Reply To: Sprinter Trying To Do Distance

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At slower paces, you rely on different body roll and stroke cycle timing. This is just something you need to train to feel comfortable with. Watch Sun Yang swim the 1500 versus almost anyone swimming a 100. Ledecky has great arm mechanics with a high stroke rate but poor body mechanics so she’s not an ideal example.

I don’t even like calling it a “base”. Bases don’t move. Your 100% VO2 will increase with training. It’s your maximum liters-per-minute of oxygen that can be processed by your entire metabolic architecture. Let’s say you’re at 4.0 liters/min at the beginning of the season – you might get to 4.5 l/m after 3-4 weeks of training. It will take months to years to reach your current maximum.

If you’re still in decent shape after a short break then about 8-12 sessions will get you back to a good training volume. Your maximum l/m is limited by body type and training experience as a growing adolescent. It can be increased long-term but we’re talking years of consistent training into your 20’s.

Nothing in USRPT is based on a ratio. The 1:1 in literature refers to the 100 pace intervals but even that isn’t really how you want to program them. The ideal rest period is 22 seconds for repeats slower than sprints but we can use up to 25 seconds for our swim pace clocks. When you work faster than your 100 pace the rest starts increasing up to a few minutes. I usually do 20-yard sprints using a 60-90 seconds interval depending on how I feel and how many I want to do. So even if you’re doing 200’s on your 1650 pace you keep the rest under 22 seconds. As you transition in your microcycles, you want to decrease the rest period before increasing your speed. N x 25’s @100 pace (:15) on :40 goes to [:15 on a :35] before [:14 on a :40]. Going faster is harder than decreasing rest.

Generally, the speed you can doing anything for 5-6 minutes is your VO2max for that exercise. Will be different for swim, run, bike, row, ski, etc. This is because VO2 is based on the architecture of the working muscles as well as your respiratory muscle. If you never run then your VO2max for running (legs) won’t be great.