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Flow Phaser
October 2nd, 2007, 06:56 PM
Hi. Still kind of new here. And I did a search on "400 IM" but its said my terms were too generic and not usable in search....

Anyhow, figuring the 400 IM has surely been discussed, I thought I'd start a thread about learning out how to swim it when you only get to two races a year.

I've swum the 400 IM as a target swim twice in last 6 weeks, i.e. warm up, ramp up 50s, recovery, then some splish-splash (roughly 1200 yds) then the swim. Then laying around hurting, then 200 ez. And then I'm tasting iron in my mouth and have hot, tingling toes and hands (this makes sense, I hope) for a good long while afterwards, so that's pretty much it in terms of my quality work for that work out. Getting to the pool 4 x week, it seems counter productive to do this much beyond once every 3-4 weeks or so.

With so many variables (increasing fitness, weak/strong strokes in various quarters of the race, turnover vs glide, etc.) how do you approach things, not so much in the race, but in learning how to swim it your best?

In other words, this seems like the hardest race to simply scale upwards and may demand the greatest amount of individualized strategy, but the success of any of the multitude of strategies only truly reveals itself at full on race pace.

Thanks in advance, and, again, hope this hasn't been done to death....

geochuck
October 2nd, 2007, 07:20 PM
Search -Individual Medley - also here is one I found

http://forums.usms.org/showthread.php?t=7648&highlight=Individual+medley

Blackbeard's Peg
October 2nd, 2007, 09:10 PM
I've swum the 400 as follows:
100 fly - long and strong, taking full advantage of walls, but not enough to take away from normal breathing
100 back - same
100 breast - glide glide glide, building within the 100
100 free - book it with whatever you have left

Folks will tell you to back off on the backstroke, as that kills your legs. They're partially right, but I have found that without legs, my momentum dies and the rest of the swim suffers. The key is to not blow your wad on the first 200, cause if you do, it is the breast leg that will destroy you.

jaegermeister
October 2nd, 2007, 10:28 PM
I like the challenge of the 400 IM. When I could still swim evilstroke without killing my knee, I would follow a strategy more or less the same as posted by Blackbeard's Peg. Only I didn't ever really get in a lot of yards in preparation. To be competitive I think would take some monster sets in practice.
In sum, I just swam it for the fun of it, crazy as that sounds.

Blackbeard's Peg
October 2nd, 2007, 11:34 PM
In sum, I just swam it for the fun of it, crazy as that sounds.

Me too, though once there was a free dinner up for grabs.

Flow Phaser
October 3rd, 2007, 12:08 AM
Hey Tom and Blackbeard--

Thanks for the replies. It sounds like you both followed the same sort of strategy for the race. Do you think this should be the case no matter your strong vs weak strokes? That is it seems like you, BP, are suggesting keeping all of it long with gliding until free.

Are there any schools of thought that suggest there is any advantage to working your strongest stroke in the race slightly more? Or, conversely, your weakest? Or building through one of these?

I'll take your advice for some 85-90% swims and see how it works. As with the first post, the 100% route is just too brutal for me to warrant much experimentation.

:cry::cry::cry:

Thanks again....

swimminlyn
October 3rd, 2007, 09:50 AM
Flow Phaser,
I decided last year that I wanted to try a new event. I did a 400 IM in practice one day to see if I could. I got through it and decided that was going to be my new event. So at my 1st meet I went for it. I am still not that great at it, but I went from a 6:21(Jan.) to a 5:55(May).
I was told to take the fly long and smooth. I negative split the backstroke, saving my legs on the 1st 50. Backstroke, to me, is all about how much air I can get. I stretch out the 1st 25 of the breast stroke and build the next 3 lengths. And like Blackbeard said, just give the freestyle everything you have left. It is only 4 more lengths. The last 25 I sprint as hard as I can.

As for training...
I would just work on building my endurance with 500s freestyle with an occasional 500 IM. I also do alot of IM work in practice. This summer I started working more kicking and it has helped out tremendously. If I can still kick when tired, it makes it alot easier.

good luck with the 400 IM. After my 1st one I was addicted. Just make up your mind to do it in a meet and you will be fine. You already know you can swim 400 yd/m without stopping. It is a bear of an event, but when you are done it is a great feeling.

Blackbeard's Peg
October 3rd, 2007, 11:22 AM
Flow,
I am not a breaststroker, and have been doing mostly fly and free the last several years. Backstroke is an old favorite of mine. Your question of working your best stroke - in a 400im, if I did that, I'd want to work the fly real hard, then the backstroke like I do in a 100IM. I'd build a nice lead, but it'd all be downhill from there, and I'd probably hyperventilate on the breast.

Breast being my weakest stroke, I like to build that up so I try not to lose any ground. I wouldn't say I "sally save-up" for the free, but if I am building up over the previous 300, it is not difficult for me to attach the free split.

knelson
October 3rd, 2007, 01:58 PM
I negative split the backstroke

Keep in mind this is pretty common because you're touching to your feet (presumably) at the end of the first 50, but to your hand at the end of the second.

...but back to the topic. In my opinion the 400 IM doesn't involve that much strategy. You need to pace it in such a manner that you're going as fast as you can without dying. It's as simple as that. I don't believe in holding back in certain strokes and pushing others. You really need to go as fast as you can in each stroke.

shark
October 3rd, 2007, 02:40 PM
Make sure you get a lot of air during the fly leg of the race. This is critical. I suggest to my swimmers to use a 2 up 1 down stroke count with no breath in or out of the walls, as you get a breath on the wall. I like to see the backstroke leg no slower than 5 seconds slower than the fly, with the breast leg no slower than 10 seconds slower than the fly, 15 tops. (if you are not good at breast) The free should be as close to your fly leg split as you can get. IE, a swimmer of mine last year split 59high, 105mid, 115low, 100high, with tenths - 4:22.35. Made YNats and earned himself a scholarship to a small D1 college. This has been my experience.

"Picture a bright blue ball just spinnin' spinnin' free, dizzy with eternity." - Bob Weir

geochuck
October 3rd, 2007, 02:58 PM
I for one would not attempt th 400 IM now. Depending on your level of swimming is the way to swim it.

The secret being able to swim it is in your pace of course. The fly is the stroke that you can blow the whole race on. I suggest a smooth clean arm recovery and a from the shoulder undulating kick that you feel you can handle but try to stay with anyone you are racing without killing your self.

No one can tell you how fast to go on your legs of this event it is something you will have to work on. If this is the event you are focusing on you should do lots of them and workout what your splits you are going to be able to handle.

Kevin in MD
October 3rd, 2007, 03:53 PM
A very individual thing. My experience is that my fellow masters swimmers don't put in the volume required to pace a 400IM very well and it is often a race of survival. To that end a couple of friends and myself have had luck breathing every stroke on the fly for the reasons outlined by most other folks.

That said, the Book Championship Swim Training has a 200 and 400 IM worksheet that uses your bext times for the four strokes to calculate how you should split the 400 IM.

swimshark
October 3rd, 2007, 04:15 PM
...but back to the topic. In my opinion the 400 IM doesn't involve that much strategy. You need to pace it in such a manner that you're going as fast as you can without dying. It's as simple as that. I don't believe in holding back in certain strokes and pushing others. You really need to go as fast as you can in each stroke.

I'm with Kirk. I did the 400 IM for fun last March. I'm hooked. Now I've done it LC as well and working towards LC Nats.

One practice set I do that lets me know that I CAN do the 400 IM is a build to 200 IM. With SC yards.

25 fly
50 fly
50 fly, 20 back
50 fly, 50 back
etc. until 200 IM complete.

You can come down, too. Either take off the fly or the free first. I pretty much do 5 sec per 25. So 5 sec after the 25 fly, 10 after the 50 fly, etc.

Enjoy.

Alison

CreamPuff
October 3rd, 2007, 08:26 PM
Here are a couple of cool sets I did with the Senior II team this week in preparation for my 200 and 400 IMs this season. It's early in the season so these sets are great to start building your base for the longer events. If you can find swimmers near your speed, it makes the set so much more fun! Alter the intervals to your needs/ level.

SCY
3x100 IM @ 1:30 Descend 1 to 3
2x200 IM @ 3:00 Negative split by 50s
1x400 IM @ 6:00 Fast
Three Times Through.

***
SCY
1x300 IM @ 4:20
3x50 Fly Descend @ :45
2x150 75BK/75BR @ 2:10
4x25 Fly Sprint @ :40
Go right into the next repeat.

Repeat three more times, so the next set would be
1x300 IM @ 4:20
3x50 BK @ :45
2x150 75BR/75FR @ 2:10
4x25 BK @ :40

Flow Phaser
October 3rd, 2007, 08:28 PM
I like to see the backstroke leg no slower than 5 seconds slower than the fly, with the breast leg no slower than 10 seconds slower than the fly, 15 tops. (if you are not good at breast) The free should be as close to your fly leg split as you can get.

Cool! This is the kind of thing I was really interested in, Shark. This seems like it can be scaled upwards as a training notion that simulates an overall race strategy but at varying loads and intervals.

Thanks. I'm "dizzy with possibilities...."
:drink:

[quote=Kevin in MD;108156]A very individual thing.....The Book Championship Swim Training has a 200 and 400 IM worksheet that uses your bext times for the four strokes to calculate how you should split the 400 IM.

Thanks. Again, sounds like something that can be scaled and approximated in workouts, allowing for tinkering in order to find what works best.
:drink:



The secret being able to swim it is in your pace of course....No one can tell you how fast to go on your legs of this event it is something you will have to work on. If this is the event you are focusing on you should do lots of them and workout what your splits you are going to be able to handle.

And that's the problem in a nutshell.. I feel like I can simulate near race conditions for 100s and 200s stroke fairly regularly and glean an approach. And 500/1000 free, say, has the advantage of swimming lots of intervals AND being the same stroke throughout.
6 weeks ago, I just so happened to swim Shark's method. 1:20 fly, 1:30 back, 1:35 breast, and 1:20 free. Painful.

Pleasantly surprised, I started training stroke more. Then, a couple of days ago, promising to get out faster as I used to be a flyer AND after some ez days, I was out 1:10ish, probably the same splits for back and breast as before--I was barely hanging on, couldn't work turns at all on either stroke--and then a brutal 1:25 free. Exceedingly ugly and painful and floating around for a *long* time after. Lifeguards almost got the hook, I think. All for a 5 second improvement.

So that's what got me asking the question in my first post. One variable--of many--changed and impacted the whole thing. I might have been 8-10 seconds faster if I'd approached it as before, shaving 2 or so seconds a leg. And not cracked a rib from heaving. Who knows? As above, I'm in know hurry to try the experiment again.

So sincere thanks for the suggestions for this newb to board. The breating on fly and scaled pacing sound really promising. I'm also thinking of the following:

50 fly fairly brisk, 50 fly longer stroke and breathing twice per three
50 back long, rotating, belly breathing; 50 w/ higher turnover but less kick
100 breast build throughout
...and we'll see where that leaves me for the free

Once again, y'all rock. :bow: Happy swimming and I'll report back on some results in about another 5-6 weeks. If I don't :drown:.

knelson
October 4th, 2007, 01:55 AM
50 fly fairly brisk, 50 fly longer stroke and breathing twice per three

Careful there, I don't think any part of the fly should feel "brisk." Think more along the lines of "easy speed."

swimshark
October 4th, 2007, 08:18 AM
Careful there, I don't think any part of the fly should feel "brisk." Think more along the lines of "easy speed."

Again, I'm with Kirk. On the fly, think "reach for the wall" and relax the arms as much as possible. The more relaxed you are, the easier it will be.

Alison

art_z
October 4th, 2007, 10:15 AM
I think of the 400 IM as a 100 fly with a 300 recovery built in. .. :D

CreamPuff
October 4th, 2007, 03:17 PM
I think of the 400 IM as a 100 fly with a 300 recovery built in. .. :D

Or show up to the blocks would be a good start for others like me.

Steve Ruiter
October 4th, 2007, 05:44 PM
I am still recovering from my 400IM at nationals 5 months ago, so take this with a grain of salt.

I think you need to swim a bunch of 400IM races throughout the season to get the feel for how much you can push each stroke. Repeating 400IMs in practice is also good, but I have found that if I try to push as hard in a race as I push in practice my breast and freestyle are painful. Go figure. Maybe others would have different experience with that.

Since I find 400IM repeats to be quite hard work, I prefer to space them out with stroke days where I'll do a group of 4 sets of 500-600 yards each, in IM stroke order (like 10 x 50 fly, 5 x 100 back, 3 x 200 breast etc.) I think of it as building a base for the next IM set day.

jim clemmons
October 4th, 2007, 06:15 PM
I think you need to swim a bunch of 400IM races throughout the season to get the feel for how much you can push each stroke.

"Third time's the charm" I say. The first two will get you through the majority of the learning curve although you'll still learn from subsequent swims. Be patient and don't quit attempting.