Reply To: 50's at 100 pace
It sounds to me that the “race” part of the race pace set isn’t the problem. It’s the turn mechanics under duress and hypoxia. Move those skills forward and you’ll be able to focus on racing in the “get down the pool faster” sense. Referring back to some base principles we ought to recall that effective race pace training is highly dependent upon mechanical skill.
My suggestion: do at least 500 total yards/meters (or about 20% of your total) of hypoxic work per practice. A mix of go-far and go-fast, under waters and no-breathers, swim and kick. Build a habit of NEVER breathing off you walls before the third stroke. This is a tough and painful habit to build (takes 2-3 weeks if you’re diligent), but once built is relatively easy to maintain and absolutely will build lung capacity and capacity for speed under duress. I’d also take a hard look at where and when you breath in a race or race pace set. For example going nuts in the first 50 of a 100 and breathing 2-3 times is all beast mode and awesome, but kinda dumb if that puts you in such a hypoxic state that the last turn or two are garbage.
Turn work…just gotta do a lot of turns. Slower to build a foundation of skill. Under duress to build race skill. I’ve had a lot of success doing 100s or 200s at a middle to low aerobic effort, but pushing very hard from the flags into the wall through the turn and breakout. That shifting of gears is really taxing and the turns become difficult to execute very quickly. Sacrifice speed as necessary to force the turn mechanics to be perfect. Always perfect turns…no matter what. At the end of each rep you should be breathing pretty hard, but able to recover quickly. The bit between the flags will progressively get slower throughout the set. It doesn’t take more than a couple weeks (3-4 sets per week, 1000-1500 per set or 25-30% of the workout) before there is notable improvement.
I beat this drum long and loud because it is the easiest and best way to get much faster in short course racing: get better on your walls!
Hope these suggestions help.