Resting for meets
September 19, 2014 at 2:28 am #1896
My girls just had a very subpar meet. I don’t know if they are tired or what is going on. I am getting really concerned here. Had a girl go 5:40 last Thursday in the 500 and now went 5:46. That was typical of the night. My 100 swimmers aren’t improving and we are 6 weeks into the season. How can they swim the same times out of shape as they do 6 weeks into the season?
Am I supposed to be resting for every meet? They completed a lot of race pace yards yesterday. Could that have anything to do with why we are swimming slow? Would it ruin my season to give them a week of rest? I’m thinking the 3 day rest that Oldschool talks about.
I know 6 weeks is probably not that much time to be worrying but we only have a 13 week season. If we don’t start swimming better they are going to lose complete confidence in this training. I just don’t know what to do.
One other question. Does anyone else have problems with Breaststrokers and Flyers really struggling to swim race pace in practice? What do you do about it?
"Most people have the will to win. Few have the will to prepare to win."September 19, 2014 at 2:30 am #1897
One of the things that spurred this question was the girl who had the best meet on our team had been sitting out almost every practice this week. She dropped 20 seconds from her 500 lifetime best and 4 seconds from her best 100 free.
"Most people have the will to win. Few have the will to prepare to win."September 19, 2014 at 4:01 pm #1898oldschoolcParticipant
I would ask some questions 1. Are they faster now then last year at this time? Are they racing within say 2-3% of LTB? How are their race splits compared to what they hold in practice? My kids on the club that are swimming high school are all over the place with performances had a boy go 55.02 100 fly BT (he was racing one of his teammates from the club) and then the very next week go 1:03 against a team that had only 14 kids total. Has great numbers in practice and should really never swim that slow. Go figure.
Your first question is easy. Not really, but there is an accumulation of fatigue that comes with the increasing numbers and you add external stressors such as school activities, homework which may reduce or disrupt sleep, diet and the list can get very long. All are or can be factors in performance consistency.
On the resting question I’d ask how often do your kids have meets? That combined with the numbers done in practice can have an impact on performances. You could do the 3 day protocol (club we only have 1 meet a month) but if you have a meet a week and maybe sometime two in a week you’re spending a lot of time resting and less on accumulation of potential which you are going to need at the end of the season. An idea might be to drop to just two sets of USRPT the day before and see if they don’t freshen up or do the 3 day and see, if you think that’s what they need. In personal communications with Ernie Maglischo he would always say “when in doubt error on the side of rest” p.s. it won’t ruin your season!
Good old breast and fly. For the 50s I have gone to the 1:10 may have to go to the 1:30 for them and probably for the pure high school swimmer not a bad idea. Also gone to :40 and some to the :50 for their 25s. We have lactate tested and used heart rate monitors and the rest difference is minimal at best. Use your race splits and compare them to practice times. If by giving them a little more rest they start making more at race pace that’s a bad thing?
Just some thoughts and ideas
"Only in America. Dream in red, white and blue"September 19, 2014 at 8:15 pm #1900
How are you doing sendoffs?
The reason I ask is because a one second difference can make a big difference in a 500. Example: If I want to go a 5:30 500, I need to hold 32s to a hand touch. A :32 to a hand touch is a :33 to a foot touch which is what you get on the split in a meet when you hit the touch pad. So, a :32 to a hand touch is a :33 foot touch which is a 1:06 per 100 which equals a 5:30 for the 500.
If you are holding :33s to a hand touch, that is a :34 to a foot touch which equals a 1:08 per 100 or a 5:40 500. Big difference.
Some people leave early on the send off and they also pop their head up to look at the clock before they actually hit the wall. Both of those habits give you false times in practice. Also, if you have an analog clock with a sweep hand rather than a digital clock, it makes getting your split a challenge. I know if my time is a :32 low, mid or high on the digital clock by how long it stays on the screen.
These things are critical in a longer race like a 500.
FYI it took my 6 months of doing USRPT everyday before I saw a difference. And after a year of doing USRPT I can’t do two sets a day 5 days a week. Best I’ve done is 3 days of two a day so far. Of course I am 65 and that might make a difference.September 20, 2014 at 1:31 am #1901
Oldschool, thanks for all of that information. That is encouraging. To answer your questions, they are all(but one) ahead of where they were last year. A lot of them are within 2-3% of lifetime bests. My distance swimmers have race splits that are a bit slower than they hold in practice and everyone else seems to swim a bit faster in meets than the pace they can hold in practice (Like I said, especially the breast and flyers).
It was a meet where we would’ve won by 80+ points if we hadn’t exhibitioned, so that could be part of the reason we swam slow. It’s harder to get pumped up for a meet like that.
Over the next three weeks we have two meets a week. We’ll only have 8 practices so I’m thinking too much rest might hurt our accumulation of potential. On the flip side, I don’t want the girls who have really bought in to start doubting. And I don’t want the doubters to completely give up. I think I will give them an easier workout Wednesday. Maybe that combined with having a meet on Tuesday will make our Thursday meet (big meet for us) a little faster.
I tried the slower send offs for our breaststrokers and flyers today. They loved it and looked so much better. I’m always nervous to go over 20 seconds rest. I appreciate that input. I think it will help a lot.
Mr. Gruber! It’s always nice to hear from a world record holder. I try to hold my distance swimmers pretty accountable. When they tell me they’re going 32.5s I correct them if I had them at 33s. I think the turns is where I got messed up so far this year. I didn’t account for it and they went in to the meet thinking they’d be able to hold 33s easily. Wound up going 34s and a couple 35s. Guess we’ll just have to work more to get it down.
I don’t like hearing that it could take 6 months to work. 🙂 How am I supposed to run effective USRPT in a 3 month high school season? The few kids who do club are doing traditional training the rest of the year.
"Most people have the will to win. Few have the will to prepare to win."September 20, 2014 at 2:43 am #1902
I haven’t spoken to anyone else who has said that it took 6 months, so maybe I am the only one!
The reason I think that happened was because I wasn’t doing the sets in the correct way in the beginning. For example, I did 3 sets of 10 x 50 with rest in between sets rather than going until failure. I also wasn’t adhering to the 20 second rest interval. So, yes it was 6 months, but technically since I wasn’t actually doing correct USRPT, it took me less time than that.September 20, 2014 at 3:02 am #1903
Another thought. I had been doing 30 x 50 on the :50 holding :32, which means I had 18 seconds rest on each repeat. In talking with Dr. Rushall I asked if it would be going against USRPT protocol to do the set on the :55 giving me :23 seconds rest. He said he thought that :25 seconds would be the cutoff as to when it would be too much rest.
The important thing, and old school alluded to it, is you want the most amount of race pace swimming as possible, so if going to :23 seconds rest allows a swimmer to do more before failure, that is a good thing.September 20, 2014 at 8:43 pm #1904
That gives me an idea for a set for my distance swimmers. Could I have them do 50s on the :45 until they start missing and then switch to doing them on the :50 and then switch to doing them on the :55? That might allow for additional repeats at race pace. I’m always looking for ways to mix things up while remaining faithful to the principles of USRPT.
I personally wouldn’t mind doing the same exact sets every day but swimmers coming from traditional backgrounds are so used to weird/random things in their workouts. I think once they realize how much more effective this training is they will be fine with repetitive practices but until then I will lose them if I don’t throw different things at them every once in a while.
Anyone else have ideas for how to keep things interesting for them? I try to always have a point of focus for each set but I’m not sure what else to do.
"Most people have the will to win. Few have the will to prepare to win."September 20, 2014 at 9:41 pm #1906
Just curious, how many 50s can they now do on the :45? Are they holding :25 per fifty to a hand touch?
With regard to variety, check with your swimmers, they might not want as much or as frequent variety as you might think. My impression is coaches want to feel they are doing something so when they vary the workouts, the swimmers like it more. I am not so sure that is true.
The big motivator for me on a daily basis is, how far can I push that first failure down the road. I love that challenge! Maybe your swimmers do to. Or that is what you say to them each day…”who can push the first failure farthest today?” Maybe it is a team challenge. Maybe you establish a team record for each interval for the farthest first failure, or do it by age…September 20, 2014 at 10:35 pm #1908RickParticipant
Billratio, you are asking all the right questions. I think you will see the results.
Regarding the analog clock, I went to Kiefer swimming and got a battery operated digital clock that kids can see from both sides of the pool. Made a huge difference. Much less cheating/leaving early, and it is obvious to everybody when someone tries to leave early. Also, much easier to see their time, so less of that head popping up that Glenn mentioned. Our boosters bought a larger model for about $500 so we will have digital on both start and turn side come high school season. Also, I let them start one second before the start of the swim. In actuality, they start getting ready for their pushoff 2 seconds before, and they leave about 3/4 of a second before the actual start time. The important thing is they do this consistently, so we know they are getting faster if they drop their goal time.
I experience the same thing with our breast and fly sets. They definitely get faster, but the goal time in practice is slower than they race. Again, I stress to them that if they can drop their goal time, it will equate to faster times.
I am a firm believer that you can’t allow the little “cheating” that swimmers do to make their times. It is too demoralizing to those swimmers who did it the right way and missed their goal and are sitting one out. What I am going to do this season, if necessary, is move those swimmers who refuse to follow the rules to their own lane and let them know that when they are ready to train the way we have instructed them, I would be happy to put them back in their usual lane. Might sound harsh, but I learned last year that it can be highly infectious, and it is not training at race pace.
For what it’s worth, I wasn’t as strict with the 20 second max rest last season, as evidenced by my “dropping the interval” post, but the results were fairly solid for a high school team that only gets 75 minutes/5 days a week to train.
So much of this is dealing with the individual personalities/psychology of the swimmers. I hope that I’m not the only one mentally exhausted at the end of our practice. Having coached the traditional way, I can see why this is a tough program for a coach who has already worked an 8 hour day.
Hang in there. Went through a lot of what you are experiencing last season, but the results made believers out of most of our swimmers.September 20, 2014 at 11:27 pm #1909
They have made 30 50s holding 33.5 @:50. I’ve since changed their goal pace to 33.0. They haven’t ever tried at :45. Do you think that would be too little rest?
I think you are right about variety. Most of them wouldn’t care if every week looked exactly the same. I have heard a few comments of “Ugh, 25s again.” But when I ask what they would rather swim they think about it and agree it’s better than swimming 100s and 200s.
Thanks for the encouragement Rick. It’s good to hear you’ve had success with such little pool time. Time in the water was something I was always worried about when I was running traditional training.
"Most people have the will to win. Few have the will to prepare to win."September 21, 2014 at 12:01 am #1910
Yes, I do think :45 would be too little rest.
I had gotten to the point where I was able to get well into the twenties before first failure consistently at a target time of :32 on the :50. I dropped it down to :31 and on a good day I can get in ten before first failure. There is a big difference for me between :31 and :32 on the :50. I suspect your swimmers would be the same way at some target time.
One thing I still do is go back to :32 on the :50 every so often. First that gives me more total race pace 50s and second it helps my confidence in being able to do 24 or 26 before first failure. Then I’ll go back to a target time of :31 on the :50 with feeling like I can move that first failure to # 11 or 12.September 21, 2014 at 5:08 am #1914oldschoolcParticipant
So you’d say you are in pretty good shape? If you haven’t relayed that to your athletes’ you need too! It lends credence to the system. The kids that have “bought” into the system are the easy ones. They understand that a 50 not on tempo will affect their time or to slow a turn will impact their time. Trust them, they get it and one sub-par meet/performance will not “break” them. My kids get it when I say “your tempo dropped to 1.65 into the turn on the 100 back and their response is usually “crap” if you are objective with them, they get it!
Meets are “snap shots” of where your athletes are in training. It has consciences those that perform during practice i.e. making high number (mastery) will always perform and seem to be at more consistence in their performances week end and week out then those that for whatever reason don’t perform i.e. attendance, lower numbers, I think you know the excuses, etc.
I’m glad the adjustment to rest interval helped with br/fl. Remember when you are up to your ass in alligators the primary objective was to drain the swamp. You have to THINK! There is NOTHING magical about 20 second rest interval. It is purely a guess! I will debate the good Dr Rushall on this any day of the week!
You can and your kids WILL be successful and it won’t take 6 months. Remember this is coming from a 65 year old swimmer (no disrespect. I’m 60) and while Mr. Gruber may be a world record holder he’s not a 13 + year old swimmer.
The best to you and your season!
I will share what I know and if I don’t know I’ll let you know.
"Only in America. Dream in red, white and blue"September 21, 2014 at 3:57 pm #1915
Thanks for all of the advice and encouragement everyone. I will be sure to let you know how the season goes.
"Most people have the will to win. Few have the will to prepare to win."September 21, 2014 at 5:33 pm #1916
You are 200% correct, and I took no offense whatsoever about not being a 13+ year old swimmer. Each body, regardless of its age, reacts to stimuli in a slightly different way, plus there is no way to compare a 13 year old with a 65 year old.
I think the point I was trying to make however, is that in this era of instant gratification, it is important to be patient and let the training work. Saying it took me 6 months (which it did) is as much for effect as anything else. There has been significant discussion on the US Masters swimming forum about USRPT. Recently a Masters swimmer who had started to use USRPT asked when she should expect something to happen. When she was asked how long she was doing USRPT she said “two weeks” and after a little more probing she had actually done 6 USRPT workouts in two weeks and was wondering if the training worked or not!
I read another post yesterday from a Masters swimmer who has just discovered USRPT and says it is “the answer to his dreams”. I think any training method can be the “answer to your dreams” if and only if, you are committed to it and give it all you have while in the water and not just “hope” you will improve. I have a friend who is a 50 year old Masters swimmer who hopes to get better, but he just does not seem to want to make the commitment. And that’s the problem, he “hopes” to get better rather than making the commitment to do so.
There is no “How to” book to get this “right”. You can read Counsilman, Salo, Maglischo or Rushall. All have salient points to make, all have had success with the way they train their swimmers. But regardless, the coach must first believe in the training and the swimmer must believe in the training.
I happen to believe that race pace training is absoultely the way to go! I have never bought into a training method before with such commitment and fervor. Which is part of why I believe it has worked for me. I believe it works and therefore I expect it to work and therefore I work hard to assure that it does, in fact work!
I am not a coach and not an expert in USRPT, but if coaches work diligently on technique and on the psychological component, as well as the training piece using race pace swimming as the way to condition their swimmers, you are right, they WILL be successful.
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