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Thread: 400 IM Training Help

  1. #1
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    Question 400 IM Training Help

    Hello everyone! I'm sure there is already a bunch of advice on here about this, but I figured some up-to-date, fresh information wouldn't hurt. First, a little background info.

    I've only been back in the water for a little over a month. I took a 6-month hiatus to let a bad case of shoulder bursitis heal after almost two years of open water marathon swimming. I'm migrating back to the pool and "shorter" events now, and I badly want to compete in my first 400 IM in November. That gives me a little bit over four months to train. Currently, I only am able to swim twice weekly for about 45 minutes each. Hopefully, within six weeks or so, I'll be able to up that to 3-4 times weekly. However, I am supplementing that with two dry land (running/stationary bike) sessions per week, too.

    Are there any training plans out there that you'd recommend for preparing for such a grueling event? It's no multi-mile open water marathon, but I'm still re-learning the other three strokes and I currently can only do about 50 yards of butterfly consecutively, let alone the full 100 followed by the remainder of the IM. I'm comfortable with the other three strokes, but definitely have tons of room to improve. I'm possibly looking for useful sets/drills that I can do in under an hour that will help me prepare. I used to compete in 200 IM events in high school, but that was a long time ago and I want to up the anti this time. Thanks so much for any advice and pointers!

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    Re: 400 IM Training Help

    Read through the High Volume Workouts that Patrick Brundage posts here: http://forums.usms.org/forumdisplay....trick-Brundage

    Much of that training is to prepare someone for a 400IM. Just adapt the workouts to your current fitness and skill level.

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    Re: 400 IM Training Help

    Quote Originally Posted by hawkssb04 View Post
    A multi-mile open water marathon is no 400 IM
    Fixed it for you!

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    Very Active Member mcnair's Avatar
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    Re: 400 IM Training Help

    In addition to Patrick's High-Volume thread, the Stroke and IM workout thread has some good drills and interesting sets. With only 2x/week at about 45 minutes you might just try mixing in 100 IMs and then when you feel comfortable with that 200 IMs in your normal workouts, where you might just do 100s or 200s free-style. You might also swim 400 IMs in practice with 1-arm fly for a couple of lengths, maybe kick w/ fins, until you can do the full 100.

    Another strategy... and I think some of the sets in both of the workout threads mentioned do this from time to time... build your 100 fly (or 400 IM), a segment at a time: 4 x 25 fly, decreasing the rests until you can do it as 2 x 50 fly, for example. Or maybe 10 x 25 fly on :30-:45 at your 100 pace.

    I just learned fly at the end of December and entered/successfully completed my first 400 IM (SCY) at the beginning of March... not saying it was pretty, or fast, but you will have plenty of time to increase your fly endurance before November, especially if you've done fly in a previous swimming career. The mechanics will be there... I had to reinvent myself to find the mechanics. My personal strategy was just to survive the fly--maximize under waters, glide, relax, breathe every stroke and finish with enough energy to follow with strong back, legal breast, and strong free legs. You'll be kicking my butt before you know it!

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    Paint test area ahead Michael Heather's Avatar
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    Re: 400 IM Training Help

    Detect your weakest stroke and give it 30 % of each workout. Do many sets of 10x25 stroke (any order to keep it from getting boring), doing at least one 400 IM once a week for tracking. Shorter IMs are alright but if you are concentrating on the 400 work on stroke, transitions and endurance.

    A simple race strategy is to descend each 100.

    Best of luck. It is a fun and rewarding race when swum well.
    The opinions expressed in the above post are mine, not those of U.S. Masters Swimming. But maybe they should be.

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    Re: 400 IM Training Help

    I don't do IM (can't do fly), but a recent IM/multi-stroke set at practice caught my attention. It is 50 fly, 100 br, 150 bk, 200 fr, with 10s rest between each segment. Our coach had us do 2x of that (about 1min rest between repeats), so the second 50 fly (which I always do single arm) would be challenging. As you improve, you could even out distances of the individual strokes more.

    I rather liked it, as the biggest chunks were in the two strokes I favor. :-)

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    Very Active Member knelson's Avatar
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    Re: 400 IM Training Help

    Quote Originally Posted by hawkssb04 View Post
    I'm still re-learning the other three strokes and I currently can only do about 50 yards of butterfly consecutively, let alone the full 100 followed by the remainder of the IM.
    Based on this I think the key for you is to work on your butterfly endurance. You need to be able to take out the fly fast, but not kill yourself in the process. Start out by doing 25s fly with a decent amount of rest. When you are ready, move up to 50s, etc. You can even do the same thing for IM sets. You don't need to do straight IMs. Do 100 IMs, for example, where you are taking 5 or 10 seconds between each stroke.

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    Very Active Member Swimosaur's Avatar
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    Re: 400 IM Training Help

    Quote Originally Posted by knelson View Post
    Based on this I think the key for you is to work on your butterfly endurance ...
    Agreed. When I started working on 400 IM several years ago (and I'm still working on it), the biggest puzzle was how to swim 100 fly, and still have enough left in the tank to finish the race. In service of that end, I started working on a long stroke length, low stroke count, low turnover rate style of butterfly we now call "DPS fly", though others call it "butterglide" or "gliderfly". Here is a post that sorta introduces the style. It tends to be slower than regular fly, but not that much slower, and it saves a lot of energy. That Guy (yes, that one) has had a lot of success with it, especially in events like the LCM 800 IM and 1650 fly.

    Quote Originally Posted by knelson View Post
    ... Do 100 IMs, for example, where you are taking 5 or 10 seconds between each stroke.
    My latest favorite 400 IM training set is 100 fly, 100 back, 100 breast, 100 free, on intervals which give roughly 10 sec rest between 100s. The add-ups are pretty close to race times.

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    aka Elaine-iaK & Aqua Dog ElaineK's Avatar
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    Re: 400 IM Training Help

    Quote Originally Posted by Swimosaur View Post
    My latest favorite 400 IM training set is 100 fly, 100 back, 100 breast, 100 free, on intervals which give roughly 10 sec rest between 100s. The add-ups are pretty close to race times.

    Thanks, Swimosaur; I will give that one a try, since I will be racing the 400 IM at Nationals. I also signed up for the 200 fly and 1500m, in addition to my three breaststroke races.
    (As you can see, I'm not really sure how I feel about it!)
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    Re: 400 IM Training Help

    Yes - 25 sets that build up are good. You also might try one arm fly every 3-4 strokes to make it a longer distance.

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