Fun 1500 yd set
Based off a recent 500 yd time trial, I came up with the parameters of 19 SPL and .94 seconds/stroke as my target times. Better either of those while keeping the other constant, and I'll swim even faster.
By training both of those (holding 19SPL at longer and/or faster rates), or by decreasing strokes at .94sec/sec, I am creating training stress targeted to my current fitness.
I decided to start trianing tempos between .9 and 1.0 sec/stroke. This is an abrupt jump from what I was doing in mid summer which was mostly around 1.2 & 1.3 sec/stroke. (I can explain why in a different or future post)
Here's what I did for a quick, sweet workout. Goal was to hold strokes as close as possible to the starting/lowest SPL of the first set in the first round:
3 rounds of:
4x25 + 2 x 50 + 1x100 (300yds each round)
Start at TT of 1.0 seconds, decrease by .02 each round
2 rounds of decreasing tempo
Start TT at .02 slower than last round, and do 2 rounds of:
2 x 50 + 2 x 75
This totals 1500 (300 for each round).
I liked it because...each 4 x 25 allowed me to get accustomed to the new, faster tempo before attempting longer sets. On the way bac k up because I was slowing the tempo, I swam longer sets (skipped the 25s). I added 75s on the way up to provide extra mental focus for holding my stroke count low (it's just one more length...)
I found myself falling into the trap of "just finish the set", and near the end found myself swimming 19 SPL for the 1.0 sec/stroke, whereas I had started at 18 SPL. It's not hard to match the rate if you are not also trying to maintain long strokes.
I rested for a good 30 seconds ormore between the last 2 75s and was able to get my strokes back down to 17 & 18 for the 1.0 sec/stroke.
If you want to modify the set, you could
a) change the starting tempo
b) ascend the tempo first, then descend
c) double the repeat lengths
d) try a different broken round (4 x 50, 2 x 100, 1 x 200) etc...
e) Do broken sets starting with the longest repeat followed by the shorter repeats (eg. do the above as 200, 2 x 100, 4 x 50)
each variation will give you a slightly different flavor to the workout.
Suzanne Atkinson, MD
Coach of 4 time USA Triathlon Triathlete of the Year, Kirsten Sass
Steel City Endurance, LTD