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Thread: advice needed for unreasonable 200 m time

  1. #1
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    May 2018

    advice needed for unreasonable 200 m time

    I want to improve my 1500 m swim time, in the last few months I swam mostly at aerobic speed. I've recorded 32'41" for 1500 m on July 22 and 3'54" for 200 m on July 20.

    On Sep 19, I have taken a standard CSS test - 400 m followed by 200 m, and got 8'37" and 4'11" - which was about the same as all my previous tests in the past 2 years, without any improvement. However, after I plug in my numbers into the prediction website:

    This set of numbers is unreasonable for my 1500 m speed in July, therefore I redid the test on the next day (Sep 20), with increased effort level, and got 8'1" and 3'54" (my previous record for 400 m was 8'22" - i.e. 21" faster on that day). These set of numbers were reasonable for my 1500 m speed now, but very unreasonable for my 100 m speed - I can easily swim under 1'50" / 100 m one-off with complete recovery between, although not continuously. so my 200 m time was unreasonable.

    On the next day, I tried 200 m again with further increased effort, and got 3'48". Just before the end of session, I tried one more 100 m at race speed - and got 1'37", further confirming that my 200 m time was unreasonable - I should be somewhere around 3'22" given appropriate training,

    Therefore I attempted the following in order to find out how can I complete 200 m in the shortest possible time, with increased effort every day:
    • swim the first 100 m like racing 100 m, and force myself through the remaining even though I cannot sustain the effort
    • swim the first 50 m like the first 50 m in 100 m and try to keep that in the 2nd length, but ultimately falls off in the 3rd and 4th length
    • swim at slightly slower pace than 100 m race, and attempt to keep that for all 4 lengths

    I press my stopwatch at 100 m and at 200 m finish, and got the following times on two different days using various strategies:

    • 1'42" split / 3'41" finish
    • 1'46" split / 3'42" finish

    I also counted my stroke every length. My minimum SPL / 50 m at warm up is 42 at 1'3" / 50 m, however, in my 200 m tests with all-out effort, under most circumstances, starts at 52 SPL and ends at 58 SPL - a lot more than warm up pace - sometimes even going over 60 when I can't sustain my effort after going fast at the beginning 100 m.

    I also have another problem - the above times can only be done once per day. After doing such all-out effort 200 m, I feel the pool is SO DAMN HOT and have to get out of water immediately, even after 10 minutes of resting on the pool deck with wind blowing I can still feel fatigue in my arms, shortness in breath and elevated heart rate (more than 100 bpm). No amount of rest and recovery can bring me back to the beginning state in the same day. If I force myself and attempt to do such 200 m again, my time will be at least 3 seconds slower, even with more than 10 minutes of rest and recovery swims. At the end of the session, no matter how slow, I can't get the opening form like that in warm up while in cool down (e.g. I got 42 SPL at warm up but impossible to get below 50 at the end of the session no matter how slow). Is it because of the pool temperature being too hot?

    I also tried to have some intervals - I tried to swim 55" / 50 m on 1'15" but couldn't do so, falling to 1' at the 5th interval, and the symptoms of fatigue, prolonged elevated heart rate and shortness of breath set in - despite making 3'41" on 200 m. What's the reason about that?

  2. #2
    Very Active Member flystorms's Avatar
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    Nov 2012
    Memphis, TN
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    Re: advice needed for unreasonable 200 m time

    Hi there. There's a ton to work with here without seeing your stroke or understanding what your workout sets look like, but will try to give you a few suggestions. If you're working with a coach, talk to him/her about this. If not, I'd suggest you find a team or coach somewhere so they can help you. It sounds like you may have some opportunities to tweak your breathing so you're not so breathless. But first I want to understand what you mean by "unreasonable", which you say regularly up in the top of this post. Is it that you can't sustain the effort? Or what are you not happy about?

    One suggestion I have for you is mainly for the 200, but the same philosophy can be used in any of your distances. It sounds like you're trying to do a best effort all the way through. Change up the mentality a bit. Do a 200 where you start off steady, then save your last 50 for your fastest. Really push that last 50. Keep working on these over a few weeks until you get a consistent time (maybe do 5 in a row with about a minute rest in between.) Once you get that down, now try doing the last 100 faster than the first 100. Again, do 5 in a row until you get a consistent time between those. You may end up being a tad slower in the beginning because you're working up your endurance more, but stick with it. In a week or two, you'll start to see your times and endurance improve.

    Do similar training for longer distances and you should see some improvements over time. But be patient. This sport is one where you work on a small piece at a time. Trying to change too many things at once will leave you frustrated. Focus on one thing to tweak per month such as breathing or your turns.
    "If your ship doesn't come in, swim out to meet it." - Jonathan Winters, actor and comedian

  3. #3
    Very Active Member orca1946's Avatar
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    Jan 2006
    schaumburg, il - U S A

    Re: advice needed for unreasonable 200 m time

    Sometimes we hit a plateau in times. All that in "therory" math will only frustrate you in my opinion.
    Meet times are the only way to judge you efforts in practice, so keep working on speed in the different ways listed.

  4. #4
    Very Active Member arthur's Avatar
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    Nov 2009

    Re: advice needed for unreasonable 200 m time

    You say you do most of your training at aerobic speed. This is not the best way to improve your aerobic capacity. You should be doing sets like 10-15x100m or 6-8x200m on an interval that will give you ~20 seconds rest. Over time try to swim the set on a faster interval. As flystorms said, talk to a coach and get them to look at your stroke.

  5. #5
    Very Active Member jim thornton's Avatar
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    Jan 2002
    A, A
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    Re: advice needed for unreasonable 200 m time

    I did an article in Swimmer on how to pace the 200 free, this based on advice from USRPT guru, Brent Rushall.

    Go to the Swimmer archives and look up the January-February, 2014 edition and check out "Patient Pacing" on p. 13. Pretty useful advice for how to allot your various stores of "fuel" optimally so A) you won't run out of gas prematurely, and B) you won't finish with anything left in the tank.

    I'm not sure if the software will let you get to the article by clicking on the link below or if you will have to log in to your My USMS first. But here it is just in case it works!

    Last edited by jim thornton; October 5th, 2018 at 01:48 PM. Reason: adding a link

  6. #6
    Active Member
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    May 2018

    Re: advice needed for unreasonable 200 m time

    Some update:

    The weather becomes cool now and my most recent 200 m time is 3'39" - however this improvement does not translate into my 1500 m time.

    I did a T/T today and the result is 32'27" - a mere 14 seconds faster than my time in July (which for me is nothing) where I was targeting 31 minutes, where I have squeezed out 15 seconds from my 200 m time since then.

    I watched the clock at certain points in my T/T and found out the following:

    For the first few hundred metres, my pace was about 2'3" / 100 m, the same as tested by a 400 / 200 m CSS test earlier, and my SPL (long pool) was about 53.
    However, I couldn't keep the form till the end, and in the final 200 m, my pace was about 2'15" / 100 m, with SPL hiked to somewhere around 64 (which is totally unacceptable for me). Why couldn't I keep the form till the end?
    Moreover, after completing the T/T, I got cramp at my butt and the back of my upper leg, and also some feeling under my armpit.

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