This week I bring you lots of repeats with very little rest!
I'm a huge fan of incorporating short reps into longer swim sets. There's a place in a training program for long swims - 800s, 1000s and such - but the bulk of a swimmer's sessions should be based on 50s, 75s, 100s, 200s and everything in-between. The use of shorter intervals allows swimmers, specifically triathletes who don't come from high level swim backgrounds, to be much more productive with their time in the water. Shorter interval lengths allow athletes to add speed to the session and maintain a higher degree of focus throughout. Each rep becomes more purposeful in this way. They're also incredibly versatile. Varying rest intervals allows an athlete (and their coach) to accomplish an incredible amount 50 to 200 yards at a time.
This week's main set involves only 100s and 50s. While it's relatively straight forward, this set allows swimmers to work at a slightly elevated speed for a long time and build endurance. You get a lot for the yardage involved. At only 3500 yards the value per yard of this session is hard to beat. Take a look and let me know what you think.
- 2x200 - choice
- 100 easy backstroke
- 6x25 strong/hard
- 100 cruise
- 2x200 alternating 25 drill / 25 swim
- 100 cruise
- 5x100 steady on cruise pace/100 + 10"
- 4x(5x50) w/ rounds 1/3 on cruise+5" and 2/4 on cruise pace sendoffs.
- 5x100 steady/strong on cruise pace/100 +10"
- 5x50 easy choice
* How to set your sendoffs: Setting appropriate sendoffs is crucial to getting the most out of this swim. For the 100s, simply take your cruise 100 pace and add 10 seconds to get your sendoff time. Your cruise pace is the pace you can swim pretty easily all day. For me, it's ~1:17. I round that off to 1:20 and add 10 seconds to get a sendoff of 1:30 for the 100s. As for the 50s, the interval will rotate. The 20x50 set is broken into 4 groupings of 50s that will be done without any break between. The reason for the breakdown is simply to distinguish the varying sendoffs. The first and third groups of 5x50 will be done at a cruise pace +5". To find this, take your base pace/100 from the 100s, divide it in half and add 5 seconds. More simply, take the sendoff you used for the 100s and divide it by 2. For example, with my cruise pace of 1:20 I would do the first and third groupings on a 45 second sendoff. The sendoff for the remaining 50s is simply the cruise pace/100 divided in half. For me this works out to 40 second sendoffs. If you need help working out the correct sendoffs simply leave me a comment and I'll give you some guidance.
How to do the set well: I like to swim this set where I swim the second set of 100s slightly faster than the first. However, the pace should still be controlled. This is not sprint work so remain in the right zone throughout. Generally speaking you should be getting ~15 seconds of rest on these. In addition to the pacing for the 100s, I like to keep all twenty 50s at the same time regardless of sendoff. Aim for ~5 seconds of rest on the shorter sendoffs and ~10 seconds on the longer sendoffs. When I most recently did this set - keeping in mind a cruise pace of roughly 1:20 - I swam 1:15 for all of the first 100s, 34-35 seconds for all of the 50s and 1:12-1:13 for the final grouping of 100s.
Beginners: Simply shorten the set and pick a sustainable pace from which to work. For example, cut the set down to 2x100, 12x50, 2x100 for a 1000 yard main set. Or cut the 100s out all together and just work on the 50s. If you have any questions about how this set can be adapted to your current level of ability and fitness just let me know and I will help get you sorted out.
I realize that the explanation I've laid out is a bit wordy and likely overcomplicated! It can seem overwhelming to those who don't have much experience setting zones and sendoff times. Because of that, please let me know if you have any questions. Get your questions answered before you head to the pool in order to get the most out of your session! Email me at email@example.com.