Shorter rep distances to increase volume early in season
January 12, 2018 at 5:23 pm #3326
I tried something new yesterday. I got back into swim season this week after 3 weeks out of the pool and water polo season (summer and fall). I usually swim the 50, 100 free and fly at meets.
My fly is extremely hard to train early in the season. Monday I did 4 x 25y reps, 15 sec target, on a 40 interval before I got sloppy. Not really effective and I’ve never really been able to do high volumes of fly when I’m mid-season.
Yesterday I focused on the 100 fly pace but only swam for 15-20 yards. About 4 good strokes. On a 40 interval. Stopped at 14 cuz I needed to leave so I never had a “failure”. I’m gonna work this set down to a 30 interval, 16-20 reps, and then transition to 25 yard swims. Monday volume: 100 yards with a technical failure. Thursday volume: about 280 yards without technical failure. Underwaters will have a big impact on the actual “fly” volume but right now I really need to work on both. When the underwaters and breakouts are smoother that will just help the transition to 25 yards.
Technical side I’m working on “end-of-stroke” 4.9 due to all the breakouts and “initial actions” 6.9, maximum shoulder abduction, because I’m also working on that during free sets.
RyanJanuary 15, 2018 at 8:52 pm #3327
Above was Thursday. On Friday I used 5 fly strokes and easily got 20 reps in @40 interval. Wasn’t really tracking the time but was gliding into the 20 yard flags at about 11 seconds. Today or tomorrow I’ll do 5 stroke on a 35 interval. Next target set will be 6 strokes on a 35 and so on.
HUGE observation: I’m working on 6.9 “initial actions” during the session. I quickly noticed (about rep 4) that I wasn’t focused on 6.9, I was counting strokes…
Now I’ve been doing this USRPT technical thing for 3.5 years now. I’ve read through the macrocycle manual at least 7-8 times. If I can’t focus on counting strokes and the technical element at the same time your average swimmer will definitely not be able to focus on both.
Moral of the story, assigning a “counting” set will only result in swimmers counting. If anything, the coach should be taking baseline measurements from the deck at certain intervals in the season. For example, early season N x 100 free at 500 pace, count the strokes per 25/50 at like rep 4 and rep 12+ (near failure). Go through a whole macrocycle then count again and measure efficiency. If the swimmer is going faster with the same strokes that’s pretty good but if they are going faster with fewer strokes even better. Also, if they are holding a similar stroke count longer in the set that’s a big win as well.
Again, my one-off case study, but don’t expect much if you’re counting and trying to work on a technical element at the same time.
RyanJanuary 16, 2018 at 7:50 pm #3328
Monday. 5 stroke fly (20 yards with a short streamline glide) on a 35-second interval. Took a break at 14 because those 5 strokes were carrying me about 1-2 yards short of the 20-yard mark. Not necessarily “failure” but a noticeable decrease in power.
I’ll do another set of 5 strokes on a 35 then try 6 strokes on a 35. 6 will take me past the 20-yard flags but not to the wall.
I’m going to use this concept all the way to the wall. I’m estimating 7 efficient strokes to the wall. I’ll shoot for a time (~14.5 seconds) but also use the stroke distance as a failure point. If I start coming up 1-2 yards short of the wall that will be a miss as well.
RyanJanuary 29, 2018 at 9:44 pm #3329
Working well. Trying to maintain a stroke count, distance, and 100 pace all at the same time is tough but it seems to be the best way to measure fly and breaststroke improvements. After I get to 7 strokes I think I will add a turn and 1 stroke breakout with easy freestyle to finish the 50. Start on a 1:00 and work down to a :50. At that point, alternating between workouts of N x 25’s @100 pace and N x 25+turn w/ breakout @100 pace will allow for turn work without requiring a full fly 50.
Maybe I can find a marker to see the breakout distance and time but that won’t be a priority of that session.
RyanJanuary 31, 2018 at 12:15 am #3330docParticipant
There is a lot of logic in your methodology. Have you tried using a Tempo Trainer? On setting 1 you can get the exact time for repeats. We use number of beeps for rest. example 1:1 would be 1 beep or 1:2 would be 2 beeps you get the idea. There is a new gadget on the market called “Firebelly”. Firebelly is kinda interesting in that it talks to you (may not want that when you’re about to puke :). You can set it up through an app (download is free) in your phone and download the parameters for the set to the Firebelly. It can give you time, cycles, turn speeds and tempo. I’ve used it for my distance kids and the feedback has been positive. I will say “it can be information overload” and found that about two metrics is about all they can handle for right now.
To mark distance. We use highway cones on the bottom of the pool for oddball distances and more so for LCM training. But it works also for SCY/SCM. At least the kids have a target to shoot for.
Just throwing it out there.
? I child proofed my house and they still get in 🙂February 1, 2018 at 9:16 pm #3333
Well I have digital clocks on the wall at each corner of the pool so I’m getting my splits to a 0.5. If I switch pools I’ll look into that. My buddy just got a gen 3 apple watch with a tempo app and it’s starting to learn so we’ll see how accurate it gets overall. I should probably look into something to measure turns pretty soon. I feel like they are slowish.
We have cones. I saw one in the pool the other day. I’m actually “lucky” that the SCY pool is 4 feet deep on the ends. If I come up head past the flags I’m 21y if I glide just short of the “T” I’m 22y. I’ll move them around for the turns when I get there.
Thanks, I’ll keep this updated as I progress.
RyanFebruary 1, 2018 at 11:42 pm #3335docParticipant
You might want to really look into Firebelly. It was a learning function and the cost is under the gen3 apple watch, plus it does a lot more for swimmers. While back I’d asked the software developer to include turn times in the app and he did it. Super nice guy. The distance kids have kind of a love hate relationship with Firebelly as its always in their ear. It’s pretty trick stuff. There is another program on the market and that’s Triton Wear. Problem is it’s so damn expensive. Don’t get me wrong it gathers great metrics and at the gold level has all the “bells and whistles” but is $40/month. Firebelly is $229 and all upgrades are free downloads.
p.s. I’m not a rep for Firebelly. Just helping the guy develop the system for swimmers that generates useful information.
? I child proofed my house and they still get in 🙂February 19, 2018 at 5:09 pm #3336
Got to 7 strokes last week. The first few reps I’m hitting the wall right after the arm recovery. By 10 I was gliding a couple feet to the wall. On a :40. Hit 13s for a few then 14s with a short glide to the wall. When I feel like I’m coming in a bit short I focus on driving the initial actions and power phase a little harder.
The nice thing about a number limitation is I’m not forcing myself to take 1 more stroke to hit the wall. This would cause everything to get sloppy much faster. And I might artificially shorten my other cycles in the lap knowing I need to get the 8th stroke in – or to time the wall touch better. Now I just focus on making the 7 strokes as powerful and long as possible because I know they are enough to complete the lap outside of heavy fatigue.
Looking at it from a complete 100 race perspective I’m planning on holding 7 strokes on laps 2 and 3 then purposefully and immediately increasing the rate to 8 strokes on the last lap knowing I will be a few feet short with 7 strokes under fatigue.March 2, 2018 at 4:48 pm #3337
Another conceptual observation: Depending on the volume you’re expecting for the first miss (failure) an adjustment can be made for the number of strokes per rep.
Yesterday I was using 7 strokes to the wall and completed 10 reps before getting sloppy. I took a minute rest but was only able to complete 2 x 2 reps for the next two failures. Normally I’m expecting 3-5. I chalk this up to some residual fatigue from the 100 free set before. Normally, I’ll do a 200 free pace set before I do fly – doing back-to-back 100 pace sets is tough.
Hindsight, I could trim the stroke count to 6 strokes per rep after the first miss. This would take me back to ~22 yards. If I wanted to get some significant volume in I could even trim to 5 strokes. Again, working on power phase to drive the stroke distance so I understand that the fatigue will be higher than other micros. Also focusing on arm exit as I become fatigued since that seems to get really sloppy in the end. My hands are exiting asymmetrically; the left tends to drift under the hip before coming back out.
7 strokes x 10 = 70 quality stroke “reps” to failure. 2 x 2 x 7= 28 to finish.
Or, 7×10 = 70 then trim to 5. Feasible to get 10 more laps in at that point. 5 x 10 = 50. Maybe again for a 3rd miss 5 x 6 = 30.
As long as the stroke “reps” are the same intensity (pace/DPS/rate) with race-specific coordination then 7 or 5 is irrelevant after the first failure. This will be an optional tool to use when I feel like the initial set specifications are too hard after the first failure and I need to get more volume in.
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