I've a question for the experienced 400 IMers.
In prearing for the 200 bk (and and very recently also the 200 br) I have found that swimming sets of 4x50 with about 8-10s between the 50s is a valuable training tool. It allows me to practice at or near race pace, yet the rest is sufficiently brief that it "feels like" a full 200, as opposed to swimming shorter distances on longer intervals. I also find that the add-up time for a strong effort on (4x50 with 8-10s rest) is a pretty good indicator of what I can expect for a full 200 in a race.
I'm looking for a similar training tool for the 400 IM. For 4x100 IMO with N seconds rest between 100s, what value of N gives an add-up close to race time? Is this even a reasonable approach? It removes all of the change-stroke turns. Would it would be better to break at 50, 150 and 350? That seems cumbersome.
What I am looking for is a way to get the "feel" of race pace. I've found this to be really helpful for the stroke 200s. I need to know what the right stroke rate feels like that will produce my best time. I need to know just how much pain I can expect to experience at each stage of the race and still not get hit by a falling piano.
This brings up a question about pacing. I often see in these forums the advise to "loaf the fly" in the 400 IM. (I think ande can be credited with this suggestion. ande maybe you can comment?) I've done quite a few timed 400 IMs in practice over the past several months and it was a surprisise to me that taking out the fly quite hard produces the best overall time, so now I wonder what "loaf" means. Maybe I just answered my own question... maybe ande's "loafing" is my "quite hard"... no, correct that, ande's loafing is my "blazing freaking fastest hardest I ever dreamed of swimming"
I think I'd work out the rest time by doing the 400 IM broken by 50s first.I'd figure what I want my split for each 50 to be and then allow enough rest to achieve them.Then keep reducing the rest until you get to 15 sec between 50s and then I think you are good to go.
"To strive,to seek,to find,and not to yield" Tennyson
Yes, good advice, but advice that I don't follow very well at all. My fly is my core of the IM, and I have to take full advantage of it. Even if I back off a little, my backstroke still sucks, and my breaststroke is decent enough after the backstroke recovery. So I just 90-100% my fly in all IMs. Not the advice for most swimmers out there, but works for me.I often see in these forums the advise to "loaf the fly" in the 400 IM
BR is my down fall, you must be born with a good kick!
However, Karl - you're a backstroker right? So I would think that even after going out hard on fly, you'd manage a decent backstroke leg and maybe even recover a little in time for the breast? I have heard that the back and breast should be swum at 200 pace, but not being a back/breaststroker I have no idea what that is!
30something and way too young for my times
I'll be swimming two 400 IMs coming up here soon...one SCM next week in Mesa, and another SCY in a USA-S meet with the kids in Ellensburg, WA. I don't know which one will be harder...probably the SCY one trying to stay up with the youngings. I'll try my best to sprint the fly like I described above. The backstroke is the recovery stroke anyway...why else would anyone else float on their back?
I also swim 400 IM and I like to swim broken IM's but I will break at the 50 in the fly then at the 100's thereafter, in order to practice the transition turns. Also that way I can swim decent fly for the entire 100. That seems to work best for me, take 10 seconds on the break. And I have yet to figure out how to "loaf" butterfly, I try to swim it "relaxed". I am experimenting with breathing patterns on the fly too, trying to get more air in the first part of the race, however the fly feels smoothest when I breathe every other stroke. Any more than that and my hips start sinking and I have to kick harder, kinda defeating the purpose of getting more air if I use it all up in the fly anyway.
I like the comment from the Israeli Olympian this month in Swimmer about 'sleeping' the 1st 100 of a 200 fly. I like to think about sleeping the fly on the 400 IM as much as possible. No use getting all tuckered out on the hardest leg with three strokes still to swim.
Not a problem...your back and breast will swim circles around me anyway, so I figure I'll just go for it! Maybe I'll even turn some heads being ahead of the great PWB for a portion of the 400 IM!! I'm in some of the greatest shape I've been in for a while too, so I've got reserves to fall back on.
Fly & free are my best with breaststroke being my down fall!!
25 fly - 5s rest
50 fly - 10s rest
50 fly-back - 5s rest
50 back - 10s rest
50 back-breast - 5s rest
50 breast - 10s rest
50 breast-free - 5s rest
50 free - 10s rest
At the end, take the cumulative time and strip one minute off. (easy math!) I have found that learning to work the middle 50 of each stroke in this set helps alot in keeping my head straight in the actual 400 swim.
Let me know what you think. It's worked for me in the past.
The most important IM turn is the BK to Br, if you don't do them right, you'll give up time. So have it down.
Correct Splitting is Critical for 400 IMs
here's what's worked for me
you want to feel pretty good at the 200 so you can really work the BR & FR
Improve your breastroke technique
You need speed and conditioning to have a strong 2 & 4 IM, be in great shape,
Train for the 200, 400, 500, 800 & 1000 fr, the 200 bk & br.
Develop your easy speed fly
My 400 IM reminders for the 1st 200 are:
BREATHE often, stay relaxed, easy speed, smooth, barely kick / save your legs
Swim Faster Faster,
Last edited by ande; September 23rd, 2011 at 02:08 PM.