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renie
January 29th, 2015, 11:39 AM
I added wrong! I've been swimming 14,000 yards per week for the last 15 years, not 30,000! :afraid:I recently hit 60 and have begun to wonder if my times would improve if I did less yards and incorporated more quality workouts in. Since I have a bit of OCD, I would like your input for those 50 and over. How many yards a week do you put in?

Glenn
January 29th, 2015, 12:37 PM
First it depends on what your goals are. Some people have a goal of doing as much yardage as they can. That may be a worthy goal, but it has little to do with swimming fast.

ElaineK
January 29th, 2015, 12:59 PM
I agree with Glenn. :agree:

What events do you compete in? Are you a sprinter or a distance swimmer? How is your body holding up with that volume? Are you starting to get repetitive stress injuries?

Answers to these questions would help us with giving advice.

knelson
January 29th, 2015, 01:00 PM
I'm under 50, but I agree with Glenn. My best events are distance events and I've never exceeded 30k yards in a week in my 12 year masters career. Generally I shoot for between 15,000 and 20,000 yards, but I'm not a stickler on total yardage.

Glenn
January 29th, 2015, 01:27 PM
... have begun to wonder if my times would improve if I did less yards and incorporated more quality workouts in.


The short answer is yes. Work on quality sets not quantity.

I'm 65, and in the last year have swum best times in ten years by swimming quality.

Allen Stark
January 29th, 2015, 02:32 PM
I'm 66 next week.I haven't gone 30,000/wk since college,usually closer to 10,000,and less if I am focusing on particular drills that are slower(you don't get much yardage in doing vertical kicking or doing 10 BR turns/pullouts in a row.).I swim 4X/wk.I find as I get older that the recovery days are more important. I totally agree that how you swim should be driven by your goals.If your goal is to get is as much yardage as possible,as it seems to be for many fitness swimmers,then you swim as far as you can.If you are wanting to compete,then the workouts need to be tailored to your most important events.

chowmi
January 29th, 2015, 02:40 PM
Agree with all the above!!!!!

(This post is geared towards people that pool race, and sprints!)

Counting yardage is an absolute pet peeve of mine. I try not to. (Except in 2 cases -getting up to 50 miles on the flog for a free cap and getting up to 50 miles to have my name on the wall in Breckenridge). While some minimum level of yardage is neccessary, it isn't the only thing that matters! Don't use yardage as a CRUTCH for NOT doing all the other things that go into being the fast swimmer that you know you can be!!

Quality - YES! But don't forget to also mix things up to have FUN, and also TALK to your coach about your goals! As an adult, coaching is a collaborative effort. You have to communicate with your coach so that he/she can customize parts of your workouts and help lay out a timetable for you! Coaches are really good at this kind of stuff! But they can't help you if you don't talk with them!

I highly suggest adding things that are FUN, and may not at first seem like you are doing much, but really, you are!!!

Here are some examples!

The most apparent are dives! If you have access to a diving block, there is no excuse for doing less than 15 dives per week! Put another way, why would you do 30,000 yards/meters and not one single dive a week when it's 15 yards/meters of every race? If I had to huff and puff down the pool for 20 minutes at 8 x 200 or similar, or stand around and get psyched and then do a burst dive to 15 yards/meters every 2-3 minutes 5 times, that's an easy choice for me!!! And you can go in pairs and watch (or even video!) each other and give feedback - FUN! So drop a 600 pull, and do 4-5 rounds of dives with your friends!

Kick more! A fun set would be to do "trashcan" sprints with your teammates! Go a smooth 37 1/2 and then everyone sprints for the wall! On coach's command, he will call out the stroke to kick (mystery kick) until the final moment! So instead of 8 x 200's, do 12 x 50's on coach's interval with some mystery early commands and/or instructions, ie, NO Breath! Board out in front, face in the water! etc. FUN!

Underwaters! Here's a fun set, and surprising gut busting the first time I did it. Probably because.... I NEVER DO IT! 8 x 75's broken as 25 moderate sprint on :30; 50 pushing off with UW dolphin kick to the 15 meters NO MATTER WHAT, then easy swim to finish the 50. Emphasis is on the UW dolphin kick, without getting lazy on the first 25. Interval at least 1:30. You need it at the end if you are really scout's-honor doing the UW to the very best of your ability. FUN! So drop a big long boring pull or swim set and do these instead! FUN!

For some reason, I am really into things that don't require actually swimming back and forth. Probably because I want to do FUN things! Vertical kicking, of all types. Burst push offs from the pool bottom. Here's a modified set I got for the USA website, somewhere in the annals of their video clips, I think it was on Micah Lawrence showing breaststroke kick drills (but I do breaststroke kick SPARINGLY, like many masters!) 10 seconds fast freestyle kick with flat palms pushed on the wall (not holding on, push against the wall) w/no breath; quickly turn around and go straight toward the pool bottom, palms flat on the bottom and kick 5 strong breaststroke kicks into the pool bottom (have to kick hard & fast so you are pushing yourself down), then come up and vertical kick fly for 30 seconds, really push the last 10 seconds to the next level, then do 8 x bursts with streamline off the bottom; arms above head. Total set will take about 1 minute; rest 1 minute. Do this at least 4 times. FUN!

See Glenn's posts and USRPT! Fort's HIT workouts! SUPER FUN!

And last, one of my favorites...just get out early and talk to your coach!Plus, you get first dibs on the showers with the best water pressure! FUN!

++++++++++++++++++++++++

Since you claim to be sort of OCD, here is something I did to help me understand what I was ACTUALLY doing. Instead of just writing down the workouts and sets, I had a spreadsheet. The down (y axis) were the days of the week and the across(x axis) I labeled:

Pure sprint
Moderate sprint
Mix/stroke sprint
Kick
Dives/Turns
Other notes

Each day, I would mark what I did in each column. Notice you do not include what I consider "garbage yardage", so no warmup, no transition set 8 x 50 kick/swim, no 400 pulls, no 8 x 200 swims, no warm down sets. ONLY the quality bits. It kept me very honest about whether I was actually doing what I needed to do - things I believed would directly translate to improvement in my key events, 4 x 50's! Any missing column or light column would GLARINGLY show what I didn't work on that week!

I suggest making your own columns and labels. I don't use this anymore, as I swim 2 x days on my own and get exactly what I need for those days, and then the other days joining the team for IM workout days which also doubled as my weekly garbage yardage workout. I would pick ONE longer set a week early on, and absolutely CRANK on it, buoyed by the fact that I wasn't going to be doing 4 x 200's again until the next week. No Way! You would be surprised at how fast you can go when the entire set you are telling yourself this is the one and only "yardage conditioning" set you will do all week, so make it a good one and show 'em who's still the boss when she wants to be! tee hee!

Good luck to you!!!! We'd love to hear how you have modified what you are doing and how it has impacted your performances!!

knelson
January 29th, 2015, 03:51 PM
Counting yardage is an absolute pet peeve of mine. I try not to.

Well, duh. It's already been confirmed you didn't even know how many yards there are in a mile! :)

renie
January 29th, 2015, 04:09 PM
Glenn, how many yards do you swim per week?

Jazz Hands
January 29th, 2015, 04:25 PM
That was brilliant, chowmi.


While some minimum level of yardage is necessary, it isn't the only thing that matters!

The minimum level that works for me is enough to practice my races once a week. Strength, endurance, flexibility, and even technique (using visualization) can all be developed outside of the pool.

Allen Stark
January 29th, 2015, 04:47 PM
That was brilliant, chowmi.
.

Yes chowmi,that is one of the best posts I have ever read!!

Allen Stark
January 29th, 2015, 04:51 PM
When I first posted I didn't notice it was a poll.I think the numbers are too far apart.There is a huge difference between 10,001 yd/wk and 30,000.

Glenn
January 29th, 2015, 04:58 PM
Glenn, how many yards do you swim per week?

I don't count yardage. It is not important how many yards you swim. What is important is how many strokes you take at race pace. I probably take 800 - 1000 race pace strokes per day, so that's about 4 to 5 thousand race pace strokes a week.

Karl_S
January 29th, 2015, 05:52 PM
This is turning out to be an interesting thread.

First, to answer the OP's question: According to my FLOG I swam 459 miles last year so that's an average of 15535 yds/week. If I don't count illnesses, vacations etc, so that I only count weeks in which I was really training the average weekly distance is probably 17K+.

Next, I'll add my voice to the chorus of voices arguing that one should pay attention to the quantity of fast swimming, not the quantity of swimming. A practice with 800 yards that are truly race-pace has got to be worth more than a 5000 yd aerobic bu$$ kicking - at least if you are training to pool race anyway.

Finally, I'll also vote up Chowmi's post. Inspired by that I offer the following two sets as challenging, fun, and short on distance:

Set #1:
Get a deep lane.
For N = 1..4
[
Jump off the deck into the pool,
sink to the bottom,
push hard off the bottom vertically in a tight streamline,
dolphin kick to the surface,
do vertical dolphin kick for 10*N seconds,
swim N lengths butterfly,
do 2*N pressups out of the water on the last one climb out of the pool
]

Set #2:
Get a lane that is deep at one end and shallow at the other,
Repeat the following 4 or more times
[
start in the deep end,
water jog with fast eggbeater kick toward the shallow end,
when your feet touch the bottom, run to the shallow end,
return to the deep end with DPS butterfly
]

renie
January 29th, 2015, 09:05 PM
Elaine, hi. I'm a former competitive runner. I never enjoyed competing. I don't compete as a swimmer. I had to edit my post--my total yards per week is 14,000 (I miscalculated!) No injuries, mainly b/c I do all strokes and lots of kick drills. I'm definitely not a sprinter. Like running, I'm more a distance athlete.

Glenn
January 29th, 2015, 09:08 PM
I don't count yardage. It is not important how many yards you swim. What is important is how many strokes you take at race pace. I probably take 800 - 1000 race pace strokes per day, so that's about 4 to 5 thousand race pace strokes a week.

Let me give you an idea of what I do. After a 400 warmup, I do two USRPT sets.

First set are 50s on the :50 second interval holding :32 until I hit the third failure. Failure means that I go until I cannot hold :32 anymore. When I miss a total of three the set is over. I then rest for 12 - 15 minutes and do it again.

The two sets with rest between sets takes usually just under one hour.

The Fortress
January 30th, 2015, 09:52 AM
When I first posted I didn't notice it was a poll.I think the numbers are too far apart.There is a huge difference between 10,001 yd/wk and 30,000.

I agree. I looked at that and decided not to vote. I swim 4-5 x week and am probably between 13,000-15,000 per week. However, about 50-70% of that is warm up and easy recovery swimming between fast or race pace efforts.

As for FUN ala chowmi style, I like to use some equipment to liven things up. Sometimes, I'll throw on paddles, fins & a parachute for 25 yard sprints. Or I'll do some starts + SDK off the blocks with a parachute. I like the bungee cordz too. You can swim out until you hit the resistance and do X number of fast strokes or hold and kick for X seconds. The other day, I wrapped the bungee cordz up so there was very little cord and did some in water plyo streamline jumps/pushes off the wall. If you're OCD and need to count yards, try counting race pace yards instead of total yards. Junk yardage or mindless aerobic sets won't make you faster, but race pace work will.

__steve__
January 30th, 2015, 10:57 AM
Even though I still have 13.5 months to go before I reach 50 I decided to vote, and at 200 - 250 miles a year I comfortably rank within the 10,000 category. If I logged more I probably physically wouldn't hold up.


Junk yardage or mindless aerobic sets won't make you faster, even make you slower inversely proportional to the distance of the event

orca1946
January 30th, 2015, 11:58 AM
Chowmi --- were you on coffee & red bull when you fired up that post??? Very good stuff.

knelson
January 30th, 2015, 12:25 PM
Elaine, hi. I'm a former competitive runner. I never enjoyed competing. I don't compete as a swimmer.

If you don't compete then I'd say do whatever you get the most enjoyment from. By definition you have no "race pace," so race pace training is out.

TSB.
January 30th, 2015, 12:36 PM
http://forums.usms.org/showthread.php?21-How-far-do-you-swim-per-week&s=&highlight=poll

Glenn
January 30th, 2015, 01:16 PM
I agree with Knelson, do what you enjoy and swim as many yards as you want. No need to go through the "pain" of USRPT or HIT if you are not competing.

ElaineK
January 30th, 2015, 06:23 PM
Elaine, hi. I'm a former competitive runner. I never enjoyed competing. I don't compete as a swimmer. I had to edit my post--my total yards per week is 14,000 (I miscalculated!) No injuries, mainly b/c I do all strokes and lots of kick drills. I'm definitely not a sprinter. Like running, I'm more a distance athlete.

Ok, that makes a big difference! Now that I have read this post, I would refer you to the posts below by The Fortress and knelson. They both make excellent points.

Meanwhile, I think it's great that you swim all strokes and mix it up a bit. Just be careful not to do too much yardage in breaststroke kick drills, and your hips and knees will thank you. :2cents:

P.S. They disagree on whether or not to train "race pace," so you will have to decide where your priorities are. If you enjoy training at your top speed, I would recommend listening to The Fortress. You need to swim fast in training if you want to be a fast swimmer. If training as if you were going to compete is not any fun for you, knelson has the right idea. ;)

Red60
January 30th, 2015, 11:13 PM
I have been swimming masters since 2007, and like many I have an OCD streak that compels me to track yardage and–in recent years–practice times. Over the holidays I compiled all my data from the last 7 years and compared my meet performance with my yardage totals. The first year (2007) I piled up tons of distance and aerobic endurance stuff. In my highest total years, I put in north of 500,000 yards. Last year I swam 330,000 yards, but achieved masters personal bests because I focused more on high intensity sets. I don't really swim events any longer than 200 yards/meters, so conditioning has limits. Far better to focus on speed, interspersed with recovery. My working goal remains 10,000 per week. Distance matters to me as a cumulative achievement for health reasons, but I have decoupled yardage and performance. At the end of the day, going faster matters–even if (when I am honest with myself) it's nothing more than a ruse, to keep me in the pool at all.

Trondi
January 31st, 2015, 06:12 AM
Isn't swimming great! There is something for everyone it seems.

Everyone on this thread seems to be doing the perfect yardage, race pacing, easy swimming, etc for them at this moment in time.

And that's as it should be IMO.

I'm doing about 21000 yards pw at the moment - good distance training for the summers open water events - good pace changes within to help with early season competitions - no dives as shoulder injury not quite improved enough - great company in public sessions (5 or 6 times a week) - one club session (good change of pace time) a week until shoulder improves further

But thats NOW. I know things will change and adapt as my 62 yo body lets me know how I feel at any point in time.

Isn't swimming great!

T

Betsy
January 31st, 2015, 07:31 AM
I'm 73 and race well if I get in 10,000-12,000 per week. Ideally, I'd like 5 days at 2,500, but I rarely get it. Right now, I am aiming for 4 days at 2000. I hope to increase it in the next month or so. I also lift weights with a trainer twice a week. Weights are a big help.

orca1946
January 31st, 2015, 12:34 PM
Whatever we do is way more than those that don't go to the pool or gym.

Bobinator
January 31st, 2015, 12:58 PM
I agree with all the points made in this interesting post. Swimming is totally a different strokes for different folks sort of workout activity .
I have noticed lately that "sprint-based practices" including close to race pace efforts with lots of rest and less yardage leave me feeling exhausted but intensely satisfied and happy. My 50 free time is also dropping which surprises me at my advanced age (59). I am not a sprinter at all, but I enjoy watching my time and effort improve.

renie
February 1st, 2015, 07:37 PM
Betsy, would you mind sharing a typical workout?

Chris Stevenson
February 2nd, 2015, 08:29 AM
Betsy, would you mind sharing a typical workout?

Possibly you'll find a few at the link below. :-)

http://forums.usms.org/showthread.php?15052-Betsy-s-1-Hr-Workouts

renie
February 2nd, 2015, 11:08 AM
Thanks, Cris.