Reply To: We are at a critical point in USRPT development
I re-read the older thread and saw you had the same questions. I looked at what I wrote some 3! years ago and thought about what I’ve been doing recently.
Periodization: I’ve attempted to list some observations in the other forum topic about this. My recent one indirectly addresses an early season situation. Essentially, your more experienced swimmers suffer from peripheral anaerobic fatigue early in the season. There’s really no way around this. They probably aren’t breathing hard on many sets cuz the peripheral muscle can’t regenerate efficiently. As a traditional coach, if we don’t see them breathing hard we think they aren’t working hard.
The problem with experienced athletes is they know/remember how to go fast. Technique takes years to degrade. But the half-life of mitochondria in 14 days. So, your swimmers are feeling a fast 100 pace on the first 25 but by rep 6 the energy delivery architecture is exposed as being “out of shape”. I think training in the 100% VO2max range may be the best fix for this issue.
As for 2-week periodization, I think it just comes down to changing one of the variables. When the athlete plateaus tweak something. I’ve found pace (intensity) to be the most demanding. Increasing target volume and decreasing rest are less demanding. Changing a technique item helps to refresh the mental focus. I would be careful looking at MA’s plan cuz he is 1 athlete. We don’t know where he falls in a large population.
I’ve used a plan where I lock everything in 2 weeks before a meet; no specific techinque item focus, no change in pace or interval. But keep the volume up. The week before I cut volume so that I end up doing 6-8 reps 48-72 hours before. Add more starts and turns but longer breaks between sets. No sprints 2-3 days out. And I take the day off before the event. For individuals, ask them if they feel they locked in their race-pace in the short sets. If they feel they have then move them along. If they say they didn’t give them a few more reps. They should be thinking about this during the meet warmup as well.
From MA’s Pan Pacs video it looks like he runs through his event sets in the same order and in the same day scheme as the meet. He said he starts this 1 month out. So for a 3 day meet you would train each event you would be swimming each day and rotate the training on a 3-day microcycle.