Pace Honing Practices
Wed May 18 2400yds at Bard College
My focus this day was IM training. I won't swim any IM races at my next meet, Canadian Masters Nationals next week in Montreal, but I've come to enjoy IM training more than anything. Also I'll swim 200 BK and 100-200 FL next week so IM training helps cover those.
For my practice, I did three rounds of 50-100-150-200-150-100-50.
I did the first half of each repeat BK and 2nd half FR (i.e. 50 was 25BK25FR, 200 was 100BK100FR). I held 14 SPL for both strokes throughout. My goal on this set was to increase pace on each successive swim. An exacting challenge as repeat distance increased to 200, but easier as repeats got shorter again. I succeeded in maintaining SPL and increasing pace.
I did 25FL 25BK throughout (so 200 was 25FL25BK25FL25BK, etc.) My goal here was to maintain both SPL (8 for Fly, 14 for BK) and pace. I see this set as good preparation for the 100 Fly + 100 Back that starts a 400 IM. My challenge in that is to maintain pace and efficiency for the entire 100 Fly and still feel relatively fresh as I begin the 100 Back. Alternating 25 Fly and 25 Back on the 200 in this set gives me a better chance of holding efficiency and pace, than if I swam 100 Fly followed by 100 Back. It also allows me more opportunities to practice the transition from Fly to Back.
I did first half of each repeat BK and 2nd half BR. (i.e. 50 was 25BK25BR, 200 was 100BK100BR)
What I aimed to do was keep SPL constant (14 for BK and 7 for BR) while increasing pace on each successive repeat. As in the 1st set I was successful.
Thurs May 19 3000 yds at SUNY-NP.
In this practicem my focus was 800-1500 FR which I'll swim next week in Montreal. In particular I was focused on impeccable pacing.
I repeated BK-FR first set from Wed as my warmup, but this time alternated 25BK25FR
3 rounds of 3 x 200 FR. First round on 3:20, 2nd round on 3:15, 3rd round on 3:10. 50 EZ BK between rounds.
On each round I held SPL at 14 for 1st 100 and 15 on 2nd 100, aiming to even or negative split each 200. (I bought a waterproof personal digital pace clock at Nationals, put it on the bottom in my lane and could see my splits each 50 as I turned.)
Round 1 2:48-2:45-2:42
Round 2 2:45-2:42-2:40
Round 3 2:42-2:39-2:37 (I went up to 16 SPL on last 200.)
Then EZ 50 BK and I went another 200 to see if I could swim faster. I worked harder but only went 2:37 again, taking too many strokes. So I did another easy 50 and repeated it. This time I controlled my stroke count, felt better and swam 2:35.
This set may be a bit much for any Forum members, but you don't need to repeat it exactly, but instead try to apply the key principles.
Task and challenge yourself to:
1) Maintain SPL
2) Be able to calibrate SPL and choose to strategically add one stroke per lap. By strategically I mean, when you add a stroke, you improve your pace. To even split or even negative split.
3) To swim multiple rounds of the same core set (i.e. 3 x 200) and improve your performance in each succeeding round.
4) If possible to be able to do that without increasing your stroke count.
I should emphasize I've been swimming sets like this for years and it's taken me years to be able to succeed at exacting tasks like this. But doing them forces such an intense degree of concentration that it puts me in a massively satisfying flow state. But they also give me a level of self-awareness and pacing control that's utterly invaluable in racing longer events like next week's 800 and 1500.
Here's two versions of a single main set to begin developing these SPL and pacing skills. I'll assume an SPL range of 15-16-17-18. Substitute whatever stroke count is appropriate.
5 rounds of 3 x 100
Round 1 @ 15 SPL (1st 25 should always be one stroke less)
Round 2 @ 16 SPL
Round 3 @ 17 SPL
Round 4 @ 18 SPL
Round 5 @ 15+16+17+18 SPL (each 100)
3 rounds of 5 x 100
Each round is
First time you try these, your goal is only to hit your intended counts. After you're able to do that with consistency, your goal is to swim faster each time you increase SPL. And not just to swim faster, but do so without trying. Simply adjust your count and stroke timing and see your time get effortlessly faster when you touch the wall.
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May your laps be as happy as mine.
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