View Full Version : challenging AT type set for a 49 year old

jim thornton
January 29th, 2002, 04:13 PM
Just to get the ball rolling here, I'd like to post a practice we did last night. It was written by one of our team's co-coaches, Bill White, who swam at the University of Louisville and is the most knowledgable swim coach I have personally had the pleasure to meet (this includes, by the way, one year at the U. Michigan.)

Anyhow, Bill's workout seemed impossibly challenging, but somehow he coaxed us into making it.

5 x 200 on 2:45 warm up

5 x 200 on 2:35

4 x 200 on 2:30

3 x 200 on 2:25

2 x 200 on 2: 20

1 x 100 all out sprint

1 x 100 cool down.

We got about a minute and a half rest between each of the sets above. Our team only gets the pool for 60 minutes, so the total practice was 4000 yards completed in 60 minutes. I suspect this practice would be pretty easy for younger type swimmers, but I am 49 and it was quite challenging. I should point out, however, that when it was over, all of us who made it felt a tremendous sense of satisfaction!

Bert Petersen
January 29th, 2002, 05:24 PM
I don't think I could make those send-offs for too long. Last night our coach didn't show up, so we made up our own workout: for warmup-500 choice (mix it up); then 275 free @ 75% followed by 2 really hard 50's on your own send-off (I chose :45), next, a 250 and 2-50's, 225++, 200, 150, etc finishing with the 2- 50's of course. An easy 250 cool-down = 3500 yards. Interesting, and you can work this as hard as you like.

Paul Smith
January 30th, 2002, 10:37 AM
- 400
- 8 x 50 drill

Main Set: repeat 3x thru (first two sets free, 3rd IM)
- 200 moderate @ 2:30 (dps)
- 200 fast @ 2:30
- 200 fast kick w/fins @ 3:00
- 4 x 100 pull @ 1:20 descend

loosen down 200

- Vertical kick sets:
90 seconds on/30 off, 5x holding 10 lb brick


Bert Petersen
January 30th, 2002, 03:39 PM
Back when I was coaching and didn't have time or inclination to really work/out hard, I developed what I call a "5x5" or 2500 yard swim. It's easy to remember, you go at your own pace, and for the fitness swimmer, it works nicely into a one hour time slot. Here it is: warm-up 500 free or choice
drill set 2 x 250 your stroke
kick set 5x 100 mixemup
pull set 2 x 250 free
sprint set 10 x 50 on your interval
Now you can readily see that to obtain variety, just mix up the numbers and/or the strokes swum. Just stay with the 5 x 500 concept. I hope this helps anyone out there floundering around looking for ideas but not wanting a complicated workout. Bert:D

February 1st, 2002, 02:27 PM
Jim: That is an intriguing work-out and my hats off to all of you who can do that. Are most Masters swimmers in this league? I and many of my teammates would be thrilled to even hit a 2:30 on any 200 interval. Those times and repeats are not even close to what we do. And we do work hard. I would think reading a sample work-out like that might seem intimidating to novices--and others.

Philip Arcuni
February 1st, 2002, 03:57 PM
There are ways to avoid posting the intervals so that the workouts are more applicable to the majority of swimmers. For example, at www.mvm.org (Mountain View Masters) there is an excellent collection of workouts. All the intervals are specified as "cruise + :t", where cruise is an interval that you can make semi-indefinitely, and t is the number of seconds to add (or subtract) from that. If t is large, you are doing a sprint set, if t is small, you are doing an aerobic set (unless otherwise specified) and if t is negative I think you would be doing an anaerobic, build up the lactic acid set.

Lets say Jim cruises at a 1:20/100yd pace. His 200 cruise is then 2:40, and his workout would be

5x200 @cruise +:05
5x200 @cruise -:05
4x200 @cruise -:10
3x200 @cruise -:15
2x200 @cruise -:20
1x100 sprint
1x100 cooldown

This is a very tough workout, and definitely builds up the lactic acid. My only criticism is that I, at least, would need more of a cooldown after a workout like that.

Philip Arcuni
February 1st, 2002, 04:13 PM
Here is a fun workout - the workout was split between those who wanted to do sets of 500 swims and pulls, and this one. Obviously, the focus is butterfly:

4 x (100free, 75 free drill, 50 fly kick, 25 fly) :05 rest between sets

5 x (75 'fish'fly kick, 50 small fly kick, 25 underwater fly kick) with fins, :05 rest between sets [fish fly kick is with lots of undulation, try to get propulsion from the back beat.]

20 x 25 fly (first 8, focus streamline and straight elbows, next 6, focus 1 breath for every three strokes, next 4, focus long kick off wall on side, last 2, all out sprint) on last person.

300 swim

4 x 25 fly on :30
1min rest
4x25 fly on :25
1 min rest
4x25 fly on :20

300 cool down

3150 total yards.

I had to write it all down now, before I forgot it.:confused:

February 2nd, 2002, 04:23 PM
Here is a fun workout, if you like fly and IM. I did it today because I had to w/o on my own. I find doing fly keeps me from goofing off when I'm on my own.

500 Swim
200IM Drill
8x50 kick

Main set:
10x300 Flyims (Fly-IM's) 4:30
Flyims are like this: First IM regular then, replace 3rd 25 of free with fly. Then 3rd 25 free and 3rd 25 breast with fly. Then 3rd 25free,breast and back. Then
continue replacing non-IM strokes with fly, 25 at a time until the 10th "Flyim" is all fly.

W/D 300ez

5,000Yds. Total

jim thornton
February 2nd, 2002, 04:49 PM

Actually, our team has three lanes, with corresponding A, B, and C workouts. The workout I listed was the A workout; B does about 10 -20 percent less; and C does about 30-40 percent less. The A lane's 200s were extremely challenging, and I wouldn't have made it were it not for drafting off the guy in front of me!

I suspect there are elite masters who can easily do this workout; but most rank and file types (myself included) find it borderline impossible. The fact that I managed to cross the borderline on this occasion was cause for personal jubilation.

The cruising + or - seconds concept is a good one. Another way to go is to do a long swim (from 1650 to 3000) as fast as you can go without dying, then calculate your average 100 pace. This is your so-called anaerobic threshold. Example: I just did my best all-time time for the 1650--a 19:27. This works out to about 1:10.8 per 100. When I am doing sets of 100s on very low rest, I add about 5-10 seconds-- i.e., 100s on 1:15 to 1:20. Double this for 200s.

For people whose AT pace works out to, say, 1:25, you can push the aerobic envelope, so to spead, by again adding 5-10 seconds--100s on 1:30 to 1:35, or 200s on 3:00 to 3:10. Over the course of the season, by regularly doing such sets a couple times a week, your AT time should slowly but surely drop a bit.

To improve middle distance speed, you can add rest and try to beat the AT time. For instance, instead of trying to make 10 x 100s on 1:20 (averaging around 1:10 per 100), I might try to do 10 x 100 on 1:30 (averaging 1:08s) or 10 x 100 on 2:00 (averaging 1:04s). For true sprinting, jack up the rest and the intensity considerably--last night, for example, we did 3 x 100 on about 4 minutes (:59; :56; :56) followed by 3 x 50s all out sprint on about 3 minutes (:26; :26; and a :29.9 for fly)

Times should be relative to your own speed. If your AT time is 1:25, and you're repeating 100s on 1:35, you're working harder than a college stud repeating 100s on 1:10 (but whose AT time is :58).

Paul Smith
February 4th, 2002, 05:02 PM
I happened to be in LA for a few days and had a chance to train with Gerry Rodrieguez who coaches the UCLA Masters. I've worked out with these guys in the past and needless to say they are one of the harder training clubs I've come across.

Gerry organizes his workouts in a very "inclusive" format in which I''ve seen only a few other places but that I really enjoy. Basically everyone is leaving on the same interval but the distances are changed to accomadate peoples different speeds.

This morning Gerry put the hammer on everyone (must not have slept well last night!) with a "backload" main set. I mention this also as a workout for those middle distance/distance types wanting to train in a way to develop pace & endurance.

- 300-500 easy

- 6 x 200 (50kick, 50 breath x 3, 50 dps, 50 breath x 5) @ 3:00

- 8 x 50 (25fly/25free) @ :45

Main Set:
1 x 150 (or 125, 100 or 75) @ 2:00
1 x 150 @ 1:55
1 X 150 @ 1:50
1 x 150 @ 1:45
1 x 150 @ 1:40
1 x 150 @ 1:35

* Hold your pace on all of these to come in right at the interval

Phase Two: Repeat the above set reversing the intervals holding the time from the 6th 150 (or 125, 100 0r 75) for all 6 repeats.

Pretty Cool workout (and painful)!

Ion Beza
February 4th, 2002, 06:44 PM
Originally posted by Paul Smith
Main Set:
1 x 150 (or 125, 100 or 75) @ 2:00
1 x 150 @ 1:55
1 X 150 @ 1:50
1 x 150 @ 1:45
1 x 150 @ 1:40
1 x 150 @ 1:35

* Hold your pace on all of these to come in right at the interval

Phase Two: Repeat the above set reversing the intervals holding the time from the 6th 150 (or 125, 100 0r 75) for all 6 repeats.

Doing the main set for 150 yards and strictly these intervals, I can do this part of it:
1 x 150 @ 2:00
1 x 150 @ 1:55
1 x 150 @ 1:50
1 x 150 @ 1:50
1 x 150 @ 1:55
1 x 150 @ 2:00.

If I were to attempt to descend from 1 x 150 @ 2:00 toward 1 x 150 @ 1:35 then without extra rest to ascend from another 1 x 150 @ 1:35 toward 1 x 150 @ 2:00 , I would collapse at 150 @ 1:45, because the pace is a little bit too fast for me:
practically 2 x 150 @ 1:35 back to back that's a pace of :31.66 per 50 for 300 yards, in the middle of an already fast set.
That's where I see cardiovascular differences in swimmers.
For me to do the entire main set on these intervals, I would have to settle for 125 yards; then the most challenging of it, i.e. 2 x 125 @ 1:35, is a cruise of only :38 per 50 for 250 yards.

Philip Arcuni
February 4th, 2002, 07:04 PM
Paul -

Do I read it right that the first 6 (150, 125, . . .) are supposed to be a continuous swim, from slow to fast?

Those last 6, holding the time swum at the 1:35 interval, must have been a killer!

jim thornton
February 4th, 2002, 11:14 PM
Our coach, a great guy named Bill White, has designated Mondays as our distance-y challenge workout. Here's what we did tonight, which is quite possibly the hardest practice I've managed to finish since I was in college 35 years ago:

300 pre warm up

10 x 100 on 1:25 warm up

10 x 100 on 1:20

10 x 100 on 1:15

4 x 100 on 1:10

4 x 50 on :35

1 x 100 sprint

1 x 100 easy

further cool down if there was any time left (alas, there wasn't)

It might be interesting to see what others out there consider to be extremely challenging workouts that they've actually made (or come close to making.) I propose this not as a "Mine Was Harder!" kind of competition, but rather just to see the kinds of sets other people around the country are doing. It probably would make sense to comment on age and gender here so we're comparing apples to apples, so to speak. The four swimmers in our lane who swam the above tonight were the coach himself (31 year old male); a 40 year old male; a 23 year old female; and me, a 49-year-old codger in the making. The other three all swam for four years in college; I got cut from our team (Michigan) after my freshman year, but have kept swimming masters fairly consistently since getting out of grad school in 1983.

Paul Smith
February 5th, 2002, 10:15 AM
You missed the point! This "set" is a very cerebral one, it was posted not as some killer "D" workout (like Jms!!) but rather as a way to train and develop a sense of pace for a 400! Old School training would entail hammering this out with very little rest to develop the aerobic base you aspire to.

This workout is asking you to think by lowering each repeat on the first 6 by 3-5 seconds. The second set of 6 which are supposed to be held at the fastest time is the real "test". If you have been keeping a smooth consistent pace, swam under control with low dps then the trick is to start out the first 150 (or 125, etc.) with the same effort/control. Several people in this practice got "psyched out" and went after that first one, bringing in their kicks, most of them blew up right away.

Now if you think the 150s are to hard and 125s to easy you have fallen into "the trap". You should be doing the 125s, but reduce your stroke count by 1-2 per length. You can also adjust your times to be 10 seconds faster than the inital interval and drop from there.

This goes back to the advise that you have received from several others about training "smarter". My guess is that you are putting in far to much yardage, most in traditional "aerobic base" training format.

Ion Beza
February 5th, 2002, 01:14 PM
This is to Tall Paul, for consideration of facts.

Originally posted by Paul Smith
Now if you think the 150s are to hard and 125s to easy you have fallen into "the trap". You should be doing the 125s, but reduce your stroke count by 1-2 per length.
On a 50 meter pool my stroke count is 39 per 50.
When Grant Hackett (Aus.) set a new world record in 1,500 meter freestyle last year, it was reported in www.swiminfo.com that he swam with a stroke count of 33 per 50.
He is your height, 6'6", about 6 inches taller than me. I say 39 stroke count for my height, that's OK.
A UCSD varsity sprinter went 17 strokes per 25 yards when doing a :21.96 in a 50 yards freestyle which I was watching ten days ago; he is at least 6'1".
In a 25 yards pool, my stroke count is 14.

In yesterday's evening workout, in the warmup set, I was cruising in kicking with no fins, a 400 yards straight at 1:44 per 100; if I could get the same cardiovascular in the upper body as it comes naturally in my legs, then I would be awesome in competitions. Distance per stroke might be the culprit here, but I am not weak when pulling and I am not weak when doing dry land weights.
I figure, the blood vessels connecting heart and triceps, working at full capacity in the midst of a swimming race, they need development.

Originally posted by Paul Smith
This goes back to the advise that you have received from several others about training "smarter". My guess is that you are putting in far to much yardage, most in traditional "aerobic base" training format.
I do the maximum I can with what's available with UCSD Masters and what I know. If I were to reduce my "...traditional "aerobic base" training format." without an enlightened alternative to it, then I would lose even this: in 2000LongCourseNationals I went a 12:10.xx for 800 without much aerobic in me, in 2001LongCourseNationals I went 11:20.xx with more aerobic.

February 5th, 2002, 04:11 PM
this is my first post, why does it make me feel like the gomer pyle of the swimming world? i've always enjoyed breaststroke, although in h.s. and college, i never once competed in it. so now at age 54 i'm going for it. i did this swim yesterday with the hope of building endurance, while staying in touch with technique.

1)warm up:
200 fs drill with stick*
100 fs kick, any position
200 alt. by 25's @
25 mid-point-scull** / 25 brst. k to streamline
4x25 brst. swim underwater

2) breaststroke drill / swim
400 drill------------------brst pull / dolphin kick(fins)
100 swim / 300 drill---3 kicks, one fullstroke
200 swim / 200 drill---3 up(kick) one down (pulldown & kick)
300 swim / 100 drill---kick on back
400 swim

3) 8x25 butterfly swim (20 seconds rest ints.)

4) 200 swim down, choice easy (3000yds.)

* as shown in swimming technique, vol. 37
** as seen in the bill sweetenham video "individual medley"

August 21st, 2002, 10:50 AM
200's are one of my personal fav's...but 19 all at once? Yikes. Maybe break it up a bit...
5 x 200
8 x 50's kick
5 x 200
8 x 50 something
2 x 200 fast

When i read 19 x 200's + 2 x 100's... my first thought was..."Uhh.. ponderous"

shinob - out

Peter Cruise
August 23rd, 2002, 06:14 PM
There seems to be a bias towards yards here...h-m-m.
Anyway, here is a self-directed metric workout I did yesterday & was quite pleased at finishing.
100free,100back, 100brst dps 15 sec. rest
100free,100back, 100brst 3-5-5-3 breathing 15 sec. rest
100free,100back, 100brst drill- one minute rest

kick: 250 of each stroke,(including fly) 15 sec between- one minute at end

pull: 200 of free, back, breast, 15 sec between- one minute at end

main set
5x200 free on 3.30 descending by 200's, straight into
6x100 (3 of free 3 of stroke: free descending to all out, stroke at
200 pace on 2 minutes) then 2 minutes rest

warm down
4x50 free on 1.00 catch-up free down, accelerating back
4x50 stroke on 1.00 drill down, accelerating back
300 gentle swim with fins, mix strokes
200 mixed stroke swim without fins
=5000 meters, then hot tub, then off to work