PDA

View Full Version : effort level in practice



Karl_S
March 12th, 2013, 11:56 AM
Swimmers and coaches often set workout targets like 90% effort or 95% effort for practice swims. I've always found these directives to be less than useful. What is "90% effort"? I've taken to setting time targets of race time plus a certain percentage. For example one could specify the set:

5x(100 free @ race + 15%)/2:00.

That is, five 100 free swims on the 2:00 (120 sec.) interval with a target time of race time + 15%. (This would be a painful lactate production set in my estimation.)

Based on my own experience, I constructed this chart giving qualitative descriptions of the effort level associated with a practice swim from a push to achieve race time plus a percentage:
7283

A few notes:



This would correspond to the effort level of the first swim in a group. Obviously even race +25% will constitute a very hard effort after you have done a lot of them.
Generally, it appears to be easier to swim at race pace + x% for longer swims.
It is easier to swim near race pace for backstroke than freestyle. I suspect that this is simply due to the fact that a freestyle dive start gives more of an advantage over a push than a backstroke race start.


I pose the following two questions to the forum community:
1) How do these effort levels compare with your experience? I'd love to see similar charts for other swimmers.
2) How much time do you spend in practice at each effort level? This will certainly depend on the time of the season. Early in the season I expect one might do a lot of "blue" swims up to some yellow, whereas later in the season one needs to spend a lot more time in yellow with frequent excursions into in the "red zone".

Eaglesrest
March 12th, 2013, 12:21 PM
Good question.

I think there are 2 sides to this coin - 1) effort and 2) time-targets. They are mutually exclusive. Your charts appear to be purely focused on time-targets, not effort. Times that you achieve in training can vary wildly due to numerous circumstances (fatigue, recovery, diet, sleep, previous session training, etc). Perceived effort should always be the same, so if you're working at 90% effort, although the times may vary day to day, the effort is the same. Perhaps a better indicator is to monitor your heart rate at the end of a training swim, and equate that with what you perceive the effort to be?

The chart shows colour shading for targets that are impossible. There are very few circumstances where 100% effort cannot be achieved during a training session. Time targets may not be possible, but MAX is MAX, so again perhaps time-targets are not the best indicator of effort.

The example you reference is a lactate tolerance set, rather than lactate production. You will certainly produce lactate during that set but there isn't enough rest/recovery to remove it. An example of a lactate production set is 6 x 100, first 25 MAX, 75 recovery on 3 mins. Produce lactate/remove lactate, repeat.

The levels that others swim @ can only really be compared if you understand what they are training for.... I'm a drop-dead sprinter and a session is either recovery or lactate production with recovery. So my perceived effort is either MAX or 40-50% aerobic work. I don't do hardly any tolerance or threshold work.

100/200 sprinters will incorporate more tolerance and threshold work, where the perceived effort can vary from 70%- MAX.

I know very little on training for distance events, but those that I train with seem to work everything hard, not MAX of course, but probably 70%+ effort on every set.

sok454
March 12th, 2013, 04:37 PM
Not to hijack but Eaglerest what would a typical workout be for you as a sprinter? I'm just getting back into swimming after 27 years so I'm always looking for workout ideas. Example of what I did last night 16x25fr @ 15-16 secs with 1 minute rest. So I was close to 90% each rep. This was after some kicking drills, br drills and warmup fr/br


Good question.

I think there are 2 sides to this coin - 1) effort and 2) time-targets. They are mutually exclusive. Your charts appear to be purely focused on time-targets, not effort. Times that you achieve in training can vary wildly due to numerous circumstances (fatigue, recovery, diet, sleep, previous session training, etc). Perceived effort should always be the same, so if you're working at 90% effort, although the times may vary day to day, the effort is the same. Perhaps a better indicator is to monitor your heart rate at the end of a training swim, and equate that with what you perceive the effort to be?

The chart shows colour shading for targets that are impossible. There are very few circumstances where 100% effort cannot be achieved during a training session. Time targets may not be possible, but MAX is MAX, so again perhaps time-targets are not the best indicator of effort.

The example you reference is a lactate tolerance set, rather than lactate production. You will certainly produce lactate during that set but there isn't enough rest/recovery to remove it. An example of a lactate production set is 6 x 100, first 25 MAX, 75 recovery on 3 mins. Produce lactate/remove lactate, repeat.

The levels that others swim @ can only really be compared if you understand what they are training for.... I'm a drop-dead sprinter and a session is either recovery or lactate production with recovery. So my perceived effort is either MAX or 40-50% aerobic work. I don't do hardly any tolerance or threshold work.

100/200 sprinters will incorporate more tolerance and threshold work, where the perceived effort can vary from 70%- MAX.

I know very little on training for distance events, but those that I train with seem to work everything hard, not MAX of course, but probably 70%+ effort on every set.

aztimm
March 12th, 2013, 08:04 PM
I'm looking at just 1 event, 100 free, which I raced in about a minute (I think it was 1:00.2 or .3) the last time. This actually makes very easy time conversions:
+5%: 1:03, I can do it in workout sometimes, but often just once
+10%: 1:06, I can usually pull this out 1-2 times a workout on our sprint days, sometimes more
+15%: 1:09, more likely, and can sometimes do on a an interval like 1:40
+20%: 1:12, highly likely, and can usually pull this off on a 1:30 or faster interval for a few repeats (maybe 5)
+25%: 1:15, extremely likely, and can usually do 10 repeats on a 1:30 interval. possibly can do 5 on 1:20 (on a good day).

Perhaps my race pace isn't what I'm fully capable of though.

I'm much more of a distance swimmer, or that's what I prefer at least. I actually like to swim the 1500m free, and prefer LCM.

Our team typically does a sprint day, every Tuesday, when we do fast swims. But the coach periodizes the training, optimizing for specific meets (sometimes nationals, but usually LMSC meets that many will go to). We'll have different phases (and a focus) depending where we are in the cycle.

Oh, and to add more to the mix... I also cycle, sometimes run, and lift weights. So my swimming ability can vary based on what else I'm currently doing. In addition to diet, rest, etc.

Karl_S
March 12th, 2013, 08:17 PM
I'm looking at just 1 event, 100 free, which I raced in about a minute (I think it was 1:00.2 or .3) the last time. This actually makes very easy time conversions:
+5%: 1:03, I can do it in workout sometimes, but often just once
+10%: 1:06, I can usually pull this out 1-2 times a workout on our sprint days, sometimes more
+15%: 1:09, more likely, and can sometimes do on a an interval like 1:40
+20%: 1:12, highly likely, and can usually pull this off on a 1:30 or faster interval for a few repeats (maybe 5)
+25%: 1:15, extremely likely, and can usually do 10 repeats on a 1:30 interval. possibly can do 5 on 1:20 (on a good day).

...
Our team typically does a sprint day, every Tuesday, when we do fast swims. But the coach periodizes the training, optimizing for specific meets (sometimes nationals, but usually LMSC meets that many will go to). We'll have different phases (and a focus) depending where we are in the cycle.

Oh, and to add more to the mix... I also cycle, sometimes run, and lift weights. So my swimming ability can vary based on what else I'm currently doing. In addition to diet, rest, etc.
Are these from a push or from a dive? I'm impressed that you can get within 5% of your 100 free time in practice. I've never done that from a push. From a deck dive I can do it, barely. From a push, even +10% is bloody near impossible. Correspondingly, you are hitting +15% and +20% more easily than I.

You are certainly correct about this being highly variable. For example, after I lift it is much much harder to hit a given time target and the impossible level goes up in time. During taper I can get times I can't touch the rest of the season.

Allen Stark
March 12th, 2013, 08:45 PM
I don't tend to think about % effort.My workout sets tend to be race pace/recovery sets.Race pace for me is the speed of the 2nd half of the race.So if my goal time for 100 BR is 1:07+ and my goal drop off from 1st to 2nd 50 is 4 sec my goal time is under 36 for a 50.I'll give myself enough rest/recovery swim to make the goal time(such as 50 at 100 pace with 150 recovery EZ on the 4 min or 5 if I need it X 5-8)Since my longest event is the 200 BR I don't see much value for me in doing anything at other than race pace or recovery,at least in mid-season.

Glenn
March 12th, 2013, 09:13 PM
Not to hijack but Eaglerest what would a typical workout be for you as a sprinter? I'm just getting back into swimming after 27 years so I'm always looking for workout ideas. Example of what I did last night 16x25fr @ 15-16 secs with 1 minute rest. So I was close to 90% each rep. This was after some kicking drills, br drills and warmup fr/br

If you are a sprinter, go to the Workouts section and look at High Intensity Training:
http://forums.usms.org/showthread.php?19931-Welcome-to-High-Intensity-Training!

These are GREAT workouts! Here is a sample from this week.
http://forums.usms.org/showthread.php?22226-Week-11-March-11-17

knelson
March 12th, 2013, 09:30 PM
I pose the following two questions to the forum community:
1) How do these effort levels compare with your experience? I'd love to see similar charts for other swimmers.

I checked the freestyle ones and I'm pretty darn close to where you are.

orca1946
March 12th, 2013, 10:37 PM
I many times "pace" myself as to the effort to stay on time targets & finish total practice without the need for an ambulance!!
So between 15 to 20 %

Eaglesrest
March 13th, 2013, 04:45 AM
Not to hijack but Eaglerest what would a typical workout be for you as a sprinter? I'm just getting back into swimming after 27 years so I'm always looking for workout ideas. Example of what I did last night 16x25fr @ 15-16 secs with 1 minute rest. So I was close to 90% each rep. This was after some kicking drills, br drills and warmup fr/br
Welcome back to the sport. That kind of set sounds about right.

A typical LP set, which we might swim 3 times a week, is:
400 Free, 4 x 100 o/c 25 drill/25 swim, 4 x 50 build
6 x 50 free on 6-7 minutes with 100 recovery between each. Intensity is MAX with racing dive, target is 24.5 - 25.0 each 50 hold, 25M SC pool.
4 x 50 moderate intensity swim-down

Recovery sessions are low intensity with lots of technique work.

We also do max 25's in some sessions. Sometimes use fins, but never swim MAX further than 50M.

sok454
March 13th, 2013, 10:45 AM
So you guy sare doing set's of 50's at 24.5-25 sec in a 25m pool. Jeesh. What are your race times?

Syd
March 13th, 2013, 10:51 AM
I like the way you have presented this. I have also been confused about what exactly constitutes a 90% effort or a 95% effort. Your way of explaining it makes much more sense. A target of a race time plus a certain percentage is something I can work out exactly.

I don't swim backstroke but my free times are pretty close to yours with a few exceptions. I can hit 10% of both my 50 and 100 times with a very hard effort (represented by orange on your graph), but like you I wouldn't attempt any repeats at this pace. At best, I might rest up a good while and then try equal or better that time, but nothing like a set at regular intervals. On the rare occasion and when I have been really training hard for a good few months, I might even get within 5% of my times.

Likewise, I can hit 10% of my 200 time with a very hard effort. Never been able to go much faster than 10%, though. My turns suck and I have to do 7 of them over the course of an scm 200 as opposed to 3 for a lcm 100. (I train scm and race lcm). I think I must be one of the few unfortunates to be slower at short course than I am at long course. If I hit within 5% of my race time for a 200 in practice, I know I am in for a time drop the next time I race.

Eaglesrest
March 13th, 2013, 10:54 AM
We tend to hit the first couple on high 24, then have a couple of slower one's on high 25, then try and bring them back down. It's painful.

Last year's competition times across our group were 23.5 -24.4. We're hoping to go a bit quicker this year, but the clock is ticking, well for me it as the golden oldie in the group

Kevin in MD
March 13th, 2013, 02:27 PM
Swimmers and coaches often set workout targets like 90% effort or 95% effort for practice swims. I've always found these directives to be less than useful. What is "90% effort"? I've taken to setting time targets of race time plus a certain percentage.

I was reading a study on this two days ago, they found that as a group 90% effort was faster than 80% effort for example. But on an intraindividual basis, a coach prescribed 90% effort wasn't faster than a coach prescribed 80% effort.

I agree with you, there is too much variability in those descriptions for me. As a coach, one of the biggest problems we have s communicating, the message we think we are sending is not the message being received. What I think is 90% and what you think is 90% can be wildly different things.

I use something similar but I follow through with monthly time trials and publish the results so that people aren't guessing at the proper paces.

I calculate critical swim speeds from the time trials and the en1, en2, and en3 sets are based off of critical pace. The sp1 and sp2 sets are based off of 200 or 100 time trial day times. SP3 sets are just all out.

So for me a set might be 12 x 100 (:15 rest) at 0:05 / 100 slower than critical pace

Or a sprint set might be
50 (:20) at 200 time trial day pace
50 (1:00) at same pace
200 swim down between rounds

sok454
March 13th, 2013, 03:08 PM
We tend to hit the first couple on high 24, then have a couple of slower one's on high 25, then try and bring them back down. It's painful.

Last year's competition times across our group were 23.5 -24.4. We're hoping to go a bit quicker this year, but the clock is ticking, well for me it as the golden oldie in the group

So you guys are all within 1-2 seconds of the all-times for 50 scm? JEEZUS. I hope you have some former high level swimmers there! Man.

knelson
March 13th, 2013, 03:28 PM
I calculate critical swim speeds from the time trials

What's the calculation? I'd like an example of what a "critical speed" might be.

My coach like to give us paces based on threshold speed, which he considers to be :05/100 slower than your 500 pace. I have a feeling your critical speed is quite similar. That is just about what I could hold on the 12x100 set you mentioned. Well, I guess I should say I could almost hold my 500 pace +:05, 500 pace +:10 would be easy.

Kevin in MD
March 13th, 2013, 04:36 PM
http://www.topendsports.com/testing/tests/critical-swim-speed.htm

we use 500 and 100

knelson
March 13th, 2013, 04:47 PM
Yeah, turns out it's pretty close. I estimated my CSS at 1.52 yds/sec. That gives a critical speed of 65.8 seconds for 100 yards and I've been assuming 65 seconds per 100 for my threshold pace.

Thanks for the info! I don't remember ever seeing this before.

My team always does a threshold set on Tuesdays. Typically this is a set of 1500-3000 yards where we hold this threshold pace or slightly under the entire time. Rest is maybe ten seconds for a 50. We do aerobic sets every day. These are 1500-4000 yards where the sendoff is typically threshold +:05/100, so usually right around 1:10 base for me. The only pace requirement is "make it."

slow
March 13th, 2013, 05:30 PM
I enjoy reading your ideas and thank you for taking the time to present them. I wish I had some stats to share.

I have started tracking the exertion of my workouts more closely but like aztimm said a lot depends on what I can do (with the environment) and am willing to do (balancing with everything else).

jaadams1
March 14th, 2013, 12:56 AM
With my USAS team, we tend to do a lot more fast stuff, or near fast stuff, on a longer rest interval.

Example:
Tonight we did a quick set of 4 x 200 Choice Stroke @ 4:00, FAST, MAX REST
My first one was Free, did a 2:06 (recent best time in meet is 1:55.8). 2nd one did Fly, did a 2:18 (recent best time in meet 2:07.5), 3rd one I was dead from the Fly, but did Free again in a 2:12. Last one I did Back just 'cause. :)

We do a lot of sets like this, Freestyle 200s @ 3:30, IM 200 @ 3:30/4:00, etc.

Occasionally we'll do the short rest "old school" stuff (8 x 100s - 4 @ 1:10, 4 @ 1:05), but not really a whole lot of stuff like that. We tend to do more high quality efforts, with a bit more rest. I've been doing this all season, and my swim have been great this year. I've had no problems with lack of endurance in my distance races either. In fact, I'm very very confident this year vs. years in the past.

One thing that we do every day is FAST fin kicking (12 x 100 @ 1:20 Max Rest) (8 x 200 @ 2:50) (20 x 50 @ :45 or :40) etc. The majority of the group does this with a board, but I always SDK on my back.

knelson
March 14th, 2013, 01:26 AM
One thing that we do every day is FAST fin kicking (12 x 100 @ 1:20 Max Rest)

Can you explain this? What's max rest?

Eaglesrest
March 14th, 2013, 04:16 AM
So you guys are all within 1-2 seconds of the all-times for 50 scm? JEEZUS. I hope you have some former high level swimmers there! Man.
We have a couple of former GB Internationals, and 3 GB Masters Record holders (not all sprinters mind). The interesting thing is we have one guy who never went under 27 seconds for 50 free as a kid, but as a master, training on the sprint programme, he has dropped to low 24, and will probably go 23 later this year at nationals. Just goes to show......

__steve__
March 14th, 2013, 07:13 AM
"12 x 100 @ 1:20 Max Rest FAST fin kicking" = 12 x 100 @ ≤ 1:20?


The interesting thing is we have one guy who never went under 27 seconds for 50 free as a kid, but as a master, training on the sprint programme, he has dropped to low 24, and will probably go 23 later this year at nationals. Just goes to show......
I didn't know how to swim as a kid though I'm probing in the 27 sec area now
:D

Karl_S
March 14th, 2013, 08:32 AM
http://www.topendsports.com/testing/tests/critical-swim-speed.htm

we use 500 and 100
This appears to give the same time as Salo's 3x300 threshold pace test set. It is pretty much spot-on the fastest time I can hold for 10x100 on :05 RI.

ekw
March 14th, 2013, 09:57 AM
Can you explain this? What's max rest?

I asked the same question a while back on his blog. It means go fast so that you get as much rest as you can on the interval - basically, all out or as close to all out as you can maintain.

This is not the mental image "max rest" brings up for me... :bed:

Kevin in MD
March 14th, 2013, 10:26 AM
This appears to give the same time as Salo's 3x300 threshold pace test set. It is pretty much spot-on the fastest time I can hold for 10x100 on :05 RI.

That's a little fast for a critical pace. You should be able to hold critical pace for 20 minutes of all out swimming. More if you're a distance animal.

Critical paces and powers are also usually based off of time trials, not meet times. Meet times can give overly aggressive estimates.

As for the same answer as a 3 x 300, yes all threshold measurements will give similar estimates. Some higher than others, but all in the ballpark.

knelson
March 14th, 2013, 12:32 PM
I asked the same question a while back on his blog. It means go fast so that you get as much rest as you can on the interval - basically, all out or as close to all out as you can maintain.

In other words the goal isn't just to make the interval. The goal is to go as fast as possible. Sort of like "best average."

ekw
March 14th, 2013, 01:19 PM
In other words the goal isn't just to make the interval. The goal is to go as fast as possible. Sort of like "best average."

Right, that's my understanding. His post with the definition is here: http://forums.usms.org/entry.php?26353-Thurs-Dec-27-2012-4-00-6-00pm-No-1-Arm-Fly-Please

jim thornton
March 14th, 2013, 02:35 PM
Quantifying effort by percentage may work in elite ranks, where the coach is infinitely familiar with each swimmer's capabilities. But in more garden variety masters practices, I think it makes more sense to use descriptive adjectives whose meanings shift a bit as the set grinds on.

Our coach Bill, for instance, has four basic speeds:

Just make it (for multiple reps with not much rest, like, for instance, last weeks 30 x 100 on 1:20)

Easy (invariably as a prelude to harder things soon to come)

Fast (quick, painful, but not a sprint)

and finally

Sprint

Moreover, correlating the above with actual times is difficult, especially as the set wears on. For example, last night we did the following 4 x:

100 just make it on 1:40
100 fast on 2:00
50 just make it on :50
50 sprint on 1:00
1:30 rest, then repeat

By the end of four times through, it required near sprinting the 100 to do the same time as its "fast" predecessors. And the sprint 50s--well, they just went to hell completely. But the effort and pain were, if anything, exaggerated!

On the occasions I get to run practice, I use a parallel but somewhat differently worded group of adjectives to suggest the pace I hope I and my comrades can hold. To illustrate this, consider a set of 12 x 100s on 2:00 where the effort is essentially easy, moderate, fast, and sprint, then repeat, by 100.

Easy, in my workouts, translates to "swim as if you aren't fully awake yet.)
Moderate becomes "swim as if you are awake and paying a bit of attention to what you are doing"
Fast means "swim as if you are fully awake and exhilarated but holding your horses somewhat in check"
And finally, sprint means "swim so hard that you will want to go back to sleep the moment you finish."

At which point it's time to swim the next one.

And on this note, time for a nap.

chowmi
March 14th, 2013, 03:33 PM
Quantifying effort by percentage may work in elite ranks, where the coach is infinitely familiar with each swimmer's capabilities. But in more garden variety masters practices, I think it makes more sense to use descriptive adjectives whose meanings shift a bit as the set grinds on.

Our coach Bill, for instance, has four basic speeds:

Just make it (for multiple reps with not much rest, like, for instance, last weeks 30 x 100 on 1:20)

Easy (invariably as a prelude to harder things soon to come)

Fast (quick, painful, but not a sprint)

and finally

Sprint

....

And on this note, time for a nap.

I agree! Each coach's set is different and you have to have your internal google translator coach speak to chow speak interpretation. I use:

Easy
Smooth
Strong
Sprint

It irks me when I hear ex: 12 x 50 on 1:00 (SCM), 3 sprint, 1 easy. That would be a serious no. If I actually did the set, it would be 3 strongs and 1 smooth. Easy would be not making it on 1:00. A sprint would necessarily include the tail of several minutes rest. Optional get out and talk to the coach, then do 1 blast-o in lieu of the entire set of 12.

Karl_S
March 14th, 2013, 03:42 PM
It irks me when I hear ex: 12 x 50 on 1:00 (SCM), 3 sprint, 1 easy. That would be a serious no. If I actually did the set, it would be 3 strongs and 1 smooth. Easy would be not making it on 1:00. A sprint would necessarily include the tail of several minutes rest. Optional get out and talk to the coach, then do 1 blast-o in lieu of the entire set of 12.
Bravo!
12x(50 SCM/1:00) "sprint" 9 of the 12 seems absurd to me. (Maybe it is ok for DivIA scholarship swimmers other swimmers totally out of my league.) To me, a "sprint" should be a warmed-up-for, rested, focused, best you can do at that moment, effort. That's in my orange zone, hoping to hit the red zone on a good day. 12x50/1 would be at the threshold of my blue and green zones., maybe 3 blues and a green. (See my OP)

knelson
March 14th, 2013, 03:45 PM
Easy would be not making it on 1:00.

That's easy alright!

Kevin in MD
March 14th, 2013, 05:18 PM
Quantifying effort by percentage may work in elite ranks, where the coach is infinitely familiar with each swimmer's capabilities. But in more garden variety masters practices, I think it makes more sense to use descriptive adjectives whose meanings shift a bit as the set grinds on.


If the coach is giving send offs, he already knows enough about the swimmers in the lanes to use the other methods we have tossed out. The coach needs to lump the people together into lanes, you don't necessarily need to know that Sally's critical pace is 1:32 and Bruce's is 1:28, you just need to know that those folks as a group hover around 1:30. Then you have the interval.

If you're using 100 times, same thing; you don't need to know their time exactly but need to know which groups to put together in your lanes.

But at the same token shouldn't the coach know or at least be able to look up what the speed of the swimmers are, if he can't how does he know what he is doing is working?

Not to pick on your or your coach, this happens all the time and I often wonder this very question. If there are never test sets, what makes the coach think that what he is doing is working.

aztimm
March 14th, 2013, 05:41 PM
But at the same token shouldn't the coach know or at least be able to look up what the speed of the swimmers are, if he can't how does he know what he is doing is working?


Exactly. Any decent coach who knows the swimmers should be able to give them goal times for the set. My coach (who I've known for a very long time), will sometimes give a 100 FAST on 5 min, and tell me he wants me to go 1:03 (ha! he'd probably say 1:00), off the block. It is something I may be able to do, but maybe not. But given that we've known each other for about 15 years, he has a good feel for what I can do on what interval (although I do sometimes manage to surprise him).

Heck, a year or so ago while visiting Vegas I swam with a group there, it was sprint day. The coach--who I had never seen before--was able to give me 50 LCM goal times--that were nearly spot on. Actually when he gave them I rolled my eyes and thought, "no way," and surprised myself when I made them.

jaadams1
March 14th, 2013, 06:48 PM
Can you explain this? What's max rest?

It's just a term my coach uses to mean "GO Fast". By going faster, you have more rest before going again. :)

jaadams1
March 14th, 2013, 06:51 PM
Right, that's my understanding. His post with the definition is here: http://forums.usms.org/entry.php?26353-Thurs-Dec-27-2012-4-00-6-00pm-No-1-Arm-Fly-Please

I'm glad I'm working my butt off all day long with no access to the internet...that way I have others to do my work for me. :D Thanks.