Just wondering what you guys think about my plan so far.
My goal is to be able to swim a mile to 1.5 miles pretty quick by Sept/Oct. I don't have a swimming background so I don't really know what I'm doing in the pool.
I've been swimming drills Mon and Fri 4x75 of different things, about an hour to an hour and a half worth. I do a distance workout on Wed I'm up to 4x400 with (60 - 90s intervals) or a pyramid up to 400m (90s on the way up and 60s on the way down).
I've recently started doing a lil speed work on the longer days where i work hard the first 25 to 50m and then settle into my normal cruising pace.
So my question is am I on the right track to swim a mile or more quickly (I really don't know what quick means for this either ) by Sept/Oct? What other kind of workouts should i be looking at?
You could do an infinite number of workouts to get fast at the mile. Sounds like you have a good base, so a few ideas:
- Decrease the rest between the 4 x 400s. 90 seconds is a long time to cool down. If you're at "cruising" pace, 15-20 seconds rest should be plenty.
- Do you keep an eye on how long it takes you to do the 400s (or any other distance)? If you want to get fast, you need to spend some time at your fast pace. So, say your normal cruising speed is 6:30 for a 400 (I have no idea what your pace is, I'm just making it up). Aim to improve this to 6:20, or 6:10. You don't want to spend every distance workout at a fast clip, but occasionally testing yourself at a given distance is a good marker of whether or not your speed work is working.
- One way to remain focused on your pace is to do sets based on an interval instead of a set number of seconds rest. Instead of working your 4 x 400s with 30 seconds rest in between each one, give yourself 7 minutes to complete one 400 and start another. So, if it takes you 6:30 to do one, then you've got 30 seconds to rest before taking off for the next one. If you get tired and do #2 at 6:35 now you've only got 25 seconds rest. Keeps you focused, teaches you pace.
- I don't love the speedwork you say you're doing on your longer days. Working the first 25-50m of a 400 isn't enough, IMO. Try swimming the first 75 of every 100m at cruising pace and then picking up the speed for the last 25m. Or "negative split" your 400s - meaning, swim the first 200m at cruising and then pick up the pace for the second 200m - so your pace on the last half is faster than the first half.
- Here's a good mile workout as a descending ladder by 25: 275, 250, 225, 200, 175...etc all the way to 25. Ten seconds rest between each one. Hold a good pace for each segment.
- www.usms.org has many good resources on swim training and creative sets.
I like the different ways to look at those workouts a lot. I don't really time my self at all. Sometimes I find it hard just to count the laps never mind remember what time I started at! :) May be i'll start wearing a watch
Every pool should have either a clock with hands (clock with hands? uh...there's got to be a real name for this) or a digital clock. This clock is your friend.
Here's the trick to using it: Most swimmers don't pay any attention to the minute hand - it's all about the second hand. Surprisingly, the time it takes you to swim a given distance in the pool will not vary much - the difference between a moderately-paced 200 on Monday will take you about the same time on Wednesday and the following Monday, etc. And an easy 200 will be, what, 20-30 seconds slower than your hardest-paced 200? Not much of a difference to the minute hand.
So. Start by testing your pace at a 100. Use this as your base to calculate your base pace for other distances. If a cruising 100 takes 1:30, a 200 will be 3:00 and a 400 will be 6:00, give or take. Now let's say you're doing a set of 4 x 400s on the 6:30 interval. You start your set when the second hand is on :00. You'll finish your first 400 when the second hand is on or near the :00 again and begin the next one when it's on the :30. Who cares that you started at 25:00 and ended at 31:00 - you already know that it just took you 6 minutes to swim. It's the second hand that's going to tell you whether you came in just under 6:00 (say, if the second hand is on the :55) or just over (:05).
Another example: You're doing 5 x 200s on the 3:15. You start #1 on the :15. #2 - :30 #3: :45 and so on. Now say you completely space out and finish a 200 and forget whether you left on the :30 or :45. Well, you already know that it takes you about 3:00 to finish a 200. Since your interval is 3:15 you've got roughly 15 seconds rest between each one. So if you saw that the clock said :33 when you touched the wall, you've got your answer - :45.
Does that make sense? I hope so! With a little practice you'll discover that it takes very little brainpower to keep track of the clock - so you'll have plenty to devote to keeping track of your laps.
Thanks again coach!
Yes it does make sense and now I'll go to the pool tomorrow to try it out.