Reply To: Usrpt for 3k, 5k and 10k open waters

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This is a very interesting topic that is only loosely addressed in USRPT literature.

First of all, have you purchased the “technique macrocycle” manual? It contains almost everything from the short supplementals and handy printable guides for use while you are coaching on the deck.

This is a very odd concept.
A couple things we know about longer races and training for those races:
1) The velocity change between the 800m and 1500m LCM events, for high-level athletes, is about 2%. I will assume a 2-3% change to the 3k for this. For ref, the velocity change from 100LCM to 50 LCM is 12% for men and 9% for women.
2) Technique is tied to speed. However, a 2-3% velocity difference for a long event might not be mechanically noticeable for most rec athletes.
3) marathon runners need to condition their bodies for ground impact as well as the energy cost of running forward. Swimmers don’t have impact issues so you only need to train for energy costs of moving through water. We don’t need a ton of general volume.
4) this research found that swimming performance is correlated to ABSOLUTE VO2max (total VO2max) instead of RELATIVE (based on body weight).
5) Continuous work for 4-5 minutes, to failure, gives a decent representation of your VO2max.

When training for longer races, where the velocity change is minimal as to not affect technique and VO2max requirements are below 100%, it is possible that smaller volumes can still create large improvements.

For instance, when training for a 3k I would take my pace and divide by something. I’ll say 200s at my 3k pace is 3:00. If I do 15 x 200 on a 3:15 I’m at 3K but I already knew that I could do that. I was also operating BELOW my 3k VO2 level because I had short 15 sec breaks. Do I try for 30 x 200? I need to stress my ABSOLUTE VO2 level and I know that my 1500 pace is only 3% different from my 3000 pace. Let’s try for 15 x 200 with a 2:55 target pace at a 3:10 interval. My technique shouldn’t feel much different but I’m better stressing my VO2 level used for the 3k. If I only can do 10 that’s 2000y/m; it seems counterintuitive but that should improve my 3k time because races over 4 minutes are more heavily influenced by ABSOLUTE VO2max.

Prior to a race, I would then move back to my 3k pace to prepare. But, what I did during the training period was greatly improve my ability to deliver oxygen to the working muscle during the race. I still need to work on improving technique elements throughout the cycle.

I would think you could train for a 10k in as few as 3-4000 y/m a session using USRPT methods.