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Gary P

As documented in this forum, I had great success early adhering to “conventional” USPRT doctrine. Eventually, however, my progression stalled out. I even went backwards for a while, getting slower towards the end of the first season. I had to do something akin to a traditional taper to get back to the training paces I was doing mid-season. I had a successful final meet, but was looking forward to improving more in the coming year.

After a short off season, I got back at it last fall. Unfortunately, I failed to make any pace advances in my core races (100, 200, 400/500 free). Frustrated, I diversified by adding longer distances and different strokes to the mix. Later in the season, I circled back to the 100 free, and, based on doc’s preaching, started tweaking the rest interval, giving myself a little extra rest. I had a bit of a break through in that race in the last meet of the season, setting a new non-shaved, no-tech-suit best by a fair margin. I actually had a better first 50 than I did when I had my best shaved, tech-suited race, although I didn’t bring it home as fast. (In retrospect, that’s not surprising given that I did very few sets of 50’s in the second half of the season.)

Anyway, now that I have a second masters season under my belt, I have a handful of meaningful race results where I can start “looking at the data,” as doc says, for more specific training-race correlations. I don’t have a lot of data, but patterns are starting to emerge.

My training set for 200 free is typically a 33.00 target time on a :53 interval. That’s exactly Rushall’s suggested rest, if a bit less than doc seems to prescribe. I typically experience my first failure around rep 8-10, and get to 14-18 before failing out. I only have two quality 200 free swims, but that’s 6 splits for 50’s 2-4. The average of the 6 is 32.89, with a standard deviation of .79 seconds. Take out the one final 50 on the swim where I went out a second too slow on the first 50 and closed really fast, and the average is 33.15 with a more acceptable standard deviation of .53. Either way, doc’s observed correlation is almost spot on. On the “Rushall plan,” I’ve been stuck at 33.0 for forever, thinking something’s wrong with me because I should be able be able to go deep in a set holding 32.low’s. Clearly I need to shake up the rest/work ratio so I can swim faster and get over the hump.

As I mentioned earlier, I did just that (more rest than Rushall calls for, allowing faster target times) on my 25’s at 100 pace and saw improvement, especially in the front half. I was at 14.0 for a long time on the “Rushall Plan,” and went out in 27.93 in a 100 free in January. Went from a :29 to a :34 interval, dropped my target time to 13.75, and went out 27.58 in March. After that, I said “what the hell” and went to a 40 second interval, dropping my target time to 13.5. Went out in 27.13 in April. Long story short, I didn’t get slower taking more rest that Rushall prescribes, I got faster. And doc’s formula for front-half 100 performance was, again, almost spot on.

Doc, I’m now buying what you’re selling. I’m working on improving my long distance stuff right now in preparation for a couple open water events this summer, but I’ll be implementing “USRPT 2.doc” once my focus shifts back to the pool.