Training for the IM

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    Greg Tucker

    How do you train for the IM? Just do individual strokes in separate sets? Or do a mixed stroke set? We do both. Our mixed set is 75s of back/breast/free, usually 10-12 on 110. Then we will mix in 25 flys, 18-22 on 30ish.


    Greg Tucker



    I think you are on the right track. To help you out I’m just going to post a quote from Dr. Rushall.

    Even those who swim individual medley races should practice each stroke independently incurring training effects of the particular nominated stroke for the set. When practicing skills, time should be allocated so that individual medley swimmers can have substantial repetitions of turning from one stroke form to another. Those turns should also be practiced in blocks of substantial numbers of repetitions so that learning can occur. A suggested
    minimum limit of skill trials would be greater than 15. Fleeting exposures to skills, such as four trials, are insufficient for any credible learning to occur

    ? P2Life - Performance Nutrition


    As an experiment, I tried training for the 200 IM by doing 12 x 50’s of the front end and back end of the 200 IM (25fly/25 back and_25 breast/25free) with my own son. the idea was that doing 50’s was good training for the 200 distance. Did this for only 2 weeks and got very nice results (1% drop in time).

    I am also interested in hearing other methods for training the IM. I really like the idea of working on the turns while doing these sets, and that’s why I did it this way.


    I had an IMer this year drop from a 1:58 to a 1:52.99. The bulk of his training was 25s and 50s.

    He did 25s of all strokes and 50s of all strokes.

    Two bread and butter sets were:

    40x25s on :30. Rest when you feel your technique drop off. 10 of each stroke.

    12x50s on 1:00. Hold your stroke. 3 of each stroke.

    We neglected time in this instance, and focused more on holding technique. He had very significant gains. We may focus more on time next year, and I really like the idea of working more transition turns!

    I'm proud of what we've done, but I know 5, 10, 20 years from now I'll wonder what we'd done had we done it 'right'


    That’s impressive. I think I might be emphasizing the 50’s too much in training for the 200’s. I’d like to try that 40 x 25 set.


    Here’s my challenge: I have always emphasized the IM’s, as any club coach should do in my opinion, but that is a debate for another time.
    I have found that doing 25’s at 100 Pace is great for the 200 IM and doing 50’s and 200 pace is great for the 400 IM. A little bit of transition work mixed in with the occasional IM rehearsal swim and walla! I think you have some successful IMers.
    But, if the goal is to get 3 sets of each event in per week, how do you have the time. If have 4 2 hour practices per week and 2 1″45 practices.
    There is not enough time to get in all the combinations of 25’s and 50’s of each stroke not to mention training for the 500 and above.
    Recently I have hear the idea of doing 3-5 times the race distance. Is 12 x 25 or 12 x 50 really enough?
    That is my only real concern going forward, but I really want to make sure I plan properly so there are no glaring holes in our training.


    I have same question, Word. If 300% of the distance is enough, then I could definitely fit more sets in, but it seems like a lot of people are are doing 500% and up.

    We did 300% for the 200’s (12X50) and 400% for the 100’s (16X25) for our whole season and had good results, but I feel like I might have short changed my swimmers.

    I am interested to know if anybody else has stuck to the 3-5 times distance.


    Rick, thanks for the front and back end IM idea. My kids did it for the first time yesterday and loved it. Unfortunately, we will not have our first LC meet until the end of the month. I’m not sure how to judge their times since their entry times are from last season. Thoughts? We will do another meet two weeks later.

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