Originally Posted by Rupertdacat
Do you rest a fixed time between repeats or do you wait until you feel fully ready to go again?
Another great question. For me, this question points up the interesting complexity of the training process.
In conventional training, work-to-rest ratios are fixed by formula. The "energy-system" method of training promulgated by USA Swimming to its coaches is based on designing sets that are said to produce particular metabolic effects. Aerobic metabolism requires a particular work:rest ratio. Other ratios are said to produce anaerobic threshold, VO2max, lactate tolerance, etc.
The problem with their formulas is they've never worked
. I.E. There is no predictability or correlation between a particular level of, say, VO2max and a particular performance level.
On the other hand there is absolute certainty that a specific combination of Stroke Length and Stroke Rate will always yield a specific Pace.
So to me the math of training should be focused on programming your neural circuits for incremental improvement
of your current ability to swim a particular SPL at a particular tempo for a particular duration.
And the amount of rest you take between repeats should be determined by how much recovery you require to swim a repeat that improves the circuit. I have had my best results when I do this by feel and experimentation. If I rest 20 seconds and the next repeat falls short, then I try 30 seconds, or 40 seconds, etc.
In other words, I'm suggesting that conventional swim training theory has it exactly backwards
. They specify the rest interval but ignore how you construct the pace.