# U.S. Question, is interval for 50yd repeat length for 500 free too long?

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• #2328
coacherik
Participant

I know this kind of has been covered in other topics, but I was just curious if other coaches have come across this.

Is the :20 rest too long for 500 pace? We are limited on time to devote for 30 x 50s but we can handle 20. I have found that kids can, for the most part do these on :20 rest all day. The interval is the same for 500 pace as it is 200 pace with considerably less effort.

When we do 50s @ 500 pace, we never have more than 15 rest. This proves to actually be some what of a challenge at times. We have even ventured down to less then 10, though not often (since last spring, HS season breaks up our short course season for all of our HS athletes). My group did a short & broken up lead in set on a Monday and then an actual set on a Wednesday of 16 x 50 @ :40 (for those paces faster then :35 per 50) to see what it would be like. They all said that it felt way more like a 500 then doing 50s on :15 or :20 rest and really liked the challenge.

I suppose this can be applied to SCM, but as alluded to in the 400 free set recovery question posed, the two walls changes sustainability. I like the 75s, but they are a great deal harder to manage a larger group of 500 swimmers when it comes to giving technical feedback and checking up on even splitting while watching others techniques.

Thoughts?

? All The Way, HLA!

All The Way, HLA!

#2336
ryanupper
Participant

It kinda sounds like they should be lowering their target times. 20 reps @ 500 pace = :35 on a :50 interval. Can they get down to a :34? Not an optimal situation if you only have so much time but if they are holding a pace with :20 or less rest you are on the right track.

What about some 75’s with :20 rest? challenging with less work/rest ratio.

Ryan

#2346
billratio
Participant

I’m surprised they find it so easy @ 15 sec rest. I would really be interested in what your results have been like. Rushall said there was a study that showed a correlation between yards and the performance of female distance swimmers. With an extremely small sample size (3) we had success training primarily 50s @500 pace. 17 seconds rest and 15 seconds rest. But that was with around 45 50s completed most days.

Would you be willing to post some race splits?

"Most people have the will to win. Few have the will to prepare to win."

#2348
Gary P
Participant

I’m a 45 YO Master, self-coaching for the 500 free. I also found 50’s on 20 seconds rest wasn’t working for that event. I could do almost 30 @ 0:34 before a first fail, and once completed a set of 40 doing my last two together as a 100 @ 1:09. That would forecast to ~5:50 for a straight 500. Next workout I swam a 500 time trial and the best I could muster was a 6:10…and I was “cheating” with a repeating alarm on my watch that beeped & vibrated every 17.5 seconds to help with pacing.

After that experience, I switched to 75’s @ 0:52 and found that to be much more taxing. After 14 exposures to that set in 21 days, I’m still only able to make it to the low teens before first fail and low twenties before failing out of the set.

I occasionally go back to the 50’s @ :34 with 20 seconds rest as a second set, after the 75’s and a short recovery (300M + 5 min), and find it sufficiently challenging in that circumstance.

In my opinion, 50’s on :15 seconds rest is a reasonable alternative method to increase the work-load, especially given your time and logistical constraints.

I swim the 500 in a meet this coming weekend. We’ll see how I do. Given that I’m only getting to somewhere around 2x race distance before first fail and a little over 3 before failing the set, I think 5:50 is still a bit of a stretch. I do expect to break 6:00, though.

#2359
Gary P
Participant

I swim the 500 in a meet this coming weekend. We’ll see how I do. Given that I’m only getting to somewhere around 2x race distance before first fail and a little over 3 before failing the set, I think 5:50 is still a bit of a stretch. I do expect to break 6:00, though.

So I went back to training 50s instead of 75s for the last three days before the meet to allow myself a little rest. Made 30 @ :34 on :54 without a fail Thursday, barely broke a sweat making 20 on Friday, only did a dozen Saturday.

Here were my splits:

1 Patrick, Gary

30.72 1:04.45 (33.73) 1:39.06 (34.61) 2:14.14 (35.08)
2:49.81 (35.67) 3:26.22 (36.41) 4:02.88 (36.66) 4:40.05 (37.17)
5:17.59 (37.54) 5:54.01 (36.42)

I just couldn’t hold that :35/50y pace. I went out a touch stronger than planned, and was a little fatigued from swimming what to me was a strong 200 free about 50 minutes prior, so maybe a 5:49.xx was in there.

Long story short: I’m convinced that, at least for me, 50’s on 20 seconds rest at 500 race pace is not demanding enough. My capacity to do 50’s on :20 rest suggests I should have been in the low-mid 5:40’s. But my work doing 75’s on :20 rest predicted almost exactly what time I finished at.

#2360
billratio
Participant

Thanks for posting your results! I’m guessing a more evenly split race could have been well under 5:50.

I agree that 50s alone probably won’t cut it for some people unless the numbers are very very high. Still, 5:54.0 is not bad when your 50 set would have predicted 5:50. You have to account for the turns so if you want to be going 5:40 your 50s need to be 33.0.

I’m also wondering how sure you are of what your 50 times are in practice? Are they 34.0 or is it possible you are swimming 34.5s? My swimmers usually think they are going .5-1 second faster than they are on 50s until I’ve corrected them many times. When you’re talking about a 500, going .5 slower per 50 is going to be huge. Actually .5 per 50 would be huge in any race.

Do you compete with a tech suit?

"Most people have the will to win. Few have the will to prepare to win."

#2361
Gary P
Participant

I use a watch with a repeating interval timer and a combination audible/vibrating alarm, so I’m pretty confident that my practice times are accurate.

My assumption is that since I can pull down 30 50’s without a fail at :34, I could probably get far enough into a set at :33 to predict a 5:40. Since I wasn’t seeing the correlation to 500 time trial results with 50’s, however, I chose to advance to 75’s instead so I really don’t know how many I could do at :33.

Any advice as to optimal splitting would be appreciated. My aim was to go out :32, and hold 0:35’s to the end. I obviously overswam the first two 50s and paid for it later. But was the original strategy sound? This was my first real race 500 in 27 years.

#2362
billratio
Participant

I’m really no expert at 500 race strategy. Those first splits actually look pretty typical. Most people will swim at least 3 seconds faster than their pace on the first 50 even when relaxing. Maybe going 31.5, 34, then settling into your pace would be better. I really think getting a full week of rest before your important meets will help that second half though.

I think switching to 75s or even 100s is a good idea. For 100s if I have a swimmer trying to go 5:30.00 in the 500 it is a lot to ask them to hold 1:06.0 in repeat 100s. Instead you could try to hit the pace you’ll be holding in the middle of the 500.

If you could hold 36.0 on your slowest 50s then with the the extra time you save on the first couple and last 50 you would pretty easily be able to break 5:50.

"Most people have the will to win. Few have the will to prepare to win."

#2363
Gary P
Participant

Do you compete with a tech suit?

No, just a lycra jammer. Thinking about a tech suit for Masters Nationals this summer. Not sure how much improvement to expect from that and a shave (I’m about a 5 out of 10 on the “Chewbacca scale”). 1/2 second a 50?

#2364
Amsepamse
Participant

I think that race time predictions only become usefull when you can actually train at the proposed 4-6x race distance without first fail. For a 500 that would mean you can hold close to 30×75 on target time. For 50’s at least 40x at target time.

I also agree with billratio on your race strategy; having seen a lot of 400m races, best results are seen when there is at most 3s between fastest and slowest 50. If you’re doing yards, then less than that. The tricky part with 400m/500y is pacing your first 50.
Remember you are training to maintain a 34s pace. Account for the start and your first 50 should not be faster than 32s. Every second you gain on your first 50 you pay for on all the other 50’s

#2367
billratio
Participant

I wouldn’t want to guess too high because I don’t want you to be disappointed but I would say at least 1.5-2 percent for a good suit. So that would be around 5-6 seconds for a 5:50 500 free. With the rest/shave/suit my two main 500 girls went from 5:47 (5:50 most meets) and 5:40 (5:43ish most meets) down to 5:33 and 5:28. A lot of coaches and parents disagree with me but I think the suit does a TON. I’m young enough to have had a lot of experience swimming with and without them. Just make sure you get a good one.

I wouldn’t abandon the 50s altogether. If you really think you can hold 33low on them then try to do that and build the number up as high as you can while still doing your 75s at normal pace.

"Most people have the will to win. Few have the will to prepare to win."

#2368
Gary P
Participant

I think that race time predictions only become useful when you can actually train at the proposed 4-6x race distance without first fail. For a 500 that would mean you can hold close to 30×75 on target time. For 50’s at least 40x at target time.

Well that’s kinda the crux of this thread; the relative difficulty of 50’s vs 75’s. Coming from the perspective of someone in the water, 40 50’s would be a helluva lot easier than 30, or even 25, 75s at the same pace.

Thanks for the advice on pacing. The race didn’t really unfold for me the way I had envisioned it. I’ve gotta work on better throttle control out of the gate. That’s always been a challenge for me, be it swimming, running, or biking.

I did a little better job pacing my 200:

1 Patrick, Gary 45 IM-IL 2:18.00 2:08.72 20
29.61 1:02.23 (32.62) 1:35.56 (33.33) 2:08.72 (33.16)

#2369
Gary P
Participant

Well that’s kinda the crux of this thread; the relative difficulty of 50’s vs 75’s. Coming from the perspective of someone in the water, 40 50’s would be a helluva lot easier than 30, or even 25, 75s at the same pace.

I should add, that’s assuming they’re both on :20 rest. If the 50’s were on :15 rest? That sounds equally as difficult as the 75’s on :20 rest.

#2370
Amsepamse
Participant

For 75’s, I would start with 25s rest. When you can make all (or close to) 30, lower your start time to 20s rest. Then you work towards lowering your goal time with the same start time until you are at 25s rest again. Rinse and repeat.
For 50’s, the same but 20s towards 15s.

#2372
Anonymous
Inactive

4-6 times race distance? For many that is a GUARANTEED best time, as opposed to being predictive.

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