Suzanne emailed me about her practice so today I decided to start my practice with a similar set.
Swim 5 x 500 (on interval of 8:00 to 8:30) with increasing tempo.
#1 @ 1.30 strokes/sec 7:36
#2 @ 1.30 7:26
#3 @ 1.20 7:10
#4 @ 1.10 6:56
#5 @ 1.00 6:45
I held 14 SPL quite easily on #1, with 3 lengths at 13 SPL. So easily in fact that I thought I could reduce my SPL if I swam another at 1.30. On #2 I held 13 SPL on about 10 lengths. Saving 7 strokes converted into swimming 10 seconds faster.
On #3 I held a consistent 14 SPL @ 1.20. So I added about 10 total strokes during my 500, but the faster tempo converted into swimming 16 seconds faster.
On #4, I held a consistent 15 SPL (after first 3 laps at 14) @ 1.10. About 17 additional strokes over 500 yards, but a faster tempo converted into swimming 14 seconds faster.
On #5, I started with 3 lengths at 16 SPL, then 3 to 4 at 17 SPL, before recovering to 16 SPL (by timing my turns better) for the final 250 yards. I dropped my time by another 11 seconds.
This set gives me some clear guidance about how to improve my training pace for 500s.
1) I'll work in the range from 1.20 down toward 1.10, trying to maintain 14 SPL as tempo increases. I'll work in small increments - 1.19, 1.18, 1.17 etc. I expect as I increase tempo, the first time I try a new combination (e.g. 1.16 and 14 SPL) I'll probably add a stroke here and there, but as my nervous system adapts, there will be fewer such lengths with an added stroke.
2) In the range from 1.10 to 1.00 I'll probably shorten my repeats to find a repeat distance at which I can maintain 15 SPL with a semi-brisk tempo. Will it be 100 yd repeats - or 250 yd repeats. Experience will tell. If I can gradually lengthen the repeats at which I can maintain 15 SPL @ 1.00, eventually I'm confident I can hold that combination for straight 500s. When I do, my 500 repeat times will be 6:15-6:20.
4 rounds of [3 x 100 on 1:50] Negative split each 100. Descend each round while holding 1st 50 at constant pace.
I averaged times of 1:22-1:21-1:20 on the 100s, with 1st 50 at (estimated) 42+ sec.
On this set I drew inspiration from a set Coach Eric DeSanto posted in the thread "Increasing SR W/out Increasing Effort." Eric's version was 3 rounds of 3 x 100, aiming to negative-split the 1st round by 1 second, 2nd round by 3 seconds and 3rd round by 5 seconds by swimming a bit slower on the 1st 50 in each successive 100 and a bit faster on the 2nd.
Eric reported that he no matter how easily he tried to swim the 1st 50, it was hard to go slower
. I had much the same experience. I went more easily going out, and my 1st 50 time stayed the same - or even got faster.
I think it would be valuable to try this set both ways:
- As Eric did it - Keep 100 times constant, but steadily increase the gap between the slower 1st 50 and the faster 2nd 50.
- As I did it: Keep times for the slower 1st 50 constant and make faster 2nd 50 progressively faster. The 100s also get faster as you do.