Reply To: Questions about implementing USRPT.
I’m 30 and have been doing race pace for 3.5 years. I’ve had some breaks from training here and there but I have been pretty consistent and have tried a lot of different things. I did alright with the 25’s and three fails method but I really struggled with the suggested 15 seconds rest. I had to do it on longer rest but I had good race correlation with that. The 25 practice pace lines up with the last lap of the 100 adjusted for turn time. So if you train on 17, the last lap of your 100 should be a 17 when your feet leave the wall off of the last turn. Completing 30 reps on your race pace is really good and would no doubt correlate to the race. 30 reps is probably over kill, 20 reps correlated just fine, at least for me anyway.
Breaststroke is tricky to train. Free and fly seem to be more consistent and more predictable going into a meet. Breaststroke is all over the place for me. Heading into last fall, I put most of my focus on breast in training because I wanted to drop my times but I ended up adding time. My fly times were fantastic though so it wasn’t like I was out of shape or not recovered enough. Sometimes doing more isn’t the answer. I kept it race pace and didn’t do anything slow just to get more yardage in but I was training breast more days out of the week than I had been. I was also doing more sprints for breast which I think messed me up. My best 50 breast times have come from when I was doing limited sprints in practice. It’s weird but that’s how it’s worked for me over the years. However I need to train sprints for free and fly to have my best performances.
Going into my fall meet my best times in the 50 and 100 yard breast were 27.57/1:01.56 and I ended up going 27.68/1:03.65. I probably could have been a 102 but I knew I was adding a lot of time and that made me die even harder at the end. With the 101 I was doing longer stuff and shorter stuff with the 103 so I decided to shift back to longer rp stuff after flopping with the shorter stuff. When I did the 1:01.56, I was doing 75’s on 10 minutes a couple times a week; usually 3 reps. I would swim it like the first 75 of the 100, going out hard but not sprinting at the end and leaving a little in the tank if I had another 25 to go, just like the way you swim a 100.
Since longer stuff works better for me, I figured I’d take it to the extreme and just swim 100’s for time and see what happens. I’m a masters swimmer and have nothing to lose if it doesn’t work out. I like trying different things in training so I figured I’d give it a shot. Originally, I was going to try to do it 4 days a week because I was going to try to mimic the Bulgarian method which is for weight lifting. Basically you max out every day which is incredibly difficult but eventually your body adapts and it produces really fast increases in strength after adaptation. I tried, but I couldn’t do it. It was hard doing 100’s on back to back days so I ended up doing it 2 times per week. I train in scm and did these form a push. I would do like a meet warm up beforehand. It was rough at first. My best scm time is 109.4 and I was going 117’s at first but I worked my way down to a 113.5. I also did a little bit of sprinting but only once a week and only 1 or 2 25’s at full rest just to keep the technique fresh. It was more of a confidence booster than anything else because my speed didn’t get worse and it reassured me that my 50 would still be ok even though I wasn’t sprinting much. At my meet a couple of weeks ago, my times were 27.00 and 1:01.20. I should have been under 101 because I didn’t do any turns in warm up and my foot slipped pretty bad on the first turn. It was the first time I had been under 33.0 on the second 50 which I was pretty happy about. Also, I was really surprised by my 50. Knocking off .57 was unexpected and I’m pumped about it, although I wish I was .01 faster.
You can get faster on limited training, especially with breaststroke. Steve West is the oldest guy to ever qualify for Olympic trials at the age of 40 I believe. It was in the 100 breast. There was an interview, I think it was swimming world mornining show, but he said he only trained 4 days a week when he qualified. The screamingviking is in his 40’s and almost went a lifetime best in the 100 breast training with USRPT on a very limited training schedule. He did by the book USRPT but he also would push a 100 or 200 for time after his set. That was another reason why I decided to just do 100’s for time instead of repeats sets. Both of these guys have great 200’s as well so it is possible to swim fast and get better on limited training.