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Thread: Working on 500 Free Time

  1. #21
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    Re: Working on 500 Free Time

    (I just want to add that I am a Canadian whose favourite event is 400m free, so you Americans with your 500 yards (457.2m!!) talk is always good for me. Thanks. Great thread.)
    Current PRs: 25m-:16.8/50m-:37.0/100m-1:21.0/200m-2:56.8/400m-6:15/800m-12:50/1600m-26:37.

    My main swimming goal: Sub6min 400m by the end of 2019.

  2. #22
    Very Active Member Calvin S's Avatar
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    Re: Working on 500 Free Time

    Quote Originally Posted by Skuj View Post
    (I just want to add that I am a Canadian whose favourite event is 400m free, so you Americans with your 500 yards (457.2m!!) talk is always good for me. Thanks. Great thread.)

    I am swimming the 400 this afternoon!

  3. #23
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    Re: Working on 500 Free Time

    I am in about the same situation as you are. If you look for '500 free improvement needed' I got some very good suggestions I've been using.

    couple comments from what I've learned so far:
    3 UDKs max for me. When I'm warming up swimming 500 - 1650, I'll do 3-5, but other than that, 3 max.
    I just started light lifting, very high reps, perfect form 5x per week. I used to lift a lot and very intense. I think I'd get hurt now doing that.
    Mostly swim on my own, try for 1 masters / week on Saturday but has been hard to get there in the summer.
    Usually 5-6 times per week, 4000 yards.
    Goal is <6:00 500, but I'll be happy when I go <6:30. Should be about there now.
    I'm really working on form now, don't know how much you do. I thought I had good early vertical forearm and I didn't. posted some video and got good comments.
    I used to do 10x100s on 1:50-2:00 and 1:15 or less for time, but I'd die at 250 in the 500.
    I changed to do 10x100s at 1:50, then 1:45, and now 1:40 at below race pace, usually 16-17 for all 10.
    Also do 10x50s on 50 at below race pace. I think these are even better.
    My 50s and 100s at a meet would be slower, but I believe my 500 would be close to 6:30 now. I want to go 1:15/20/20/20/15.

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    Re: Working on 500 Free Time

    Swam at the Y a couple days ago. Calvin, I used your suggestion of a 1:1 work-to-rest ratio, but I messed up on the amount of rest. I swam 6x500 on 1:40 but I only rested 1 minute between 100s. I was way ahead of the timeróby about 10 secondsóon each length of the first two 100s! Will try it again tomorrow with 1:40 rest between 100s.

  5. #25
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    Re: Working on 500 Free Time

    Quote Originally Posted by Calvin S View Post
    ...
    I would advocate taking your goal time for this year, divide it out into increments of 25/50/75/100 all the way up to 200 so you know what times you need to hold on each of those. Then start incorporating some fast work into your workouts where you try to hold that pace. Ideally you want to be able to hold repeats of those times at those distances with about a 1:1 work to rest ratio (so for 100s, if I wanted to hold :59 trying to go under 5:00, I would go 6, 8, 10, or maybe even 12x100 at 2:00...that's :59 seconds of work, followed by about 1:00 rest)....
    Calvin,
    I'm not criticizing the need for pace work, but I have a question about the 1:1 work:rest ratio, especially for the shorter repeat distances.
    Do you really think that if someone can hold P500 for repeats on a 1:1 rest ratio they have a shot at the corresponding add-up time in a meet, rested? That seems impossibly optimistic to me.

    Take 50s, for example. I am pretty sure I could do a whole lot of 50 fr holding :35 on a 1:10 send-off. For example: today I did 11x50/1:00 holding :34s. (That was a very good performance for me right now.) It seems plausible that I could do a lot more than that on 1:10 holding :35s, but it is incomprehensible to me that I could go 5:50 in the 500. Even if we call those :35s actually :36-flat to accommodate the turn, that's still a 6:00 add-up. My best 500 as a masters is 6:09. I did that 10 years ago when I was in much better shape. I'm thinking 6:30 is pretty realistic now, (holding 1:18s) maybe 6:20 (holding 1:16s) on a very good day. Now before you suggest that my problem is endurance, I should report that my drop in pace with increasing distance tends to be much less dramatic than average. My 100 time is almost always faster than what one would project based on my 50. My 200 time is almost always faster than what one would project based on my 100. Am I just not sucking it up and going as fast as I am capable in the 500? I suppose maybe.

    I'm thinking that the pace I could hold for 10x50 on :15s rest might be a reasonable predictor of my 500 meet time. (Maybe I should try it, but it sounds very painful!) I know that 4x50 on :10s rest is usually as reasonable predictor of my 200 time, (and that hurts like crazy! especially if I go multiple rounds.)

    I agree that doing a lot of work at pace is extremely good training, (if you can't go :35 for a 50 you aren't going 5:50 in the 500) but I don't see that what you can do on a 1:1 work:rest ratio is any kind of gauge as to whether you are ready to hold that ace in a race. Your thoughts on all this?

  6. #26
    Very Active Member Calvin S's Avatar
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    Re: Working on 500 Free Time

    I guess my goal when coaching was to make the swimmers feel what a :30 or a :59 felt like. And to know what one felt like when you are sucking wind at the end of 10x100 on 2:00. You canít tell me you want to break 5:00 in the 500 but not tell me you know what it feels like to string together 5 100s that are 59.99 or faster (not you personally but just a general ďyouĒ). More anecdotally, from this year I think the best I averaged was 58.9-59.1 or somewhere in that range. Went 4:58 in the 500 at mid season when I rested, and I was :55 followed by 4 1:00s. Certainly helps me know what my speed equates to in time. And now that I think about it, my better training came in the second half of the SCY season. I think the two times I remember doing 10x100 my average was actually closer to :59+ (which brings it more in line with how I performed when I rested). I missed my taper in the spring so my 500 there didnít correspond to the kind of training I had been doing.

    I also realize different strokes for different folks. Not saying mines the only way (I know you arenít accusing me of that either!). But all this talk about race pace training, I kind of look at a set like that as another way of race pace training. I want to feel what a 59 feels like. So I. Can find that groove in my race. My greatest protege was 4:54 in her best 500. The other girls I trained, while most didnít break 5:00, it doesnít mean what I was having them do wasnít working. Most of them couldnít hold 59/1:00 for 10 100s (some not even close) and for the most part what they held on average ended up coming close to what they held and went in their best 500s. And yes, in most of those cases, they were NOT sucking it up and going as fast as they could in their 500s. Afraid of pain.

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    Re: Working on 500 Free Time

    Quote Originally Posted by Calvin S View Post
    I guess my goal when coaching was to make the swimmers feel what a :30 or a :59 felt like. And to know what one felt like when you are sucking wind at the end of 10x100 on 2:00. You canít tell me you want to break 5:00 in the 500 but not tell me you know what it feels like to string together 5 100s that are 59.99 or faster...
    Can't argue that.

    Quote Originally Posted by Calvin S View Post
    More anecdotally, from this year I think the best I averaged was 58.9-59.1 or somewhere in that range. Went 4:58 in the 500 at mid season when I rested, and I was :55 followed by 4 1:00s. Certainly helps me know what my speed equates to in time. And now that I think about it, my better training came in the second half of the SCY season. I think the two times I remember doing 10x100 my average was actually closer to :59+ (which brings it more in line with how I performed when I rested)....

    ...The other girls I trained,... for the most part what they held on average ended up coming close to what they held and went in their best 500s.
    Interesting, that's pretty consistent data. Now I'm wondering if a lot of the difference I perceive is the difference between 50s and 100s. 10x100@P500 on a 1:1 work:rest ratio is likely a lot more difficult than 20x50@P500 on a 1:1 work:rest ratio.

    Quote Originally Posted by Calvin S View Post
    .... Afraid of pain.
    Guilty as charged, but I've endured some pretty mind-bending 200s bk and 400s IM.

  8. #28
    Very Active Member Calvin S's Avatar
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    Re: Working on 500 Free Time

    Also more anecdotes:

    I did this set twice LCM this spring/summer. Averaged around 1:08++/1:09-. Lets call it 1:09 even. Final 400 time was 4:35.9. Pretty close on. Now, I did NOT go 4x1:09 in that race. I went out hard and faded hard. But the average is pretty consistent across the set and my tapered races :P

    EDIT: for consistency's sake, I do not do the LCM version on 2:20 (2x1:09 = 2:18). I stay with 2:00.

  9. #29
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    Re: Working on 500 Free Time

    I know what you mean about the UDKs. The other day I swam with just 1 UDK per turn. Today Iím gonna try 3. Iím not sure yet how many will work best for me.

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    Re: Working on 500 Free Time

    Quote Originally Posted by pstephen5 View Post
    I am in about the same situation as you are. If you look for '500 free improvement needed' I got some very good suggestions I've been using.

    couple comments from what I've learned so far:
    3 UDKs max for me. When I'm warming up swimming 500 - 1650, I'll do 3-5, but other than that, 3 max.
    I just started light lifting, very high reps, perfect form 5x per week. I used to lift a lot and very intense. I think I'd get hurt now doing that.
    Mostly swim on my own, try for 1 masters / week on Saturday but has been hard to get there in the summer.
    Usually 5-6 times per week, 4000 yards.
    Goal is <6:00 500, but I'll be happy when I go <6:30. Should be about there now.
    I'm really working on form now, don't know how much you do. I thought I had good early vertical forearm and I didn't. posted some video and got good comments.
    I used to do 10x100s on 1:50-2:00 and 1:15 or less for time, but I'd die at 250 in the 500.
    I changed to do 10x100s at 1:50, then 1:45, and now 1:40 at below race pace, usually 16-17 for all 10.
    Also do 10x50s on 50 at below race pace. I think these are even better.
    My 50s and 100s at a meet would be slower, but I believe my 500 would be close to 6:30 now. I want to go 1:15/20/20/20/15.
    How did you get the video of your stroke?

  11. #31
    Very Active Member knelson's Avatar
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    Re: Working on 500 Free Time

    Quote Originally Posted by Calvin S View Post
    I guess my goal when coaching was to make the swimmers feel what a :30 or a :59 felt like.
    I don't know, to me a :30 or :59 feels a whole lot different after 15 seconds rest versus 1:00 rest.

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    Re: Working on 500 Free Time

    Quote Originally Posted by pstephen5 View Post
    ...
    I used to do 10x100s on 1:50-2:00 and 1:15 or less for time, but I'd die at 250 in the 500.
    I changed to do 10x100s at 1:50, then 1:45, and now 1:40 at below race pace, usually 16-17 for all 10.
    This is consistent with my thinking. It may be necessary to start out with a generous interval just to get to the point where you can do Nx100@P500, but after that's accomplished, it seems essentially to whittle the interval down to the point where you are getting only ~:15 rest to be well-prepared for the 500.

    Quote Originally Posted by knelson View Post
    I don't know, to me a :30 or :59 feels a whole lot different after 15 seconds rest versus 1:00 rest.
    For sure.

  13. #33
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    Re: Working on 500 Free Time

    Quote Originally Posted by Karl_S View Post
    ... to be well-prepared for the 500.
    ... as well prepared as you can be for what happens somewhere around the 350 mark ...

  14. #34
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    Re: Working on 500 Free Time

    Yesterday I swam 10x100 but I couldnít hold the pace of 1:32 per 100, so I ended up doing 3x100 free on 1:32, then I had to drop the pace a little more and I did 3x100 on 1:36, then I had to drop the pace a little more and did 4x100 on 1:40. I figured out after that workout that the 200 free is going to be a much better race for me than the 500 free. I am very close to being able to swim the 200 free in 3 minutes and I know I can reach that goal. Going under 8 minutes in the 500 free, however, is going to take a lot more work. I will keep trying to reach that goal too, though. I can tell that the 500 is going to be a lot more challenging.

    Iím thinking about breaking the 500 it into 2 200s and a 100 with some rest between the three segments and then lowering the amount of rest time until Iím linking all three segments together into a 500. Suggestions?

  15. #35
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    Re: Working on 500 Free Time

    Quote Originally Posted by flystorms View Post
    On the 500, turns are your moneymakers. If you can really get your turns done well and fast, you can drop some easy time there.

    It sounds like you're on the right track with some of the concepts you're doing with the sets and your Tempo Trainer.

    One set I enjoy doing for 500 training is this:
    1x 500 at 75-80% pace
    5x100 on 1:30 (this allows about 12-15 seconds rest)
    10x50 on :45 (or :50), aiming for :35 pace
    1x 500 faster than the first

    Adjust these for your own times and as you improve, you can continue to adjust.
    When I do these, I work to keep the same pace for the 100s and 50s. It gets harder to maintain as the set goes on, but it helps build your endurance if you don't go out too quickly in the beginning. It also gives you a sense for pace as well. You'll start to feel when you are falling off of it.
    Also, don't be afraid to breathe every 2 strokes as you get further into your race. Your body needs air on these longer races - O2 depletion will suck the life out of you pretty quickly.
    Thanks for posting this set. I will try it next time I swim.

  16. #36
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    Re: Working on 500 Free Time

    Quote Originally Posted by LG Montana Swimmer View Post
    Yesterday I swam 10x100 but I couldnít hold the pace of 1:32 per 100, so I ended up doing 3x100 free on 1:32, then I had to drop the pace a little more and I did 3x100 on 1:36, then I had to drop the pace a little more and did 4x100 on 1:40.
    So, when you say this, do you mean you did a 1:32 interval? Or how much rest did you take between repeats?
    400 IMer/200 backstroker in another life, now sprinter/breaststroker... Yeah, I don't know how that happened either!

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    Re: Working on 500 Free Time

    Quote Originally Posted by LG Montana Swimmer View Post
    How did you get the video of your stroke?
    I used one of those cheap, really small, <$60 action cameras they sell at the big discount stores that come with a water proof case, as well as one of those cheap suction cup accessories. I stick the camera to the end wall. It will stick to the metal gutter where I swim. It will not stick to the tile below it where I swim.

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    Re: Working on 500 Free Time

    Quote Originally Posted by JPEnge View Post
    So, when you say this, do you mean you did a 1:32 interval? Or how much rest did you take between repeats?
    I was using a 1:1 work-to-rest ratio so I was doing 3:04 intervals, resting for 1:32 after swimming 1:32. Today I am going to try to swim a 200 free in under 3 minutes. Thatís my new goal, and I will continue to work on lowering my 500 free time, too. My goal is to get that time under 8 minutes. My plan is to get video of my stroke as soon as I can and post it here to get more suggestions on how I can get faster.

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    Re: Working on 500 Free Time

    Quote Originally Posted by LG Montana Swimmer View Post
    I was using a 1:1 work-to-rest ratio..
    A 1:1 work:rest ratio will not get someone to hit their target 500 time. Think 1 to 1/6th work to rest ratio. For example, if I wanted to be sub 5:00 on a 500 yard free, a great test and training set of whether I could hit that would be to do 5 x 100 on 1:10 and hold 1:00. If I can do that set, I can hold that in a meet.

  20. #40
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    Re: Working on 500 Free Time

    Montana,

    To more clearly apply what pwb is illustrating. You should do sets that more closely mirror the aerobic challenge you will face to break 8:00. To break 8:00, you need to average 1:36/100. The set you need to attempt is 5 x 100 on 1:45 holding 1:36. If you cannot do that, I suggest trying 5 x 100 on 2:00 - holding 1:36.

    For me, these sets were difficult. Even though I was swimming the 500 in 5:04, I could not do 5 x 100 on 1:10 holding 1:01s. So, I would do them on 1:20-1:30.

    My suggestion to you is to do 5 x 100 on whatever interval is necessary to be 1:36 or faster. Once you are able to do that, shorten the interval and try again the next day (or the day after). The key point is to swim the pace you need to swim 8 minutes.

    To be honest, without knowing anything about you (other that age), I suspect you are limited by technique. As you are working on getting the video, tell me how many strokes/length you take. Tell us how far off the wall you can streamline glide before surfacing. BTW - get rid of the dolphin kicks - just push-off as spear-like (aka streamline) as you can be. For what you are trying to accomplish, dolphin kicking is counter-productive (IMO).

    I have found 10 x 50 a much better training method. When I was around 5:00 for the 500, I would do 10 x 50 on 1:00 holding :29-30. You should try 10 x 500 on 1:10 trying to hold :48.

    Good luck!

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