Aerobic work helps you finish races?

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    As long as I’m posting a ton to this forum I thought I would share this.

    My top two sprinters have told me they think they need more aerobic work because they “feel like they are really tired at the end of their races.” I believe they are tired but it’s the muscles in their arms that are tired… doesn’t have to do with their aerobic capacity.

    I hear this kind of thing often though. People who don’t believe in the training will be so quick to point out every time a swimmer looks like they are dying at the end of their race. When a traditionally trained swimmer dies in a race it is because they “paced it wrong” but when a USRPT swimmer dies it is because they don’t have enough aerobic work.

    Anyways, I have pointed out to them that of the top 8 swimmers at our last invite, our 3 girls were the only ones to have their second 50 within less than 2 seconds of their first 50. So from at least that meet it seems that USRPT helps swimmers pace their races better and finish stronger.

    Just some things I needed to vent about.

    "Most people have the will to win. Few have the will to prepare to win."


    Another way to look at that might be this:

    “You’re feeling tired at the end of races because you recruited more muscle fibers to the task of fast swimming. Aerobic swimming less than 85% effort mainly recruit and train slow-twitch muscles. At near-100% effort, you recruit slow twitch, fast twitch a (aerobic) AND fast twitch b fibers (glycolytic), like we’ve been training to do every day. Fast twitch a fibers are 2-5x stronger than slow-twitch; fast twitch b fibers are 10x stronger. More muscle fibers working will result in faster swims (as you’re seeing), but faster swimming will always hurt more.”

    I had a similar issue with a miler who I made do a lot of pace work a couple years ago. He dropped about 1:30.00 in the course of the season, but when he finished the mile, he complained about being “dead.” I told him it was because he had learned how to fully expend his energy resources in the race that he was hurting so much. Doesn’t make much sense to have a huge “aerobic capacity” if you can’t tap into it and spend it all in the pool! Doing anything to your true physical limitations will hurt 🙂

    Another thing to consider…are these swimmers warmed up enough before sprinting? And I’m talking deep muscle temperature, not did they swim 600 yards before they raced! If not, make sure to tweak their warm-up routine so their body temperature is elevated a bit (i.e. just enough to be breaking a sweat) within 20 minutes of their sprint. Basic exercises like jumping jacks plus dynamic stretching works really nicely, and usually takes only 5-10 minutes to complete. Plus you don’t need a warm-up lane to do it in, either, which comes in handy in those smaller venues.

    After their sprint, they should immediately proceed into a warm-down protocol of some kind. Hitting about 85% effort for 10-15 minutes of sustained, constant activity to fully reintegrate all the by-products from sprinting and regenerate energy from lactate. Could be in the pool or out of it, doesn’t matter. But assisting in their in-meet recovery will also help them to feel better when they race multiple times in one session. They should recover before coming up to speak with you!

    Hope that helps!

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