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Terry5306
October 26th, 2007, 10:16 AM
Hello all,

I'm new here and I have a question that I hope maybe someone could help me with. I've been finding it difficult to improve my swim splits over the longer distances. I've been trying for about 3 years now with minimal improvement. I can swim a sub 30 sec.-50 yards and a sub 1 minute in a 100 yards but cannot hold a fast pace over the longer distances. My best distance splits are:

500yds. = 6:18 (=1:15.7 per 100 yds.) - (pool swim)
1.5K = 22:10 (=1:21 per 100 yds.) - (open water w/wetsuit)
2.4 mile = 1:03:50 (=1:30 per 100 yds.) - (open water w/wetsuit)

I've been swimming 3-4x per week about 3,000-4,000 yards per day. Mostly sets like 20x100's w/10-15 sec rest and 10x200's w/20 sec rest and 5x400's w/30 sec rest. My 20x100's are average about 1:17-1:18 per 100 yards, and that's the fastest I can go and still do 20 of them.

I swim alone at the pool mostly and I don't lift weights much. I have good form in water and a 2 beat kick. Could it be a strength issue? I use paddles and the pull bouy occasionally. My main goal is to go sub 20 in 1.5K swim in open water, with a wetsuit. What workouts or things should I be doing to do this?

Thanks much for your feedback,
Terry

Rob Copeland
October 26th, 2007, 10:38 AM
I swim alone at the pool mostly ... What workouts or things should I be doing to do this? TerryMy best advice is to stop swimming alone and get hooked up with one of the local coached Masters teams.

art_z
October 26th, 2007, 10:39 AM
. Mostly sets like 20x100's w/10-15 sec rest and 10x200's w/20 sec rest and 5x400's w/30 sec rest. My 20x100's are average about 1:17-1:18 per 100 yards, and that's the fastest I can go and still do 20 of them.


so you are doing 20x100 on 1:30 in yards and 10x200 on 3:00 (extrapolating here). I would work on reducing the rest, and maintaining the same pace. A good set might be 20x100 where 5 are on 1:30, 5 on 1:25, 5 on 1:20 and 5 back up to 1:25 trying to keep the same pace for all 20 (say 1:15 to 1:17). This should improve your conditioning.

Also, maybe do 10 on 1:20 trying to hold 1:13s or better. IMHO 15 seconds rest on a 100 is too much, especially if you are doing them in a "broken 2000" type set.

ourswimmer
October 26th, 2007, 12:36 PM
I am sort of the reverse of you: I have never gone under 1:00 in the 100 free in my entire life, but I can go under 6:00 easily in the 500 and under 20:00 on a decent day in the 1650. Some of that difference is surely just how our bodies are made, but here are a few differences I see between your training and mine.

1. You swim a little less than I do, but not much. But I also do other workouts. When I was in my best adult distance swimming shape I ran 3-4x/week (15-18 miles total) in addition to swimming 3-4x/week (12k-16k total) and I lifted twice a week or so too. (I was in professional school then so I had a lot of discretionary time.) Now I can't run but I go to an hour-long spin class 2x/week. If my skin and shoulders could handle doing all that cardio in the pool I might swim more instead, but they can't so I cross-train my heart.

2. I swim with a team and I always have. Coaching and workout partners help me get the most out of every visit to the pool.

3. I use shorter rest than you do for short-rest interval sets (and longer rest for sets aimed at improving power and turnover). If I were doing 20x100 I would do them on 1:15 or 1:20 and I would get 3-8s rest. If you can bring them in on 1:17 with a 1:30 sendoff then it's time to switch to a 1:25 sendoff.

cantwait4bike
October 26th, 2007, 01:48 PM
Something just doesn't add up. If you are that fast at 100-500 in a pool you should be a lot faster than 22m/1500 or 63m/2.4mi. with a wetsuit on. I do these tri swim leg times and couldn't get close to your 100-500 times. A couple of things might help.
Don't ever alternate breathe..a complete waste.
Do 1000's in the pool. Last one with a pull buoy always to simulate wetsuit.
Swim alone, makes you tougher.
Do eye closed swimming to make sure your going straight.
Practice sighting every 3rd or 4th length (60-80 strokes)
It's the bike and run that determines the winner, not the swim.
Finally, stay out of the 60-64 age group.

ande
October 26th, 2007, 02:10 PM
1500 meters in 20:00 is holding
1:20 per 100 meter pace
which is like holding 1:10 - 1:12 per 100 yards

wetsuits float, swimmers tend to swim several seconds faster per 100
you probably need to be able to hold 1:22 - 1:24 pace per 100 meters to hold 1:20 in a wetsuit

read swim faster faster
everything I'd tell you is there
http://www.usms.org/forums/showthread.php?t=4229

the gist
perfect your stroke technique and
train further, faster, more often, with a coach, training partner, or team
be patient
do pace work, speed work, over distance, and aerobic training




Hello all,

I'm new here and I have a question that I hope maybe someone could help me with. I've been finding it difficult to improve my swim splits over the longer distances. I've been trying for about 3 years now with minimal improvement. I can swim a sub 30 sec.-50 yards and a sub 1 minute in a 100 yards but cannot hold a fast pace over the longer distances. My best distance splits are:

500yds. = 6:18 (=1:15.7 per 100 yds.) - (pool swim)
1.5K = 22:10 (=1:21 per 100 yds.) - (open water w/wetsuit)
2.4 mile = 1:03:50 (=1:30 per 100 yds.) - (open water w/wetsuit)

I've been swimming 3-4x per week about 3,000-4,000 yards per day. Mostly sets like 20x100's w/10-15 sec rest and 10x200's w/20 sec rest and 5x400's w/30 sec rest. My 20x100's are average about 1:17-1:18 per 100 yards, and that's the fastest I can go and still do 20 of them.

I swim alone at the pool mostly and I don't lift weights much. I have good form in water and a 2 beat kick. Could it be a strength issue? I use paddles and the pull bouy occasionally. My main goal is to go sub 20 in 1.5K swim in open water, with a wetsuit. What workouts or things should I be doing to do this?

Thanks much for your feedback,
Terry

Blackbeard's Peg
October 26th, 2007, 11:52 PM
My 20x100's are average about 1:17-1:18 per 100 yards, and that's the fastest I can go and still do 20 of them.
Bullocks. warm up well and go for 1:15s. Set the pace from the start. DON'T go in there with a "can't do" attitude - sounds like you've already psched yourself out. focus on technique and holding form throughout all 20. if you're having trouble towards the end, really go for the 19th one - cause no matter what you do on that 19th one, that 20th one is still going to hurt.


I have good form in water and a 2 beat kick.
experiment with building up your leg strength. after my fastest 500, a fellow swimmer was floored w/ the kick he saw on my final 100. I pulled away with the "motorboat," as he put it, that I had back there. a two-beat kick saves energy, but you don't go anywhere, and you're still exhausted at the end from windmilling your arms. may as well kick more along the way and get just as exhausted at the end. thats my opinion at least.

have you been doing the same routine the last three years? maybe you need to switch things up a little bit. some other tips...
in the pool:
Rob has a great point about joining a team
do more fly and IM sets to work some more musles, build up fitness and get a more complete workout
SDK off the walls
bilateral breathing
experiment with race strategery
do some technique work (w/ a team and/or coach)
build up a good base now; then add 1 extra practice a week for the first 3-4 months of 2008

out of the pool:
crosstraining - start running or biking. be careful if you start playing hockey :doh:
nutrition - watch what you eat, and eat things you can use in practice for energy
dryland - are you doing any stretching, yoga, med ball, exercise ball stuff?

ourswimmer
October 28th, 2007, 03:21 PM
Do eye closed swimming to make sure your going straight. Practice sighting every 3rd or 4th length (60-80 strokes).

Of course. Terry, how's your OW technique? (How does your OW 1500 compare to a pool 1500?) You need to be sure that you don't make your course longer than it has to be by weaving. But you also have to minimize sighting, which slows you down at least a tiny bit no matter how efficiently you do it, because it requires a less-than-perfect head position. Work on a sighting technique that involves just the barest head lift as you breathe, and then use it sparingly. I prefer bilateral breathing because it keeps me going straighter but if it's awkward for you just work on keeping straight while breathing to only one side. Also, if your vision isn't that great consider corrective goggles. The improved clarity is worth it for me when I am just getting a fleeting glimpse to keep myself on course.


a two-beat kick saves energy, but you don't go anywhere, and you're still exhausted at the end from windmilling your arms. may as well kick more along the way and get just as exhausted at the end. thats my opinion at least.


Respectfully, my opinion would differ. If I were advising someone who said, "I can swim a sub 20:00 1500 but I would really like to go under 1:00 for 100," I would absolutely advise switching to a six-beat kick for the shorter race. But if a two-beat kick works for you most of the time, it's probably your best kick for 1500, especially if you are going to follow up that 1500 with a 40K bike and a 10K run.

Blackbeard's Peg
October 29th, 2007, 11:21 AM
Respectfully, my opinion would differ. If I were advising someone who said, "I can swim a sub 20:00 1500 but I would really like to go under 1:00 for 100," I would absolutely advise switching to a six-beat kick for the shorter race. But if a two-beat kick works for you most of the time, it's probably your best kick for 1500, especially if you are going to follow up that 1500 with a 40K bike and a 10K run.

Maybe I am missing something, but I don't see a mention of this 1 mile swim as a portion of a triathlon.

Terry, could you clarify your goal a bit and let us know if ourswimmer's assumption is correct?

Terry has been stuck on a swim plateau for three years... and I think a pretty drastic change is needed to achieve the desired results. That is why I suggested earlier that he switch things up a little bit and try something new. Simply joining a team and swimming with people could be that change. So could the kicking.

That "motorboat" 500 I mention, I swam in a 5:01. the year before I was at 5:12.9 w/ a two-beat kick. The drastic change was a broken wrist that forced me to do kick-only workouts for 6 weeks and realize the importance of kicking. For me, building my leg strength meant shredding off over 2 seconds per 100 in 1 year.

Kicking is an integral and oft-neglected part of the crawl. To illustrate the importance of one's kick, lets do a "3-second glide" drill with a 2 beat kick. The swim feels and looks like a 15-year old trying to drive stick shift for the first time. Now lets do the glide again with a 6 beat kick. A lot smoother. I know it isn't practical to do that drill in a race/timed environment, but I think it illustrates how a two-beat kick can quickly become one long start/stop/start/stop process, and why my opinion on kicking is that even with distance, the more beats the better.

Terry5306
October 29th, 2007, 11:42 AM
[quote=Blackbeard's Peg;112259]Maybe I am missing something, but I don't see a mention of this 1 mile swim as a portion of a triathlon.

Terry, could you clarify your goal a bit and let us know if ourswimmer's assumption is correct?

-------------------

A 1.5K swim (.93 miles) is the beginning event in the triathlon. I swim now 22 minute for this distance and I need to go under 20 minutes for that distance.

I attended a Master group this morning, however, it's a small group no one in the group is able to push me on the swims. The Coach has an outstanding background, however. Can this Master group still be beneficial or should I look for another?

Thanks,
Terry

NotVeryFast
October 29th, 2007, 11:42 AM
I can swim a sub 30 sec.-50 yards and a sub 1 minute in a 100 yards but cannot hold a fast pace over the longer distances. My best distance splits are:

500yds. = 6:18 (=1:15.7 per 100 yds.) - (pool swim)
1.5K = 22:10 (=1:21 per 100 yds.) - (open water w/wetsuit)
I don't think those times are all that inconsistent. 30 secs for 50 yards is pretty slow to hope to do a sub 20 minutes 1500m IMO. If I use the FINA pts calculator, 33 secs for 50m free translates to 22:34 for 1500m free, for example.

I've done 1500m free sub 18 minutes (SCM pool), but I'm afraid I don't have any advice on how I became able to do it other than the more I train the faster I get. I was doing 30km a week leading up to my sub 18 min swim at age 35.

When I started Masters swimming, it took me 1:06 to do SCM 100 free, so not much different to your speed, but I couldn't break 20 mins for SCM 1500, it took me over 22 mins back then. My SCM 100 had come down to more like 1:02-1:03 when I raced my first SCM 1500 and did 19:32.

I've always found doing max effort 1500m swims in training to be helpful for getting used to how to pace them, you can't afford to swim a 1500 too comfortably, you should be swimming a 1500 significantly faster than the pace you could hold for 3km, say.

art_z
October 29th, 2007, 01:04 PM
you need to train for a 1.5 swim by doing "broken" swims., that is, 15x100 on low rest (5 sec or so). this simulates the exertion required to do a 1500 with some recovery built in. if you take 15 seconds per 100 to rest, you are training more for a 100 swim.

ourswimmer
October 29th, 2007, 02:11 PM
A 1.5K swim (.93 miles) is the beginning event in the triathlon. I swim now 22 minute for this distance and I need to go under 20 minutes for that distance.

I attended a Master group this morning, however, it's a small group no one in the group is able to push me on the swims. The Coach has an outstanding background, however. Can this Master group still be beneficial or should I look for another?

Thanks,
Terry

I suppose then that my cross-training suggestion was not on point. :blush:

I swam for a while with one group in which I was the fastest, and I still got a lot of benefit from the group and the coaching. As long as you can go the pace you need to go without interfering with slower swimmers' workouts, the group could be helpful in your swim training (and you might help some of them get to their next level too). On the other hand, if a faster group is also available to you, you might try that group out and compare.

hofffam
October 29th, 2007, 03:24 PM
Even if the Masters group can't push you - swimming with a good coach could be very helpful. First - they can correct your stroke. Second - they can encourage you or push you when you need it. I'd just say that do not slow down because of other swimmers slower than you.

I think Ande makes an important suggestion. Examine and improve your stroke. Perhaps what will benefit you the most is a 5% improvement in stroke efficiency. Video tape your swims and take a good look at it. Try a swimming snorkel to improve stroke balance. Etc....

Most triathletes I know try to save their legs for the bike/run so you may not want to exert any more with your legs. But you may be dragging them too much. Maybe a reliable, smooth 2 beat kick is the answer.

allenhighnote
November 4th, 2007, 03:15 PM
I don't think those times are all that inconsistent. 30 secs for 50 yards is pretty slow to hope to do a sub 20 minutes 1500m IMO. If I use the FINA pts calculator, 33 secs for 50m free translates to 22:34 for 1500m free, for example.


I 100% agree. It seems that you are expecting to maintain the same pace whether it be a 50, 100, 200, 1500, or more. That just isn't the case.

Here's my thoughts on getting there.

1) Always train alternate breathing (either by stroke or by lap) Only breathing to one side over time will severely throw your stroke out of balance and teaches a very bad habit. What happens in a tri where the landmarks are on the left but you breath on your right? Or worse, waves breaking on your right and you only breath to your right. Your screwed. Practice sighting during practice too if you only have access to a pool for ow training.

2) Train more at race pace. You're spending an awful lot of time putting in what is known as garbage yardage. I don't mean that in a derogatory way. It just means yardage for yardage sake. Do 6 x 50's or 100's at race pace with at least 4+ minutes of rest. Many triathletes and distance swimmers get caught with the belief that just doing more yardage is all that is needed. When I was growing up, that's what we did. Today, quality has become much more important and world records are falling because of it.

3) Train all 5 strokes - back, breast, fly, free, and YES IM. It is called cross training. If you are swimming freestyle all of the time, you are not giving a chance for those muscles to recover and other muscles are not being worked. Many triathletes don't want to train other strokes but this really hurts them.

4) Learn how long to taper. This varies with every individual. If you're putting in 4000 yards 3-4 times a week, you might want to consider at least a 2 week taper before your big events. Tapers are critical for swimming fast. Taper doesn't mean stop swimming. It mean gradually cut down on quantity but continue to emphasis quality. It does not mean switch to nothing but race pace the week before!

5) If you are going to race with a wet suit, you need to train with a wet suit occasionally. That can be difficult especially if your pool is warm. Watch your temperature.

6) Find a good coach and attend their practices. Pick their brains and when you are swimming on your own try to implement what they have told you. Every team and coach is different. Shop around.

7) You didn't mention doing any kicking other than you have a 2 beat kick. In recent years more emphasis has been put on upping kick rates. I would add significant kicking sets to your workout. Both with and without fins but no boards. They are bad for neck, shoulders, back and body position. Kick on side, back or underwater. Also, vertical and wall kicking. If you are not working your legs, you're letting your arms carry to much of the work.


Hope that helps,

Allen