Reply To: One set per session, slower swimmer
For the 500, I would start at 50’s, but strongly suggest moving to 75’s once you’ve adapted to USRPT work. I found that the pace I could maintain doing 50’s on 20 seconds rest was not representative of what I could hold in an actual 500 race. I saw a much closer practice-to-race speed correlation when I switched to 75’s.
-I’ve also found that 25 x 100 at 1650 race pace doesn’t really duplicate the demand of a 1650 race. With 20 seconds of rest every 100, I can hit all 25 at actual race pace with relative ease. I think you have to go much longer to really build capacity for that race, offering something like 30 x 150 with the expectation that you’ll fail out somewhere in the low 20’s, or 24 X 200 with the expectation of failing out in the mid-upper teens. Either way, you can’t count on doing the set in less than an hour at your current speed. You can work on ingraining the right pace, though, with shorter sets. Whether you do 100’s, 150’s or 200’s, they need to be evenly split. Doing a 150 targeting 2:40 at 52/53/55 by 50 isn’t gonna help you. Do you have a 1650 time to work with? If not, you can extrapolate from your 500 pace (110% is a reasonable guess), and work on ingraining that pace. You can then drop your 1650 training pace without the usual “set accomplished before failure” cue by adjusting it proportionally to any changes in your 500 pace.
Yeah, I’ve been focusing on the 500 for time and distance reasons (in younger days, IIRC my PB in the 1650 was around 24 mins., and my 500 a bit under 7 mins.), but I stopped swimming entirely for over a decade, and switched to marathon running. These days, I also find I can pretty easily hold 100’s w/20 sec rest at 1650 pace (based on the 500, it’s 1:40), and I prefer 200s/300s. I have vision issues for 75s picking up the pace clock, and I don’t like wearing a watch…