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this_guy32

Swim plateau: how to break through

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13 hours ago, Andrew #1 said:

OK - my simple two step plan to increase your 100M pace.

1. Add one extra session per week. Given what you are currently doing I suggest 100M repeats. Start off with 5x100M on 2 minutes. Then straight into 5 x 100M on 1:55. Then 5 x 100M on 1:50 etcetra until you can’t make your target repeat time. By the looks of things I reckon you should make 1:35s to start off with. Then add in ‘the championship set’, per below.

2. Every time you swim add in the following ‘championship set’ after your main set, as follows:

4 x 100M on 2 minutes, with the following repeats:

1st 100 - 50 hard, 50 easy.

2nd 100 - 50 easy, 50 hard.

3rd 100 - all easy

last 100 - timed all out hard as you can fast as possible effort. 

There - one extra swim session per week and an extra 400M swimming per session should see you drop your 100M pace by 5-10 seconds in about 6-8 weeks.

For an extra bonus - repeat the 3rd and last 100M!

enjoy.

 

Gold.  Thanks, I'll try this for sure. 1:35s on 2:00 seems doable. I doubt I'll maintain it below 1:50 as that's 15 x 100m and I'll be toast. But it's a starting point. 

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6 minutes ago, this_guy32 said:

Gold.  Thanks, I'll try this for sure. 1:35s on 2:00 seems doable. I doubt I'll maintain it below 1:50 as that's 15 x 100m and I'll be toast. But it's a starting point. 

You might be surprised how quickly you improve doing these types of sessions, and swimming an extra session a week.

When I start up after a break, I set a time I want to swim my hundreds in, then start doing reps at that pace, just not as many as I would normally do. I just make sure I do more next time.

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11 hours ago, this_guy32 said:

Gold.  Thanks, I'll try this for sure. 1:35s on 2:00 seems doable. I doubt I'll maintain it below 1:50 as that's 15 x 100m and I'll be toast. But it's a starting point. 

Do the first two sets of 5 x100 as a warm up. No need to smash out 1:35s for those. You only need to make the repeat time. 

 

The main set ive suggested was introduced to me as a HERT test set, but I reckon it’s a beaut work out session in itself. By the time you get down to 1:45 repeats you rally have to start lifting speed and effort because of the accumulated stress and drop in interval time. This session forces your body to adapt, which is important because when you plateau in speed it’s mainly because your body is not used to traveling through the water any faster than your plateau pace: 1:25 min pace just feels different to 1:30, and 1:20 pace has a different feel again.

The championship set at the end of each session - when your body is already fatigued reinforces this change of pace feel through the water. This is the one area I have a slightly different view than AP - while I totally agree with ‘more is more’ approach to swimming, what really brings home the bacon is doing things that change your pace of swimming: most triathlon swimmers are lucky to have two swim paces - slow and pathetic. Good ones have 4, but really good swimmers actually have up to 7 different paces that they train at.

on a related note - I am sure that two ‘super coaches’ - Darren Smith and Chris Hanrahan - have posted on this forum a couple of rs ago about triathlon swimming. If someone can dig those out of the achives I thing you’ll find their advice extremely valuable. 

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6 hours ago, Andrew #1 said:

on a related note - I am sure that two ‘super coaches’ - Darren Smith and Chris Hanrahan - have posted on this forum a couple of rs ago about triathlon swimming. If someone can dig those out of the achives I thing you’ll find their advice extremely valuable

There are 2 in trigold 

And

http://forums.transitions.org.au/topic/43042-lets-talk-swimming/

 

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8 hours ago, Andrew #1 said:

what really brings home the bacon is doing things that change your pace of swimming:

I really subscribe to this method. As I said before, I set the pace I want to swim at, then work the sets around that. When I'm getting back into it, I make sure I do 1km in each session at or below 1:30 pace. Then as I get better, I set myself for 2km at that pace, with a few hundred of that at 1:25. Then I set myself 1km at 1:25 pace.

It doesn't worry me whether these are 50's, 100's or 200's, or whether I have 10sec break or 30. I just make sure I swim that distance at that pace. After a few weeks, that pace doesn't seem as hard any more, so you up the stakes.

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On 15/05/2018 at 10:00 PM, Andrew #1 said:

...

2. Every time you swim add in the following ‘championship set’ after your main set, as follows:

4 x 100M on 2 minutes, with the following repeats:

1st 100 - 50 hard, 50 easy.

2nd 100 - 50 easy, 50 hard.

3rd 100 - all easy

last 100 - timed all out hard as you can fast as possible effort. 

I've been doing something very similar to this but as a main set and I think it was you who gave it to me.  I do it as 3x(4x100), the only difference is that my 3rd 100 is my fast one and the last 100 is easy.  And I can confirm that this worked and definitely got me out of a plateau.  I flogged myself for the fast bits and concentrated on form for the easy bits.  This also taught me that I can hurt, while maintaining strength, for a long longer than I thought I could.

On 15/05/2018 at 10:00 PM, Andrew #1 said:

... Given what you are currently doing I suggest 100M repeats. Start off with 5x100M on 2 minutes. Then straight into 5 x 100M on 1:55. Then 5 x 100M on 1:50 etcetra until you can’t make your target repeat time. By the looks of things I reckon you should make 1:35s to start off with. 

I've kinda plateau'd again, but I haven't concentrated much on swimming recently.  I'm trying to get some mojo back so this has peaked my interest.  So, are these 100s done easy to start, fast to finish?  Or fast to start as you have have lots of time to recover, then easy to finish as there will be no recovery?  e.g. the last 5x100 would just end up being 500m?  Or are you trying to touch on exactly the same time each time, just getting 5 seconds less recovery each time?  

Thanks :-)

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You are only trying to make the repeat time (plus a 5-10 seconds to spare), so you start off slow but increase pace whilst simultaneously reducing recovery time as you get down to business. If you start off swimming 1:50 and but the time the repeat time gets down to 1:40 and you are swimming around 1:30+ per hundred you have been going through the gears and your body has adjusted automatically to the change in speed. It’s a real win win session.

 

ps. Glad my championship set worked for you. However the point behind the all easy 100 was to make your hard 4th 100 fast, not just hard. We are chasing speed, not a hard workout (which you should have gotten from your main set anyway). 

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Hmmm   I'll give it a go.  I'll be fine with the 1:50s and 1:45s, but the 1:40s will see me get slower  as I won't have the rest I need to get the speed up.  By the 1:35s it'll be 500m straight!  (back in a chlorine pool - my ego has taken a hit!)

 

Oh trust me, that hard 100 is fast - I flog it!  I do this set with lots of rest - leave on 2:00 touch between 1:21 and 1:35 depending on 100.  Brought it down to 1:55s in the salt pool... 

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1 hour ago, BogFrog said:

Hmmm   I'll give it a go.  I'll be fine with the 1:50s and 1:45s, but the 1:40s will see me get slower  as I won't have the rest I need to get the speed up.  By the 1:35s it'll be 500m straight!  (back in a chlorine pool - my ego has taken a hit!)

 

Oh trust me, that hard 100 is fast - I flog it!  I do this set with lots of rest - leave on 2:00 touch between 1:21 and 1:35 depending on 100.  Brought it down to 1:55s in the salt pool... 

1. Sure you start to get slower as the intervals come down but that’s the challenge. Another reason to go slow to start off (triathletes need a little incentive to swim slow, so there it is). Going faster when it counts is both mental and physical. 

2, flogging yourself for the ‘fast hundred’ is meant to be a byproduct, not the main game: which is SPEED! From memory I think you got down to about 14:30 to 14:45 for 1km. Swimming 1:21 for a 100M repeat is no great surprise, but you should be aiming to be way under 1:20 and you should adopt a whatever it takes approach. Even if it means bumping up the rest between repeats. This is not a set to aim to reduce it down to 1:55, but it could be one to increase the gap between the 3rd 100 and your timed 100 to 2:30 or even 3 minutes if that is what it takes to get below 1:20 ...

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7 minutes ago, Andrew #1 said:

From memory I think you got down to about 14:30 to 14:45 for 1km. Swimming 1:21 for a 100M repeat is no great surprise, but you should be aiming to be way under 1:20 and you should adopt a whatever it takes approach.

As an example. 2 years ago I was swimming 1km in about 14:40 on a really good day. When we did "Speed Day" at squad, I was doing the 100's on 1:13 - 1:14. There weren't many of them, and there was good rest, but it was a consistent result, week in week out.

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1 minute ago, Ex-Hasbeen said:

As an example. 2 years ago I was swimming 1km in about 14:40 on a really good day. When we did "Speed Day" at squad, I was doing the 100's on 1:13 - 1:14. There weren't many of them, and there was good rest, but it was a consistent result, week in week out.

Samford shot course or grimsey long course?

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Andrew my last 2 coaches both throw your championship set in almost weekly.

 

Gilesy loves the 200 set followed by the 100 set. 

Though I've always done 5 of.

50 h 150 e

100h 100 e

150h 50 e

200 e

200 fkn h

Same with the hundred but using 25m increments.

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3 hours ago, Ex-Hasbeen said:

As an example. 2 years ago I was swimming 1km in about 14:40 on a really good day. When we did "Speed Day" at squad, I was doing the 100's on 1:13 - 1:14. There weren't many of them, and there was good rest, but it was a consistent result, week in week out.

What does a "good rest" mean here exactly?

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Sometimes it would be 25sec between 100's, but usualy it would be something like Andrew put up, where you do a set with 10 sec average break, but you are doing drill, or form, then every 3rd or 4th is fast & timed.

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I'm only 15secs off your 1km, but there is no way I could do a 1:13 -1:14 in training.  When I absolutely flog it, I could get a 1:20ish, in a salt water pool, but not repeatedly...

So, today I did Andrew's 30x100 with decreasing rest.  Average paces for each 5 was 1:33, 1:31, 1:30, 1:31, 1:32, 1:33.  Admittedly, the last set was supposed to be on 1:35, but they were more like 1:37s.   I found there was nearly too much rest near the start, and I wonder if I wouldn't get more benefit out of doing 30x100 on 1:45, trying to get the first 15 at 1:35 and the last 15 under 1:30 

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You went to fast at the start. These would be a more appropriate times.

1:50, 1:4x, 1:40, 1:35, 1:30, 1:25.

You are building to a big finish. The first 3 sets are really just a warm up getting you used to increasing your pace. Kind of like the 500 & 400 when I do my 500, 400....100 sets. It's once you get down to the 1:45 cycle that you should be starting to feel the effort (you're swimming 1:35 by now). Then you really only have 10 x 100 where you are digging deep, so you really can put it in to swim fast.

And remember, you only have to make the 3rd 100m of 1:35, because you can always put it in for that last one after that (number 4), and then you can always put it in for that last one after that (number 5). :)

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I can't swim slower than 1:45 pace for 100s.  I just can't.  The 1:33s at the start felt really slow and next to zero effort...  and I was cold and trying to warm up...  Even if I had swum them at 1:50, there is no way i could have made the 1:25 on the 1:35 turn around. 

I'll do it again sometime and try to make the first 2 sets around 1:40/1:45 and see what difference it makes, if any, but still think sets at 2:00 where it is an all out flog, or at 1:45 where it's moderate to hard would be more beneficial.  But maybe that's why I've plateau'd again...

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5 hours ago, Ex-Hasbeen said:

You went to fast at the start. These would be a more appropriate times.

1:50, 1:4x, 1:40, 1:35, 1:30, 1:25.

You are building to a big finish. The first 3 sets are really just a warm up getting you used to increasing your pace. Kind of like the 500 & 400 when I do my 500, 400....100 sets. It's once you get down to the 1:45 cycle that you should be starting to feel the effort (you're swimming 1:35 by now). Then you really only have 10 x 100 where you are digging deep, so you really can put it in to swim fast.

And remember, you only have to make the 3rd 100m of 1:35, because you can always put it in for that last one after that (number 4), and then you can always put it in for that last one after that (number 5). :)

This. Bog frog missed my point. Look at the spread of those pace times - 5-6 different paces there. 5-6 different sensations of moving through the water. Other than being a test set, that’s the actually main point of this session (plus its a good way to keep focused for 3km in the water, lol).

but you are way better than me at the moment bog frog. Today I got through 22 x 100. Started off on 1.55 intervals, had to slow down after my first one was on 1.31. Slowed down to 1.48 by my 3rd. Increased my pace to around 1.45 when I dropped the interval down to 1.50, increased my pace to 1.40 when the intervals got down to 1.45, then increased a gain to 1.35 when the interval was 1.40. I only got through 2 hundreds on 1.35 before it was shiitake mushroom time! Still, I went through the pace gears alright & after a 200M swim down did my championship set, with my timed 100 on 1.23 - ok, not great.

Edited by Andrew #1

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@BogFrog - “I can't swim slower than 1:45 pace for 100s.  I just can't.

congratulations. You are officially a one pace triathlete, 😂 

i have another session for you - 5 x 100M on 3 minutes, with no 100 faster than 2.30 pace. Seriously - you will deal unco and stupid initially, but there is no better way to learn how to maintain form and balance through the water. When Chris Hanrahan was coaching my squad we would do this set on a regular basis. The fastest swimmer in our squad was Chris Kemp. He was also the best slow swimmer. That was no coincidence. 

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18 minutes ago, Andrew #1 said:

@BogFrog - “I can't swim slower than 1:45 pace for 100s.  I just can't.

congratulations. You are officially a one pace triathlete, 😂 

i have another session for you - 5 x 100M on 3 minutes, with no 100 faster than 2.30 pace. 

Hey! I resemble that remark! I kinda agree with you though. The championship set (used to do 3 as a main set) found another gear, but yeah...  pace is always 1:20 - 1-40 depending

Aghghghgh!!! I'll drown!  And... *ngulp* strava?!? It'll look bad on strava! And if I don't record it, did it happen? 🤯

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The scary thing is that comment re strava drives too many people these days.  It's one of the main reason most of the guys I train with can't find another level going from training to racing.

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If someone comments that your strava segments were slow, just tell them you were doing kick with no flippers.

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I took the advice, and swam (again Oompa). 

I tried your set Andrew. I started at the 1:55, and came in around 1:49 each 100m after the first. I was planning on the full 3km, with the last set on 1:30 cycle, but didn't make it. I managed the 5 x 100m on 1:35's holding 1:28s, but could only manage 2 of the final set before gasping at the end and not making the cycle time. I decided to finish off with his "champions set" and managed a 1:17 for the fast 100m. 

Overall not bad, but I should have been able to make the 1:30's given the 1km time I did a week earlier. Maybe next time.

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