View Full Version : Not counting yardage

Allen Stark
March 23rd, 2014, 06:49 PM
I went to a clinic last year by Dave Salo on BR and someone asked him how much yardage his team did in workouts.He replied that he didn't know and he discouraged his swimmers from keeping track as it distracted them from focusing on quality swims.I have been a proponent of quality over quantity since I started Masters Swimming,but I wasn't ready to give up on yardage.I had GTD goal after all.Last Tues I had a really good workout and finished with an extra 50 swim to get a nice round number for GTD. In the shower I realized I had probably miscounted the yards in my warmup.As I ruminated about this I remembered Salo's comments and decided it didn't matter. I decided to stop counting total yardage for workouts.I still do my sets and live and die by split times,but I don't pay any attention to totals,especially in recovery swims and warm downs.I have found this liberating.I can do vertical kicking without worrying about how it will affect my GTD. Fri I did 8 turns with pullouts in a row without worrying about calculating how far I swam.I can do just starts without having to pay attention to where I came up to figure yardage.I'll lose my opportunity to get another mesh bag,but so far for me it seems worth it.Obviously if your main goal is yardage or you GTD ranking this is not for you,but if you want to clear your mind for quality swims,give it a try.

March 24th, 2014, 09:44 AM
I fully agree. I am aware in most sessions what yardage I've covered, but as a masters swimmer have never kept track of totals as it's never been a goal.

March 24th, 2014, 11:17 AM
I love this. I lowered my gtd yards to avoid fighting the yardage beast.
i even find a swim better when I look towards quality over quantity.

March 24th, 2014, 03:04 PM
I went to a clinic last year by Dave Salo on BR and someone asked him how much yardage his team did in workouts.He replied that he didn't know

I get his point, but I think he's lying. He knows.

March 24th, 2014, 03:40 PM
GTD is still fun for me, so I keep track. I don't stress over being high or low.

March 25th, 2014, 07:53 AM
Great post! Too often all we hear is yardage (and as a sprinter we are hammered by others on it) but what is one trying to achieve: distance, or technique? I am one that I know I will get a 600 in but I usually do not know the exact amount. If I do a 600 warm up and then practice on starts and turns then have I really swam a great yardage, no. But, I have done something more important and that is focus on technique. After all, why swim a mile if you swam over half of it with bad technique. There is a saying that practice makes perfect and I tell my boys that only perfect practice makes perfect as bad practice just makes you worse. I teach an adult learn to swim and I hammer this out with my students every class. Everyone joins so they can swim laps or increase their distance, and that's fine but I teach them not to count laps at first and to focus on their technique. When they get tired they get out, not try and to reach that days goal! It is interesting but you do not hear many talk about it, instead we focus on how many yards we swim in a day, whether they were good or poor.

March 25th, 2014, 02:05 PM
Everyone has different reasons why they swim. Some swim to compete in a zillion meets a year, others train for uber distance open water events, while others may just swim to shed a few pounds.

We're all adults here...you know why you swim, and what you need to reach your goals. If you are a drop dead sprinter focused on 50s in meets then you should have different workouts than someone training to swim the Channel.

Personally, I like GTD. It gets me out of bed on mornings when I'd otherwise be tempted to shut off the alarm clock and roll over. If that doesn't work for you, then don't do it ;)

Allen Stark
March 25th, 2014, 02:58 PM
If GTD or distance goals motivate or in any way help,wonderful.I was just noting that I was finding it restrictive.

March 25th, 2014, 04:56 PM
Allen, I think you bring up a great point here. Emphasizing quality over quantity definitely plays an important role in training.

I would not give up the idea of counting yardage entirely, however, because it is a great way to keep track of your progress.

I advise my swimmers to log their weekly yardage and create a graph to get a visual, both for tapering purposes prior to meets and to keep motivated in general. Without a sense of weekly or daily yardage, it can become easier to cut corners in practice! At the other extreme, there are swimmers who are only concerned about logging in their laps or their yardage without considering the content of their workouts - and that can also be a problem for swimmers who want to improve.

Thanks for raising this issue!

March 25th, 2014, 08:56 PM
Like aztimm said, everyone has different reasons for swimming. If you want to do pool racing well like Allen, quality is waaaay more important than yardage.

March 26th, 2014, 10:56 AM
This morning our team had a set of 16x50 on 1:00. The coach suggested 2 ways to swim the set. The first way was to pick a goal time, like the 2nd 50 of your 100 or 200 and try to stick to that time. If you missed it, you sat out the next 50 and picked it back up again. The other was was to try to hold your "best average" time. The first way to swim the set is probably not quite a "Rushall" set but is in that spirit. I actually took Alan's advice and chose the first option. Almost everyone else took the second option as no one wanted to miss any yardage. I wound up having to sit out every 4th one, but I still think I got the better workout.

March 26th, 2014, 11:05 AM
Almost everyone else took the second option as no one wanted to miss any yardage. I wound up having to sit out every 4th one, but I still think I got the better workout.

And you probably got to lead your lane. :)

March 26th, 2014, 11:51 AM
Totally agree with this, well for shorter distance events anyway. I like to record times achieved at race pace, and have zero interest in how many metres I've covered, or not covered as is more the case :)

Just done a 3 month stint of 1000M warmup inc drills and build work, no more than 6 x 50's max pace, with say 100 slow recovery, or flop on poolside as rest. So in a session I wont swim more than 300M hard, often less than that. The negative, if you can call it that, is I can't do general masters training sessions well any more. I used to lead the lane, but now I'm trained to race, not trained to train.

It works though - did a 0.7 second PB on 50 free and same on 50 fly at nearly 44. Some of the best sprinters have been training like this for years, just wish I'd know about it 25 years ago!

March 26th, 2014, 01:06 PM
And you probably got to lead your lane. :)

Yep! And they got to watch me sit out every fourth one too :)