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knelson
March 21st, 2011, 12:36 PM
Fortress' impressive three world record performance over the weekend made me think of this topic. Obviously the things she's doing are working well for the events she likes to swim. She concentrates on SDKs, fast swimming with lots of rest and drylands to aid in explosiveness. Long aerobic sets just aren't a part of her training regime, from what I've seen.

Almost every organized training group I've swum with, on the other hand, focuses on long aerobic sets, short rest, not a whole lot of fast stuff, etc. Basically the polar opposite of how Fortress trains. In my opinion this probably works pretty well for those who swim longer events, but really does very little for sprinters. The sprint events are almost always the most popular events at meets, so why do people choose to train aerobically? I think there are a number of factors at play. There's the much maligned triathletes. There's those who don't compete and "just want to get their yardage in." There's a historical precedent of lots of yardage being the way to go.

So what do you all think? How does you or your team train? I know lots of regular bloggers here DO train differently than my perception of the norm. Examples include Ande, Chris S. and Speedo. Are too many masters teams stuck in a training regime that is not at all what many of their swimmers need to get faster?

chowmi
March 21st, 2011, 12:55 PM
I agree 100% with your analysis; however, I disagree in part with the thread title that teams are training "wrong". If you asked each swimmer to write down why they swim and what their goals are, you will get as many answers as their are swimmers on deck. Put another way, my $65 monthly membership isn't worth any more than the slowest lane 8 swimmer's $65/$85 and reasons why they swim.

Given the stats on our team, there is only one swimmer I know of that swims to race 1 meet per month on average, and goal times are to continue to make USA regional/grand prix cuts in local USA A meets, and swimming a full line up only at selected masters meets. For the other 599+ members of the team, they are more interested in open water events, explicitly not swimming any meets, training for triathlons, rehabing/recovering/recuperating and many, many swimmers who basically want to hang on to whatever lane they are currently in, and have no interest in hearing about better technique or anything that in the category of "taking a step back to take a step forward". Their goal is met each practice - which is essentially the opposite of why you might be swimming (that would be sprints. in a meet.)

There is no right/wrong way to approach it - it's just if you want something different, then you have to find a way. My motto is "I love meets! I don't like to practice very hard!" I have never liked training hard, I can't stand to feel the burn, and I really could care less about "toughness of conditioning sets." Even lane 2 marvels when I actually did a 400/300/200/100 without stopping this year. And that was only because I couldn't find a way to skip without totally screwing up the (crowded lanes). I still resent doing that set even today! But if I really can't stand doing those sets, then I also accept the range of times I am or am not capable of swimming. Notice I did NOT say that I SHOULD or SHOULD NOT be swimming - NO SUCH THING!!!

My coaches fully support me, and I think my teammates know me well enough when I sit out on most sets. Put another way, we pay either $65 or $85 a month, and it seems silly to run a business catering to the 1 person who trains as a sprinter rather than the 599+ who like the workouts that are given!

There is some customization - we have sprint day/lanes, distance/open water lanes, fear of water intro practices, fraternity of flyers month, etc. But if you want something really specific, I think it's a one-on-one discussion with your coach and what YOU need to get there. I think there is no better example of the emphasis of the majority of masters swimmers than Jim Montgomery - and most of his team building/program building is geared towards true beginner swimmers.

Redbird Alum
March 21st, 2011, 12:56 PM
Ande just posted this on his thread. But I tend to agree with you that perhaps many programs are more focussed on yards.

Perhaps this would improve if more coaches with more recent training experiences were present on deck to support the varying needs of the different camps? (distance vs sprint, short axis vs long, etc.)

ande
March 21st, 2011, 12:59 PM
if swimmers want to SPRINT as fast as they can then
YES Most Masters Teams are Training Wrong, but it's not just most masters teams, it's many club and college teams. They need to train like Leslie, Rich Abrahams, and me at times when I'm preparing for sprints.

We become what we do

Whatever you do and measure improves
What do you you want to improve?
What do you need to DO and measure?

here's my most recent SFF tip that I started writing before I read this thread

I read about how Cameron van der Burgh trained for sprints.
He said "In the 50 scm breastroke I take 5 strokes on the first 25 & 9 on the 2nd"

Which is 14 total strokes, he did a lot of training focusing on SPEED and power.

Think about how much time you spend in each part of your race and how much distance you cover
What are the percentages?
What type of training do you need to do to improve your ability in each phase of the race?


Do you spend the same percentage of your training time focusing on each aspect of your race?
as an example:
Leslie kicks almost 30 meters of her 50 bk & fl. That's 60% of the race!
I'm pretty sure she does more fast high quality SDK training than most women in her age group & it paid off pretty big time for her.

I tend to shift my training as meets approach and start doing more speed and strength work.
I'm pretty sure I wouldn't swim as well if I kept doing the middle distance training.

Plus think about how many times she's rehearsed her race,
versus someone doing traditional training.

a typical aerobic set is 10 x 100 on 1:20 hold 1:15's
repeatedly doing sets like that make you better at that type of swimming

a sprinter might do
10 x 50 on 1:20
odds easy
evens fast

plus when you do sprint training, you're not as broken down as you are when you do long hard aerobic training. Sprinters can keep getting stronger in the weight room, which can translate to more speed in the pool.

Ande


Fortress' impressive three world record performance over the weekend made me think of this topic. Obviously the things she's doing are working well for the events she likes to swim. She concentrates on SDKs, fast swimming with lots of rest and drylands to aid in explosiveness. Long aerobic sets just aren't a part of her training regime, from what I've seen.

Almost every organized training group I've swum with, on the other hand, focuses on long aerobic sets, short rest, not a whole lot of fast stuff, etc. Basically the polar opposite of how Fortress trains. In my opinion this probably works pretty well for those who swim longer events, but really does very little for sprinters. The sprint events are almost always the most popular events at meets, so why do people choose to train aerobically? I think there are a number of factors at play. There's the much maligned triathletes. There's those who don't compete and "just want to get their yardage in." There's a historical precedent of lots of yardage being the way to go.

So what do you all think? How does you or your team train? I know lots of regular bloggers here DO train differently than my perception of the norm. Examples include Ande, Chris S. and Speedo. Are too many masters teams stuck in a training regime that is not at all what many of their swimmers need to get faster?

pwb
March 21st, 2011, 12:59 PM
Are too many masters teams stuck in a training regime that is not at all what many of their swimmers need to get faster?Yes and no.

Rationale for answering No:


Most Masters swimmers do not compete in meets; hence, they don't generally care about speed and explosiveness.
Since most Masters swimmers do not compete, most are also unaware that higher-intensity work like sprinting with lots of rest can also provide lots of good health benefits.
For those Masters who don't compete and came back to the sport years after being an age grouper, their primary frame of training reference is likely the 'garbage yardage' model. So, in a way, they're getting what they expect to get an are probably happy with it.
For those Masters who don't compete and came at swimming either from a running/tri background or no athletic background, they probably view swim training like most people view run training -- go out and do it for some specified period of time with very little variation in effort, then get out. Again, they're probably getting what they expect out of workouts and are happy with it.

Rationale for answering Yes:


For Masters teams that have a good proportion of their swimmers competing, they need to change their workout model to drive more quality/race pace work. It's not only the 'all the rage' with swimmers like our Masters' elite (e.g., Fort, Ande, Rich Abrahams), it's what the 'elite elite' (including the old folks like Lezak and Torres) are doing to swim faster faster.

I will say that, as a competitor, I love the speed play variations that my coach gives. But, you should hear the groans and see the lack of participation when she tells people to go fast stuff off the blocks!

chowmi
March 21st, 2011, 01:04 PM
Fortress' impressive three world record performance...So what do you all think? How does you or your team train? I know lots of regular bloggers here DO train differently than my perception of the norm. Examples include Ande, Chris S. and Speedo. Are too many masters teams stuck in a training regime that is not at all what many of their swimmers need to get faster?

And to directly answer this last paragraph, I agree 100%. Many people, most people that I see at workouts don't want to "hear it!" Hence, the movement towards wearing huge paddles and pull buoys on swim sets to maintain speed, lane, and rank order. And while it irks me, I have to remember to laugh at myself because the only reason why I am so irked is because all of sudden, these last few years, I actually do care, because I want to race them fair & square! But who am I kidding? They are equally "right" in sizing me up - I am too "wimpy" to do 6 x 200's! And if their "unspoken rules" are that you can use any equipment and go the fastest interval possible, then i'm not "competitive" in their world! tee hee!

knelson
March 21st, 2011, 01:04 PM
if you want something really specific, I think it's a one-on-one discussion with your coach and what YOU need to get there.

Very well said. I think lots of people just go along for the ride. Coaches aren't mind readers, after all.


think about how much time you spend and how much distance you cover in each part of your race and what percentage it is.

Do you spend the same percentage of your training time focusing on that aspect of your race?

Great point, Ande.

That Guy
March 21st, 2011, 01:20 PM
I'm not going to dismiss mega-aerobic training since when I trained that way in college, I was faster than I am now. But I don't LIKE training that way, and I don't do distance free anymore, so now I do as little aerobic training as I can get away with. The 400 IM is my second-best event, so some aerobic training is required. But I spend much more time on anaerobic butterfly, focusing on technique, race strategy, and stroke counts. I think for a 200 flyer, that is a better approach than training almost all freestyle and then swimming the 200 fly in meets and hoping for the best. I remember diving in and swimming fly, and it would feel weird since I hadn't done any of it since the last meet... :afraid:

knelson
March 21st, 2011, 01:27 PM
I'm not going to dismiss mega-aerobic training since when I trained that way in college, I was faster than I am now. But I don't LIKE training that way

And I have a feeling there are lots of people who feel the same way. There's this perception that most people want to train aerobically, but I wonder if that's really the case?

pwb
March 21st, 2011, 01:58 PM
There's this perception that most people want to train aerobically, but I wonder if that's really the case?Maybe it's mental conditioning, a bad habit or because I actually prefer it, but I think I do prefer training low rest, aerobic sets. I say this because, when I jump in the water without a workout planned, those are the sets that I'm "attracted" to. I will say, though, that I've really begun to enjoy higher rest, all out sets that are sprint-focused. They're harder in a much different way and provide great variety. I think I'd get bored if I wasn't mixing in those sets these days.

smontanaro
March 21st, 2011, 02:36 PM
I'm one of those mostly non-competitive swimmers. What competing I've done the past few years has mostly been postal swims. (There is also GTD.) The team I currently swim with has 75-minute workouts, of which I can generally make two, maybe three, per week. I can make it to a one-hour lap swim on Saturday as well. From my perspective, most of the practices seem more "sprinty" to me than I would like. My shoulder definitely doesn't like sprinting. I lost my paddles a couple years ago and don't plan to ever buy another pair.

Hopefully, my next events will be the 5k & 10k postal swims. It's rare when any set at practice includes an individual element of more than 150-200 yards. During lap swim Saturday, my "main set" was 3x500, done mostly to test my shoulder. I quoted "main set" because my total distance was a whopping 2700 yards.

I can understand that sprinters will want higher intensity and more rest than the typical club practice provides, but there are those of us who sit on the other side and wish for somewhat more distance-focused workouts.

Skip

Jazz Hands
March 21st, 2011, 02:42 PM
Fort breaking three world records in as many hours was inevitable. If you've seen her practice, you know what I mean. She spent, what, three solid years doing sprint dolphin kick repeats? That's a serious commitment to fast swimming. Do it every day it practice, and it's automatic.

Every Masters group I've seen doesn't even care. "Okay, 15x100 on blah blah blah descend the interval into the wall-touch zone. Let's do some mental math!" And then everyone squeals like "Ooh that's such a tough set!" So what? What does it do? It gets you ready to swim the mile. And it's considered a speed set.

knelson
March 21st, 2011, 02:56 PM
Jazz touches on another thing that's frustrating. Sometimes I see sets written where it's as if just writing "sprint" somewhere in there is going to make it a quality set. Sorry, but "10x100 @ 1:15 sprint" isn't a quality set. I can either make the 1:15 or I can sprint. I can't do both.

Jazz Hands
March 21st, 2011, 03:02 PM
Jazz touches on another thing that's frustrating. Sometimes I see sets written where it's as if just writing "sprint" somewhere in there is going to make it a quality set. Sorry, but "10x100 @ 1:15 sprint" isn't a quality set. I can either make the 1:15 or I can sprint. I can't do both.

That's actually a cool set if you reinterpret it. For example, sprint the first 25+flip of odd-numbered repeats (or all of them, if you want to be beastly about it). Then you have to hustle a little bit to make the interval. Swimmers like Ande are experienced at adapting workouts in this fashion.

aztimm
March 21st, 2011, 03:08 PM
I think the question would be better phrased, "Are masters swimmers training incorrectly?"

Training should be very individualized, based on what the swimmer wants to do. As ~80% of masters swimmers don't do meets, the team needs to take what works best for the majority. Nearly every team I've trained with has had different options for every workout. With the Mesa team, there are typically 3-4 coached options one can select from. Of course one could also opt for an empty lane and swim solo.

I'm curious how many masters swimmers train for and compete only in 50s. Personally, I see 50s mostly as filler to pass time between other events, when I focus more on 200 or above. As someone who may do 2 meets a year, I just don't see the need to focus so much on 50s.

couldbebetterfly
March 21st, 2011, 03:09 PM
I'm also in the yes and no camp!

For me I like the yardage, I have always been better at distance. Even as a kid my 50s were relatively better than my 25s, then my 100s were better and now I'm at 200/500. Also swimming is my primary (err - only) cardio workout I do, therefore if I'm not gettng in at least 3000 yards an hour, I feel short-changed!

However, I know that those short, intense burst are good for us too, and that last year when I was racing 50s and 100s, training at speed was the right thing to be doing.

So comes down to what has been said before I guess - train like you want to race.

qbrain
March 21st, 2011, 03:18 PM
fraternity of flyers month

That must be February.

knelson
March 21st, 2011, 03:32 PM
Nearly every team I've trained with has had different options for every workout. With the Mesa team, there are typically 3-4 coached options one can select from. Of course one could also opt for an empty lane and swim solo.

Consider yourself very lucky, then. This is not typical in my experience--and the idea of an open lane is a mere pipe dream for most.

Karen Duggan
March 21st, 2011, 03:44 PM
I think Leslie's WRs can be attributed to many things, including: dedication and discipline. That being said I did wonder the same thing, "What is Leslie doing that the rest of us aren't?"

The answer is: a lot. She has figured out what it takes for her to swim fast. She is dedicated and disciplined and she has clear cut goals that she wants to achieve. Plus, she obviously has those fast twitch fibers! For masters, the dedication part can be hindered for any number of reasons, not least of all, time and family commitments.

So, really thinking about the question: I don't think that most masters teams are doing anything wrong. I, for one, have numerous friends that are WR holders, and they are on teams. I just think that credit needs to be given where credit is due (in this instance to Leslie).

Swimming with a masters team does not guarantee success or "failure", and neither does swimming by yourself. :2cents:

aztimm
March 21st, 2011, 03:59 PM
Consider yourself very lucky, then. This is not typical in my experience--and the idea of an open lane is a mere pipe dream for most.

Have you or others on your team chatted with your coach about what your individual goals are? Or maybe chatted with others on the team on what they want/need to do during workout? Every masters coach I've met has been extremely receptive in helping me plan things out, giving specific sets during workouts, as well as ideas of things to do both swimming on my own as well as outside of the pool (such as weights). And I've rarely been alone when I've done different sets (of course you don't want to spring this on the coach day of workout but plan in advance).

Allen Stark
March 21st, 2011, 04:06 PM
I agree that the question is"training wrong for what?"If your goal is fast 50s,100s,or even 200s then 200s with 10 sec rest aren't going to maximize performance.I do my own workouts and almost all my swimming is either race pace or recovery.I think if you want to swim a good 200 you had better be doing training at your goal speed(broken 200s,100s at 200 pace etc.)

ande
March 21st, 2011, 04:08 PM
I agree, coaches and their programs must cater to the needs of the majority of paying members. The typical work out at Longhorn Masters is middle distance oriented which fits the needs of triathletes, open water swimmers, fitness swimmers, competitive swimmers, and those who want to L B N.

But this is masters, coaches are fine with swimmers doing what they need to do. As long as they keep them in the loop & are nice about it. Plus we all have lives, families, work and home, it's just swimming.
In masters we can show up late, leave early, skip practices, skip sets, and modify sets.

So YOU need to know what you need to do and make sure that you do it.

There's also ways to modify sets and not get in the way of your lane mates.
Make it work.
Stay out of the way, be easy to pass, find your moments.

I occasionally email or text my coach to let her know about what I'm training for as far as events, meets, or special projects.

If there's enough swimmers preparing for the same meet, she'll carve out a few taper lanes and write some taper sets.



I agree 100% with your analysis; however, I disagree in part with the thread title that teams are training "wrong". If you asked each swimmer to write down why they swim and what their goals are, you will get as many answers as their are swimmers on deck. Put another way, my $65 monthly membership isn't worth any more than the slowest lane 8 swimmer's $65/$85 and reasons why they swim.

Given the stats on our team, there is only one swimmer I know of that swims to race 1 meet per month on average, and goal times are to continue to make USA regional/grand prix cuts in local USA A meets, and swimming a full line up only at selected masters meets. For the other 599+ members of the team, they are more interested in open water events, explicitly not swimming any meets, training for triathlons, rehabing/recovering/recuperating and many, many swimmers who basically want to hang on to whatever lane they are currently in, and have no interest in hearing about better technique or anything that in the category of "taking a step back to take a step forward". Their goal is met each practice - which is essentially the opposite of why you might be swimming (that would be sprints. in a meet.)

There is no right/wrong way to approach it - it's just if you want something different, then you have to find a way. My motto is "I love meets! I don't like to practice very hard!" I have never liked training hard, I can't stand to feel the burn, and I really could care less about "toughness of conditioning sets." Even lane 2 marvels when I actually did a 400/300/200/100 without stopping this year. And that was only because I couldn't find a way to skip without totally screwing up the (crowded lanes). I still resent doing that set even today! But if I really can't stand doing those sets, then I also accept the range of times I am or am not capable of swimming. Notice I did NOT say that I SHOULD or SHOULD NOT be swimming - NO SUCH THING!!!

My coaches fully support me, and I think my teammates know me well enough when I sit out on most sets. Put another way, we pay either $65 or $85 a month, and it seems silly to run a business catering to the 1 person who trains as a sprinter rather than the 599+ who like the workouts that are given!

There is some customization - we have sprint day/lanes, distance/open water lanes, fear of water intro practices, fraternity of flyers month, etc. But if you want something really specific, I think it's a one-on-one discussion with your coach and what YOU need to get there. I think there is no better example of the emphasis of the majority of masters swimmers than Jim Montgomery - and most of his team building/program building is geared towards true beginner swimmers.

chaos
March 21st, 2011, 04:11 PM
i'll go out on a limb here.....
i heard someone say (not to me) "just because you swim short events; doesn't make you a sprinter"

i think the popularity of short events has a lot to do with laziness, self doubt, wanting to squeeze in the max # of events allowed (cheapness?), etc.

of course this does not apply to leslie who probably trains as much as any marathon swimmer i know (ironic?.... not really)

knelson
March 21st, 2011, 04:12 PM
Have you or others on your team chatted with your coach about what your individual goals are? Or maybe chatted with others on the team on what they want/need to do during workout?

Good question and I don't really know. For the events I swim I'm happy with the training, but I could see how a sprinter might not be getting what they want or need. My team doesn't have a lot of people who compete regularly, so maybe it isn't a big issue for us, but I'm thinking on a more generic level than just my team. However, my team has a board meeting next week and I'll be sure to bring this topic up.

fmracing
March 21st, 2011, 04:15 PM
Wow I go to lunch and this thread sprints to almost a one pager already :) *EDIT* by the time i typed my reply it's 1.5 pages.

Absolutely agree. I create my workouts with the 50/100 free in mind. They're so far from what some would call a typical hard masters workout that many people would be turned off by them. So far they're working out great for me... I am 6 tenths off my college best 50 time at 60lbs over college race weight at only 6000m per week. I attribute it to the training I do now and how much different it is even compared to what I did in college. I am very critical of turn work and starts and everything else that happens outside the flags (any time saved here is free). Most masters workouts I've seen only seem to work on things that happen between the flags. Its evidenced by the fact that you can watch people dog turns and flop starts in their races.

It's all about how you swim rather than how far you swim. I think a lot of masters workouts either lose sight of that, or don't really explore that for fear of losing interest. I could see many joe-typical participants want to leave a team if workouts got as intense as they need to be for sprinters.

Great thread though. Hoping some day I can set a record of some kind besides fastest fat man :)

ElaineK
March 21st, 2011, 05:01 PM
I agree that the question is"training wrong for what?"If your goal is fast 50s,100s,or even 200s then 200s with 10 sec rest aren't going to maximize performance.I do my own workouts and almost all my swimming is either race pace or recovery.I think if you want to swim a good 200 you had better be doing training at your goal speed(broken 200s,100s at 200 pace etc.)

Thanks, King Frog! I was just going to PM you a question asking your thoughts about this thread and how you train! :applaud:

ourswimmer
March 21st, 2011, 06:04 PM
i'll go out on a limb here.....
i heard someone say (not to me) "just because you swim short events; doesn't make you a sprinter"

Likewise, just finishing a 1500 (or a 5K or a 10K) is not at all the same thing as racing it.

I think very few teams train to race, period. Cranking out lots of totally aerobic yardage is probably more helpful for me than for a sprinter, but the main training difference between the younger slower me and the older faster me is training with a group of racing-minded mid-distance and distance swimmers. We are not the majority of members on our team either, but we are numerous enough that the coach can justify giving us attention, and numerous enough to provide reliable workout partners.

The Fortress
March 21st, 2011, 06:09 PM
I think Leslie's WRs can be attributed to many things, including: dedication and discipline. That being said I did wonder the same thing, "What is Leslie doing that the rest of us aren't?"


Thank you for the kind words, Karen. I've been able to train a lot more as my kids have gotten older. Your time will come!

As for the "what is she doing?" -- it's no secret! It's all on my USMS blog for the stealin'.

In general, I think I tend to do things many masters dislike such as loads of kicking, nasty lactate sets, drylands and many hours of hot yoga and stretching. And I basically train 50/50, 50% in the pool and 50% on land. Personally, I like this sprinter regimen because the mega yardage/garbage yardage model led to burnout and shoulder problems in my age group days.

As to Kirk's point, I agree that many masters who want to compete and swim fast may be training incorrectly for that purpose by omitting sufficient anaerobic training. Aside from the speed benefits, moreover, anaerobic training can actually lead to improved aerobic conditioning. If you want to race, you need to do race pace work. And that is not limited to us sprinters.

Karen Duggan
March 21st, 2011, 06:16 PM
I guess my question was more for rhetorical purposes. LOL
Your dry land compliments your swimming perfectly. A lot of dry land regimens that people do, don't. You just seem to have it all dialed in.

As to "my time"? It has come and gone. I just regret not taking advantage of the great training opportunity I had (quit), and not choosing a better swimming college.

For now, I'm doing the best I can with what I've got.

CONGRATULATIONS again :agree:
:chug:

larsoda
March 21st, 2011, 06:24 PM
I agree that "Wrong" implies that the only reason folks swim masters is to compete in sprint events.

Most of the folks I swim with don't compete at swim meets and the coaches are usually aware of that and try to offer a variety of workouts over the course of the week that will satisfy the fitness swimmers and the competitors.

I compete, but I'll admit to being a "garbage yardage" guy. Part of that is because that's the way we swam in the '80's and part is because I left the sport for 20+yrs and found out the hard way that sprinting without getting injured is a lot harder at 40+y.o. than it was at 20. I might be wrong, but I don't have as many injuries this year, so I'm happier even if I am wrong. (Of course, I'm also not nearly as fast as most of those who post here.)

So, until I am able to finish 10x100 @ 1:15 (or 1:05) I'm satisfied with grinding out garbage yards most of the time and doing sprint sets once a week - more leading up to a meet. Is it going to take me longer to get faster? Sure, but if I get injured, it could take even longer.

gull
March 21st, 2011, 06:34 PM
I don't like training alone. The trade off is that you have to be willing to modify the sets to achieve your individual training goals. Fortunately we have separate "Fun and Fitness" lanes at Nitro for those who don't compete. For those who do, the coaches incorporate IM, distance, stroke, sprinting, and race pace work throughout the week. One of our coaches assigns the intervals by lane on his days with a specific goal in mind for his sets. Garbage yardage hasn't been an issue; the real challenge has been trying to determine how much time to allocate for each of the areas we need to work on when we only have six 75 minute training sessions per week. You are left with about 2000 yards for the main set after factoring in warm up, a transition set, and warm down.

ourswimmer
March 21st, 2011, 06:41 PM
If you want to race, you need to do race pace work. And that is not limited to us sprinters.

Completely agree.

Upon further thought, I also think that another reason that many masters don't, won't, or can't train to race is that some of the physiologic stress from athletic training is cumulative with other stress. If you are working a demanding or unrewarding job, and a relative is old or ill, and your kids are acting up or out, it's easy to become overtrained even if your workout regimen builds in what should be adequate recovery, just because the other stress in your life is not letting up when you are supposed to be recovering. If stress relief is a major reason for swimming, keeping to the low-intensity aerobic work is probably exactly right, not wrong at all.

The Fortress
March 21st, 2011, 06:45 PM
You just seem to have it all dialed in.

As to "my time"? It has come and gone. I just regret not taking advantage of the great training opportunity I had (quit), and not choosing a better swimming college.



I am really just blundering along using trial and error.

I only swam one season in college -- your time IS coming!

Allen Stark
March 21st, 2011, 07:57 PM
From the end of SCM until 15 wks before my SCY taper meet I do long slow stuff to give my shoulders and knees time to heal and my gosh is it boring.I don't see how you distance people stay motivated.This doesn't mean race pace sets are easy,they take concentration and discipline as well as making the muscles burn.Doing 12X25 on the minute it is really easy to either go 98% instead of 100% or let your stroke get sloppy on the last 4,but it's certainly not boring.

knelson
March 21st, 2011, 11:47 PM
Making a long aerobic set on tough sendoffs you didn't think you'd be able to make is rewarding, though, just like swimming fast throughout a race pace set. I guess the key is challenging yourself however you're training that day. We're all entitled to the occasional "just got in my hour" type workout, but if that becomes your standard operating procedure you're probably not going to get much faster.

makesense
March 22nd, 2011, 06:27 AM
This is a fundamentally important topic.

After all the decades of swimming programs, why don't we know already what is best (for fitness, performance, health and shoulder safety)? Consider the time, financial and injury savings if we did know. Are thousands of us needlessly swimming hundreds of thousands of yards/meters a year? After one builds aerobic conditioning, would it be better to cut back on the yardage and focus on technique drills and videos? Are quality strokes better than just swimming back and forth thousands of yards a day? Does it take a million yards/meters a year to perform optimally? How many of us are needlessly worn out and/or doing possibly counterproductive workouts?

After researching and interviewing extensively since my first scientific research into neuromuscular physiology in the 1970s, I cannot find reliable answers or even consensus. I certainly wanted to include this kind of information in my Swimmer article a year ago for which I piled a 4-foot stack of scientific and training studies.

swimshark
March 22nd, 2011, 07:26 AM
This is a fundamentally important topic.

After all the decades of swimming programs, why don't we know already what is best (for fitness, performance, health and shoulder safety)? Consider the time, financial and injury savings if we did know. Are thousands of us needlessly swimming hundreds of thousands of yards/meters a year? After one builds aerobic conditioning, would it be better to cut back on the yardage and focus on technique drills and videos? Are quality strokes better than just swimming back and forth thousands of yards a day? Does it take a million yards/meters a year to perform optimally? How many of us are needlessly worn out and/or doing possibly counterproductive workouts?

After researching and interviewing extensively since my first scientific research into neuromuscular physiology in the 1970s, I cannot find reliable answers or even consensus. I certainly wanted to include this kind of information in my Swimmer article a year ago for which I piled a 4-foot stack of scientific and training studies.

I think for some, the amount of yards and type of swimming depends on the person's body. For some, doing a lot of high intensity, low rest yards might be just what they need to go faster. For others, technique based swimming might be better for them.

I have found now that I'm a technique focused with a mix of lactic sets type of person. My sprinting is getting faster and I'm still able to hold my long distance times with this type of training.

jim thornton
March 22nd, 2011, 10:02 AM
I think for some, the amount of yards and type of swimming depends on the person's body. For some, doing a lot of high intensity, low rest yards might be just what they need to go faster. For others, technique based swimming might be better for them.

I have found now that I'm a technique focused with a mix of lactic sets type of person. My sprinting is getting faster and I'm still able to hold my long distance times with this type of training.

I agree with Allison here. I think there is enormous variation between different swimmers, and there is no one-size-fits-all approach to optimal training.

The expression "garbage yards" is used so often on these forums that the concept has more or less entered the Conventional Wisdom as an indisputable fact--along with now debunked notions such as "stretching is good for you" and "eating a box of powdered Jell-O before a race will help you swim faster."

When it comes to swim training, there is an awful lot of proof by anecdote. Hey, it works for Leslie, it will work for everybody!

Personally, I think the single most important factor in Leslie's world records was her relentless training pursuit of perfect SDKs. In many ways, SDK swimming really is a fifth stroke. Though most kids coming up now learn these as part of the sport, most of us semi-centenarians did not practice these at all in our formative years because they had not, in fact, been invented yet!

As Jazz points out, if you ever swim a practice with Leslie, you will be amazed at how much time she spends underwater--"shooting" off into the blue ether like a dolphin with her monofin or regular fins.

I agree with the general principle that you need to train the distance and intensity you want to swim in meets. And Leslie does, indeed, do a lot of extremely high intensity, long rest sets.

But it's the SDK component of this that I think accounts for the lion's share of her superiority over her competitors. Watch the video of her swimming her races, and you wonder where she has disappeared to for much of the time.

Getting back to garbage yards, I suffered from a detached retina in January, was out of the pool for a couple weeks as a consequence, and got 19 miles behind in my Go The Distance goal. When I was cleared to swim again, the only way I could catch up was long distance garbage yard swims.

I am no Leslie, but I nonetheless did in jammers at age FINA 59 a time in the SCM 100 that was .3 slower than what I swam at age FINA 56. I didn't do any weightlifting. I did a few sprints in our regular practices when we were called upon to do sprints. But mainly I swam "garbage yards."

For me, at least, they seem to work pretty well.

The Fortress
March 22nd, 2011, 11:11 AM
The expression "garbage yards" is used so often on these forums that the concept has more or less entered the Conventional Wisdom ... mainly I swam "garbage yards."



You need to define "garbage yardage!" I consider it yardage done at a medium pace with no specific purpose. I don't label a set "garbage yards" if it requires an intense effort to make intervals or it consists of slower recovery swimming (we need recovery). I've seen you at many Sewickley practices and you are working so hard on some swims that you can barely talk after them. That's not garbage. And you do mix in enough race pace efforts to keep your sprints sharp. That's not to say that you wouldn't benefit even more from increased race pace efforts.

I agree that workouts must vary by the individual, depending on his/her own physical abilities and target distances. For example, a SDK oriented practice probably isn't right for a distance swimmer or someone who is inflexible or has a bad back. But sometimes people need to break out of their comfort zone ... And that comfort zone is likely the reason that despite the so-called conventional wisdom bashing garbage yards, so many still do it and prefer it.

Chris Stevenson
March 22nd, 2011, 11:49 AM
along with now debunked notions such as ... "eating a box of powdered Jell-O before a race will help you swim faster."

Wait, what? I missed the memo!

Lots of good advice here. To briefly address the thread question: I don't have a good sense of how "most masters teams" train, so I am not sure of the answer. High intensity training is good, both for racing and for general health/fitness. Recovery is also good, that's when you get faster/fitter; this can be long/slow/aerobic work for "active" recovery. I like to hit all the HR/intensity training zones; too much time in any one zone is not good, the right mix will depend on the person and the purpose of the training.

I also generally feel more confident when I've spent more training time in the water; I'll admit there may be a psychological component to this, it may not just be physiological. Of course, too much can hurt you if you don't recover from it.

swimshark
March 22nd, 2011, 12:23 PM
But sometimes people need to break out of their comfort zone ... And that comfort zone is likely the reason that despite the so-called conventional wisdom bashing garbage yards, so many still do it and prefer it.

Leslie, I agree about getting out of the comfort zone. That is so important when it comes to race-day training.It's painful when done but worth it in the long run. I hope masters coaches are getting their swimmers out of that comfort zone every once in a while.

aquageek
March 22nd, 2011, 12:27 PM
I consider training to be the preparation for an event. If you don't compete you really aren't training. You are just swimming, which is fine. I know some super fast people who don't compete so I'm not disparaging swimming.

Anyway, my opinion is that with whatever program you have chosen for training, you have to be both fully committed to it and willing to give it up on a moment's notice if it isn't working or you can't handle it. A lot of folks get wrapped up in validating their training program based solely on best times, which I disagree with.

And, if you train with toys and don't use them with a purpose you are wasting time and money.

I agree with swimshark and fort, you have to constantly swim outside your comfort zone.

Luca
March 23rd, 2011, 11:14 AM
I can't just lurk any longer. I have been pissed for the last few days and this thread is the straw that breaks the camel's back.

In the last two days we swam 400s in different flavors as the main set and one day of last week we were given a wonderful set, 8x400 fr, I hate that stuff. When swimming such sets I couldn't be less focused, I just loaf through the practice.

I know for sure that this way I am not doing what I need to do in order to swim my events, this is very frustrating. I feel like I'm wasting my time, not to mention the thoughts that come across my mind when I think about the months I wasted swimming aerobic sets with no effect on my racing performance.

Another point is the following, which I'm not sure how valid is for Masters as they're kind of out of their teens. I swim with kids from age 13 to 20, I'm not a coach but I think that workouts should be differentiated and based on the stage of development of a kid's physique, which I never see happening where I swim at. Isn't it wrong that a 20-year-old male swims the same workout of a 13-year-old girl without any strength training, only with tighter intervals?

Anyway, I think I'm going to ask my coach if I can swim on my own from now on, cutting back on distance swum and doing 200 race pace sets and fast fly with lots of rest coupled with strength training. Not sure whether he will take it well.

If he accepts I'm going to use the immense knowledge of you USMS members to write my own workouts. This forum has already helped me learn a lot about swimming so thank you guys for being out there and sharing your experience with other swimmers who want to improve.

smontanaro
March 24th, 2011, 01:57 PM
I am very critical of turn work and starts and everything else that happens outside the flags (any time saved here is free).

I'm not a very good swimmer by the standards of most participants in these forums. I learned long ago that wall work is important for me. The less I swim, the faster I go.

Skip

fmracing
March 24th, 2011, 02:11 PM
I'm not a very good swimmer by the standards of most participants in these forums. I learned long ago that wall work is important for me. The less I swim, the faster I go.

Skip

That's absolutely right. Wall training is never time wasted. This part of the race can stay pretty constant regardless of how your level of skill or endurance might change over time. There's never a good excuse to waste time on the walls in a race :)

My only regret is that it took me til i was in my 30's to realize such clarity. :blush:

... if only this was explained to me in hs or college i'd have been even faster back then. Granted, this is a discussion about non youth programs, but I think it still applies to everyone.

Charge
March 24th, 2011, 02:14 PM
My coach knows that is he gives me this workout

4x125 on 2:30
4x50 drill
3x125 on 2:20
4x50 kick
3x125 on 2:10
4x50 easy
3x125 on 2:00


that all those 125's after the first 4 are going to become 75's where I sprint a 50 and then go easy 50, or I'll put on fins for a set and work SDK. And he knows better than to say anything...and my lane mates know I will stay out of their way or stay on the opposite end of the pool as them.

smontanaro
March 24th, 2011, 03:17 PM
In the last two days we swam 400s in different flavors as the main set and one day of last week we were given a wonderful set, 8x400 fr, I hate that stuff. When swimming such sets I couldn't be less focused, I just loaf through the practice.

Hmmm... I'd like that at a coached practice, at least once in awhile. Last Saturday during lap swim, my "main set" was 3x500 (I held 7:40, peeking at the pace clock after every 100, with an interval of 8:30 or 9:00). As you can see, I'm certainly not fast, but they were definitely not "garbage yards" for me.

Skip

The Fortress
March 24th, 2011, 03:34 PM
Hmmm... I'd like that at a coached practice, at least once in awhile. Last Saturday during lap swim, my "main set" was 3x500 (I held 7:40, peeking at the pace clock after every 100, with an interval of 8:30 or 9:00). As you can see, I'm certainly not fast, but they were definitely not "garbage yards" for me.

Skip

8 x 400 might be fine for an OW or marathon swimmer. But if you want to swim fast 50-100-200 in the pool, forget it. I don't get the chance to swim with my team that often. But even on D free day, the coach doesn't assign crap like that.

Do speed work on your own, Luca!

fmracing
March 24th, 2011, 03:40 PM
Sets like 8x400 are the reason I'd get out of the pool and leave practice early when I was still swimming with teams.

I haven't gotten out early once since I decided to go at it on my own last year. Couldn't be happier with my own lane and writing my own sets. The water is bluer on this side... or something.

The ONLY thing I feel is missing without a coach or teammates is someone to run a stopwatch for me on sprint sets, but usually you can bribe a lowly noodler for such a duty :)

aquageek
March 24th, 2011, 03:46 PM
Sets like 8 X 400 and, especially, 10 X 300 double descend long course, aka "world's greatest set," are the reasons I stay motivated. When those sets go on the board I know we are about to laissez le bon temps rouler. The river of tears and chorus of boos from the weak minded sprinters makes it even better.

But, I agree, pointless for 50-100-200.

tjrpatt
March 24th, 2011, 03:51 PM
Sets like 8 X 400 and, especially, 10 X 300 double descend long course, aka "world's greatest set," are the reasons I stay motivated. When those sets go on the board I know we are about to laissez le bon temps rouler. The river of tears and chorus of boos from the weak minded sprinters makes it even better.

But, I agree, pointless for 50-100-200.


:applaud:

The Fortress
March 24th, 2011, 04:39 PM
The river of tears and chorus of boos from the weak minded sprinters makes it even better.

But, I agree, pointless for 50-100-200.

Do the sprinters actually do those sets?

gull
March 24th, 2011, 04:51 PM
Sets like 8 X 400 and, especially, 10 X 300 double descend long course, aka "world's greatest set," are the reasons I stay motivated. When those sets go on the board I know we are about to laissez le bon temps rouler. The river of tears and chorus of boos from the weak minded sprinters makes it even better.

But, I agree, pointless for 50-100-200.

And training like that earned you a top ten time in the 1500 last year. Nicely done.

Other favorites include 5 x 800 and 5 x 1000.

orca1946
March 24th, 2011, 04:53 PM
Both of those in the same practice??? REALLY ??????:bow::bow:

Luca
March 24th, 2011, 05:03 PM
As you can see, I'm certainly not fast, but they were definitely not "garbage yards" for me.
Sure, it is not garbage yardage if it is the right kind of set for the events you plan to swim :)


Do speed work on your own, Luca!
I'm planning to. I read about the WRs you recently set, I'm sure you don't mind if I take ideas from the workouts you post in your blog :bump:


Sets like 8x400 are the reason I'd get out of the pool and leave practice early when I was still swimming with teams.
I did that two days ago for the first time ever, I kinda felt guilty but I just couldn't stay in any longer.

chaos
March 24th, 2011, 05:11 PM
Sets like 8 X 400 and, especially, 10 X 300 double descend long course, aka "world's greatest set," are the reasons I stay motivated. When those sets go on the board I know we are about to laissez le bon temps rouler. The river of tears and chorus of boos from the weak minded sprinters makes it even better.


i demand a refund from my coach whenever the main set is less than 3000 yds.
but i never have any company when i write the workout :(

aquageek
March 24th, 2011, 05:17 PM
Do the sprinters actually do those sets?

Yes, and I dutifully do kick sets and IM sets in return.

The Fortress
March 24th, 2011, 05:22 PM
Yes, and I dutifully do kick sets and IM sets in return.

Really? Can people adjust sets at your practices? For example, could the sprinters do 10 x 100 instead of 10 x 300?

I would never do a set like that. That is truly garage yardage for sprinters, whereas I'm not sure kick and IM sets are garbage yardage for you.

Allen Stark
March 24th, 2011, 05:23 PM
Yes, and I dutifully do kick sets and IM sets in return.

Yes but do you do 16X25 on the minute AFAP with good form.

The Fortress
March 24th, 2011, 05:29 PM
Yes but do you do 16X25 on the minute AFAP with good form.

I'm sure he does as he trains with a great team.

That set is too hard for me, more like a mini lactate set. I would do 10 x (25 AFAP + 50 EZ) @ 2-3:00 for a true sprint set.

knelson
March 24th, 2011, 05:35 PM
Really? Can people adjust sets at your practices? For example, could the sprinters do 10 x 100 instead of 10 x 300?

And we're back to the crux of the matter here. I think that many teams don't provide options. There's one workout. It might be pared down somewhat to accommodate slower swimmers, but--unlike Ande's thread titles-- there's no distance lane, middle distance lane or sprint lane.

aquageek
March 24th, 2011, 05:46 PM
Really? Can people adjust sets at your practices? For example, could the sprinters do 10 x 100 instead of 10 x 300?

I would never do a set like that. That is truly garage yardage for sprinters, whereas I'm not sure kick and IM sets are garbage yardage for you.

We have a fairly well rounded team and most swimmers compete in most all events. Our coach mixes it up enough that everyone gets what they need based on the number of practices we have available during the week.

Our coach makes six workouts a session, three for swimmers, three for triathletes. You can usually find what you need. If not, just suck it up. Right now she is offering 8 workouts a session, including a meet prep and a Chesapeake Bay prep program, which I need to start after the meet in Paul and Laura Smith's pool.

fmracing
March 24th, 2011, 06:01 PM
I did that two days ago for the first time ever, I kinda felt guilty but I just couldn't stay in any longer.

I never felt guilty. I just felt like it was my cue they didn't want sprinters at practice any longer so I'd hit the showers :)

On a few occasions though, I instead went and worked on turns in the diving well for a half hour, then waved at all the people doing their 400's and then hit the showers.

Thrashing Slug
March 24th, 2011, 06:21 PM
Sets like 8 X 400 and, especially, 10 X 300 double descend long course, aka "world's greatest set," are the reasons I stay motivated. When those sets go on the board I know we are about to laissez le bon temps rouler. The river of tears and chorus of boos from the weak minded sprinters makes it even better.

But, I agree, pointless for 50-100-200.


You know, I actually enjoy swimming distance in a long course pool, but in my 25yd home pool I hate it. I prefer to save my distance training for the lake and work on strokes, sprinting, and technique in the pool.

Those sets look like they would be fun though, on the right day. Reminds me of my time at the Fleet Rec. What does "double descend" mean?

aquageek
March 24th, 2011, 06:24 PM
Those sets look like they would be fun though, on the right day. Reminds me of my time at the Fleet Rec. What does "double descend" mean?

You descend 1-5 and 6-10. In addition, 6 is faster than 1, 7 is faster than 2, on down the line. It's what Q refers to as teaching yourself to swim slowly, but that's a point of some debate.

The Fortress
March 24th, 2011, 06:34 PM
If not, just suck it up.

Ew. Not how I want to spend much of my training time. This is a D concept. "Sucking it up" helps D swimmers and hurts sprinters (unless doing a nasty lactate set).

There are great benefits to training with a team, especially one like yours. But if you're "sucking it up" too much, you're probably back to garbage yards. In general, I think sprinters have to train alone at least some of the time -- which many do. Or get a like indeed training partner -- which many do. Most teams just don't have workouts for sprinters because they're catering to too many other different specialities -- tris, OW, mid-D, D, etc. -- who want more yardage and less rest.

When I train with my team, I will sometimes alter the assigned sets. Keeping out of my lanemates way, of course. I don't think this should be a big deal.

aquageek
March 24th, 2011, 06:51 PM
Ew. Not how I want to spend much of my training time. This is a D concept.

We have 40-60+ per session. You can't always have a workout that is in your wheelhouse. It's not a D concept to occasionally do something a bit different.

Allen Stark
March 24th, 2011, 08:12 PM
I'm sure he does as he trains with a great team.

That set is too hard for me, more like a mini lactate set. I would do 10 x (25 AFAP + 50 EZ) @ 2-3:00 for a true sprint set.

For me ,definitely a lactate tolerance set.A regular sprint set would be more like your suggestion.

smontanaro
March 24th, 2011, 08:32 PM
Most teams just don't have workouts for sprinters because they're catering to too many other different specialities -- tris, OW, mid-D, D, etc. -- who want more yardage and less rest.

At meets aren't 50s and 100s the most popular? If so, that suggests that more workouts should be true Fortress-style sprint workouts.

"More yardage and less rest" probably applies to most people, if for no other reason than most peoples' available training time is limited. Workouts are 75 minutes where I swim for now (two, maybe three times per week). I can make one lap swim, which is only one our long. I think even if I was a sprinter I'd feel like I wasn't making the most of my pool time if I wasn't moving.

Finally, I think there are limited opportunities to divide the lanes on many teams. When I swam with Evanston Masters last year, the pool was generally pretty crowded. It wasn't unusual to have five swimmers per lane, and seven wasn't unheard of. Lanes were always divided up by speed into three groups: slow, medium, fast (say, based on what sort of interval you'd swim 100 free repeats), never by specialty. Unless you have lots and lots of available pool time I suspect it's hard to divide up a large team any other way. That means that most dedicated sprinters and distance swimmers probably look elsewhere for pool time. I was very jealous of the available practice times at St. Pete Masters when we were down there on vacation last month. 5x/wk early morning *and* late afternoon, plus Sunday. I've never had 11 practices per week to choose from.

Skip

jaadams1
March 24th, 2011, 09:17 PM
I think many of the above reason are why I train with a team setting, but do a solo workout as much as possible. The team group is good for atmosphere...but in my group, a lot of talking about fishing and gas prices, and how cold the 81-82 degree water is (:cane:). I just get in my lane and go...knowing I have 1 hour before work to get it done. I just try to get as much accomplished as possible before I get bombarded by others in the lane.
We have a very informal team practice...which is both good, and bad for all the reasons you can think of. It's open from 5:00am to 7:00am, and people arrive and leave during all hours. It's more or less an open lap swim period, where the "coach" has a set workout at the ends of the lanes in a ziploc bag to follow if you choose to. She is in the water too...after complaining about how cold it always is. But the workouts are tailored more to the majority of the group which are the elderly/moderate swimmers.
So, I guess, most of my workouts would be considered "solo".

chaos
March 24th, 2011, 09:27 PM
At meets aren't 50s and 100s the most popular?


they should limit entries on the 50s like they do the 1650!!!

.... but seriously; how many swimmers use 50's as filler material at swim meets? (i've even done it myself, as anyone who has ever seen me swim a 50 will confirm)

The Fortress
March 24th, 2011, 09:27 PM
At meets aren't 50s and 100s the most popular? If so, that suggests that more workouts should be true Fortress-style sprint workouts.

I think even if I was a sprinter I'd feel like I wasn't making the most of my pool time if I wasn't moving.



They are, but most masters practices aren't. At all. And it may be that OW is the most popular discipline these days ...

Sprinters don't typically feel guilty about pool time. :D I sit on the wall or move in slow mo recovery fashion all the time.

I think, as you say, that most masters teams do the best they can with the lanes, time and diverse group of swimmers they have. (But when a "sprint" set is assigned, it could at least be a real sprint set.) Unfortunately, because of nature of the beast, masters practices can be "one size fits no one" unless you adjust the practice to suit your needs.

11 practices a week is a lot. My team has 4.

jaadams1
March 24th, 2011, 09:30 PM
they should limit entries on the 50s like they do the 1650!!!

.... but seriously; how many swimmers use 50's as filler material at swim meets? (i've even done it myself, as anyone who has ever seen me swim a 50 will confirm)

I tend to swim the 50s at my home meet...I don't like the idea of driving 3 hours+ across the state to another meet to swim for 23+ seconds (:31 for breast). If I'm going to pay for the gas to go...I'm going to put in the time in the pool too. But then again...I'm not a true sprinter. :)

ganache
March 24th, 2011, 09:34 PM
I coach a Masters swim team in Colorado Springs. I agree that if the goal of the swimmers were to swim fast at meets, then most Masters teams are training wrong. Unfortunately I only have about 5+ swimmers (out of 40 who show up) who go to meets. I have one swimmer who does stuff like the English Channel, several who do Ironman races, others do short tri races and lots of folks who just want a workout and will never compete. I try to get everyone faster. We have IM and/or middle distance days, distance days, sprint days and Saturdays are a mix of stuff. The neat thing is that by working on everyone's stroke technique and the workouts, everyone gets faster. It is a compromise and everyone in the pool knows it. I have been able to get everyone to do the sets because I try to make them fun and challenging. We let swimmers change the sets as long as they don't disrupt the rest of the lane doing the set. Often they either lead the lane and shorten the distance or go at the end of the lane and do stroke. I also modify sets from a kid's team we are part of that I swim with every so often. These sets are often about very fast swimming, for example 15 yard bursts, and getting used to moving faster than most Masters swimmers are comfortable with.

Another thing I do is film them underwater. We can then see what happens to their strokes as they change from slow to moderate to fast. Usually of course they become much less streamlined and their strokes often become shorter. I have often seen larger improvements in speed from better stroke technique than from training.

The Fortress
March 24th, 2011, 09:48 PM
It's not a D concept to occasionally do something a bit different.

This is true, chicken legs.

swimshark
March 25th, 2011, 10:14 AM
Sets like 8 X 400 and, especially, 10 X 300 double descend long course, aka "world's greatest set," are the reasons I stay motivated. When those sets go on the board I know we are about to laissez le bon temps rouler. The river of tears and chorus of boos from the weak minded sprinters makes it even better.

But, I agree, pointless for 50-100-200.

I agree. I wish we would do more ling sets like that.

thewookiee
March 25th, 2011, 10:21 AM
I agree. I wish we would do more ling sets like that.

What are "ling" sets?

qbrain
March 25th, 2011, 02:20 PM
You descend 1-5 and 6-10. In addition, 6 is faster than 1, 7 is faster than 2, on down the line. It's what Q refers to as teaching yourself to swim slowly, but that's a point of some debate.

And the way some people split their races that is a skill that needs to be taught.

If someone other than geekster wants to educate me on how 10x300s double descend will teach a sprinter (up to 200s), stroke or IMer to swim faster, I am all ears... or eyeballs in this case.

The last time I had this argument with Geek, the cost of chicken in Thailand came up, but the issue remained unresolved.

jim thornton
March 25th, 2011, 02:25 PM
And the way some people split their races that is a skill that needs to be taught.

If someone other than geekster wants to educate me on how 10x300s double descend will teach a sprinter (up to 200s), stroke or IMer to swim faster, I am all ears... or eyeballs in this case.

The last time I had this argument with Geek, the cost of chicken in Thailand came up, but the issue remained unresolved.

For the elites, a 200 is a sprint, but for most of us masters, it's a middle distance mix of speed and endurance. A set like this will, in my opinion, work on the endurance aspect of the race and give you some mental toughness.

The double descending aspect will help you learn pacing strategies, which I think is really important in anything over a 100 (and for many of us, even the 100 itself. Ask Leslie about her WR 100 back--it was NOT an all out sprint. She worked the SDKS and turns really hard, but tried to stay smooth on the actual arms-being-used parts of the race.)

Sets of 50s or even 25s with lots of rest will help you with the speed you'll need for a good 200, but you can't avoid the endurance aspect. I think of all the benefits of this kind of set, the mental toughness/self confidence aspect is probably the most important.

qbrain
March 25th, 2011, 02:45 PM
For the elites, a 200 is a sprint, but for most of us masters, it's a middle distance mix of speed and endurance. A set like this will, in my opinion, work on the endurance aspect of the race and give you some mental toughness.

The double descending aspect will help you learn pacing strategies, which I think is really important in anything over a 100 (and for many of us, even the 100 itself. Ask Leslie about her WR 100 back--it was NOT an all out sprint. She worked the SDKS and turns really hard, but tried to stay smooth on the actual arms-being-used parts of the race.)

Sets of 50s or even 25s with lots of rest will help you with the speed you'll need for a good 200, but you can't avoid the endurance aspect. I think of all the benefits of this kind of set, the mental toughness/self confidence aspect is probably the most important.

Thank you for agreeing with me Jim, it might be the first time.

10x300 double descend will train the aerobic system and can be used to teach pacing, or as Geek puts it, teaching yourself to swim slowly.

couldbebetterfly
March 25th, 2011, 03:01 PM
What are "ling" sets?

My guess is they are non-race distance sets, 150, 300, 400 yds etc :D

swimshark
March 25th, 2011, 03:13 PM
What are "ling" sets?

Hey, I couldn't see to type this morning. Darn cold!


they should limit entries on the 50s like they do the 1650!!!

.... but seriously; how many swimmers use 50's as filler material at swim meets? (i've even done it myself, as anyone who has ever seen me swim a 50 will confirm)

I do. I can go from the 1000 free to the 50 back at any meet.

knelson
March 25th, 2011, 04:27 PM
Hey, I couldn't see to type this morning. Darn cold!

So what were you trying to type? I must admit I have no clue!

no200fly
March 25th, 2011, 04:40 PM
So what were you trying to type? I must admit I have no clue!

long?

That Guy
March 25th, 2011, 04:55 PM
ssshhhhhh

swimshark
March 25th, 2011, 08:18 PM
long?

Yes!

knelson
March 26th, 2011, 02:14 AM
Duh, I guess I should have looked at my keyboard for two seconds. I kinda like "ling," though. I might start using that in my blog. Ling is any set where you start to feel like a lingcod in the middle. Here's the lingcod: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ling_cod

swimshark
March 26th, 2011, 06:56 AM
Duh, I guess I should have looked at my keyboard for two seconds. I kinda like "ling," though. I might start using that in my blog. Ling is any set where you start to feel like a lingcod in the middle. Here's the lingcod: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ling_cod

LOL! I like "ling". Glad I could help your blog writing.

smontanaro
March 26th, 2011, 08:00 AM
Here's the lingcod: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ling_cod

My parents liked to go out deep sea fishing when I was a young kid. (I grew up in San Jose.) I remember them catching the occasional lingcod. As I recall, they have a poisonous barb on their dorsal fin so you have to be careful handling them.

So maybe during a ling set that makes you feel like a lingcod you get cranky and start stinging your lane mates. :D

smontanaro
March 26th, 2011, 08:35 AM
I remember them catching the occasional lingcod. As I recall, they have a poisonous barb on their dorsal fin so you have to be careful handling them.

I retract that statement. I believe I was recalling the sculpin.

fritznh
March 26th, 2011, 09:51 AM
I retract that statement. I believe I was recalling the sculpin (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sculpin).

Hey -- we do sculpin drills!

no200fly
March 26th, 2011, 11:42 AM
ssshhhhhh

You guys crack me up.

swoomer
March 26th, 2011, 01:01 PM
I think I'm among the fortunate. My team has 25 coached practices weekly including 3 geared to the long distance swimmer. Within those practices, there are 3 groups based on interval. Within the week there are focused days dedicated to stroke, speed, and aerobic sets. Something for everyone.

Freestyle is always an option for non-strokers, and we can always change groups if we want a longer interval with more rest for sprints or stroke work. Our coach is accomodating and flexible as long as we are mindful of the clock and our lane mates. What could be better!

Thrashing Slug
March 26th, 2011, 09:18 PM
Duh, I guess I should have looked at my keyboard for two seconds. I kinda like "ling," though. I might start using that in my blog. Ling is any set where you start to feel like a lingcod in the middle. Here's the lingcod: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ling_cod

Looks like me during the second half of Friday's 10 X 100 IM "test" set.

swim53
March 27th, 2011, 09:08 AM
Congrats, Chris Stevenson, on being named Pool All-Star 45-49!

dsyphers
March 27th, 2011, 11:34 AM
I've been lurking on this thread since it started. I am focused on getting as good as I can get in freestyle (50 throught the 1000), all backstrokes and all IM's, a passing interest in the fly, but my breaststroke is an abomination. For all the strokes I care about, I can take my 50 time, double it and add 10% and be very close to my 100 time (within a second or less). Same for 100 to 200. For 500 to 1000 it is more like 7-8% added. When I compare to top ten swimmers in the 45+ age ranges, this formula works for most of them but the 500 to 1000 comparison becomes more like double the 500 and add 5%. They have more power in their strokes, and along with that a bit more endurance (perhaps a more efficient stroke?).

What do I conclude from this? There is no way my 100, 200 and 500 times are going to fall without my 50 time falling. Doing long sets might bring my 1000 down a little, but is unlikely to make my 50 time fall. To improve in all distances I probably need to focus on dropping the 50 time. For me this means more work on powerful fast short sets, some on long intervals, some on short intervals until I can't take it anymore. Plus, I probably need to start a dryland routine. I workout with a masters group a couple of days a week, where I don't need to be internally motivated -- just follow the coach. But three days a week I structure my own workouts to try to get that 50 time down, since that is the key to a faster 100, 200 and 500.

aquajock
March 27th, 2011, 12:08 PM
I have trained with 3 teams here in Tucson and 2 of them are super-saturated with triathletes and fitness swimmers who just want to get in the miles. The 3rd team is just too far away for me to drive. As a breaststroker and pool competitor, I find this frustrating.

Although first and foremost, I swim for health, I also have some performance ability and I would like to bring more of it out. Most of the time, I have to adjust sets to suit my needs, but I don't always push myself as hard as I would if there were other swimmers in the pool who had similar objectives. When I have people to race, it gets me motivated!

orca1946
March 27th, 2011, 01:56 PM
Does the coach taper you before the state meet or nationals?.
You could ask if a lane or two could be put into these sets.

Karen Duggan
March 27th, 2011, 02:43 PM
This thread is making my head hurt.
:D

dsyphers
March 27th, 2011, 04:43 PM
I meant to add one thing. I have recently started using a Finis Tempo Trainer, and I find it invaluable. When I do my own sets, it is sometimes hard to come up with motivation to push hard. With the tempo trainer, I just set the tempo and try to stay with it. As a result I have doubled the amount of fast yardage I do in a workout. It is much easier to just try to stay with the beep (it fits under a swim cap near your ear and beeps at whatever rate you set) than it is to keep that pace without the beep. It's kind of like having a coach directing intervals -- you don't need to think, you're just reacting. I find my mental exhaustion actually peaks before my physical exhaustion does, and this takes the mental part out of the picture. I highly recommend it for anyone trying to improve their times.

Paul Smith
March 27th, 2011, 08:13 PM
One of the biggest mistakes I see is that many coaches/swimmers fall into a pattern of coaching/training that really has no pattern. Weekly micro-cycles training tied into an overall seasonal and yearly plan takes a lot of thought and work and when only a small percentage of your swimmers are competing its easy to just train everyone hard (and often long/aerobic) because the majority of the swimmers THINK this is better for fitness (or triathlon development).

We have held to the belief that if your coming to train with us then your going to train like a "swimmer"...and to that end we have a program thats built around avoiding over-training by using a systematic program that cycles through each energy system and is recovery base....and follows Dennis Cotterell's belief that "everything is about speed" (a talk he gave at an ASCA convention discussing training Grant Hackett).

So what does this mean? Well for starters our open water, fitness and Tri folks all do at least one day a week of speed work at a minimum of 4:1 rest to work ratio. Those that have bought in have learned to love it and have improved dramatically...some don't stick around or ask for their own lane (which we don't offer) and thats Ok as we are committed to what we are doing and the team has gone along with it.

knelson
March 27th, 2011, 10:14 PM
Well for starters our open water, fitness and Tri folks all do at least one day a week of speed work at a minimum of 4:1 rest to work ratio.

Very interesting, Paul. I can tell you how many times I've done that over the past season because that number is exactly zero.

Karl_S
March 28th, 2011, 11:28 AM
What are "ling" sets?
"ling" is Chinese for zero...:bolt:

Ahelee Sue Osborn
March 28th, 2011, 01:35 PM
One of the biggest mistakes I see is that many coaches/swimmers fall into a pattern of coaching/training that really has no pattern. Weekly micro-cycles training tied into an overall seasonal and yearly plan takes a lot of thought and work and when only a small percentage of your swimmers are competing its easy to just train everyone hard (and often long/aerobic) because the majority of the swimmers THINK this is better for fitness (or triathlon development).
We have held to the belief that if your coming to train with us then your going to train like a "swimmer"...and to that end we have a program thats built around avoiding over-training by using a systematic program that cycles through each energy system and is recovery base....and follows Dennis Cotterell's belief that "everything is about speed" (a talk he gave at an ASCA convention discussing training Grant Hackett).
So what does this mean? Well for starters our open water, fitness and Tri folks all do at least one day a week of speed work at a minimum of 4:1 rest to work ratio. Those that have bought in have learned to love it and have improved dramatically...some don't stick around or ask for their own lane (which we don't offer) and thats Ok as we are committed to what we are doing and the team has gone along with it.


BRAVO!!

Was hoping that a head coach from a large masters program would chime in here.
It is kind of known that I "swim around"... so it's no secret to me which of the clubs train for true health & fitness.

If the program doesn't have a training cycle and a focus on technique, there are going to be athletes who get injured and or burned out. (unhealthy)

There are those athletes who know deep down that they need this type of practice/training and will even ask the coach for it! But if they don't follow the program laid out and or practice poor technique, the result will eventually be as problematic as swimming with an unplanned program.

If you live too far away from one of the great programs, inquire if the club offers a "Satellite" membership.
When I coached at Nova in Irvine, we offered this option and the workouts were emailed out each month. I remember the coach telling me, if you just do the workouts as written, you'll improve. They were planned and had evolved over 20+ years of coaching masters. Technique is written into the workouts and the intervals are stated at 4 levels.

I watched this program for 2 years. It serves a huge number of novice/fitness swimmers. As well open water, triathletes, and competitive swimmers. They improve - and yes, get a lot faster.
I never experienced an injury with one of the athletes unless they were doing something outside the pool or refused to slow down and work on their poor technique.
This is the one yearly training plan I experienced first hand and could recommend. I would be very interested in hearing about others around the country outside of the workouts posted here on the forum.

I'm one of those swimmers who find it impossible to train alone for long. Often we swim in poorly planned workouts for the sake of swimming with friends and training partners.
It can be a huge trade off.
Unfortunately for some, there are few other options.

But perhaps The Fortress has successfully demonstrated a way to combine training alone, with friends and occasionally with a club. And you know she has a plan!

gdanner
March 28th, 2011, 04:15 PM
I'm not a sprinter, so swimming distance sets with my club team does not bother me. I think we keep the garbage yardage to a minimum, but obviously sprinters don't need 3,000 yard main sets.

I would guess that your average masters program has fewer coaches than club/college counterparts, making it difficult to create specialized workouts every day and pay attention to everyone. A swimmer has an easy gauge of improvement if they can hold a faster interval in a set after a month of hard training. They don't need a coach watching them for that. In a set of sprint 50's, unless they have a coach giving them splits, it can be very difficult to tell. Even then, you could be talking improvements in the tenths of a second, which leaves room for timing discrepancies. From that standpoint, it is more challenging to assist sprinters in practice.

Another issue is stroke technique. I think stroke correction is far easier when swimming at a moderate pace as opposed to sprinting. The more yards someone swims with good technique, the greater the likelihood that it will become natural for them. And if the swimmer is trying to unlearn a problem from years of training, it's going to take that much longer to fix the issue. If you already have perfect technique, then by all means, sprint away!

For the most part, I agree with everything that has been said in this thread so far.

smontanaro
March 28th, 2011, 04:25 PM
I think stroke correction is far easier when swimming at a moderate pace as opposed to sprinting. The more yards someone swims with good technique, the greater the likelihood that it will become natural for them.

I find that it's much harder to hold my technique together when I approach race pace. It's more challenging for the coach to provide critique when I am swimming fast, but probably more important.

That said, I believe I simulate stroke breakdown fairly well at lower speeds if I am worn out from a long main set. ;)

The Fortress
March 28th, 2011, 08:01 PM
BRAVO!!

Was hoping that a head coach from a large masters program would chime in here. And you know she has a plan!

Tall Paul's workouts are outstanding! I swipe them fairly regularly and adapt them to my sprinterly mega-rest ways. He is also one of the few masters coaches that prioritizes kicking. And he's been saying masters need to kick more for years!

I actually use weekly micro cycles as well (trying to mix in speed, lactate, hypoxic, recovery and technique work). And do 3 weeks hard + 1 week recovery (hopefully around a meet). A recovery workout is a great time to focus on technique.

And, again, race pace work is NOT just for sprinters. For example, while I understand Salo's sprinters do zero distance work and long aerobic sets, his D swimmers don't do that much short rest stuff either.

Thrashing Slug
March 29th, 2011, 12:10 PM
And, again, race pace work is NOT just for sprinters. For example, while I understand Salo's sprinters do zero distance work and long aerobic sets, his D swimmers don't do that much short rest stuff either.

Paul's program sounds great to me. I wish my team trained that way.

Yesterday I missed the morning workout so I had to come in later and train alone. I chose to ignore what was on the board, which was a bunch of typical zero rest "garbage" stuff like 50s on :45, 100s on 1:30, etc. I'm training for the 500 free, 50 fly, and 100 free, so I did the following:

Warm up: 400S, 300P, 200K, 100IM

Set 1:
3 x 500 free, broken at the 100 with 10s rest
#1 swim with paddles, #2 swim with fins, #3 swim naked medium hard, try to pace consistently. I took as much rest as I wanted between 500s. It was probably about a minute and a half to two minutes, and it felt like a guilty pleasure. When our coach gives us 500s they're usually on an interval that allows 10 to 20 seconds of rest, if that.

Set 2:
2 X 25 back flutter kick, 2 x 25 backstroke swim.
2 X 25 fly kick, 2 X 25 fly
2 x 50 back kick, 2 X 50 back swim (fins)
2 x 50 fly kick, 2 X 50 fly (fins)
25s were on 1:00, 50s on 1:30. Then I did 2 more 50s fly, finless, to work on technique. No interval on those, just focused on getting my head down early, shoulder shrug, and undulation.

Cooldown was an easy 400 pull with paddles. Focus on body roll, hip snap, and symmetry.

This ended up being a pretty long workout but I felt much better at the end than I do during the typical no-rest stuff. My technique felt consistent throughout, even though I was tired. I guess I am a lazy sprinter at heart.

Paul Smith
March 29th, 2011, 04:33 PM
Very interesting, Paul. I can tell you how many times I've done that over the past season because that number is exactly zero.

All I can say is that its something I believe very strongly about. I will use our group of the Tri-Mesa guys on our team as an example...when they started with us 18 months ago all they wanted was long freestyle/pull sets and no matter how much rest they had none of them could go faster than about 1:40. Now all of them hold 1:20's on 1:30 base 100's and swim in the 1:10 range...all but two went under 60 minutes for their Ironman swims.

Now to be honest they all do a T30, T60, 10 x 500's and assorted other long swims monthly so don't think they are training like sprinters!

chowmi
March 29th, 2011, 07:07 PM
Everyone's gotta swim the first 50.
If you don't have a fast first 50, you won't have a fast 100.
If you don't have a fast 100, you won't have a fast 200.
If you don't have a fast 200....and so on!

Different types of Sprinting - pure power generation vs. easy speed vs. reducing your rate of decreasing speed!

Jazz Hands
March 29th, 2011, 07:20 PM
Everyone's gotta swim the first 50.
If you don't have a fast first 50, you won't have a fast 100.
If you don't have a fast 100, you won't have a fast 200.
If you don't have a fast 200....and so on!

Different types of Sprinting - pure power generation vs. easy speed vs. reducing your rate of decreasing speed!

Very well put. Endurance means a low rate of speed decrease. The faster you are, the more speed you have to lose. You can get better in endurance races by being a faster sprinter.

larsoda
March 29th, 2011, 07:58 PM
Paul's program sounds great to me. I wish my team trained that way.

Yesterday I missed the morning workout so I had to come in later and train alone. I chose to ignore what was on the board, which was a bunch of typical zero rest "garbage" stuff like 50s on :45, 100s on 1:30, etc. I'm training for the 500 free, 50 fly, and 100 free, so I did the following:



Just when I thought I was getting a handle on "garbage".....

I thought the thinking was that repeat 100's & 200's were aerobic sets that might be a training plan for the 500. Maintaining a certain pace over 5 or 10 (or more) repeats and building aerobic endurance. It seems like it would be better than repeat 500's because you'd be working on pacing.

I can see it being "garbage" if you're able to maintain 1:10 to 1:15 and are waiting :15 to :20. And it's "garbage" for sprinters because there's not enough rest to put in an all-out effort.

But if a swimmer is coming in at 1:20 or 1:25 and working hard, isn't it OK training for a 500?

That Guy
March 29th, 2011, 10:16 PM
Just when I thought I was getting a handle on "garbage".....

I thought the thinking was that repeat 100's & 200's were aerobic sets that might be a training plan for the 500. Maintaining a certain pace over 5 or 10 (or more) repeats and building aerobic endurance. It seems like it would be better than repeat 500's because you'd be working on pacing.

I can see it being "garbage" if you're able to maintain 1:10 to 1:15 and are waiting :15 to :20. And it's "garbage" for sprinters because there's not enough rest to put in an all-out effort.

But if a swimmer is coming in at 1:20 or 1:25 and working hard, isn't it OK training for a 500?

None of what you or Thrashing Slug listed is necessarily garbage - it's aerobic swimming. Garbage yardage is swimming without purpose.* Aerobic swimming is garbage if you're just going through the motions. Same with anaerobic swimming. Needless to say you'll do much better if you push yourself and work on something like descending, SDK's off every wall, fast turns, and beating whoever's next to you.

* 99% of the credit for that definition goes to The Fortress. In a blog comment I happened to paraphrase it down to the minimal verbiage you see above. The shortened version was well-received and resulted in me being elected mayor of Blogtown for seven whole minutes! :banana:

chaos
March 29th, 2011, 10:57 PM
None of what you or Thrashing Slug listed is necessarily garbage - it's aerobic swimming. Garbage yardage is [B]swimming without purpose.*

my definition of garbage yardage involves flotsam and jetsam (and maybe a few warm spots too)

aquageek
March 30th, 2011, 09:09 AM
Very well put. Endurance means a low rate of speed decrease. The faster you are, the more speed you have to lose. You can get better in endurance races by being a faster sprinter.

In limited circumstances this might be true. However, if I devote much time to being a faster sprinter there is almost zero chance it will improve a 1650 or, especially, a longer endurance event. If endurance is defined as a 500 or 1000, then I probably agree with this, as long as you don't sacrifice training for your endurance events.

qbrain
March 30th, 2011, 09:20 AM
Everyone's gotta swim the first 50.


One day, we will teach you about relays.

knelson
March 30th, 2011, 10:02 AM
I think it's too late for the short course season (although I'll definitely be adding more quality stuff in the next month), but I may experiment this summer with doing some true speed work. Maybe devote one workout per week to this. Does anyone have an opinion on what kind of distance these quality sets should be?

aquageek
March 30th, 2011, 10:19 AM
I think it's too late for the short course season (although I'll definitely be adding more quality stuff in the next month), but I may experiment this summer with doing some true speed work. Maybe devote one workout per week to this. Does anyone have an opinion on what kind of distance these quality sets should be?

When we do straight up speed work we tend to go 4:1 or 5:1 EZ:speed. A lot of our speed sets will begin with drill round, then an EZ/cruise round, then the speed, then EZ, then another speed, then EZ, repeat a few times.

tjrpatt
March 30th, 2011, 10:35 AM
I think it's too late for the short course season (although I'll definitely be adding more quality stuff in the next month), but I may experiment this summer with doing some true speed work. Maybe devote one workout per week to this. Does anyone have an opinion on what kind of distance these quality sets should be?

One week, do a set of 50s on 3:00 or 4:00
Another week, do a set of 100s, 6:00
then, a set of 200s, on 8:00
Maybe the 4th week,
do 2 or 3 rounds of
a fast 50
a fast 100
a fast 200

When you get closer to you taper,
do some broken 500s, 100s, etc once a week.

Chris Stevenson
March 30th, 2011, 12:46 PM
Everyone's gotta swim the first 50.
If you don't have a fast first 50, you won't have a fast 100.
If you don't have a fast 100, you won't have a fast 200.
If you don't have a fast 200....and so on!

Different types of Sprinting - pure power generation vs. easy speed vs. reducing your rate of decreasing speed!


Very well put. Endurance means a low rate of speed decrease. The faster you are, the more speed you have to lose. You can get better in endurance races by being a faster sprinter.

I agree with the sentiment that distance swimmers can usually benefit from a little more speed. Heck, you look at the top elite milers and most of them have a pretty decent max speed. (The converse is probably not true, but most sprinters I know should work on their lactate tolerance more.)

At the same time, I have have known quite a few excellent distance swimmers who do not have a fast 50, or even a very fast 200 (Jeff Erwin is a masters swimmer around my age who fits this bill). Many of the best ones never lifted seriously either and aren't that strong; they just never, ever seem to get tired.

Pure speed and aerobic endurance are not one and the same, and in fact focusing on one too much can be to the detriment to the other. It is a dangerous oversimplification to imply otherwise, IMO. The best distance swimmers I know do not "reduce their rate of speed reduction" at all, in fact they seem to get faster and stronger as the race progresses. I have lost many a race to Erwin on the last 100, and my splits were not getting slower. His top speed at the beginning of the race can't match mine...but at the end of the race it's a different story.

BUT getting back to the original question: distance swimmers certainly need to practice race-pace regularly, it is just that those practices may look quite different than those of sprinters or mid-D types. And to repeat: yes, I do think that distance swimmers need to work on their top speed. Just not nearly as much as a 50 specialist (which I hope is obvious).

knelson
March 30th, 2011, 02:07 PM
One week...

Right, but my question is how much all-out swimming per session? I would guess somewhere between 500-1000 yards or meters would be a good starting point?

That Guy
March 30th, 2011, 03:20 PM
Right, but my question is how much all-out swimming per session? I would guess somewhere between 50-1000 yards or meters would be a good starting point?



I generally do no more than one race-pace event per workout. Lactate sets like 5x200 on 8:00 are not race-pace, though they're close to it. You can do lactate sets more often than once a week. In college we'd repeat a cycle roughly like this every 2-3 weeks:

Lactate set #1 this Tuesday

Distance swimmers do 4x500 on 12:00
Stroke/Mid-D swimmers do 5x200 on 8:00
Sprinters do 5x100 on 6:00

Lactate set #2 this Thursday

Distance swimmers do 5x200 on 8:00
Stroke/Mid-D swimmers do 5x100 on 6:00
Sprinters do 5x50 on 4:00?

Lactate set #3 next Tuesday

Distance swimmers do 5x100 on 6:00
Stroke/Mid-D swimmers do 5x50 on 4:00?
Sprinters do 5x25 on 3:00?

I don't really remember what the intervals were for the 50's and 25's since I was in the distance lane for 4 years. It was a tradition for at least one of the sprinters to reappear on the pool deck fully clothed while we still had swimming to do. Towards the end of each set, we did get to spread out into the empty lanes... :badday:

Paul Smith
March 30th, 2011, 06:04 PM
Right, but my question is how much all-out swimming per session? I would guess somewhere between 50-1000 yards or meters would be a good starting point?

Below is a VERY simplified overview of what we are discussing....although the 1:1 ratio they mention for EN3 to me should be anywhere from 3:1 to 10:1 depending on a number of factors.

One thing not being discussed much on this thread is the need to practice at speeds FASTER than your goal race pace times...I think its s critical part of training and something we use fins and paddles for along with bungee cords.

PS


Minimum Endurance Pace (EN1) - almost any distance, with very low rest (less than :30 seconds) between repeats, swum at a sustainable, fairly easy pace. This kind of work set takes 15 to 60 minutes (or more). It helps to build base yardage and promotes recovery. An example: 6 x 500 yards at EN1 pace with :15 seconds rest between repeats or 6 x 500 @ :15 rest, EN1 pace.

Threshold Endurance Pace (EN2) - usually distances less than 500 yards with up to :60 seconds rest between repeats, swum at a pace faster than EN1 (we'll look at how much faster a little bit later). This type of set take between 20 and 45 (or more) minutes to complete and should increase your ability to perform aerobic work without causing a build-up of waste products in the muscles, but should still be followed by a day of easy work to restore muscle glycogen stores. An example: 8 x 175 @ :20 rest, EN2 pace.

VO2Max Endurance Pace (EN3) - usually distances less than 300 yards with rest somewhere between :20 seconds up to a time equal to the amount of work completed (a 1:1 work to rest ratio) at a pace faster than both EN1 and EN2 (be patient - we'll get to it). You will probably not be able to hold this pace for much longer than 30 minutes. This kind of work can simulate the same overall affects of a race. It's very hard work and should also be followed by some type of recovery workout to restore muscle glycogen stores. An example: 8 x 100 @ :45 rest, EN3 pace.

aquageek
March 30th, 2011, 06:14 PM
One thing not being discussed much on this thread is the need to practice at speeds FASTER than your goal race pace times...I think its s critical part of training and something we use fins and paddles for along with bungee cords.


100% agree.

pwb
March 30th, 2011, 06:21 PM
...At the same time, I have have known quite a few excellent distance swimmers who do not have a fast 50, or even a very fast 200 (Jeff Erwin is a masters swimmer around my age who fits this bill). Many of the best ones never lifted seriously either and aren't that strong; they just never, ever seem to get tired....The best distance swimmers I know do not "reduce their rate of speed reduction" at all, in fact they seem to get faster and stronger as the race progresses.Chris, very good points. And, Paul, while I agree with general sentiment that d-folks need to work more on speed than they typically might they need to do, I'll offer a counter-point (n=1) from my own experience.


I can sprint as fast now in the 50 as I did back in my younger days (e.g., my 22.1 in 2008 was faster than I ever went in my teens or 20s)
I was almost as fast in my 100 (e.g., 48.1 vs. 47-mid in my late teens/20s)
By the time you get to my 200, though, my best time was 3 seconds slower now than then ... 500 was close to 20 seconds slower ... 1000 was 40 seconds and mile was 76 seconds slower.

As a Masters swimmer, if I really want to get my 500/1000/1650 anywhere near the times I did in the past, I think the answer is going to be two-fold: more volume, more high intensity / short rest aerobic style sets. The energy systems, stroke rate, stroke length, kick are completely different for me in a 50/100 vs. a 500-1650. I happen to be doing probably close to 100% more sprint style work over the last few years than I ever did back in my prime training days, but I am under no illusion that that kind of training is helping my 500 to 1650.

Put it this way: to get back to my best ever 500 time, I need to be able to hold a 53 pace per 100. I did a set of 20 x 50 recently on 2:00, with most of the freestyles being 24+/25- and a few 26s, all well under what would needed to be a 53 500 pace ... but I don't think that helped my 500 at all ... of course, if I do end up swimming the 500 on Sunday at Paul's pool and do something miraculous, I will stand corrected ;)

Rich Abrahams
March 30th, 2011, 06:50 PM
[QUOTE=pwb;239815]Chris, very good points. And, Paul, while I agree with general sentiment that d-folks need to work more on speed than they typically might they need to do, I'll offer a counter-point (n=1) from my own experience.


I can sprint as fast now in the 50 as I did back in my younger days (e.g., my 22.1 in 2008 was faster than I ever went in my teens or 20s)
I was almost as fast in my 100 (e.g., 48.1 vs. 47-mid in my late teens/20s)
By the time you get to my 200, though, my best time was 3 seconds slower now than then ... 500 was close to 20 seconds slower ... 1000 was 40 seconds and mile was 76 seconds slower.


I really didn't want to get caught up in this thread because once I got started it'd be hard for me to stop. This topic is the core of Bob Strand and my Super Session clinics and I've been writing a column on this topic quarterly for our LMSC newsletter entitled "Training to Race."

I just wanted to make one point about your last post, Patrick. From my perspective, if you trained differently in college (i.e. with an emphasis on sprints) your recent 22.1 might be a whole lot slower than your best college 50. You were able to match that time because you didn't approach your speed potential in colleege due to the way you trained then. Make any sense?

Anyway, looking forward to meeting you in person in Mesa. I've always enjoyed reading your posts.
Rich

pwb
March 30th, 2011, 07:04 PM
I just wanted to make one point about your last post, Patrick. From my perspective, if you trained differently in college (i.e. with an emphasis on sprints) your recent 22.1 might be a whole lot slower than your best college 50. You were able to match that time because you didn't approach your speed potential in colleege due to the way you trained then. Make any sense?Yes, it does. I trained almost exclusively for the 500-1650 in high school in a very high volume yardage club; we did more quality work at Texas, but the distance guys (where I trained all except for my senior year) still did some pretty decent volume of training. I will say this, my best 400 free / 400 IM (and subsequent 500 free / 400 IM) times came when I trained one summer in the IM lane ... but, then my 1000 and 1650 were well off previous bests.

I am a firm proponent of training to race and I think that most Masters swimmer will do better (since most race 50 - 200 distances) by adding in a lot more quality than they do today.

Where I think I differ, though, is for folks who really want to train for the 1000 and 1650: for those, I think the training to race philosophy is pretty well matched by high intensity (not all out), low rest sets. For example, if I want to be getting well under 10:00 in my 1000, I'd better be doing lots of repeat 100s on a 1:05 or even 1:00 interval ... doing 10 x 100 on 4:00 all-out, IMHO, is not going to benefit my 1000 time.



Anyway, looking forward to meeting you in person in Mesa. I've always enjoyed reading your posts.
RichThanks, and me to to meeting you.

Chris Stevenson
March 30th, 2011, 07:15 PM
Where I think I differ, though, is for folks who really want to train for the 1000 and 1650: for those, I think the training to race philosophy is pretty well matched by high intensity (not all out), low rest sets. For example, if I want to be getting well under 10:00 in my 1000, I'd better be doing lots of repeat 100s on a 1:05 or even 1:00 interval ... doing 10 x 100 on 4:00 all-out, IMHO, is not going to benefit my 1000 time.

I agree with your larger point but disagree with two specifics:

-- I think the 500 and 400 IM benefit some from training such as you describe. (Even the 200s but to a much lesser extent.)

-- I think that 10x100 on 4:00 (a lactate tolerance set) would indeed benefit your 1000 time. It just shouldn't be the only type of training you do, the low-rest stuff is needed (think of these basically as broken race-pace swims). Though my own days of doing more than 2 or 3 10s on 1:00 are long gone...

knelson
March 30th, 2011, 11:57 PM
Based on energy systems, most of my training is firmly in EN2 territory with some in EN3 and a little at EN1, but mainly just recovery swims in between the harder work. I never do a day of EN1, for example. The place I seldom venture is anything with a rest to work ratio of greater than 1:1. I feel like even at 1:1 you really can't open it up and go all-out. Maybe for a repeat or two, but then you're toast. Because of this there's a tendency to hold back. I think distance swimmers have a natural tendency to hold back, anyway. We're always thinking about the end of the set, not the next repeat!

Ahelee Sue Osborn
March 31st, 2011, 11:07 AM
One thing not being discussed much on this thread is the need to practice at speeds FASTER than your goal race pace times...I think its s critical part of training and something we use fins and paddles for along with bungee cords. PS

THIS is the secret to drawing in the triathletes, distance, OW and other speed wary athletes.
Make it fun - give times so they can measure their progress - race and rest so they can swim FAST!

Doing it on a regular (weekly) basis erases any need for a whole lot of explanation. Athletes who do it just get faster than those who don't.
LOVE FAST FRIDAY!

smontanaro
March 31st, 2011, 01:10 PM
I've been out of the water for nearly two weeks, and decided I needed to get wet this morning. I decided to try and apply a little of what I've read here. By the time I finished gabbing with the lifeguard I had 50 minutes of my hour left. Here's what I did. Warning: IANAS. While I didn't completely make up the workout on-the-fly (there was no fly, btw), I had really only decided on the warmup and 75s before I got to the pool.


200/100/200 S/K/P warmup
8X75 @ 1:30 - quick odds, cruise evens, descend the odds - went 1:05, 1:04, 1:03, 1:02 on the odds, evens were all 1:07 or 1:08
8X50 @ 1:00/2:00 - 2 X {ez/fast, fast/ez, build, fast} - the two fast 50s were :37, :36, more like :41-:42 for the ez/fast 50s, around :39 for the build 50s
8X25 @ 1:00 - all fast - last was :16, rest were :17
200 ez cool down


At the end I was reminded of the Rodney Dangerfield (or was it Henny Youngman?) joke: "I just flew in from New York. Man are my arms tired!"

As you can tell from the times I am clearly not a sprinter.

I would have rated the 75s as EN2, the fast 50s and all the 25s as EN3. I found the 75s easier than the 25s, certainly physically, probably mentally as well. I guess that's to be expected.

So short workout, but definitely different than my usual workouts.

knelson
March 31st, 2011, 02:43 PM
Most energy charts show levels above EN3. EN3 is usually considered a mix of aerobic and anaerobic. Anything above this relies primarily on the anaerobic system. Charts I've seen label these zones as SP1, 2 and 3. SP1 and 2 are what most of us would consider "speed work" and SP3 is very short, explosive type sprints, like 15 meter blasts, maybe 25s tops.

For example:
http://www.teamunify.com/reno/__doc__/Energy%20Zones%20in%20Swimming.pdf

Allen Stark
March 31st, 2011, 05:28 PM
Something I was thinking about yesterday in my workout was that it is easier for me to focus on technique adjustments and how effective they are during sprints.If I am trying a major change,of course I start slow until I get a feel for it,but when I am tweeking my stroke I really like to focus on it during sprints.One reason,of course,is that I have a short attention span and it is easier for me to focus for a 25 than a 100,but another is that it is easier for me to see if a change really helps.In a 25 I am going all out, so if something is faster or results in lower SPL the results are likely accurate.While I have a pretty good idea of 100 and 200 pace I can't be as sure that I am giving duplicate effort as I can in an all out sprint.

bowyer954
April 6th, 2011, 10:54 PM
I have been swimming in the masters for about four years. In the summer I train with a team and their 3K-4K practices kill me--not for speed but for distance. I am 58 yrs old and my longest event is the 200 FS but my strongest events are the 50 and 100 Fly. Doing thousands of yards breaks me down and limits my ability to practice going fast. Also in these events the starts, turns and underwater kicks usually detemines the winners. I always laugh/get frustrated when swimmers world puts out its favorite workouts at 5K-6K yds. I can only speak for myself but I can't manage that distance and maintain any type of competitive speed. I would love to see 2K--2.5K yds. workouts that maximize speed.

chowmi
April 8th, 2011, 11:06 AM
I agree with the sentiment that distance swimmers can usually benefit from a little more speed. Heck, you look at the top elite milers and most of them have a pretty decent max speed. (The converse is probably not true, but most sprinters I know should work on their lactate tolerance more.)

At the same time, I have have known quite a few excellent distance swimmers who do not have a fast 50, or even a very fast 200 (Jeff Erwin is a masters swimmer around my age who fits this bill). Many of the best ones never lifted seriously either and aren't that strong; they just never, ever seem to get tired.

Pure speed and aerobic endurance are not one and the same, and in fact focusing on one too much can be to the detriment to the other. It is a dangerous oversimplification to imply otherwise, IMO. The best distance swimmers I know do not "reduce their rate of speed reduction" at all, in fact they seem to get faster and stronger as the race progresses. I have lost many a race to Erwin on the last 100, and my splits were not getting slower. His top speed at the beginning of the race can't match mine...but at the end of the race it's a different story.

BUT getting back to the original question: distance swimmers certainly need to practice race-pace regularly, it is just that those practices may look quite different than those of sprinters or mid-D types. And to repeat: yes, I do think that distance swimmers need to work on their top speed. Just not nearly as much as a 50 specialist (which I hope is obvious).


I see where you may have misinterpreted my meaning - I forgot a key word "first" - so meaning within an event, rather than saying one should have a fast 50 event in order to have a fast 1500 event.

And while we all can specifically cite first hand observation (or even own one's own experience), for the vast majority of swimmers, me being one of them, we typically don't hold steady pace, get faster, or negative split in races. So for us......

Take my 100 free as an example. And because i'm going to use a 50 free from the same meet, i'll use the Chesapeake ProAm. 54.72, split as 25.87 and 28.85. If I want to improve, and looking at it on paper, here is what I mean:

1. Generate more power only? - so 25.2/28.8; (probably not! i'm already going as fast as I can on that first 50 and just hoping I have enough in the tank to hold off the field!)
2. Go faster overall?; being able to swim faster without spending more energy on the first 50 (easy speed) with about the same spread 1st and 2nd 50: ex. 25.5 28.2
3. Reduce rate of speed decrease? - so go out the same, but bring it home faster. 25.8 27.8 - for me, #2 and #3 are quite obvious.

The girl I tied with for 10th in the 50 got 9th in the 100 at 52.40. I was 42nd at 54.72! The B consol heat, which you could argue is my "relative" heat, was signifantly faster than me. They were about .5 second faster on the first 50, and on average, about 1.5 faster on the 2nd 50!!

So to your point, being able to go top speed (having one mode of "sprinting") certainly isn't the determining factor in a race (over 50! or my case, even for a 50!), however, I would also say that most pool events, compared to any other sport, are all "sprint" in the sense that they are over within a matter of minutes. To be really fast, you are sprinting, but not perhaps not the gut busting arms flailing feet churning action that characterizes the 50 events. In your example, Erwin "outsprinted" you at the end, even if that mean holding a steadier pace or even speeding up. In those race cases, maybe a #4 of Speeding up (even more) at the End. (I don't think i'll ever make it that far down the list.)

Recall the thread question is, are most masters teams training wrong? So to tie this story in with the thread, it goes back to communicating with your coach about your goals and to even look at it on paper! This is a great opportunity to customize within the same set. For instance, if the set is 10 x 50 on the 1:30 sprint, then for ME means to work the back half of the 100 free (which is profoundly deficient!). And it could mean something completely different to everyone in the lane - like work in/out the turn/ work every other, time to do a stroke set, etc.

david.margrave
April 14th, 2011, 12:36 AM
Well, I'm pretty sure that the one single thing that really helped my times in 100 yard and longer events a few seasons ago was training for and participating in a charity stair climb event (roughly 100 stories). I prepared over several weeks in my own building (11 stories) by going from ground to 11th floor, which took about a minute, then getting plenty of rest riding the elevator back to the ground, getting a drink of water, and waiting for my heart rate to recover. I'd repeat this 6-8 times in a typical workout.

The actual event was about one month prior to my big taper meet for the season. I haven't done this the last two years and my times in 50-yard races are reasonably close, but anything 100 or longer I have slowed down.