View Full Version : Anatomy of a workout

February 14th, 2004, 10:30 AM
Hi. I'm a sheep wanting to become a wolf (goldfish wanting to become a shark?). I follow everyone else's workouts but secretly wonder about the science behind them. Since I am in my forties and sometimes need to dummy down the workouts and don't always get to swim the same number of times a week, I was wondering how to structure my workouts to get the most out of them. Obviously I warm up. I can do 2-3500 yards (time permitting). Fins?, Pull, different strokes? What is the zen, ying yang etc...???? thanks.

Matt S
February 16th, 2004, 10:49 PM
Here are a few thoughts. There are some accomplished coaches out there who can give you a more comprehensive view.

Warm up with drills, and do your serious stroke mechanic work first. Why? You want to be fresh to be able to do precise stroke mechanics. That means drills first, and they are a good way to warm up too. Maximize your time by substituting drills for garbage yardage warm-ups. Lastly, you can dial in your stroke the way you want it, and then be able to take that fine tuning into the rest of your workout.

Understand the use of rest and which part of your body you are training. There is aerobic training, which is higher yardage on little rest, and you are working on your cadio-vascular conditioning (say a work to rest ratio of 6:1). There is lactic acid endurance training, i.e. swimming moderately fast to fast and training your body to tolerate the waste products. Catching your breath is not an issue; "feeling the burn" and being able to handle it is the object (I think that is a 1:1 ration). Lastly, there is lactic acid tolerance training, where you firewall at race pace, rest a lot, and to it again (say work:rest 1:6); people also use early season meets for this purpose. The point is to know which system you are working on, and blending them into your season plan. I am goldfish myself on that subject. There are plenty of others who know it much better, and I'm inviting them to chip in here.

You can get more out of fewer workouts of longer duration, and more focused intensity, than doing the same ole'/same ole' every day. Say 4 good ones per week, instead of swimming that same 1 mile 6 days per week.

Cross training is good, especially anything that works on flexibility.

These aren't a coherent list, just a few random nuggets of alleged wisdom.


February 17th, 2004, 01:10 AM
Well, I have an advantage over some of the swimmers that swim alone since I swam as a kid. But coaching myself means I learn more things about swimming than I did as a kid when I had other people be responsible for my workouts. I did a workout of low yardage last week at 1,700 but I was trying to have some of an idea of what my speed was in the different strokes at a 50 yard sprint,so I sprint 4x 50's at race pace and did slow to moderate 200's in between and did 8 moderate speed 50's to finished the workout. The week before I did a very cardo condition workout at 3,500 yards.

February 17th, 2004, 08:25 AM
I keep seeing references to ratios 1:1 6:1. What do they mean?

February 24th, 2004, 10:24 PM
The numbers you are seeing are the work to rest ratio. The faster you go, the more rest you will need. Ideally for sprints you would want to do the following to improve your anaerobic capacity (ie swim faster for sprints)

25's on the 1:30
50's on the 3:00-5:00
100's on the 5:00

This allows your body to recover from your high intensity work and improves your speed.