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View Full Version : Tapering for Potomac River 7.5 mile swim



robert_alford
May 5th, 2011, 09:55 PM
Seeking advice regarding how/when to taper for Potomac River 7.5 mile swim (race day is June 4th). I have been swimming the following work-outs for the last month:

Saturday - long swim, started with 3 miles and worked my way to 5 miles. I will swim 6 this Saturday. (at Barton Springs)
Sunday - Easy recovery swim usually 4K - 5K. (in Lake Travis)
Monday - 5K with at least 2K of fast repeats (ex. 10 X 200 on the 3 mins.) (in Deep Eddy)
Tuesday - Rest
Wednesday - Long swim up to 4 miles. (Barton Springs)
Thursday - Rest
Friday - 4K - 5K tempo swim (usually mix up sets at 85%) (Deep Eddy)

When should I start to taper and how much should I swim the week before the race?

thanks

swimthegoodfight
May 9th, 2011, 06:26 AM
robert - best of luck at the potomac - definitely a swim on my 'hope to' list

there are a few regular posters with some very long swims on their resumes - I hope they have some advice for you related to the taper.

missed you at the Cap 2k

Kevin in MD
May 9th, 2011, 04:23 PM
Starting a week out, reduce each day's normal length by 83% raised to the power of how many days you have been tapering.

Sunday = 83% of normal sunday length
monday is .83 ^2 = 69% of normal monday length
tuesday is 0.83 ^3 x normal tuesday length

etc etc

I also switch out some easy length with threshold or vo2max intervals.

Has worked well for me, you can go higher or lower percentages depending on if you think you need a more aggressive taper or not.

MAC swimmer
May 9th, 2011, 08:17 PM
Kevin,

What do you mean by "VO2 max intervals"? Sorry. That means go super hard for shorter sets....correct? Want to nail this taper for the Potomac swim too. That is, be rested but maintain fitness.

Kevin in MD
May 10th, 2011, 07:08 AM
Kevin,

What do you mean by "VO2 max intervals"?

A somewhat typical workout includes 300 to 600 yards of warmup, some drilling or kicking or pulling and a main set or two.

Well a few days into the taper you'll be doing 2,000 or 1,200 or 800 yard workouts. Once you do a warmup you don't have much time left.

So instead of doing that 800 easy you might normally do as part of your main set, you get rid of that and do 1,000 or so of threshold swimming. 10 x 100 (:10) at your 2,000 pace or critical pace, best average will probably give you the same type thing.

But in another day or two you are now down to where your sets aren;t even 1,000 yards long. The usual guidelines are that you need about 15 minutes of swimming for threshold swimming to work. That's probably not exactly true, but nevertheless since you are under 1,000 you can fit in a VO2max set nicely.

VO2max set is something that gets you to your max effort.

A 400 time trial, psych yourself up and go do it, will get you to vo2max if you put the right effort into it. 4 x 100 (:10) absolutely going as fast as you can will also get you close, as would 8 x 50 (:05). The rests aren't that important, but the effort is all out on the swims.

Another one that will get VO2max is an un-paced all out swim of 3 minutes. Figure out about how far you will need to go and then go do it. But here's the key, swim each 25 as if you were swimming a 25 at a meet, with no regard to having to do another immediately after. This makes it easier to hit VO2max.

It's a terrible way to swim a race, but for these purposes should be OK.

If I swam the day before the swim it would be something like 500 to 1,000 easy, or some technique work.

MAC swimmer
May 11th, 2011, 03:43 PM
Awesome. Thank you!!

robert_alford
May 14th, 2011, 05:23 PM
Bill,

Good to hear from you. I needed to swim 5 miles on the morning of the Cap2K. Timing was wrong. See you at the Highland Lakes Challenge in the fall?

robert_alford
May 14th, 2011, 05:26 PM
Kevin, thanks for the reply. One week out? Most of the advice I've been given recommended starting to taper between 2 and 3 weeks.

robert_alford
May 14th, 2011, 05:30 PM
Great. Thanks everyone for your interest and advice. Only 3 weeks to go! One more week of hard work and then it's time to start to taper.

E=H2O
May 14th, 2011, 05:36 PM
Kevin, thanks for the reply. One week out? Most of the advice I've been given recommended starting to taper between 2 and 3 weeks.

For a 7.5 mile race I think 2 to 3 weeks is way too long. It also depends on how intense your workouts are, and how tired you are feeling. Assuming you are feeling strong, recovering well, sleeping enough and are in the first 50 years of your life, I think a week sounds right to me.

robert_alford
May 14th, 2011, 05:41 PM
OK, well that's two experienced swimmers suggesting a one week taper. Damn, I was looking forward to getting a little more sleep. Back to the drawing board.

Question then: is 10K a long enough training swim? I've swum 10K the last two Saturdays. With a 4 mile swim on Wednesdays. Should I swim 7 miles next Saturday or is 6 enough?

E=H2O
May 14th, 2011, 06:13 PM
OK, well that's two experienced swimmers suggesting a one week taper. Damn, I was looking forward to getting a little more sleep. Back to the drawing board.

Question then: is 10K a long enough training swim? I've swum 10K the last two Saturdays. With a 4 mile swim on Wednesdays. Should I swim 7 miles next Saturday or is 6 enough?

You might get differing opinions on this one. For me a 10K would be more than enough for a 7.5 mile race (assuming you are going to race it - if not 5 miles would be enough for me).

Franco P
May 15th, 2011, 01:37 PM
Kevin, thanks for the reply. One week out? Most of the advice I've been given recommended starting to taper between 2 and 3 weeks.

Robert,

I am not really qualified to offer any advice but I have been working with Kevin as my Coach for some time and can give you my experience. I too was skeptical of this taper the first time I saw it in my workouts. I used this for several long swims last year and I did feel well prepared on the day of the swims.

Good luck! See you at the swim.