# Should you swim every practice till third failure?

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• #2913
albrock
Participant

Hello!

I have been swimming USRPT for a year now! So far I have understood that for example for a 100m distance you must swim maximum 30x25m till third failure or two failures in a row not actually reaching all 30 repetitions! But I don’t understand why there are sets like 20x25m for a 100m distance? For example in Michael Andrew training DVD they are swimming only 20x25m not reaching a failure instead of swimming 30x25m! So why is that? Can someone explain this for me!

Sorry for poor english, i am from Latvia!

#2914
doc
Participant

Albrock,
First welcome. I’ll give it a shot. First 30 x 25 is just a number and it’s definitely not a MUST. It’s based off really nothing more than an idea of this is what it takes and even Dr. Rushall has stated that in some of the bulletins. It’s roughly based off it takes 5 to 6 times race distance to create adaptation. In the old days coaches believed that if you could hold double the race distance you were “good to go” i.e. 30 x 100 short rest at 1500m pace, the athlete was ready. If you understand energy zones then it will make more sense i.e 4-6 x 25 on :40/:50/1:00 (Zone V), is not the same energy system as 30 x 25 on :40/:50/1:00 (Zone III ish), if you are using the same speed in both sets. If you move from 6 to 30 at 100 speed you are shifting the speed WAY to the right. It’s costing you less energy to swim at the same speed. Hope this makes sense.

Now the question is, “Do you need to do 30 x 25 in order to swim a good/great 100?” I say no. you need to make at least one shift to the right and if you get two shifts then good on you! One shift would be somewhere around 12-16, with at least 8 in a row without a miss and do it twice, then I think the athlete would have shown mastery of the speed. The athlete can do 200 at 100 speed they had better be faster for a 100.

What I have found working with club and college swimmers is always seeing the maximum number just screws them into the ground (especially college). They think that they have to complete all x of whatever is presented and they just can’t handle it mentally. Control the progression. Start with 8-10 x whatever distance and see how they do. Then move to 12-14 and again see happens and maybe you get BOLD and try 16-20 and again see what happens. If they can complete in the 60-70% range they are doing really well and at 100% you need to adjust times.

Hope this gives you some ideas.

Your English is much better than my Latvian. I can read/word recognize Lithuanian OK and speak very little Russian. Damn alphabet just screws me into the ground ðŸ™‚

Doc

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#2915
Marlin
Participant

Albrock, I believe failure is crucial to the benefits of USRPT. I think that Michael Andrew is failing 3 times more often than not. I donâ€™t have that dvd but there was a video from that dvd of a 20×50 fly set up on vimeo for about 3 days that I saw. He made all 20. Based on the times, I think that was right before his spring 2014 explosion. I think he is failing like the program calls for usually, he just had a great day because the cameras were on. Peter Andrew even said if the cameras werenâ€™t here, he would probably fail. Failure is a good thing and you should be going to failure unless you complete all the reps or have a meet coming up soon. Going to failure with USRPT forces you to adapt through a mechanism that you canâ€™t achieve from other forms of race pace training. I believe that I have figured out major breakthrough with why USRPT works. The failure aspect has a lot to do with it. I have thought this for a while, but Iâ€™m still researching and I want to make sure I have all my ducks in a row before I post it because itâ€™s some wild stuff.

#2917
albrock
Participant

Thank You very much for clarifying things up! I have one more question, Dr. Brent Rushall in one of his bulletins gives an example of a USRPT training session. In the example of USRPT microcycle there is a workout which goes like this: 100s – all strokes – a few 50s but mostly 25m/y. So what I do not quite understand here is what does it mean – a few 50s? Should you swim one set over 50m/y on a 100m/y (20x50m/y) pace and then another set same stroke over 25m/y on a 100m/y pace (30x25m/y)?

#2918
dmuecke
Participant

Your main goal is to swim as much as possible meters in race pace. Swimmers can’t hold 100m race pace on 50m intervals long hence you shorten the distance but keeping the pace.

#2919
doc
Participant

Albrock,
If you haven’t done 50s with them before at 100 or even 200 pace I’m not sure I’d post 20 x 50 ðŸ™‚ Start with say 8-12 x 50 and see what happens, if they make all of them then great and next time you know to increase the number. If I’d started the season off with 20 x 50 everyone would have just shut down. We are now able to do 20 x 50 on 1:00 at 200 pace and they make between 12-20 (just did the set tonight). Then come back with the 25s same stroke as the 50s. We call this long to short (as distance of repeat, 50 to 25). then maybe the next time you switch it and go 25s to 50s, this allows them to swim the first set fresh without an accumulation of fatigue (it does happen, it’s energy expended)
I think that after 3 sets in a workout we’re pushing it. The last set is rough and I deal with kids that are finally starting to understand the system.

Just to give you an idea. Here are the 3 sets we did tonight and results. We would consider this short to long.

14 x 25 free on 1:00 @ 100 pace range made 10-14 did an excellent job with underwater work and quality of movement.
20 x 50 free on 1:00 @ 200 pace range made 12-20 again did and excellent job with turn speeds, underwater work and quality of movement.
8 x 100 free on 2:00 @ 200 pace back 1/2 100 range 0-8. this was rough and they really did a good job with it. You could start seeing the breakdown and probably pushed it 2 100s to far.

This is a dance of sorts. You have to monitor the athletes all the time and make adjustments accordingly.
There are good days, there are great days and then there are days you wonder why you even had practice.

just food for thought,

Doc

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#2920
dmuecke
Participant

Hello doc,
reading your sets it looks to me you give your swimmers more rest than suggested in the USRPT papers. Have you always such long rests?

#2921
doc
Participant

dmuecke,
if you do a search of “doc” or “oldschool” you will see the rest interval question has been discussed on numerous posts.

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#2924
albrock
Participant

Thank You doc! I am using USRPT for my own workouts, I am not training a group! I am currently training for 50 100 and 200 fly/free. Currently I am able to do only one workout per day for 2 hours 6 days a week! How do You think is it enough to swim three sets for 100m butterfly and freestyle, and three sets for 200m butterfly and freestyle during a week? On mondays,wednesdays, fridays I am swimming two sets, one for 100m fly and one for 100m free. On tuesdays, thursdays,saturdays I am swimming one set for 200m fly and one for 200m free. I am also adding skill work(underwater kicking, turns, starts) and 50m sprinting. Swimming is not just a hobby thing for me, I want to push as far as I can, so maybe You could tell if I am doing enough to keep improving in these distances.

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