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Thread: Train for 400LCM in SCY pool: Coming off a long break

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    Very Active Member m2tall2's Avatar
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    Train for 400LCM in SCY pool: Coming off a long break

    Hi all! I'm a lifetime swimmer AG/HS/College but have had two gaps since college due to lack of pool access. I'm 34 and super excited that I've been back in the pool for 2 months. However I'm a bit shocked at how much speed I've lost this time. I wanted to swim in a meet and the only thing I can make it to in our area upcoming is a big July meet in LCM where my age group will be 19-34. So, due to the lack of speed and swimming against college kids, I decided racing in my usual events might be a bit disheartening and it would be a good time to try something new. I've already announced it to my facebook friends and family, that something is the 400IM. What fresh hell have I gotten myself into. I need your help. What can I do to help bring back my some of my speed and hopefully finish the 400m IM without looking and feeling like a drowning sea turtle? I did a time trial of a 500yard IM from the wall 2 weeks ago with the goal of finishing and finished in 10:01.10. I did not feel like I needed life support afterwards but I wasn't half-arsing it, either.

    I've included way too much info below so you know where I've been and what I'm doing.

    So here's some times, all SCY:
    Lifetime bests around 20 years old:
    50 free: 26.42
    100 breast: 1:08.63
    50 breast (relay): 32.89
    200 free: 1:58.??

    Around 26-28 mostly tri focused because of lack of pool time.
    100 breast: 1:20?
    200 breast was 2:55?
    200 free was 2:20?
    I don't have it written down and many of my meets didn't make it into the USMS records because quite a few meets up here aren't sanctioned.

    Now I've got an extra 25lbs. This appears to be affecting my breaststroke the most because I can feel my balance is off: my hips sink when I don't want them to and float too much when I actually want them to sink the teensiest bit so I'm not kicking air.
    I've been working out for two months slowly getting in more time and workouts. Started at about 1500 yards in 45 minutes 3 times a week and now I'm up at 2500-3000 yard in about 75-90 minutes going 5 times a week.
    It seems like when I try to do 25s as hard as I can I'm hitting times of:
    Fly: 22-24
    Back: 23-24
    Breast: 24-25
    Free: 18-20

    When I do 50s the best I've been able to pull off is:
    Fly: 56
    Back: 53
    Breast: 58
    Free: 40 (typically more like 45 but I was able to sprint against some other masters swimmers that day)

    My workout typically looks like:
    600-800 yard Warm up: 100-200 swim, 200 kick, 200-400 drills (for early AM swims, there's often a lot of kicking to get the blood moving).
    -----
    Main sets rotate through and depending on the day, more than one main set.
    Main Set choice 1: 500 yards 25s on 15 seconds focus on one stroke.
    Main set choice 2: 1000 (ish) total yards IM, increasing distance by 25 yards each session I swim this. First time was 100s on 30 seconds rest, last time was is 175s on 1:00 rest. Goal is to get up to 2x 500 yards with 5 minutes rest.
    Main set choice 3: 1000 (ish) yards stroke in IM order, rotating so no two in order are same stroke. Could be 50s, 75s, 100s or 125s. On 20-30 seconds rest.
    Main set choice 4: 1000 (ish) yards stroke in IM order, rotating so finish all of one stroke before moving to the next. Could be 50s, 75s, 100s or 125s. On 20-30 seconds rest.
    Main set choice 5: 2x500 FreeIM on 5 minutes rest (IM with free instead of Fly.)
    Main set choice 6: 5x200 IM order on 2:00 rest. Last one IM.
    -------
    Optional 4x25 sprints from wall. Plenty of rest. Choice.
    -------
    Cool down of 600-800 yards similar to warm up.

    Anything I can change or add to improve my chances at doing well would be greatly appreciated. I've been working technique, technique, technique with everything.
    Thanks in advance!

  2. #2
    Very Active Member pwb's Avatar
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    Re: Train for 400LCM in SCY pool: Coming off a long break

    Running the risk of blatant self-promotion, check out - http://forums.usms.org/forumdisplay....trick-Brundage - and particularly the phases that are geared to the 400 IM.

    When you get to the race, your absolute mantra needs to be "LOAF THE FLY." Then you can build each of the following 100s, but you must get through the fly in one piece. The 400 IM is the absolute best event out there, but the 400 LCM IM is brutal unless you control your energy on the fly.
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    Re: Train for 400LCM in SCY pool: Coming off a long break

    OR
    take it out hard and die like a man!

    if the breaststroke leg doesnt feel like you are breathing in lit gasoline, you are not doing it right! lol

    and i would highly suggest following the former 400IM national champions advice in this event. even if you are not 6'5" like he is.
    imho, i just like to watch him swim that event...and everyone else. IM stands for ---- i am a spectator.

  4. #4
    Very Active Member m2tall2's Avatar
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    Re: Train for 400LCM in SCY pool: Coming off a long break

    I don't know why I didn't see those 400 IM workouts earlier. They look good! Thanks!
    And yes, as a 6' woman my swimming tends to be pretty to watch even when it's not very fast, or so I've been told. I'm hoping to get my sister to take some video this summer...it'll be the first time ever I'll get to see myself swim.
    I was thinking about that pacing this morning, though. I can get behind loaf the fly, especially since it's my weakest stroke. But if I'm not dying for air by the second 50 breast I'll feel like I've left something out there.

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    Re: Train for 400LCM in SCY pool: Coming off a long break

    This might sound like a ridiculous question...but how do you loaf the fly in a 400 IM? I find that swimming fly takes an extreme amount of effort and that I can only do a 50 before the elephant playing a piano lands on my back. In other strokes, and in practice, I'm more of a distance swimmer. But in butterfly, I can go just one speed for only a short distance. For example, I've heard people suggest to glide more in between strokes. But when I do that, it feels like I am losing momentum and then have to work harder.

    On a related note, in the 400 IM, is it advisable to is conserve your legs on fly and back? Any practical tips for swimming the 400 IM would be most appreciated!

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    Farewell Lily smontanaro's Avatar
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    Re: Train for 400LCM in SCY pool: Coming off a long break

    Quote Originally Posted by shera View Post
    This might sound like a ridiculous question...but how do you loaf the fly in a 400 IM?
    I don't know, but I have seen some people swim absolutely effortless fly at below race pace. Looks like they could swim forever.

    I knew a distance specialist in college, Rex Favero (swam 1650 etc at UCLA back in the 70s). I recall him saying they sometimes swam 1500 fly in practice, though I don't know if this was in Bruin-land or before that.

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    Very Active Member Swimosaur's Avatar
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    Re: Train for 400LCM in SCY pool: Coming off a long break

    Quote Originally Posted by shera View Post
    This might sound like a ridiculous question...but how do you loaf the fly in a 400 IM? I find that swimming fly takes an extreme amount of effort and that I can only do a 50 before the elephant playing a piano lands on my back ...
    Watch the loser in lane 4 ...

    BORKED

    Stroke count for this 200 SCY fly was 3/5/6/6/6/7/7/7 = 47 strokes.




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    Very Active Member m2tall2's Avatar
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    Re: Train for 400LCM in SCY pool: Coming off a long break

    Quote Originally Posted by shera View Post
    This might sound like a ridiculous question...but how do you loaf the fly in a 400 IM?
    Three months ago I would have been laughing at the idea of loafing the fly and saying the same thing. I figured there had to be something wrong with my fly since in college it was by time slower than all my other strokes. I found some fly drills on YouTube from The Race Club and it helped me immensely. In 30 minutes of drill, I dropped 15 seconds off a 25. All these years my breath timing was wrong and no coach bothered to correct it...probably since I was a breaststroker. I tried doing the skate drill - something my coaches had never done before - and it was instant change. I could feel exactly how wrong my timing was. Now it seems I have two speeds: a cruise speed with a nice relaxed recovery that I can keep up for a while and a "sprint" speed that tires me a bit more than but still in a similar way to other strokes. No more piano. I'm really glad I fixed my fly. Obviously, YMMV, but if it's a project you want to tackle, you might be surprised at the results.

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    Re: Train for 400LCM in SCY pool: Coming off a long break

    Thanks, everyone. That video is awesome...he was moving pretty fast for such a long glide and relaxed stroke! I'm going to experiment with a slower tempo and that skate drill. If it means no more piano, then I'll try it! (-:

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    Very Active Member pwb's Avatar
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    Re: Train for 400LCM in SCY pool: Coming off a long break

    Quote Originally Posted by shera View Post
    This might sound like a ridiculous question...but how do you loaf the fly in a 400 IM?
    I probably should have been a bit more expansive:
    • Try to feel long and as easy as possible = at least for me, I find that the adrenaline of the racing environment always has me going faster than I perceive, but the extra energy to push my body to perceive that I'm going fast means that I go out too fast and then pay for it later on. Call this the 400 IM Paradox: on the fly, you should feel like you're going slower than you want ... and you'll probably still go faster than you need
    • Probably like that guy in the video, I focus on stroke count and as long a glide as possible
    • Remember that the over-water portion of your fly is called recovery for a reason -- relax your arms
    • Unless you are both excellent at underwater dolphin kicks and trained for them, minimize them on your 400 IM for fly


    Quote Originally Posted by shera View Post
    On a related note, in the 400 IM, is it advisable to is conserve your legs on fly and back? Any practical tips for swimming the 400 IM would be most appreciated!
    • Along with being as relaxed as possible on your fly, I find the best way to think about it is to build each 100 - use the first 25 or so to get into the stroke and then gradually build to about 90% effort by the last 25.
    • If you have a dominant stroke, try to emphasize that.
    • In training, try to give as close to possible equal training time to each stroke - most Masters teams (and many swimmers) swim way too much freestyle in workout.
    • Remember that this is the event that gives guys like Phelps and Lochte the shivers - even those guys think it is tough. Rather than look at that as a negative, revel in the pain (*it WILL come*) and the fact that you are training for and racing the Greatest Race of All Time, the "Decathlon of the Pool," the one and only event that truly demarcates you as an all-around swimmer!
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    Very Active Member gdanner's Avatar
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    Re: Train for 400LCM in SCY pool: Coming off a long break

    Quote Originally Posted by shera View Post
    This might sound like a ridiculous question...but how do you loaf the fly in a 400 IM? I find that swimming fly takes an extreme amount of effort and that I can only do a 50 before the elephant playing a piano lands on my back. In other strokes, and in practice, I'm more of a distance swimmer. But in butterfly, I can go just one speed for only a short distance. For example, I've heard people suggest to glide more in between strokes. But when I do that, it feels like I am losing momentum and then have to work harder.

    On a related note, in the 400 IM, is it advisable to is conserve your legs on fly and back? Any practical tips for swimming the 400 IM would be most appreciated!
    I prefer the term "cruise" to describe fly in the 400 IM. As you pointed out, trying to go slower in the fly is often counter-productive. Pwb's detailed explanations are better than just taking the word "loaf" at face value.

    If you're doing fly properly, you should be able to maintain an adequate kick with minimal effort. If you press your chest with each stroke and bend at the hips, the kick comes naturally. For me, the kick on back is more draining, so I tend to conserve on that and use it for the breast.
    Last edited by gdanner; June 5th, 2015 at 02:55 PM.
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    Very Active Member knelson's Avatar
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    Re: Train for 400LCM in SCY pool: Coming off a long break

    I don't think conserving the legs on fly is a good strategy for a 400 IM long course. If your legs drop it will affect your body position and that's going to fatigue you more than anything else will. Instead of "conserving the legs" I'd think about lengthening the stroke and getting more glide out of each stroke cycle.

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