How to Train for the 50 Free

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  • #2771
    billratiobillratio
    Participant

    Does anyone have tips for training for the 50 free? If I have a swimmer swimming 25s off the blocks in 11.75 at the start of the season and is swimming them in 11.75 a month later, how can I tell if she has improved at all?

    Is doing more sprinting the only way to improve? What type of sets and rest have people had success with?

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

    #2773
    Avatarlipearse
    Participant

    It sounds like you need to emphasise technique refinements/improvements over conditioning. Doing more sprinting is definitely not the answer.

    #2774
    billratiobillratio
    Participant

    Agreed. It’s just hard when I don’t see a lot of things to work on. When we make little adjustments we aren’t seeing any difference.

    We did one technique adjustment last week that has her consistently swimming 11.6-11.7 now. But we are again in the same place now where all her training seems to just be maintenance.

    There aren’t any sets that are more beneficial than other sets for sprinting? Is the least rest possible while still swimming her fastest possible times the best way to go? Should she sprint 50s in practice ever?

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

    #2776
    Avatardoc
    Participant

    Billratio,

    Well 11.75 and 4 weeks later 11.75 I think answers your question.

    How many do you have her do?
    What kind of recovery time 1:1 or 1:2 etc.
    Do you do any 12.5s or 20s at race velocity?
    Any mid-pool work i.e. flag to flag type work.

    Just trying to get an idea before creating any thoughts

    Oldschool


    ? I child proofed my house and they still get in 🙂

    #2777
    billratiobillratio
    Participant

    Main training for the 50 has been 25s @1:30 alternating from a start and from a push (Usually offer 12-16). One day we did a lot more(20+) and they seemed very tired the next day. Also doing a lot of 25s off the blocks at 2:00 (Usually around 10 when we do them). We don’t do both at the same workout. It has been Training for 100 free on M,W,F and training for 50 on T,Th,F. Every practice she ends with a couple (2-4) 25s off the blocks though.

    We usually do 12.5s but so far this year have hardly done any. Haven’t done any 20s. I know it annoys her not knowing her time so I don’t think she’d be a fan of 20s but I’m willing to try.

    She got her lifetime best last year with 24.8 (with tech suit) and has gone 25.0 this year (w/o tech suit). I’m extremely happy with where she is right now but am starting to think she could break 24 with good coaching.

    Last year before resting her fastest time was 25.95 and she went 25.19 at sections and 24.94 and 24.84 at state.

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

    #2778
    billratiobillratio
    Participant

    I should also add that the first week she wasn’t breaking 12.0 off the blocks. She came into the season in good shape but got down to 11.75 by the next week. She is able to do 11.75 much more consistently than she was early in the season so I wouldn’t say there has been no improvement.

    Her biggest improvement came immediately with a technique change (or more of a focus point change) and she went from going 11.75 on one 25 to swimming 11.58, 11.65, 11.59, 11.46 on the next 4. I know I don’t time perfectly but she was clearly swimming much faster with the new focus. That was only last Wednesday and on Friday she was going 11.7 again then we tried to refocus on the same thing and were able to go a few in the 11.65 range. Not sure how much to trust my stopwatch on these things. Not sure if the technique focus didn’t stick entirely or I was just off with my timing on Wednesday.

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

    #2779
    Avatardoc
    Participant

    Billratio,

    Replied to your other post before I read this one so my bad.

    I just retired from club coaching (35 years) and have moved (in town) to work as an assistant for a DI school so been a little busy. Just as a reference. I have 4 girls under 23.52 in the 50 and 51.21 in the 100, which I do the planning and work with on a daily basis. I also work with the guys but you asked about women.
    We do “25s on 2:00” speed is determined by dividing their 50 time in ½. I use their 1st 50 split of the 100 divided in ½ for “25s on 1:00” The 100 back half pace is determined by using the 100 back ½ split for “50s on 2:00” or your 1:30. Only 2 of the girls regularly swim the 200 free and I use their average speed from 50s 2, 3, & 4 to determine pace for “50s on 1:00” All work is from a push. All times generated are “no slower than speeds” and USRP rules apply for all sets.

    Because the majority of them don’t really swim anything other than free they are on a cycle of four days where primary event is 50/100 free and 2 days primary is 200 free with any secondary work being “25s on 1:00” and “50s on 2:00” of a stroke other than free. (Need them for relays).

    Your question on doing both 50s on 1:00 and 1:30. It’s fine. What I would do is just have one day where she goes “50s on 1:00” and devote 2 days to “50s on 2:00 or 1:30” whichever one gives her the best chance at holding pace.

    The question of “one better than the other” depends on what you’re training for. I would caution you that spending a lot of time with “50s on 1:00” can run the speed and power right out of a true sprinter, especially with high numbers. You have to be careful in how you sequence the work within the workout and the number you’re asking her to do.

    Just read your reply.

    I remember this girl. We had some correspondences about her.

    The whole speed thing is a tough nut to crack. Couple of years ago I went to track websites and looked at what the top sprint coaches did for development of speed. The common dominator was shortening the distance to achieve the speed needed then they slowly move the distance out to where they could hold that speed i.e. speed constant and distance increasing. Sounds easy enough  but in swimming we have all kinds of issues e.g. can’t hear, 4 people in a lane, could you see 4 track guys in one lane all going at roughly the same time and we have this thing about always having to finish at a wall. You get the idea.

    So we have to get creative. I use highway cones (Lowe’s or HD has them) on the bottom of the pool to at least give them an idea of where they have to go to and for use in deep ends. I made a device that just clips on to the lane line that again just gives them a reference point. Perfect no. It’s better than nothing and cheap to make.

    On the 20s or any distance that doesn’t finish at the wall you can still figure a time for that use “Distance divided by Time” will equal Velocity in y/S and you can plug that in to any distance. Example: use her 50 BT of 24.84, 50/24.84 is 2.012 y/S. Then take the 20 and divided it by 2.012 and it would be in the 9.94 second range. She now is no longer annoyed  Excel can do this in a heartbeat and you can do it for all kinds of distances 20s, 30s, etc. Just put your highway cone in and go.

    On “flag to flag” work. I’ve used this to develop power. They start from under the ba flags (Hwy cone) in a prone float position and must immediately get to full speed and finish under the opposite flags. If you can you can go off a whistle (most places have a heart attack because of the LGs) or off first movement. It’s about being explosive.

    Just some thoughts,

    Oldschool aka Doc


    ? I child proofed my house and they still get in 🙂

    #2781
    billratiobillratio
    Participant

    Yes, this is the girl you gave me some input on last season. It was very helpful.

    “Because the majority of them don’t really swim anything other than free they are on a cycle of four days where primary event is 50/100 free and 2 days primary is 200 free with any secondary work being “25s on 1:00” and “50s on 2:00” of a stroke other than free. (Need them for relays).”

    Does this mean you train for the 50 and the 100 free on the same day 4 days a week?

    So do you believe that the 50s @1:00 for 200 pace is beneficial for their 100 free?

    Do I need to worry about lactic acid buildup from doing 50s on 1:30 or 2:00?

    Do you do any stroke count monitoring with your swimmers? Right now this 50 swimmer is doing 13 strokes for a 25 from a start (sprint) and around 17 from a push. This seems to be in the same range as other good 50 freestylers.

    I really appreciate your willingness to share what you do for training. We’ll be working in more shorter sprints this week.

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

    #2782
    Avatardoc
    Participant

    Billratio,

    We will train both on the same day. The primary emphasis maybe the 50 so we’d do 2 x starts to foot touch be under “25s on 2:00” pace. They then would work on skills for the next set which might be “n x 25 on 2:00” so they would work on underwater speed to and through the breakout carrying speed to surface we say “work from low to high energy” right now they can do eight on or faster than target time. They would recover and come back with 2 more starts as above. Then we would move on to 100 emphasis which could be “25s on 1:00” or “50s on 2:00” back ½ speeds. The “50s on 2:00” they have been offered 8 and the average number made for the group is 6, pretty solid for this part of the season. They do their recovery/skill and finish with maybe “25s on 1:00” stroke, recover and go home. The next time the primary emphasis could be the 100, so the order of the sets would change to give them the best opportunity to improve their numbers made.

    I have no correlations of “n x 50 on 1:00” to 100 pace. My guess is if you do them keep the numbers offered low in the 8-12 range.

    Lactic Acid is going to be there. But in that recovery time frame will drop quickly in the first couple of seconds if they are fit. It’s what is causing some of the failure to maintain speed and disrupts the CNS ability to fire. Not sure you can really avoid it. Happens to part of the race. It hurts with LA levels in the 12-16 mmol/L range and you have to get use to “being comfortable being uncomfortable” I get the USRP research. But sometime you have to feel the “sting” doesn’t need to be a lot. We say “at some point in the race you have to face the demon”

    Long time ago I was into d/S, cycles or stroke counts. But what was happening the kids thought that it was better to reach (actually they would overreach) out in front and then finish hard in back and we had some shoulder issues and I quit it and the shoulder problems went away. Now I just tell them. Let gravity put the arm/hand in the water, swim with no tension and when you can see your hand start the stroke. No swimming goes on in the first 8-10 inches from the top of the water and applying pressure then only creates shoulder issues (they rotate the head of the Humerus into the long head of the bicep) and now you have shoulder problems. Really try and keep it pretty simple any more.

    Some things to think about

    oldschool


    ? I child proofed my house and they still get in 🙂

    #2783
    billratiobillratio
    Participant

    This is all very interesting. When we do 25s @1:00 for 100 free I never knew what pace to expect of them. I have just been saying it needs to be clearly faster than 100 pace.

    So do you ever do 25s for 100 pace on 15-25 seconds rest and just hold 100 time divided by 4? The majority of our 100 work is made up of 25s but not as many of them are done @ 1:00.

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

    #2785
    Avatarryanupper
    Participant

    Well Doc, I should have read this post first. You ninja’d me.

    Try some 37.5s at 100 pace on a minute with the sprinter.

    Another opinion, she may need a built in day off since she seems to be doing a ton of “highest” effort sets versus your other swimmers.

    Ryan

    #2786
    Avatardoc
    Participant

    I would agree with “ryanupper” on a recover day. If you don’t let her/them stop when she/them can no longer hold time. I’m pretty sure you do, so the issue of a recovery day while maybe beneficial (mentally) is up to you.

    This has been the biggest adjustment for the “college” swimmers I work with. They think that they need a recover day about every two days. I spent over a week in a classroom explaining the system in detail and still have individuals (Eastern Europeans mainly) that think they have to spend 2+ hours working at below 80% and that this is somehow the way to faster performance. It will drive you crazy! All I hear is “more work” and they can’t hold times for !@#$ on 14 x 50 free on 1:00. But they need more work. Distance swimmers are the worst! I’ve even had them read an article from track (speed first) about marathon running and you would think I was the Antichrist.

    The ideas/theory/system Dr Rushall talks about can be used in any situation. We as coaches have to think and apply them to our situation. Example: distance swimmers. In order for you to keep your job (just kinda of important) they need to do 400s. Then have them do 400s at use mile pace and when they can’t hold pace they stop and move to something else i.e secondary stroke say 200 fly and you do a set of “50s on 1′” at 200 fly pace. I think you guys get the idea. We have to be thinkers! Using sound fundamental principles of physiology (Dr Rushall’s work has saved coaches that are really interested a ton of work) and designing our workouts based on that.

    Sorry for the rant! but we just have to be better! We have to be THINKERS!

    Oldschool aka doc


    ? I child proofed my house and they still get in 🙂

    #2787
    billratiobillratio
    Participant

    I always appreciate your rants. I am fighting against many of the same things. This sprinter is telling me every week “I feel like I’m not doing anything.” The second year is definitely easier than the first year in terms of getting them to buy into it.

    We had a lot of good swims yesterday. 9th grade girl broke the 100 fly record with a 1:01.7 (was 1:02.4 at sections last year). The sprinter who is the topic of the thread went a lifetime best 55.1 in the 100 free (was 55.3 at sections last year) and also had a lifetime best 200 free. She doesn’t train for the 200 free (except for 50s on 1:00 on wednesdays) but we might swim it one more time because she is close to our pool record. For an 18 year old girl to be swimming lifetime bests at mid-season meets without resting or a tech suit is crazy to me.

    Our 200 Free Relay broke our school record by a lot. Their time was also faster than the winning time at sections last year. Swimming a relay that fast mid-season without being rested, shaved, or in tech suits amazes me. I think people are starting to think we are tapering for meets and won’t be able to drop time at sections. Part of me gets a bit worried about that because I hear it so much but even if we don’t drop time we’ll have a good shot at having some of the fastest relays in the section.

    (I should note that the 9th grade flyer improved a lot over the summer. Her long course time converts to under 1:01.)

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

    #2788
    billratiobillratio
    Participant

    Also, more related to this thread, we switched her 50s @1:30 to 50s @2:00 today. Was able to do much better holding back half pace. Right now we’re trying to hold 28.5 and she was under that for 9 straight.

    I think we can train for a 54.0 and try to split it 26.0/28.0. Is that how you would split that race or should it be 26.25/27.75? She split her 55.1 at 26.5/28.5.

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

    #2789
    Avatardoc
    Participant

    you are right about the “always being tapered” comments. A rough average is 1.5 to 3% improvement over the course of a season for the majority of athletes. Regardless of if it occurs a little at a time or you try and win the lottery at the big meet. Looks impressive all the big time drops but when you put pencil to paper still 1.5-3%. Each season I would ask my kids “do you want to try and drop time during the season or wait until the end?” to a swimmer that said they wanted to improve a little throughout the season. “it made the work they were doing worth it” Basically they want to get paid on their investment. Didn’t matter to them that they didn’t have huge time drops at the season end meet they had gone fast all season long. If they are making adaption they should improve at anytime during the year. We are so stuck in this “well you’re in the aerobic phase or heavy training and you’re not going to swim fast now. But just wait until…” and then until doesn’t happen. Now what?

    the 100 free question. You’re going to be about dead on. I figure 26.41/28.18 for the 54 flat.
    This would be a very typical division of total time to race splits for the 100fr. Hang in here. the splits you can figure by a percent of total time and use that for swimmers races. Example the 26.41 is 48.90% of the 54.00, the 28.18 is 52.19% of 54. So you can make an Excel sheet and just plug in a time and it will come VERY close to what they need to be holding or go in that event. You can do it for any event just depends on how detailed you want to get. i.e. 500 and 2IM all works. You can “tweak” it for each swimmer. But what you find is they are all pretty much in the same %.

    Off to sway some recruits.

    Let me know how it goes

    oldschool


    ? I child proofed my house and they still get in 🙂

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