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Thread: Sprint training methods used by Rich Abrahams

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    Wannabe Middle D. Swimmer qbrain's Avatar
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    Sprint training methods used by Rich Abrahams

    Now seems like a better time than most to start thinking about training.

    For those of you who have read your recent SWIMMER, there was an article on Rich Abrahams that went into a little detail about his training in preparation for 2010 SCY Nationals and how his goal over a year out was to do 15,000 yards of race effort before Nationals.

    From talking to Rich and talking with other people who have talked to Rich about his training, I have put together an overview of his plan. Rich is focused on the 50s and 100s for this plan and said if he was a mid distance guy he would substitute in another hard aerobic day in place of 1 of his speed days. His inspiration for this plan was an article by Popov's coach and some posts on sprint training by ehoch. I think I have read both of these and if I can track them down I will post them.

    High Level (weekly):
    - 2 gym workouts focusing core (one hard, one moderate)
    - 2 speed work pool workout
    - 1 lactate pool workout
    - 1 ez aerobic pool workout
    - 1 hard aerobic pool workout
    - 1 day of complete rest
    - 3 stretching sessions

    SCY Nationals 2010 Goal: 15,000 yard Race Effort
    - Race Effort includes
    -- Actual Races
    -- Time Trials in Practice
    -- 10 breakouts on 2:00 would count as 150yards of Race Effort
    -- NOT 32x25 on :45 he considers this speed work
    - very little counts towards Race Effort that isn't climbing up on the blocks for a real race
    - his goal works out to about 1000 yards race effort / month

    Gym workouts
    - Rich doesn't not do typical lifts (bench press, squats, etc)
    - he does use weights for his workouts
    - he expects to be sore the next day after the hard gym workout
    - he has been supplementing his swimming with gym workouts for a long time (20+ years or since his 20s, I don't remember exactly)
    - examples exercises
    -- laying on the ground face up, holding a medicine ball with straight arms directly above the shoulders and legs off the ground, he will pop his shoulders off the ground, hold and relax using just his core.
    -- with a heavy kettleball or dumbbell in one hand, walk about 200M with perfect posture. Switch hands and walk back.
    -- there is a youtube video of him playing something like handball with a medicine able on a squash/racketball court.

    30 minute EZ Swim - I am going to quote what he emailed me. It is too detailed to and complicated to easily summarize.

    Quote Originally Posted by Rich Abrahams
    Re my easy swims: this was a result of some testing done in a flume last Dec. conducted by the director of the Exercise and Human Performance Laboratory at the University of Colorado Hospital. I’ve been known to espouse the dictum re masters swimming too fast when they swim slow and too slow when they swim fast….Well, let me tell you that perceived effort can be misleading. During my warm-up swim for the test (4 minutes easy) my HR was 138 and my blood lactate was 2.95. I thought I was going easy, but I wasn’t. I should have been around 125 for HR and under 2.0 for lactate. Also, the tests showed that my lactate clearance times were not fast enough to enable effective intense training sessions. I had to improve my lower level capacity to build to lactate transporter enzymes. This in itself would not improve my racing, but it would enable my training at higher intensities, which would translate to better anaerobic endurance. My “prescription” was to swim at a Z2 level (for me HR of 120-128) 1 or 2 times a week. To quote my report “it is important to be patient at that intensity until lactate oxidation improves.”
    It is worth mentioning that Rich is not one of the forumites who checks the forums every few minutes, or even daily, so if there is a question asked that seems directed toward Rich that someone else can answer, please answer it.

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    Re: Sprint training methods used by Rich Abrahams

    Rich's done a great job with his training
    He's fast because of who his is and how he trains.

    His 22.1 & 49.4 scy records in M 65 - 69 are likely to be on the books for quite a while, maybe Rowdy might have a shot at breaking them 14 years from now.

    here's
    Tip 161 [ame="http://www.usms.org/forums/showpost.php?p=75032&postcount=610"]Everybody wants to be Rich[/ame]


    [ame="http://www.usms.org/forums/showthread.php?t=16797"]Rich Abrahams Atlanta 2010[/ame]

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    Re: Sprint training methods used by Rich Abrahams

    Sounds like a good regimen.

    Wish I had someone to run a stopwatch for me during sprint sets. All i have is the paceclock.

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    Very Active Member orca1946's Avatar
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    Re: Sprint training methods used by Rich Abrahams

    All that & God given talent makes him a force to try to be beaten.
    I know because he is in my age group.

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    Very Active Member Swimosaur's Avatar
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    Re: Sprint training methods used by Rich Abrahams

    Quote Originally Posted by fmracing View Post
    Wish I had someone to run a stopwatch for me during sprint sets. All i have is the paceclock.
    Earlier this year I spent $40 on a SportCount Chrono 100, a little stopwatch you wear on your index finger like a ring. It's great for timing sprints and interval sets. It records times to 1/100th, and remembers up to 100 intervals.

    I've been using it mostly to time all-out 25s underwater SDK and 25s backstroke, to improve my 50 back. So far, so good -- my time dropped 0.74 in about 4 months. I really like my little watch.

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    Re: Sprint training methods used by Rich Abrahams

    Quote Originally Posted by Swimosaur View Post
    Earlier this year I spent $40 on a SportCount Chrono 100, a little stopwatch you wear on your index finger like a ring. It's great for timing sprints and interval sets. It records times to 1/100th, and remembers up to 100 intervals.

    I've been using it mostly to time all-out 25s underwater SDK and 25s backstroke, to improve my 50 back. So far, so good -- my time dropped 0.74 in about 4 months. I really like my little watch.
    Swimosaur, I have come across that gadget a 100 times and never noticed that they had any version other than the lap counter. They need to think about shooting some new pictures of the stopwatch and the chrono.

    How big is it? Would you use it on a AFAP 100 from a push? From the blocks?

    I like the idea of the poolmate better, but the sportcount might be better in practice.

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    Very Active Member Swimosaur's Avatar
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    Re: Sprint training methods used by Rich Abrahams

    Quote Originally Posted by qbrain View Post
    Swimosaur, I have come across that gadget a 100 times and never noticed that they had any version other than the lap counter. They need to think about shooting some new pictures of the stopwatch and the chrono.

    How big is it? Would you use it on a AFAP 100 from a push? From the blocks?

    I like the idea of the poolmate better, but the sportcount might be better in practice.
    qbrain, SportCount sells several models. Some are lap counters only. Some are interval timers which don't remember individual laps but do report the fast, slow, and average time per lap. Of course I don't think any of these would be useful, which is why I gave the specific model. The "Chrono 100" remembers up to 100 individual intervals, each timed to 1/100th of a second.

    How big is it? The attached photos show (1) The face of the timer, showing a time of 1:23.39 For scale, there's a quarter on the left side of the photo, unfortunately rather washed out in flash glare. (2) The watch as I wear it in practice, distally on my right index finger, rotated so my thumb can easily find the button. The rubber strap affixes the watch very well, so even when I'm swimming backstroke AFAP, it doesn't fly off my finger.

    Would you use it on a AFAP 100 from a push? Absolutely I would. In fact, that's the sort of thing I use it for all the time -- 25s, 50s, and 100s, any stroke, kicking, shooters, you name it. Since my right thumb is always free on a push, I have a consistent method for starting the clock.

    From the blocks? I've never used it from the blocks, but I can't see that there would be too much of a problem. You just have to come up with some sort of consistent method for starting the clock, given that your right hand is a little busy grabbing the block.

    On Poolmate ... I had a Poolmate watch a year ago for a short time. Poolmate may work very well for many or even most swimmers, but it did not work well for me. My biggest problems were first, the seconds display and lap count display are very small, and were nearly impossible to see with my old eyes; second, the watch does not display or record tenths or hundredths; third, two-handed operation is for me more awkward than one-handed (points 2 and 3 limit watch's usefulness for timing sprints); and fourth, the algorithm for counting lengths required that you take seven strokes with the watch-bearing arm before it counted a length. I often take fewer than seven strokes per length in a 25 SCY pool, so for me it miscounted a lot.

    I agree that the Poolmate is a neat idea, particularly if you want something to count laps for you while you're swimming a continuous 1650 or 3000 or something. I don't do that very often, so when I do, I'm willing to rely on my own possibly faulty counting. For timing sprints, I definitely prefer the SportCount.
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    Re: Sprint training methods used by Rich Abrahams

    Thank you Swimosaur. I didn't know the poolmate didn't keep track of sub second times, that kinda kills it. The Chrono 100 on the other hand looks like a very useful.

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    Re: Sprint training methods used by Rich Abrahams

    A thread that provided Rich with ideas for his sprint training plan. There are several gems in the thread, and it is short so it is worth reading through.

    [ame="http://forums.usms.org/showthread.php?t=12744"]Speed Zone - U.S. Masters Swimming Discussion Forums[/ame]

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