View Full Version : Modulating sprints in lead-up to nationals: how much?

March 30th, 2015, 10:51 PM
I am swimming at nationals in San Antonio. Have had a solid season of training, focusing on sprints, particularly. (50 fly, 50 free and 100 IM at nationals.) I swam in a local meet over the weekend; rested a little, but not much, beforehand. Felt tired and a little sore, due I think to high intensity stuff in workouts. I had very little backend on 100s and 200 IM, but I attribute that to being a little run down.

My question is this: how much sprinting should I do over the next month? Feel as if the sprints (lots of 25s fly and free, especially) have helped me edge toward higher turnover, and I'm pleased about that. I want to be sharp but not tired in San Antonio. I have been swimming 10,000 to 12,000 yards per week through the first quarter. Any insights welcome.

March 31st, 2015, 11:17 AM
I'm more of a distance swimmer, but I think the focus would be about the same. As I close in the Meet that I decide I'm tapering for I slowly move from training to more race pace workouts and I keep increasing the amount of rest. For example, 2 weeks out I'd be doing 1000s or 1650s with a couple minutes rest in between. Then the week leading to the meet I use a taper I got from a teammate on the Granite State Penguins.

The warm-up is the same through the taper:
200 free cruise
100 free ez
100 back
100 free mod
100 breast
100 fr med/hard
100 free build each 25
100 kick for time

I then re-use the warm-up without the kick for time to warm-up at the meet.

Then the sets start out like this:
4x200 on 7 min after the 200 get your pulse right away, swim a 50 ez, get your pulse again after 1 min.
4x100 on 5 min after the 100 get your pulse right away, swim a 50 ez, get your pulse again after 1 min.

then each day I drop a 200 and 100.

Then as I get closer I switch to 100s and 50s. I do the 50s on 4 min.

So the day before I'm down to just a 100 sprint and a 50 sprint. The big goals are to get my heart rate in the target range and see that it's dropping as I rest. I have the swimovate poolmate HR, so that way I can see the heart rate the whole time. Good luck in Texas.

March 31st, 2015, 11:32 AM
CNS might need a rest?

March 31st, 2015, 01:33 PM
mrubacky, that sounds like a useful approach; the combination of race pace with more rest and fewer yards makes intuitive sense to me. I think I can adapt your schedule for my purposes. Thanks!

steve, I'm guessing CNS is central nervous system? Intriguing; can you share your thinking about that? I wouldn't have thought to associate my fatigue with the nervous system.

Thanks to you both for the response!

The Fortress
March 31st, 2015, 03:25 PM
I'm more of a distance swimmer, but I think the focus would be about the same. As I close in the Meet that I decide I'm tapering for I slowly move from training to more race pace workouts and I keep increasing the amount of rest.

So the day before I'm down to just a 100 sprint and a 50 sprint.

As a sprinter, I've got to disagree with this and agree with Steve's thought that you should rest the CNS. If you are regularly doing race pace and HIT work in your practices, as all sprinters should, then you need to decrease intensity during your taper, not do more. I usually do a taper that is something like: 3 weeks out: drop all weights and drylands; 2 weeks out: decrease yardage slightly, decrease intensity substantially with mega rest on fast stuff & eliminate lactate production sets; 1 week out: reduce more. The last 5 days before a taper meet, I would mostly be floating around, maybe going from 2000 to 800. I would have a couple days of complete easy swimming and a few days where I only do a couple fast 25s and bursts. The idea of doing a "100 and a 50 sprint" the day before is horrifying! You're tired from all the sprinting in practice, so taper is the time to rest and have fresh legs.

April 1st, 2015, 01:29 PM
Actually, I would say the intent is the same just you are decreasing with shorter distances. Where I would do a 100 and 50 sprint the day before, your only doing a couple 25s. Given the difference in events, I'd actually say these are the same. Looking back though, I have actually done nothing the day before events and at Nationals in 2012, all I did was a warm up in the competition pool the day before to get a feel for the pool (walls, bulk-heads, flags, back stroke turns).

April 1st, 2015, 03:47 PM
Fort, thanks for the counter-perspective. I was intuitively translating mrubacky's suggestions into a sprinter mindset. I would not swim a hard 100 the day before a meet. It's less the week-of that concerns me, but rather how to dial down, especially 2-3 weeks out, and your counsel is helpful. I have not yet managed to incorporate lifting into my training (which at 54 I know I must, looking ahead to future seasons.) I'm with you on the mostly-floating-around in days leading up to meet.

mrubacky, I appreciate the follow-up. I may try the 4 x 200 and 4 x 100 as 150s and 75s next week. Thanks again.

May 6th, 2015, 12:38 AM
I'm reporting back on my results on prepping for San Antonio after feeling tired in a meet three weeks out. I took the advice to give it a rest, and was out of the water for 4 straight days. When I got back in, it was at less yardage with more rest heading toward Nationals. I felt sluggish 10 days out, but stuck with it and by the time I got to the meet I felt fast again. My times dropped: almost a full second in the 100 IM to an all-time Masters best; 50 free dropped .7 to an age group best, just as I aged out; 50 fly I stayed stuck in the same two to three-tenths neighborhood where my best times have hovered for the last several years. Using the Virginia LMSC rating system


(which is very helpful for tracking performance across time and age) I found that I had swum my three most highly rated swims (age + time x masters world record algorithm) since returning to competition 8 years ago.

I also got to swim against my old teenage friend and rival for the first time since 1978, and squeaked out a win in the 100 IM by two-tenths. That was a huge treat (seeing him and his wife, also competing). Seriously affirming.

I attribute some of that success to the advice I got here to back off some (thanks mrbacky, steve and fort). I had slowed down to taper in prior years, but this time I was more careful and attentive during the last 10 days, especially. I definitely swam less in the last week than I ever had before, but had a nice base to back off from, too.

Thanks for the assist, forumites!

May 6th, 2015, 10:19 AM
Great to hear you had a good meet! Congrats on some great swims.

May 6th, 2015, 10:21 AM
Glad that you had a good meet. I guess the taper worked. It is fun betting an old friend/rival.

May 6th, 2015, 11:36 AM
Congratulations, Red! :applaud: That's great news and very inspiring!

May 6th, 2015, 12:45 PM
Thanks, mrubacky, orca and Elaine. There's another layer to the story: ten years ago this summer, after a rec-league basketball game, I had a heart attack at 44. I was lucky, and sustained virtually no damage, but I did get a fistful of stents. I have an ongoing debate with my cardiologist about the wisdom of competing (he's not in favor) but the goal-setting provided by intermittent meets is what has kept me in the water. Paddling around not an option. I'm genuinely happy to have done as well as I have, and see swimming as a survival strategy as important, if not more, than any daily medication. I also see room for improvement, so there's more to focus on... I am very grateful, all told–as well I should be!

May 6th, 2015, 04:24 PM
Wow, Red, that's quite a serious layer to that story! :afraid: Best wishes to you that you NEVER experience that again!