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Fisch
April 7th, 2002, 10:29 PM
I have a meet coming up the first weekend in May. I want to break 6:00 in the 500; first time since college.
In Oct I went 6:01+. I feel good now, but if you have suggestions on how to finish/taper the work outs until
then I'd really appreciate it.
I'm a 49 year old male, can swim 4x a week for about an hour.
Thanks,
Fisch

jim thornton
April 11th, 2002, 11:28 PM
I asked this same question in the old masters forum, where the answers are archived somewhere. I tried to find it but couldn't--if you have some time, you might try rummaging through.

I remember someone offering the advice that during the race, you should divide it into fourths--start off the first 125 smooth; pick up the second; start kicking with more power during the third; then give it your all during the final 5 lengths.

I have swum the 500 twice this season, the first time "loafing" the first 12 lengths and trying to really go hard the last 8; the second time, trying to pick it up more from the get go. Both races, I finished within less than .2 of a second--5:26.07 and 5:26.24. So much for strategy.

I think the main thing is to try to get in as good of distance swimming shape as you can, and there may not be enough time left to make a huge difference between now and early May. Try really working on streamlining your turns, pin your biceps to your ears on the push offs and glide for a two-count (no Superman arm spread), really keep your head down to flatten out your body position. And if you don't have a body suit yet, consider springing $70 or so for an Aquablade or twice this for a kneeskin Fastskin.

Good luck! Let me know how it goes.

tzsegal
April 12th, 2002, 08:27 AM
the old discussion board is still there:

http://www.usms.org/discus/

Under General Discussions there is a topic
STRATEGY FOR SWIMMING 500 FREESTYLE

circa 10/6/01 (last post)

good luck!!!

Tom Ellison
April 15th, 2002, 12:57 AM
Fisch:
I grew up under the old guard (grinder type) thought process that said, "Whatever you give away up front in your 500...you can never get back... in the back end." Having said that...you cannot go out to fast...but do not give away your conditioning by holding too much back. Swim SMART!
During the grinder part of the 500 when you begin to feel the discomfort....keep your mind strong...and remember that you have trained for this event, you are tough, and as soon as this is over the discomfort will go away. I always keep my mind strong by thinking about the things Jim shared with you...streamline off the walls, head down and KEEP YOUR STROKE LENGTH EVEN WHEN TIRED...DO NOT SHORTEN YOUR STROKE or give into that trap.
Have a great 500....and remember...... you trained for this!
PS: Say bye to 6:00...

GZoltners
April 15th, 2002, 11:37 AM
Three weeks to go. Time for a little less quantity and a little less quality.

Try to groove in 1:10-1:11 so you can do it anywhere, anyhow, any amount of tired. Know what it feels like. Do some boring old sets of 100s on 1:20-2:00, holding that pace spot on. Try
5x100 on 1:20
or
10x100 on 1:30
or
15x100 on 1:45

Sounds easy, but hold that pace!

Your volume here depends on how much you've been doing all along, obviously. You could try 2x4x100 on 1:20 or only 3x100 on 1:20. Just try to peg 1:10 when the lactic acid hits.

Make sure you get a rest day or 2 this week, and 2-3 the next 2 weeks. Start doing your meet warmup every day to fine tune it.

Swim fast,
Greg

Ion Beza
April 15th, 2002, 08:16 PM
Originally posted by GZoltners

...
Try to groove in 1:10-1:11 so you can do it anywhere, anyhow, any amount of tired. Know what it feels like. Do some boring old sets of 100s on 1:20-2:00, holding that pace spot on. Try
5x100 on 1:20
or
10x100 on 1:30
or
15x100 on 1:45

Sounds easy, but hold that pace!

Your volume here depends on how much you've been doing all along, obviously. You could try 2x4x100 on 1:20 or only 3x100 on 1:20. Just try to peg 1:10 when the lactic acid hits.

Make sure you get a rest day or 2 this week, and 2-3 the next 2 weeks. Start doing your meet warmup every day to fine tune it.
...

I am amazed at how easy workouts, such as the one I quote above, people are doing, yet come race time these same people are happy with themselves and me I am not.
My tendency would have been to prepare the 500 yards free, as a broken 500 of 2 x 200 yards leaving on 2:25, and 100 in 1:10. When this is mastered, then is taper time.
I reckon though that with my tendency I feel sorry about myself after races in which I keep producing workout times, no better.
For example, Sunday after a mediocre small competition, with a 2:18.93 for 200 free, 28.07 for 50 free and 1:01.83 for 100 free, I did a 6,600 yards workout in which I was challenged at the end by a fresh UCSD varsity swimmer to do 5 x 150 yards leaving in 2:00 followed sthraight through by 10 x 75 yards leaving on 1:00.
It might be that I dig myself into the ground as a tired zombie who doesn't achieve very often tapering.

Philip Arcuni
April 15th, 2002, 09:14 PM
Hi Fast Ion,

Much physiological improvement occurs during the rest periods (or the increased speed resulting from the rest) during interval training. If that were not the case, why do intervals at all? With your meet speed I suspect that you are not getting much rest during your interval training - in that case, what you are doing is little different from swimming the total distance straight. You may think you are working hard, but what your body is doing is lowering the intensity so you can last the distance - but that is not what you want to do while you are racing a 50, 100, or 200!

Instead, you should train at a speed that you can not maintain for long. Then you recover, and then you try again. If you are training for a 100 I think you should have at least :30 rest between swims, during the early taper phase, more later in the season. But don't try it and decide you are not working hard enough, and reduce your rest! Instead, sprint harder. And remember, the development of your 'fast twitch' muscles may take some time. It sound like yours are somewhat atrophied.

The workout you quote is pace training during the taper, not what one would do during the period that you develop your aerobic system. I know you are in excellent shape; you need to work on your speed, and you need to take that brave leap of faith into more rest during your workouts. You've been told this on this forum before. Perhaps you should find a good coach you trust and do what s/he says, no matter what your mind tells you you should be doing. And don't be proud - swim in the lane with other swimmers that do a hundred yards in a minute, rather than those that do it in :50. Those intervals are designed for them, not for you (yet).

Ion Beza
April 16th, 2002, 01:35 AM
I am analyzing Phil's post, here above.

Originally posted by Philip Arcuni

...
With your meet speed I suspect that you are not getting much rest during your interval training - in that case, what you are doing is little different from swimming the total distance straight.
...

Yes.

Originally posted by Philip Arcuni

...
You may think you are working hard, but what your body is doing is lowering the intensity so you can last the distance - but that is not what you want to do while you are racing a 50, 100, or 200!
...

There are two approaches for events longer than the 200:
1. interval training with quality swims and lots of rest: I reluctantly tried this when in 2000 I went along with how someone was training in Tennessee, rather than training there just by myself; the interval per 100 yards was 1:30, and by doing it I got my most disastrous results in 2000LongCourseNationals, for example a 12:10 in 800 meter freestyle.
2. anaerobic threshold which is so emphasised at UCSD Masters where I train now, mostly under the distance coach of the college team; tonight there were 10 x 75 leaving in :55 among other things, and I was doing touch-and-go; by this method in the 2001LongCourseNationals I swam a 11:20 in 800 meter freestyle, a 50 seconds improvement from 2000; I have other similar examples from past; that's why I think 2 x 200 leaving in 2:25 and 1 x 100 in 1:10 is a good preparation for the 500: it can start as touch-and-go, but with practice one can perfect coming in the 200s at 2:15 and getting 10 seconds rest.
Regarding the 50, 100 and 200, they are a mystery to me.

Originally posted by Philip Arcuni

...
Instead, you should train at a speed that you can not maintain for long. Then you recover, and then you try again. If you are training for a 100 I think you should have at least :30 rest between swims, during the early taper phase, more later in the season. But don't try it and decide you are not working hard enough, and reduce your rest! Instead, sprint harder. And remember, the development of your 'fast twitch' muscles may take some time. It sound like yours are somewhat atrophied.
...

This is called at UCSD Masters, a VO2Max workout; there are few of these at UCSD Masters; if I want to train with UCSD Masters, that's how it is; outside UCSD Masters, in San Diego there isn't another comparable competitive program; programs at JCC, Sports Medicine, Coronado, Solana Beach and Carlsbad are not as competitive; when a VO2Max workout happens at UCSD Masters, there is joy in the lanes, and relief that there isn't another gruesome medium-intensity but long set; I found myself defending recently such a VO2Max workout from swimmers in my lane who wanted to hijack the workout into another medium-intensity, long set.

Originally posted by Philip Arcuni

...
The workout you quote is pace training during the taper, not what one would do during the period that you develop your aerobic system. I know you are in excellent shape; you need to work on your speed, and you need to take that brave leap of faith into more rest during your workouts. You've been told this on this forum before. Perhaps you should find a good coach you trust and do what s/he says, no matter what your mind tells you you should be doing.
...

Again, I flow with the UCSD program, I don't get to choose the frequency of the VO2Max workouts here; my mind tells me to do more VO2Max workouts, but I don't get to choose; among hundreds of swimmers here, some who don't compete, some who do open water, triathlons, few who compete, I am a face in the crowd; outside the UCSD program there isn't anything as strong.

Originally posted by Philip Arcuni

...
And don't be proud - swim in the lane with other swimmers that do a hundred yards in a minute, rather than those that do it in :50. Those intervals are designed for them, not for you (yet).
True; the dilemma raises that in a workout I outwork now the :50 per 100 free swimmers, and even more so the 1:00 per 100 free swimmers; their :50 per 100 free comes from another lifetime, the age-group swimming which I didn't do; in a today workout I try to get the most work now available, and tonight I was outworking swimmers of sub 1:50 per 200 yards freesetyle, in my lane.

Anyway, not everything is black. The night coach of the UCSD Masters, who is also the distance coach of the UCSD college team, promised today to taper me, and this should include VO2Max workouts.

Philip Arcuni
April 16th, 2002, 12:40 PM
What do you mean, when you say you outwork the other swimmers in your lane? If you mean that you get more tired than they do, so what? If you mean you swim each distance faster than they do, then lead. If you mean you catch up on the longer swims, then learn to pass, politely. If you mean you are the only one that can complete the set, then shame on your coach. If you mean, you try to reduce the interval and no one else can keep up, then shame on you!

Not since I was an age grouper, and some swimmers thought it better to moon the girls in the lane over, rather than do a set, have I thought I worked harder than the other people in my lane. We all make a commitment to come to workout, and I can't imagine any master swimmer not wanting to get the most out of the swim. Our workout performance is limited by physiology and temperment.

I'll say it again, interval swimming with no rest is not interval swimming. Lots of research has shown the benefit of interval training, and lots of other people who read this site can explain it better than I can. What you are describing is the type of training they did in the '30s - get in the water or track and swim (or run) some.

GZoltners
April 16th, 2002, 12:44 PM
Ion,

2x2:25+1:10 = 6:00, not going to happen for a guy that goes 6:01!

I'm sure Tom Dolan could have done a similar set in practice and added up to only a few seconds slower than his fast 500, but us mortals need some rest to hit that race pace consistently. Yes, it can be on very low rest, but that is more of a practice set, not for tapering. A friend of mine who did 4:35, went 100s on 1:30 during taper, I think 6 or 8 of them.

Swim fast,
Greg

Tom Ellison
April 16th, 2002, 01:11 PM
Gosh, Phillip and Greg dragged in a dose of reality here....:)

Ion Beza
April 16th, 2002, 06:42 PM
Originally posted by Philip Arcuni
What do you mean, when you say you outwork the other swimmers in your lane?
...
If you mean you are the only one that can complete the set, ...
...

Yes, more often than not in my lane of 1:15 pace per 100.
(I don't say, shame on the coach though, I trust him).

Ion Beza
April 16th, 2002, 06:59 PM
Originally posted by GZoltners
Ion,

2x2:25+1:10 = 6:00, not going to happen for a guy that goes 6:01!

I'm sure Tom Dolan could have done a similar set in practice and added up to only a few seconds slower than his fast 500, but us mortals need some rest to hit that race pace consistently. Yes, it can be on very low rest, but that is more of a practice set, not for tapering.
...
Swim fast,
Greg
I agree is a practice set, not a taper set. I didn't present it as a taper. I wrote "When this is mastered then is taper time".
Taper-wise I am confused: in the early to mid 90s, I would take two weeks of loafing in the pool, doing backstroke and not looking at the clock; eventually I would feel itchy, and come race time I would explode the pool; late 90s and now, it doesn't work for me this way anymore; last year my current coach tapered me well for Santa Clara Short Course Nationals; this year he is tapering me again, and I guess I will memorize his taper program.

effi
April 17th, 2002, 04:16 PM
Ion, how are you outworking the .50 per 100 and 1.00 per 100 you describe? It sounds like you are not going at those times in workout or in races. I'm confused about what your dilemma is.

Ion Beza
April 17th, 2002, 05:26 PM
Originally posted by effi
Ion, how are you outworking the .50 per 100 and 1.00 per 100 you describe? It sounds like you are not going at those times in workout or in races. I'm confused about what your dilemma is.
I train in the 1:15 pace per 100 yards lane. The 1:15 pace per 100 yards lane is determined as being able to hold a 1:15 pace per 100 yards when doing a 1,000 yards straight. Swimmers in this lane do in big competitions around :50 in a 100 yards free, and around 1:50 in a 200 yards free, except for me. In smaller competitions like the one on last Sunday, untapered like me, they would go around :55 for 100 and 2:00 for 200.
They have this background from age-group swimming which I didn't do, and maintain some of it with light-hearted workouts.
In workouts, I would begin the sets last in the lane based on my lack of speed at this level, but past mid-workout I would be the only swimmer left in the lane to complete the workout: the others quit. Yesterday I finished the workout with a 6 x 150 yards free leaving every 1:55, alone in the lane. The day before yesterday there was something else, and so on almost every day.
The coach, a 26-year-old ex-NCAA distance swimmer, and others in the workout, recognize that I work harder day after day to train at this level.

Ion Beza
April 17th, 2002, 05:36 PM
Originally posted by effi
Ion, how are you outworking the .50 per 100 and 1.00 per 100 you describe? It sounds like you are not going at those times in workout or in races. I'm confused about what your dilemma is.
"It sounds like you are not going at those times in workouts or in races" is wrong as far as 1.00 and slightly sub 1:00 per 100 free goes.
Misinformation effi.

effi
April 17th, 2002, 08:32 PM
Ion, thanks for explaining. That is actually quite interesting. Now I understand. It is a little complicated. I wasn't being critical--I just wanted to understand because I am interested in all these 500 training strategies.
Thanks,
Effi

GZoltners
April 18th, 2002, 10:57 AM
Ion,

I expect that if you can keep up with the 50 and 1:50 freestylers in practice, but not in meets, either:

You're really a distance swimmer and maybe can't go fast in the short races.

or

You need more speed practice.

I suspect the latter. Go to as many meets as you can.

Also, if you are keeping at it, you will get faster, sometimes in big chunks at a time. Consistency, consistency, consistency. Make sure you are logging your practice times and intervals so you can see the improvement as you go. You might feel no faster, but a year ago you couldn't do the sets you do now, I'll bet.

In terms of training speed, when I went 50 and 1:50 in freestyle, I did about 10:30 for a 1000, and could hold 58-59 for 5-10 100s on 1:30. With paddles a few seconds faster, pull-bouy was an effort to hold under 1:00. We did not do intervals faster than 1:30. I was not very strong, but in good aerobic shape.

The best I've been able to tell, in the 1930s, before circle swimming, practice consisted of a lot of 25s, or taking turns swimming longer distances. Very high quality.

Swim fast all,

Greg

Ion Beza
April 18th, 2002, 11:33 AM
Originally posted by GZoltners

...
You need more speed practice.
...

Right now I trust my preparation on the UCSD Msters program and how rarely VO2Max workouts are done here.

Yesterday night there was such a VO2Max workout here. After about 1 hour and 10 minutes of medium intensity, long rest workout, there was this set of 200 yards all out, rest galore, 100 all out, rest galore, 100 all out rest galore and 100 all out.
In the 200, from push of the wall and after this 1 hour 10 minutes of exercize, I went 2:18.xx, same as Sunday's race when I dove from the starting block. 100 free was 1:05, 100 backstroke was 1:16 and another 100 backstroke was 1:14.
In my lane, one swimmer went 2:02 (and last year in a Santa Clara competition he went 49.xx for 100 and 1:49.xx for 200), another swimmer went 2:01, and another swimmer did 2:07.
One lane over to my lane, the faster 1:10 pace lane, had a swimmer do the 200 from push and after this 1 hour and 10 minutes of exercize, in 1:48.xx, and another swimmer did it in 1:55.xx.

Last year, in the 2001LongCourseNationals in Federal Way, Wa., as a lead-off of the 4 x 50 mixed free relay, I went :30.84 for 50 meter freestyle in the 50 meter pool. When I started swimming as an adult in Europe, I remember that I quickly came to do :28.xx for 50 meter freestyle (in a 50 meter pool) when someone would repeatedly time me when the feet leave the block, which would compute to a 29.xx in a competition start. Obviously, "swimming tough" since then, like I swim now for more than a decade, took away a chunk of my sprint abilities.