Dropping the interval

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    I am overdue in dropping the interval for 50 free set. I have 2 questions I’m hoping somebody can offer some opinions on.

    1. Do you encounter any emotional/mental resistance to dropping the interval (in this case from :50 to :45). I only wonder because I know how proud and motivated my swimmers are when we drop their goal time. Not sure the response will be the same dropping the interval.

    2. Do you adjust the the goal time up when they first start repeating on less rest? For example, if they were going <30 for 50 free set on :50 interval, do you bump up the goal time once they start swimming on a :45 interval. If so, any suggestions on how much you would adjust?

    Thanks in advance for any insight


    I do not prefer to go cold turkey. Those swimmers who respond well to the faster interval and make their goal time will stay at the faster interval. On the other hand, those who struggle will have their sets alternating between the faster time and the slower interval time. Once success is finally achieved then we try not to go back to the slower time again. Sometimes the slower interval time is good to revisit though if the swimmer is in a really bad funk for some reason.

    Another adjustment I make is lowering the maximum number of repetitions when I go to the faster interval. This seems to have psychological benefits.


    How do you determine “overdue”?

    Idea on question 1. We experience the same “significant emotional event” when we lower the rest interval. What I have done in the past is on a set of say 20 x 50fr “Let’s see if we can do the first (pick a number) on :45, the rules apply, so outs count and then they get back in on the next interval. It seems to give them a challenge yet a light at the end of the tunnel. Some will even surprise themselves and do all on the fastest interval.

    On question 2. You have to be careful when changing two variables at the same time i.e. rest interval and pace/speed. This is what we call a “double whammy” and can have unintended consequences. I learned the hard way on that one.

    I would recommend only changing one at a time or as 6102 stated “lower the maximum number offered” That’s our first option here. If you have been going 20 x 50 and you adjust pace/speed or you decide it’s rest interval then go down to 12 and see what happens. The athletes will tell you if worked or not.

    just some thoughts

    "Only in America. Dream in red, white and blue"


    Thanks for the feedback, 6102 and oldschool. The approaches make good sense to me.

    I have been fairly strict about following Rushall’s prescribed guidelines this past summer(10-20 seconds rest depending on distance). I figured I couldn’t offer constructive criticism or feedback until I had given it a shot. Very pleased with the results, but as stated before, don’t have a large enough sample to draw from.

    Regarding the “double whammy,” I think I will take your advice. We just dropped the goal time which then called for a drop in the rest interval. Think I will give them a chance to feel a little successful with the new goal time, then drop the rest interval in some sort of alternating fashion between new and old intervals.

    Based on what some people have written, I’ve focused primarily on first miss and yards at race pace as my guide in evaluating improvements, and I don’t want my yards at race pace to drop off the chart because of a new goal and reduced interval. Additionally, I keep experiencing a “when it rains, it pours” effect with my swimmers. If they drop goal time in their 50 free, they also experience drops in 1 or 2 other sets. Good problem to have, but I tend to be unrelenting in trying to make each practice a positive experience, and I want to avoid sets of multiple frustration.

    Thanks again.

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