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Thread: I am swimming my first 500 free this weekend.

  1. #1
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    I am swimming my first 500 free this weekend.

    Meet's on Friday, I think. I just started swimming on a team in January and I've done nothing longer than 100 at the four meets I've been to so far. I looked at the events board and turned to my coaches and said, "There must have been some kind of mistake..." Recently, in my "I'm new" thread, I said I wanted to up the ante. Apparently, some divine power was listening.

    What strategies do you all have for me? Please give me something, Masters forum, because I'm CLUELESS! Help me, Obi-Wan Kenobi, you're my only hope. //Leia

    I feel like Indiana Jones after he's picked off a bazillion baddies and then finally the real big, tough baddy appears onscreen and Indy just kind of looks up like, "Awww, come on... let's just go have a beer, man..." while slowly putting up his fists for what he knows will be a very painful thrashing.

  2. #2
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    Re: I am swimming my first 500 free this weekend.

    For your first 500:

    1) Take the first 100 out relaxed then try to build by 100s.
    2) Tight streamlines off each wall
    3) Kick for the first 5 yards off each wall then ease off the legs
    4) Breathe, breathe, breathe. Every cycle (2 strokes) if you can, or at least every three strokes if you can bi-lateral breathe effectively
    5) Long, strong strokes.
    6) At the 450 mark start to bring the legs in

    Relax and have fun

  3. #3
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    Re: I am swimming my first 500 free this weekend.

    You still have 2 days - if you can, try to work in a couple of timed 500s in practice, so you can taste the pain of a longer distance swim. If you take it out too hard, you will choke at the end. You need to know what the right pace to start out with feels like (it will feel slow compared to that 100 pace) such that you can sustain it through the entire race.

    Good luck!

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    Re: I am swimming my first 500 free this weekend.

    Look at it as a new adventure. You may end up liking the challenge of the "middle-distance" events.
    Good luck, stay relaxed, and don't worry about swimming fast, just swim your best.

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    Very Active Member smontanaro's Avatar
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    Re: I am swimming my first 500 free this weekend.

    That's one thing I liked about the broken 500s I swam over the past couple weeks. I split them up as 200, 150, 100, 50 with a fixed rest between (10s, typically). Since each
    successive segment is shorter I should, in theory, be able to swim it at a bit faster pace. Still, time will tell. I've never done a 500 in competition before.

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    Very Active Member pwb's Avatar
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    Re: I am swimming my first 500 free this weekend.

    Quote Originally Posted by pwolf66 View Post
    For your first 500:

    1) Take the first 100 out relaxed then try to build by 100s.
    2) Tight streamlines off each wall
    3) Kick for the first 5 yards off each wall then ease off the legs
    4) Breathe, breathe, breathe. Every cycle (2 strokes) if you can, or at least every three strokes if you can bi-lateral breathe effectively
    5) Long, strong strokes.
    6) At the 450 mark start to bring the legs in

    Relax and have fun
    This is very sound advice. The 500 is one of my favorite events; if it wasn't for the 400 IM, it would be my favorite.

    For your first one, just be very careful on that 1st 100. Even now, after having swum too many 500s in my career to count, I am consciously trying to go easy on the 1st 100.

    I find that counting my strokes each length helps me to keep on pace, keep relaxed and ensure #5 above.

    An ideal first 500 would have you negative split this, so you come into the wall feeling strong and powerful and thinking, "No more of these little sprint events. From now on, I'm maximizing my entry fee and swimming the lovely 500 whenever possible!"

    Enjoy it and report back.

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    Very Active Member Speedo's Avatar
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    Re: I am swimming my first 500 free this weekend.

    Quote Originally Posted by pwolf66 View Post
    For your first 500:

    1) Take the first 100 out relaxed then try to build by 100s.
    2) Tight streamlines off each wall
    3) Kick for the first 5 yards off each wall then ease off the legs
    4) Breathe, breathe, breathe. Every cycle (2 strokes) if you can, or at least every three strokes if you can bi-lateral breathe effectively
    5) Long, strong strokes.
    6) At the 450 mark start to bring the legs in

    Relax and have fun
    Although I don't swim the 500 these days, this would be a great place to start I think. As a lurker, I listened to pwolf's advice this last weekend for the 200, specifically; "Use the free speed off the turns" and will employ that in the future. I think that's what #2 above addresses.

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    Re: I am swimming my first 500 free this weekend.

    What strategies do you all have for me?

    a 500 is just ten 50's, not a big deal, it's a 5 - 6 minute race

    you're hairy,
    shave your arms, legs, chest, & back

    wear a tech suit, at least pro legs, preferably a full body

    Breathe often

    Take long smooth strokes
    Fast turns
    Push off hard & glide far

    Correctly split your race / proper pace.
    First 50 easy, breathe often, save your legs
    hold your 2nd, 3rd, 4th, 5th, 6th 7th & 8th 50's even
    keep them with in 0.4 of each other
    pick up your 9th 50
    sprint your 10th 50
    when you slice and dice your times
    your 100's should be close to each other
    your 250's should be close to each other 4 seconds or less

    the biggest mistake novices make is
    they swim too hard on the front end of their race and get too tired.
    They go out fast and dies

    Proper pacing is critical.

    Have fun.

    Settle into a sustainable pace.

  9. #9
    Very Active Member smontanaro's Avatar
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    Re: I am swimming my first 500 free this weekend.

    Quote Originally Posted by ande View Post
    a 500 is ... a 5 - 6 minute race
    For some folks it is. The agony is a bit longer for the rest of us.

    Skip

  10. #10
    Wannabe Middle D. Swimmer qbrain's Avatar
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    Re: I am swimming my first 500 free this weekend.

    Sprint ALL OUT on the first 50 and then try to finish the race

    Promise, it will be a learning experience. One you will never forget.

    -- real advice starts here --

    Paul's advice is pretty good unless you are not a good kicker. If you are not a good kicker, don't kick any more than you would in warm up until the end of the race. If you think your kick is decent, then it is safe to follow Paul's kicking advice.

    Definitely breath as often as you would like.

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    Very Active Member orca1946's Avatar
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    Re: I am swimming my first 500 free this weekend.

    First of all - have fun!! Do a pace that you feel good with & start to go faster @ the 350 mark .Tell us how you do.

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    Very Active Member gigi's Avatar
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    Re: I am swimming my first 500 free this weekend.

    Couroboros (sp? I can't see the top post anymore) thanks for asking this question! I'm also swimming my first 500 this weekend and I'm digging all this advice you got. I've done a ton of 1/2 mile and mile + open water swims but never a 500, so I'm glad to have this advice.

    Good luck to you
    and good luck to me

    Thanks for the advice everybody

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    Very Active Member rtodd's Avatar
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    Re: I am swimming my first 500 free this weekend.

    The advice here is great.

    The more 500's you do, you will find that it is actually a pretty "short" race. You don't want to go out too hard and die, but go out too easy and you quickly find the race is nearing conclusion and you can't make it up.

    Long strong easy speed in the beginning 250 and then start building tempo and effort to bring it home, with the last 100 at gut wrenching intensity.

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    Re: I am swimming my first 500 free this weekend.

    I agree with Patrick and Paul. However, just for the sake of giving you some other possibilities, here are two opposite strategies I have gotten over the years:

    1) From my coach and friend Bill White: Go hard the whole way. Me: But that's going to hurt! Bill: It's supposed to hurt. I took Bill's advice, and got my best time ever, but I was in probably the best distance shape of my adulthood.

    2) From my friend Glenn Battle, whom I asked how to swim a 500 when you are not in the best of shape:


    • 0-50: Smooth and fast, just a tiny bit out of your comfort zone.
    • 50-150 smooth and EZ (by this he means in your comfort zone--no sense of lactate build up)
    • 150-200 fast (just a week bit out of your comfort zone)
    • 200-350 smooth and EZ
    • 350-400 fast
    • 400-450 smooth and EZ
    • 50 sprint (well out of your comfort zone)

    This actually lets me do a decent 500 early to mid season. I like the fact that you always have something to look forward to! It also keeps your mind so occupied by math that it distracts you from pain.

    Putting both these together, I will probably try an amalgmated strategy at my upcoming races. It will be based pretty much on the strategy Mark Vagle provided for the 100:

    first 300 Controlled, smooth effort
    from 300-400 Stay relaxed, long, streamlined, and smooth
    final 100 build to all out sprint with whatever I have left
    (and hope the borrowed B70 makes up for any weaknesses in my character)

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    Re: I am swimming my first 500 free this weekend.

    I also started swimming in January, and will be swimming the 500 next weekend. Thanks for the posts. I thought the information was relevant. I have done the 1650 free before, but since I never did it before, I didn't take it out too fast. I may take the 500 out a little faster. I have done a 300 in a warm up, so an extra 200 isn't that bad.

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    Re: I am swimming my first 500 free this weekend.

    Quote Originally Posted by rtodd View Post
    The advice here is great.

    The more 500's you do, you will find that it is actually a pretty "short" race. You don't want to go out too hard and die, but go out too easy and you quickly find the race is nearing conclusion and you can't make it up.

    Long strong easy speed in the beginning 250 and then start building tempo and effort to bring it home, with the last 100 at gut wrenching intensity.
    I am swimming my first 500 too and just sat down one more time before I hit the road. I now have a plan based on a plan and things are lookin up.
    Thank you all for your great advice. You just have to believe... I'm actually smiling! bye and good luck Courobous and Gigi and all!

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    Re: I am swimming my first 500 free this weekend.

    Over!

    ande, a 5-6 min race, whaaaaa? Probably for those seasoned dudes.

    I clocked in at 7:57. A teammate told me it was impressive that I got it under eight minutes and my coach said it was great for a new guy, which is exactly me.

    Honestly, I feel like I could've got it under 7 if I wanted to, but I'm still so unfamiliar with the event. I probably took it way too easy. By the time first place finished (he was in the lane next to me), I was starting my eighth 50. Next time, I shall raise the bottom and ceiling. Where I excelled- keeping the 50s timed very closely together.

    edit: and dangit, I feel ridiculous that I still haven't progressed to flipturns. I am going to make those my number one priority now.

    all in all, I'm very glad my coaches put me in for a longer distance event. All I've swum so far are 50s or 100s thus I was beginning to wonder if the coaches believed I had any endurance potential, which I suppose is silly since of course I do. I really, really want the skill to maintain high speed for longer and longer amounts of time because lately I've been feeling like a firework that flashes really bright for a split second and then goes pitch black.

    edit 2: know what? Maybe I misheard... it might've been 6:57. The 500 sure didn't feel as long as eight minutes. ??? There was another teammate that told me I got it in the seven minute range...

    Good luck to all of you who still get to swim it!
    Last edited by Couroboros; March 27th, 2009 at 07:42 PM.

  18. #18
    Very Active Member gigi's Avatar
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    Re: I am swimming my first 500 free this weekend.

    Hmmmm
    Under 8 minutes on your first time out, doing open turns, feeling like you took it way too easy...
    sounds like you've found your event!

    congratulations!

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    Re: I am swimming my first 500 free this weekend.

    Oh okay so I guess it was the 7:57. I'm severely deaf, heh.

    I've found my event, huh? I guess this means more 500s.

    Thank you!

  20. #20
    Very Active Member rtodd's Avatar
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    Re: I am swimming my first 500 free this weekend.

    Great job! It's a fun event.

    Post your splits when you get them.

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