09 April 2014

Workout Wednesday - 09 April 2014

Yesterday - Tuesday - my swim club focused on threshold - but with a twist.  Maximum effort 25's with a work-rest ratio that kept things tough and in high Z4.

I can't take all the credit on this one.  I attended a lecture at the USA Swimming headquarters here in Colorado Springs a couple weeks ago.  There were a few national team athletes there, as well as coaches.  Great Q&A after the lecture, and the description of this set sounded awesome.

They called them "aerobic sprints".  You'll see what I mean........



This set is SCY, yields 3,350 yards, and takes about 1:15 to complete.

Warm up:
250 swim
200 kick
250 pull

8 x 75 on 1:15 

8 x 100 on 1:35  800
Descend 1-4, 5-8 

Main set:  Aerobic sprints 
2 x (15 x 25)
On :30
Max effort.
Easy 100 between each round.

300 pull

Cool down

200 Easy    

The goal of the main set is to get :15+ seconds rest - almost allowing you to stay aerobic (almost).  So it is more of a threshold set, but the athletes need to work for their rest.  Change the send-off, of course, to accommodate your athletes.  Again, you're targeting :15-:20 rest (max) here.  So if they can hold :15 25's then give a send-off of :35.  If you want to make them really work, make the second round send-off :30.

Truth be told, I had to really shave down the send-off for a few of my elite triathletes.  :30 was too easy as they're anaerobic in nature.  Cutting that to :25 helped.

02 April 2014

Workout Wednesday - 01 April 2014

This week I thought we would focus on threshold in the main set.  It's structured a little differently that I normally would.  I wanted to break up the main set to provide some different distances and sendoffs and efforts to make the set manageable for the athletes.

It's hard, but they'll get through it thinking it "wasn't so bad".


This workout is on the schedule for my swim club tomorrow (Thursday).  As always, adjust the send-offs based on the athletes.  You want them to start out maintaining :15 - :20 seconds rest pretty easily, but towards the end they'll need to work for that rest.  There's enough active recovery cooked in to make things manageable.

This is SCY, and will take roughly 1:15 - 1:30.  If time is short, you can cut one of the warm up / pre-sets (each pre-set is 600 yards).

Warm up: 
250 swim
250 pull

8 x 75 on :30 rest
1st length drill, 2nd length kick, 3rd swim

4 x (50 - 100)
On :55 - 1:35

Main set:
12 x 50 HARD on :55
Descend 1-4
150 easy on :20 rest  
6 x 75 on 1:05-1:10
Descend 1-3
100 easy on :20 rest
5 x 50 HARD  on :50
Descend 1-5 (End MAX)
50 easy on 1:30
6 x 25 max effort on :45

300 pull with buoy and paddles.  
Easy effort. Focus on stroke.

Cool down:

150 easy.

This is a big set - 3900 yards if my math is correct.  Tired athletes are a guarantee.  

26 March 2014

Workout Wednesday - 26 March 2014

As I've mentioned before, I usually prescribe speed sets early in the week with my swim club here in Colorado Springs. I do this, again, so that my athletes are still fresh from a recovery day on Monday and they're not fatigued by the cumulative effects of a week of training.  While you can do aerobic work when fatigued, doing speed and threshold work becomes quite challenging.

I changed up my usual speed prescription for the workout my athletes did yesterday.  I included some active recovery into the mix.  The high-quality portion of the workout still had a 1 : 3 work-rest ratio. But the addition of some active recovery allowed everyone to keep moving (and not tighten up) while still getting the recovery necessary to sustain high quality efforts.

This is a SCY set, and will take about 1:15 to complete.  Of course, you might need to adjust the send-offs on the warm-up set and the pull set (depending on base-100 times).  But the times for the primary main set should remain the same.


Warm up: 
250 swim
200 kick
250 pull

4 x (75 - 50)
75’s easy on 1:10
50’s on :55 - 1st length build up, 2nd length mod/hard effort

Main set:
8 x ( 4 x 25 - 50 )
25’s Max effort on 1:00.
50's Recovery on 1:30

4 x 100 pull on 1:35
.
Cool down:
200 easy.

Yes, this set only yields 2800 yards.  But it's a nice quality high intensity speed set that, if done properly at max effort, will yield some tired swimmers at the end.  And over time, some faster swimmers as well.

What is your best / favorite speed set?   Reach out to me and let me know.

19 March 2014

Workout Wednesday - 19 March 2014

Well, I sure took a hiatus didn't I?  More athletes coming out of hibernation, the ITU racing season getting started - having an athlete racing at ITU Sarasota .....excuses, excuses.

So, back to the grind.  I've been throwing in a little more endurance work for my athletes as of late.  As you might recall, I was pretty heavy on speed and speed endurance / threshold work early on.  I found that most of the athletes at my swim club did a lot of solid aerobic endurance work during the off-season, so it seemed fitting.



A little trip back to the aerobic energy system is in order:

Warm up:
200 swim
200 pull
200 kick (board - no fins)

4 x (75 - 125) on 1:10 - 2:00
.
Main set:
500-400-2x200-400-300-2x200
All on base 100 time + :20 - :30
.
Cool down
200 easy

This set is SCY and yields 4,000 yards.  The send-offs in the main set are, as stated, are on base 100 time + :30.  So, for example, if your athlete holds 1:10 pace pretty easily under aerobic levels, then his/her 400 send-off is 5:10.  The 300 send-off is 4:00, etc.

You'll notice the 2 x 200's in the middle and end of the round.  I like breaking up a longer set with slightly shorter distances.  Athletes will tend to go a little harder on the 200's - getting a little more rest - but upping the quality of the set that much more.

Drop me a line with any questions - I'm always up for talking about swimming.

26 February 2014

Workout Wednesday - 26 February 2014

This is the workout that my swim club did yesterday morning.  I usually start the week out with speed, or speed endurance work, and move towards aerobic work come the end of the week or weekend.  I do this as, usually, triathletes have rest days early in the week.  Speed and speed endurance is best done when your athlete is as rested as possible.  High intensity, threshold, training is really tough for athletes to do when fatigued after a hard week of training.  Where aerobic work can be done whilst slightly fatigued.

Hence, todays workout.  More quality efforts.  The set is built around shorter, higher quality, efforts. It's built so that the athlete doesn't get too fatigued during the main set, and there's enough lower intensity efforts to allow for solid recovery.

This is SCY, and will take about 1:15.

Warm up:  
300 swim
200 kick
200 pull

24 x 25 on :10 rest 
Every 4th Dog Paddle
Moderate / Hard effort.

Main set: 
3 x (3 x 50 - 150), 
50's maximum effort on :20 rest.
150's at 200 practice pace on :30 rest.

4 x (3 x 25 - 125) 
25’s maximum effort on :15 rest
125's at 200 practice pace on :30 rest.

1:00 between sets.

200 cool down.

3200 yards

You can see that the 150's and 125's allow for the athletes to recover, where the 50's and 25's don't quite provide enough time for full lactic acid clearance.  The time goes quickly for the athlete in this workout.

As I always say:  Questions?  Contact me!


19 February 2014

Workout Wednesday - 19 February 2014

Since I threw a little endurance your way last week, we're going back to some threshold work this week.

This is a set that I gave my swim club just yesterday.  Short distances with high quality and intensity in the main set.  You'll most certainly want to take advantage of a white board for this session, as the main set is a little lengthy and is much easier to understand when written out.

This is SCY, and will push close to 90 minutes.  As always, adjust the send-off times depending on the base 100 times of your athletes.


Warm up:
200 swim
200 kick
200 pull

4 x (75 - 50)  
75’s easy on 1:15 
50’s hard on 1:00 

Main set:
2 x (100-75-3x25, 100-75-4x25, 100-75-5x25) 
100's descending on 1:40
75's easy on 1:10
25's MAX on :45

2 x (50-50-25, 50-50-2x25, 50-50-3x25)
1st 50's descending on :50
2nd 50 easy on 1:00
25's MAX on :45

Cool down:
200 easy

Total yards: 3850

As you can see, we push some threshold in the main set, but add in a 1 : 2 work-rest ratio for the 25's - focusing on speed.  It's a nice mix, in my opinion, that really provides a good quality session.

I'm a big fan of speed endurance / threshold sets.  Athletes tend to focus more on aerobic endurance and "LSD" sets.  (Long. Slow. Distance).  Not that aerobic endurance isn't important, but most often threshold and speed tends to be the limiter for a lot of athletes.  

Want to discuss this topic more?  Reach out to me!

12 February 2014

Workout Wednesday - 12 February 14

I'm throwing a little endurance work back into the mix today.  But, as usual, there's a little speed endurance work thrown in for good measure.

This is a great set to really get some serious yardage in. And I really like it for the fact that it switches gears in the middle of the main effort and utilizes a different energy system.  The main set efforts, for the longer distances, are aerobic in nature. Targeting a 1:20-1:25 base 100 effort, the rest intervals will provide about :20-:30 rest. But the 25's switch things up with a 1 : 2 work/rest ratio and we start to get a little anaerobic.


This set is SCY and will take about 1:15-1:30........

Warm up:
200 yards easy
200 kick
200 pull

Pre-set / Warm up:
10 x 50
1st length stroke (choice) 2nd length free.
1:15

12 x 75 on 1:15.  Cruise efforts 

Main set: 
Speed endurance (Sp/E)  and Endurance. 

2 x (400, 300, 10 x 25, 200)
400 on 6:00, 300 on 4:30, 25's on :45 - max effort., 200 on 3:00

Cool down:
200 easy

4500 yards

Change the send-offs to accommodate your athletes base 100 times, ensuring to keep things aerobic. That means you need to target a send-off that provides :20-:30 rest.  As the main set lasts between 20-30 minutes (depending on the athlete) it's long enough to get the aerobic work in, but short enough to not be boring.  The usual reaction I get from athletes after this set is that they got more yards in the main set than they thought. The 25's keep things fresh and nobody gets bored.

Questions?  Give me a shout!

05 February 2014

Workout Wednesday - 05 February 2014

This is a set that I have planned for my swim club tomorrow morning.  Well, that's assuming the weather behaves here in Colorado Springs.

I normally front load the week with speed and threshold work - doing the higher intensity training early in the week with aerobic efforts coming on the weekend.  The reason for this is that aerobic efforts can be done when the athlete is a little fatigued, but threshold and speed work loses a lot of it's benefit when attempted in a fatigued state.

This is a big set.   Lots of threshold work.  Lots of yardage.  It's SCY and takes about 1:30.

Warm up
200 Easy
200 kick
200 pull

4 x (75-100)  
On 1:15-1:45

Main set
4 x 100 @ 1:35  1st 25 sprint   
6 x 100 @ 1:30  Best pace
12 x 50 @ :50  Descend 1-6 
4 x 100 @ 1:35  1st 50 sprint 
6 x 100 @ 1:30   Best pace
12 x 50 @ :50  Descend 1-6 

Cool down
200 Easy    

4500 yards

Again, this is a big set.  You'll have to adjust the send-offs for yourself or your athletes as necessary, of course.  If you need to add time on the send-offs, then adjust the pre-set (the 75-100 sets) to be 50's and 75's to allow for the extra time.



This set is going to work on speed endurance big time.  All efforts here are going to be at threshold effort (or better!)  If you're feeling generous, give your athletes an extra minute rest after the first set of 50's.

29 January 2014

Workout Wednesday - 29 January 2014

While it's certainly not an across the board epidemic, I'm still seeing and hearing of a lot of athletes who think that the best way to prepare for the swim leg of a triathlon is to just swim the distance required - non-stop - every time they're in the pool.  Newsflash: The theme of "just get through the swim" or "just survive the swim" is a thing of the past.

Why not get out of the water efficiently and quickly?  Using less energy than before and being better prepared for the back-half of your race?  Work with your coach, have some video analysis done, and ensure that your stroke mechanics are solid.  Then, work on your limiters.

If you need some speed endurance, then do this set.  It's SCY and takes about an hour, so it's a great mid-day workout if you need to get a workout in over lunch.


Warm up:
200 swim easy
200 kick
200 pull

Pre-set / Warm up:

10 x 50 Free
1st length build up, 2nd length hard.
On 1:00

Main set: 

3 x 75 on 1:15 or 1:20
1 x 75 on 1:20
3 x 75 on 1:10 or 1:15
1 x 75 on 1:20 
3 x 75 on 1:05 or 1:10 
1 x 75 on 1:20 
3 x 75 on 1:00 or 1:05 
1 x 75 on 1:20 
3 x 75 on :55 or 1:00
1 x 75 on 1:20 
3 x 75 on :50 or :55 

Cool down:
200  easy

The main set is only 25-30 minutes long depending on the send-off.  You can, of course, adjust the times depending on your athletes and their base 100 time.  As you can see, the set begins at a very easy pace, but quickly moves towards threshold.  It's an easy set for athletes to maintain, however, as there's a slower 75 every 3 reps to allow for a little recover - ensuring the ability to maintain the effort.

22 January 2014

Workout Wednesday - 22 January 2014

Great set yesterday with the Podium Swim Club.  I wanted some speed-work done, but I also wanted to include some threshold work in the workout as well.  The below workout is what transpired.

It's SCY, and takes about 1:15 to complete.  As usual, the send-offs will vary depending on you or your athlete's base 100 time.  The goal in the main set is to work the 50's and 25's at max effort.  The 100's are high Zone 3 effort - or at a cruise pace.  The 50's don't give you a full recovery - a little bit is gained back on the 100's, but there's a nice 1 : 3 work / rest ratio on the 25's.

Warm up:
300 easy.
300 pull

12 x 50 on :45

4 x 75m on 1:15

Main set:  
6 x (50 - 100 - 4 x 25)  
50 hard.  100 cruise.  25’s max
On :40, 1:35, 1:00
1 min rest after each round.

200 cool down.

Total yardage is 3,200 yards.  This is a great quality set that incorporates a couple of different energy systems.  

Podium Training Systems is here for you - the athlete and the coach.  Questions?  Please contact me and I'll get back to you ASAP.

15 January 2014

Workout Wednesday - 15 January 2014

I had the pleasure of working with one of our Vanguard Endurance athletes yesterday morning.  He's here in Colorado Springs for two months preparing for the upcoming ITU season.  He's swimming with me at my local swim club while here, and after yesterdays practice we were talking about some of our favorite sets.

This one came up in his memory banks from his time swimming at the Olympic Training Center.  He recalls being a bit delirious at the end, but it's really a great workout.

Originally this was a set done in LCM, but as I'm going to have my folks do this one next week, I've adapted it to be SCY and I've changed the rest intervals / send-offs.

This should take about 1:15 - 1:30 in time.  It's a tough main set if done properly.  It's all threshold effort.  Enjoy the lactic acid tolerance.

Warm up:
300 easy
200 kick
200 pull

8 x 50 on 1:00
Descend 1-4, 5-8

5 x 100 on 1:40
.
Main set: 
400 @ Tempo pace / effort.  :30 rest
4 x 100 on 1:35
300 @ Tempo pace / effort.  :20 rest
3 x 100 on 1:35
200 @ Tempo pace / effort.  :15 rest
2 x 100 on 1:35

Cool down:
200

You'll have to adjust the send-offs to accommodate your athletes.  For the 100's, you want approximately :20 rest between each effort.  And if so desired, you can give an extra minute of rest after each set of 100's.  This is a fantastic set for lactic acid tolerance.

08 January 2014

Workout Wednesday - 08 January 2014


I think it's time to revisit the fun that's lactic acid tolerance - cleverly disguised as a speed endurance / threshold set.  Yes, these hurt, but they're oh-so-good for you.

No fancy fanfare here.  Let's just get right to it.  This is a big set, and takes about 1:15 - 1:30 in time. This was written for SCY, and as you can see has very aggressive send-offs.  It was written for a couple athletes in my swim club that maintain a repeat base-100 time of around 1:10.

Basically, it's base + :25, :20, :15, :10 for the 100's.  And for the 50's, take your (or your athletes) hard 50 time and add :20, :15, :10, :05.

Enjoy!

Warm up:
300 easy.
4 x 50 kick on :30 rest
200 pull

4 x (50-75-100)
On 1:00, 1:15, 1:40, 1:45

Main set: 
5 x 100 on 1:35
5 x 50 on :50
4 x 100 on 1:30
4 x 50 on :45
3 x 100 on 1:25
3 x 50 on :40
2 x 100 on 1:20
2 x 50 on :35

4 x 150 pull on 2:20

Cool down: 
200

4600 yards.

Should you have any questions on the workout posted here - or on any of the previous workouts we've provided - drop me a line and I'll get back to you.