Reply To: Help with planning my weeks

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Hi Rob,

I’ve been seeing a spike of poor-technique related issues cropping up. For many of them the things that fall apart in a RP set are almost exactly the things that fell apart in their first meet. I’m seeing a big increase in their awareness of the translation between RP set mechanics and meet mechanics. Around two thirds of those had their light bulb come on made relatively significant changes in their focus in their RP sets the next week. I hear a lot more “oh yeah, I felt that…” than before when mechanical issues are pointed out. It seems a bit obvious now, but the time spent in practice going at race pace is amplifying their ability to feel mechanics in actual races.

Ideally each will have 2-3 specific mechanical points to focus on in a RP set. They will note when the focus mechanic becomes difficult to control and progresses on to “impossible” to control. All the while doing everything in their power to correct the defect. They (should) keep mental track of when the difficult and impossible points occur and see if they can progress things the next time around. Honestly it’s difficult to get too many of them to pay this level of attention to the details, but – in a surprise to exactly nobody – the better/more motivated ones to do it without much fuss.

I’m also seeing a medium to large drop in their RP set performances after the first set. To be completely fair we’re doing full RP sets regardless of their times; what I’m calling: calibration mode. I wanted to have a more simple format to allow them to build certain skills: getting granular times (low, mid, high, flat) off the clock, documenting their numbers, navigating a practice with multiple RP sets. We gathered the following data: goal times, number made, average time of reps they made, average time of reps they missed. These numbers have been great indicators of their fitness and of their ability to maintain consistency within a RP set.

Reps have also been steadily climbing. By now everyone has done a full set of 25s and 50s (i.e. 30×25 to support the 100s, 30x50s to support 200s, etc.) for two of their main distances. I wanted them to have a feel for the volume of the sets we’re aiming to use as “base” training for a particular distance.

So far it appears to be working reasonably well. All their set-related skills are up to speed. I’m starting to see performances leveling off or getting worse, but I expected that by this point (maybe even a little sooner). Can’t demand full RP sets 6-8 times a week and not accumulate some real fatigue.

We’ll be adding in exit conditions very soon. My instinct is to dial back the number of reps offered – say, 20×25 and 12x50s for 100s; 30×25 and 20x50s for 200s – keep the goal times steady and build the number of reps up as they succeed with the lower numbers. The smaller sets should allow them to shake off most/all of the accumulated fatigue and get into a rhythm that doesn’t beat them up.

Addressing the point on low reps being made in the 2nd and 3rd RP sets: Oldschoolc had a pattern where the goal of the 2nd and 3rd set was to made the same number as the last time versus doing more (Sept 10th post in this thread). Seems like a reasonable way to account for the performance drop-off and avoid the negative implications of not “progressing” in the 2nd and 3rd set. He’s pretty active on the board so hopefully he can add some depth to this.