming the Free Style, if the last arm stroke before the flip is the right arm, then it's 15 strokes. Most of the time, I begin each rep on 14 stroke (that's left arm) and finish on 16 (which is also left arm).

Distinguishing between 14 is 16 is relatively easy. 14 doesn't feel like 16 at all.

This is how I manage to never count the stroke while yet being informed about my stroke count all the time.

humanpunchingbag
October 12th, 2009, 09:26 PM
(A) Use the laneline color change instead of the flags.
(B) Count your strokes over the whole lap, it is surprisingly effective.

Once you're comfortable with the idea and you've settled into a reproducible stroke count, you may only need a quick glance at the laneline for confirmation that you are on target.

The main problem is if your attention wanders a little and you forget to count your strokes...

Just to give everyone a little "isn't that amazing" boost: one of the girls my daughter grew up with is legally blind. Her vision is just barely short of "white cane and a dog" blind, but she is renowned for drifting around vaguelly looking for her father after swim practice despite the fact he, a very tall and imposing man, is standing right in front of the changing room exits. Your solution for my backstroke issue is how she swims every length of every set and every race: counting all the time. The only time she gets a break is when she is racing: her divorced parents pair up to "touch" (more like smack) her head with a styrofoam ball on a pole to give her the heads up for the turn. You should see how mad that tiny little teenager gets when her mother misses the touch.

Humorous story: at provincial championships four years back one of her team mates was having a hissy-fit right before her race because her goggles had self-destructed as she stepped toward the block. Young Jackie just laughed and told her that "blinkers" (her term for blind swimmers) had the solution: fifteen strokes to the length. The comment was unappreciated by the flustered (and able bodied) team mate, but the parents in the stands thought it was hilarious (her team mate happened to be one of the more...."outspoken" young women on the team).

My daughter's friend had the great experience of going to the Beijing Olympics and did very well in her S12 competitor class. Her "no quit" attitude was always a joy to behold when I was training in the lap-lanes next to the team.

marksman
October 15th, 2009, 02:43 PM
The problem I am having right now is just learning how to swim through lactic acid burn on the higher speed/longer interval sets. The muscle strength is...mostly there but just not the mental strength to hold my stroke together.

It's tempting to swim at a pace where I don't feel any burn, or to swim 50s/75s, but that's not really addressing the problem.

qbrain
October 15th, 2009, 04:28 PM
The problem I am having right now is just learning how to swim through lactic acid burn on the higher speed/longer interval sets. The muscle strength is...mostly there but just not the mental strength to hold my stroke together.

It's tempting to swim at a pace where I don't feel any burn, or to swim 50s/75s, but that's not really addressing the problem.

Try making it progressive. If you can only do 3 of whatever holding your stroke together, then do 3. The next time around add one. Instead of worrying about an entire hard set, you are now worried about 1 rep, because you have already proven that you can do all but that last repeat.

I am sure there are other ways to attack the mental side, but I like the one step at a time approach.

Chris Stevenson
October 15th, 2009, 05:57 PM
The problem I am having right now is just learning how to swim through lactic acid burn on the higher speed/longer interval sets. The muscle strength is...mostly there but just not the mental strength to hold my stroke together.

It's tempting to swim at a pace where I don't feel any burn, or to swim 50s/75s, but that's not really addressing the problem.

This may be controversial, but...while some athletes are very driven, I think the "mental toughness" aspect is a little overrated. What is viewed as mental toughness -- so and so just "refuses to lose" at the end of a race -- is often just very good adaptations to high lactate production achieved through training. (Granted, that takes motivation.)

Maglischo says as much, something to the effect that the mentally toughest athlete in the world simply cannot overcome muscle failure due to acidosis. If your competitor has much lower LA levels than you at the same point at the end of the race, s/he will beat you, period.

Building the adaptations for lactate tolerance takes a lot of time. Yes, and desire...but don't beat yourself up over any perceived lack of mental toughness. Just keep at it and you'll make progress. (Then others will marvel at how tough YOU are.)

__steve__
October 16th, 2009, 12:50 AM
Should you consider relaxation and rhthym while pushing lactic chemistry?

qbrain
October 16th, 2009, 10:05 AM
Should you consider relaxation and rhthym while pushing lactic chemistry?

I think so. I have read several articles about Popov where they talked about the Russians not muscling through everything. If you think about how much strength it takes to recover AFAP, there could be a lot of wasted effort.

Rhythm for sure. Without it, how does your kick match your stroke, and if you kick doesn't match your stroke, that messes up your rotation, which messes up ...

SolarEnergy
October 16th, 2009, 10:21 AM
This may be controversial, but... ...yet, I couldn't agree more.

carlos_fernandez
October 17th, 2009, 08:02 AM
I am in full agreement with everyone on race pace training. It is SO frustrating knowing this will help my swimming and get me closer to my goals, and then show up at workout day after day to sets with 10 secs rest no matter what the set is. Both the coaches and lane mates complain if they get too much rest! "oh you got 20 secs rest on that, we need to adjust the interval."
I workout w/ a team (not FLAQ) whose stated mission is "mo' yards mo' yards mo' yards! No rest no rest no rest!"

Whatever they are doing, I simply cut the yardage or sit out a rep or 2 or 3 or 4. I try not to get in the way, and I'm sure I might piss ppl off, but then again, I've never seen a team w/ so many ppl getting out to go to the bathroom, giving up completely for the last 25% of the set, getting out early for whatever reason, etc.

In short, a huge % of the team does get the rest that their body wants and needs, just not at a regular interval. They're just conning themselves into thinking that they're doing 4200 yds/hr.

The ones who do the entire workout have absolute crap technique by the end. Guys 5'11-6'4 pushing off the wall and having their head coming up at the flags!!!!!!!!!!

Ahelee Sue Osborn
October 17th, 2009, 03:03 PM
I workout w/ a team (not FLAQ) whose stated mission is "mo' yards mo' yards mo' yards! No rest no rest no rest!"

Whatever they are doing, I simply cut the yardage or sit out a rep or 2 or 3 or 4. I try not to get in the way, and I'm sure I might piss ppl off, but then again, I've never seen a team w/ so many ppl getting out to go to the bathroom, giving up completely for the last 25% of the set, getting out early for whatever reason, etc.

In short, a huge % of the team does get the rest that their body wants and needs, just not at a regular interval. They're just conning themselves into thinking that they're doing 4200 yds/hr.

The ones who do the entire workout have absolute crap technique by the end. Guys 5'11-6'4 pushing off the wall and having their head coming up at the flags!!!!!!!!!!

Congrats on your training wisdom - and for figuring out a way to function productively within your masters swim workouts.

Presumably your coach is not a "control freak"!!

Your post just made my visit experience here this morning Carlos :)

Hope to watch you rip it up in Atlanta!

marksman
October 17th, 2009, 03:26 PM
thanks for the suggestions about how to manage my lactic acid issues during training.

I figured out this week what my ideal pace is. It is a bit slower than I was attempting. So I can't really add anything to my workouts just yet. Maybe in a few more weeks I can try to drop a second, or add a few more repetitions. But at least my arms aren't turning to mush too early in the set.

carlos_fernandez
October 17th, 2009, 09:05 PM
Congrats on your training wisdom - and for figuring out a way to function productively within your masters swim workouts.

Presumably your coach is not a "control freak"!!
If you only knew! Ask your friend Kelly (breaststroker in Miami)!

I forgot to add that anything over 150 I automatically focus on technique or SDK. I have the luxury to do so b/c we only have 1 interval for the entire team and I'm much faster than the base interval.

If that weren't the case, I would just go last in my lane and drop the last 50 so as to get 45-60 rest as opposed to 10-15.

Swimming tired is detrimental to technique and feel for the water.

carlos_fernandez
October 17th, 2009, 09:18 PM
Related to this is the fact that there are still TONS of masters teams and ppl doing 3,500-5,000 yards/practice during "taper"!!! To say that we're still "hung-over" from the 70's and 80's doesn't address the reality that no... we're not hung-over. We're still drunk.

In fact, massive yardage is more like a heroin addiction to the swimming world.

Having said that, in Indianapolis I bombed the 400 IM and the 200 IM b/c of lack of base training. But I really didn't have a choice due to an injury through early May plus 3 weeks of travel in June. So there is something to be said about having a sufficient base.

smontanaro
October 17th, 2009, 10:18 PM
If that weren't the case, I would just go last in my lane and drop the last 50 so as to get 45-60 rest as opposed to 10-15.

I am new to the team I've been swimming with and don't quite know where I fit in yet. Thursday I wound up swimming up a lane from my earlier practices (I just hopped in that lane because it was empty) and wound up leading on a set at a pace a bit faster than I should have been at.

Today I swam with a group that was more my pace, but swam last in the lane and gave the person ahead of me 10-15 seconds head start. That way I could swim at my own pace and not run someone over but I still started early enough that the lane leader wasn't nipping at my heels at the end of a 200.

Well, it worked for me...

Skip

stevenwjoe
March 19th, 2010, 03:37 AM
Race Pace Intensity Training for 100 freestyle: Main Set

6 x 100 with 3 min rest (first 1 or 2 are 100 percent then add 5 secs)
6 x 75 with 2 min rest (these are 90 to 100 percent, or about race pace)
6 x 50 with 1 min rest (100 percent or a little beyond race pace intensity)
6 x 25 rested (100 percent)

I usually do the first couple of hundreds all out before taking it down just a notch. Sometimes I will do only 4 of each depending on how tired I feel from the previous day. Also I usually go for full recovery between sets. The great part is that after the hundreds, you look forward to the 75s and 50s which seem to get easier and easier. As you go down the ladder you are gradually catching up to actual race pace and going beyond it in the 50s, but fatigue is also more intense simulating the lactic buildup in the last meters of a race. I always do the 25s with adequate recovery to work on speed form.

The next day you can do the following to work on endurance and form, focusing on fluid stroke form throughout, here it is better to slow down a notch rather than getting sloppy and maintain a nice stroke form through the entire workout. You could add some 200s in as well.
4 x 150 (80 percent) 3 min rest
4 x 100 (80 percent) 3 min rest
4 x 75 (90 percent) 2min rest
4 x 50 (90-100 percent) 1 min rest
4-12 x 25 (100 percent) rested

The third day take it easy and focus on drills and form, do some easy 200s and 400s and then start all over again the next day, or maybe even take a day off if you are as old as I am.

Of course this is just the old basic ladder for starts, but it can be applied to almost any swimmer's level: certainly regulate the reps, intesity and rest interval depending on your prior conditioning.

I cannot over emphasize repeat 75s for conditioning for the 100, many go just for the 50s, but the 75s take you just beyond the 40 sec sprint threshold to experince the lactic acid buildup without the total fatigue that a hard set of all out 100s can bring on and even linger for the next couple of days, however they are also no substitute for going the full 100 distance, but they will help you on the way to becoming more comfortable and faster in the 100.

stevenwjoe
March 19th, 2010, 04:20 PM
There is a time and place for everything. The 100m free workout I posted is really one geared to swimming a fast 100 freestyle in a race about four to eight weeks out.

Distance and Technique work is very important in the off season, good quality sets of 200s or 150s, even 4-6 x 400, all focusing on form rather than burn out speed is essential for building base for the 100 free along with weights, dips, pullups and core exercises for strength. Then when you become strong, say able to do 6-10 x 200 with quality, then in phase II you can start doing the 50s and 100s at distinct intervals and gradually begin to reduce the rest and build the speed from week to week. Finally as the event approaches, more and more speed work, both hard interval and well rested explosive swims, go for PRs in the 25, 50, 75 and the 100. You should do more sessions with fewer reps and longer rests but at faster quality speeds, essentially at race pace intensity.

As the event or season approaches for the 100, if the swimmer has had an adequate base season, there becomes less benefit for anything above 150 for the 100 swimmer, except perhaps an occasional 200 or 400 on an off day or as a warmup, only speed and interval from six or eight weeks out, all depending on the swimmer of course. Even taking a rest day after 2 or 3 very hard days is more beneficial than a day of long slow yardage, because rest is more important for better quality sets and the focus of the 100 is speed. One good rest day is 20x25 rested untimed sprint drills with total emphasis on stroke efficiency to attain higher speeds, focusing on catch, pull, rotation, cadence, experimentation, etc, all starting slow and building to a cresendo of speed at the end, essentially having fun with speed without over exhaustion.

Take a look at the comparative efforts of 400m sprinters in track, they rarely run a full mile except to warm up or cool down, it is all repeats of high speed 100s, 200s, 300s, 400s and sometimes interval 600s for endurance. Sometimes they will slow down a notch to focus on all important form, but rarely do they ever run an 800 time trial and a mile TT is totally out of the question, although there are certainly exceptions for elite runners. That is not to say that a slow five mile a day base season during the early winter off season might benefit some 400 sprinters when the spring workout season arrives, but any mileage above that is very questionable.

One final note to the self trained: Have fun, if you are getting tired, drained, fatiqued, grouchy, take a day or even two off, take it down a notch, raise the rest interval, lower the speed and make it fun again, speed will eventually come with patience and if you push too hard every day you will burn out. I am a proponent that 2 or 3 intense days followed by a day of total rest might be the best approach for many, especially the older masters. I am sometimes amazed at the results after a day or two of rest, just don't eat too much on your day off.