First Practice in Two Weeks - Main Set of 3 x (5 x 100)
7 June 2400 Short Course Meters in 60 minutes
Life, work, a week in the UK and inconvenient pool closings have interrupted my Spring Training for two weeks. I was only able to swim a few laps a couple of times, after finishing a coach training session, clinic, or workshop.
So yesterday was my first true practice session since 23 May, 15 days earlier.
I was in the UK primarily to conduct a coach training on TI's Fast Forward training methodology (which I'll explain in detail in my upcoming book, "Swim Less, Swim Faster.") As the coach trainees' first post-training exercise I assigned them to swim 3 rounds of 3 x 100, descending each while holding the same stroke count, and to swim those 100s at a pattern of N, N+1, N+1, N+2.
So I decided to swim that set myself, but making the challenge of descending each round a bit greater, by doing 3 rounds of 5 x 100, instead of 3 x 100 as my main set. Here's the entire practice.
Tuneup 500m continuous at TI-RPE of 1-Perfect to 2-Cruise
While biking to the pool I was thinking I would probably swim the 100s in the main set at a stroke count pattern of (15+16+16+17) which is the lower end of my Green Zone, which shows high-15 to high-19 as my range of efficient counts.
I began, as I always do in Tuneup at an RPE (rate of perceived exertion) of 1 (on a scale of 5). My SPL was 16 the first 150m, but as I felt more in tune with the water I found I was easily able to hold 15--even as my RPE increased to a 2-Cruise (just by experiencing the Tuneup Effect, not by trying to increase effort).
When that occurred I decided I would try to maintain a stroke count pattern of (14+15+15+16) during the main set.
Main Set 3 rounds of (5 x 100 on 2:00) + 50 Perfect between rounds. Descend each round without adding strokes. Try to make each successive round a little faster, also without adding strokes.
This is a key performance indicator set in Fast Forward training, because it both measures and 'hardwires' your ability to execute what we call the Swimming Success Algorithm--the ability to increase Stroke Rate, while maintaining Stroke Length. Here are my results
1) I swam the entire set--all 60 lengths--at my target SPL. Not adding strokes took a huge amount of focus and discipline in the last part of the 2nd round and for most of the 3rd round.
2) My results by round
Round 1 Descended from 1:46 to 1:41
Round 2 Descended from 1:42 to 1:38 (exactly 1 second faster each 100)
Round 3 Descended from 1:40 to 1:35
Final Set 4 x 50 on 1:30. Swim at 15+17 strokes. Descend.
My goal was to significantly increase pace by shortening repeats, increase recovery time between repeats and allow more strokes per length.
My times on these 50s were :46 - :45 - :44 - :43
What I love about training based on 'cognitively difficult' (i.e. making my brain work hard) tasks, requiring a high level of focus, self-perception, control, and skill is that it creates the possibility that I can start every practice with a high level of anticipation for a satisfying experience--and probably a Flow experience. And finish each practice feeling thrilled by my results--without regard to how fast I swim.
I.E. I swam sets of 100s faster than this during Long Course training last summer and would have swum considerably faster at 55 or 56 than I now swim at 64. But that doesn't compromise the pleasure I gain from swimming to my full capacity today. And that will remain true for the next 30 years, even as my times get slower yet.
This capacity for lifelong joy is pretty unique to swimming it seems to me If I was a runner, my times would also slow, but I can't think of how one would create similarly exacting tasks around running or cycling, with the potential to leave you feeling thrilled by the results of a workout.
Head Coach & Chief Executive Optimist
May your laps be as happy as mine.
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