Tuesday, January 09, 2007


Pretty much over at the other end of North America, there has been some sprinting lately. Reviews are mixed. I can tell you that during a speed set recently I realized how little quickness I have these days, so last night I asked Coach for a set of 25s. "Why?" he growled at me, as if suggesting that I just wanted an easy set, but when I told him I wanted an interval in order to do some speed work, he complied.

The first part (read: 3400 yards) of the practice was like normal:
1000 warm-up (400 swim, 300 kick, 200 pull, 100 drill)
600 kick (4 x broken 150: 75 easy, 50 build, 25 fast; 2 rounds with fins)
200 easy (to loosen the arms after the kick set)
1500 swim/pull (6 x 250: odds = pull free, evens = swim stroke)
100 easy
Then the sprint set was more of a descend set: 3 rounds of 4 x 25 descend, with 50 easy in between each round. I did the first round free @ :40, the second round backstroke @ :45, and the last round breaststroke @ :45.

It was a pretty good set for getting your pace set before you blast off, since the first 25 was at about 90% effort, which still allows for thought. In each round, I descended the swims by about 1 second per 25. That meant that in the breaststroke set, I swam :22/:21/:20/:19. There was quite a long glide in each of the first two 25s, but I worked to get big, powerful pulls and kicks in there. And the last 25 felt FAST, which felt good.

Now let me provide a bit of context. Last April, when I was training for Nationals, I did a somewhat similar set, but it was all breaststroke, and rather than descending the 25s, the idea was to maintain speed through the set. It looked like this:

5 rounds:
1 broken 100 breast (25s @ :45)
3 x 100 free @ 1:40

In that set, my goal was to maintain at :19 for each 25 of breast. I sometimes hit an :18, and I tried to hit a :17 but did not. But as the set went along, as I approached the fourth and fifth rounds, I was good and tired (I swam 1500 yards before this set and 2100 yards after for a total of 5100 yards), but I still had to work to maintain the quality.

Revisiting that set puts the 100 BR that I will swim at the end of this month in perspective. I would love to swim a 1:16 again, as I did in Coral Springs, but to do that, I would need to do much more fast training in the coming weeks.

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