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Race Pace

Race Pace isn’t sprinting to exhaustion but creating the speed that will be needed to achieve goal times for each event. The main emphasis of Faster Swimming is if you train at slow speeds you will compete at slow speeds. If you train 500’s and you are a 50 freestyler you are not maximizing your potential. If you train long fly sets with bad mechanics and timing you can’t expect that to change when you are trying to sprint!

Start the season with enough rest at each desired distance to achieve race pace (goal speed) and as the season continues lessen the rest interval and achieve the same result. For example, 8 x 25 on :45 holding race pace at the beginning of the season. As the season progresses 8 x 25 on :30 holding race pace. Continue to shorten send off as taper progresses finally holding race pace for 4 x 25 on :15. This same concept is applied to IM and long freestyle swims. This doesn’t have to be the main set but just the last 10 minutes of a workout. Please remember to do race pace during the aerobic phase of the season and during holiday training. If your swimmers are tired on a given day and you need to do race pace then you must set send off that help swimmers achieve race pace. Race pace develops muscle memory and helps create speed and power.

Let’s take the 100 free for our example and say your goal is to swim a 48.00 in the 100. In order to achieve this swim you must create and instill muscle memory at this speed. You will need to maintain 12.00 while swimming 25’s and 24.00 speed while doing 50’s. You can have your swimmers either hold pace to a hand touch or to a flip turn(feet). If you want the swimmer to hold race pace based on their race strategy then build that into your sets. For example, first 25 hold 11.5 from the block to the feet. Middle 50 hold 24.0 to the feet and the last 25 hold 12.5 to the touch. You can eventually work up to 75’s and broken 100’s (breaking them at different distances) and finally a 100 from the block before you actually swim your big race. This will give your swimmer the confidence needed for the big race.

You will do more race pace swimming as the taper progresses if you follow the workouts laid out in the 23-week training manual. Recovery and over-speed sets are equally important and must be incorporated with your race pace work. Remember that your dryland and lifting program is important and must coincide with this type of training. Jumping and reaction time are extremely important and should be included in all your workouts. Training with speed and power in the water, as well as dryland, will enhance everything you are trying to achieve in your program.

Dryland and weight training should incorporate the same basic principal as your swim training: Training intensity is directly proportional to your competitive results. For swim training, intensity is based on goal speed to improve sport performance specifically. For weight training, intensity is based on percentage of max effort and speed to improve strength, speed, and power generally. For dryland, intensity is based on work density (movements per time) to improve work capacity, speed and power endurance generally. Quality (intensity) is important in your dryland and lifting as well as in the pool to improve your performances generally and specifically.

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Preparing for Championships through Taper

Now is the time of year when everything counts. Hopefully, your swimmers have trained well and if they haven’t well then last call.

Taper time is a well thought out process of preparing your swimmers for championships.  Taper means QUALITY work and QUALITY recovery just to begin.   Race Pace, Variable Speed swimming and kicking, Understanding the process of resting legs, etc are huge components of this 7-week preparation. This is the time of the year to emphasize exact race pace speed needed for the big swim.

I have included a few videos to help you through the process. Heart rate is a great tool to establish what your swimmer needs. Tarzan is used to spark the nervous system and work the fast twitch muscles of the whole body as well as Overspeed work.

This process and all information is spelled out on the weekly outlines included in the Faster Swimming 23 and 14-week books. The 23 and 14-week book include the exact swim and dryland workouts throughout the taper process.

I would be glad to help just let me know, thanks!

Brad

 

Please copy/paste the links below into your browser.

Heart Rate Set Explanation:

http://www.viddler.com/explore/FasterSwim/videos/146/

Heart Rate Set Swimming:

http://www.viddler.com/explore/FasterSwim/videos/147/

Tarzan

http://www.viddler.com/explore/FasterSwim/videos/78/

Overspeed with cords

http://www.viddler.com/explore/FasterSwim/videos/111/

Pulling Cords

http://www.viddler.com/explore/FasterSwim/videos/112/

Overspeed Drag and Pull

http://www.viddler.com/explore/FasterSwim/videos/237/

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Weight Lifting During Taper

Coaches – please remember when the core of your training is aerobic you don’t need to lift with an aerobic agenda. Your swimmers are raising their heart rate a lot more than you think while lifting so just lift for speed and strength. Make sure that your swimmers maintain flexibility after lifting. Stretching after any lifting will increase blood flow which aids in recovery. Your swimmers must remain flexible in swimming and maintain your full range of motion.

Always lift your larger muscle groups first when organizing your work-out routine. Basic Guideline: Day 1 Back with biceps and one leg exercise and 15 minutes of ab work. Day 2 Chest with triceps, finish with legs. Take one or two days off or do Legs and Abs on the third day and not with day 1 or 2. Remember that you don’t have to be sore to increase your power and that definitely hinders speed.

Example of how to work thru set (chest exercise):

Let’s say you begin doing flat bench warm-up with 135 lbs. Begin with 2-3 sets warm-up with this weight doing +/- 8 reps, now let’s begin. As you increase your weight you must maintain the speed of each lift, for example, if you increase your weight to 155 lbs and did 5 reps total and 4 of them maintained speed and you struggled with the 5th rep you should have stopped at 4 reps. Now increase the weight and try for 2-3 reps maintaining your speed. Remember that we are training you for power and speed, working your fast twitch muscles. If you are more of a distance swimmer this will only help your training.

Lifting is cross training and is essential for full body strength, power, and speed. It is old school to lift aerobically if you train 2-6 hours a day aerobically in the pool. You eventually reach an aerobic threshold and then the rest of your training is useless. An example of aerobic lifting would be 3-5 sets with 10-15 reps or circuit training where you spend 30 seconds or more at stations, sound familiar? That type of training has a purpose but not when you are getting your aerobic training from swimming, maybe pre-season for starts.

Make sure your athletes aren’t starting preseason training for another sport when you are trying to taper them for Championships. The only time to really worry about cross training will be when you are resting for a meet or in the taper phase or your season for the season end championships. Example, don’t start running during a taper especially if you are in conditioning phase of another sport or throwing if you are in softball or baseball. Things to consider as they will impact your swimming performance greatly. Start other sports after championships.

Understanding how to rest legs through weight training and kicking is key to performance!

Distance swimmers gain from lifting for speed and power. When training for the mile your coach is preparing you in the pool. Lifting as prescribed is a great form of cross-training that will not only help power and speed but help in recovery from all the slow twitch muscle work.

There is a local team that over-trains swimmers and forces bad weightlifting mechanics upon its swimmers. I was asking them about their weight lifting program and he told me that they push multiple reps to ultimate failure. Does any coach even old school, train that way? HOPE NOT! Do coaches ever give hard swim sets where swimmers don’t finish to the wall and complete the set? Do your swimmers ever pass out or sink to the bottom? Then why would you train that way in the weight room?

Each person has a certain muscle make-up that helps pre-determine success for particular events and if a coach doesn’t try to recognize individual differences then true success or full potential will never be known. In short, there are fast twitch and slow twitch muscles in everyone and each person has a different percentage of each. The hard part on coaching is trying to recognize the tendencies. Long distance training or over yardage will reinforce the slow twitch muscles and slow down the fast twitch fibers of that swimmer and the swimmer that is predisposed slow twitch will reach his or her full potential. Weight training correctly will help maintain the fast twitch fibers thru-out this type of program. Remember there is no need to lift aerobically as you are getting all you need and more in practice. There is an aerobic threshold for each swimmer and program that each coach needs to recognize for each training group. What is that yardage number is yet to be determined and hasn’t been studied enough yet? Once this yardage figure is reached the remainder of practice aerobically is useless. I would place the figure to be around 7,500 +/- yards per work-out. Once a swimmer is in aerobic shape and this can be determined by max heart rate sets based on time after the set is complete for a full recovery. The faster the recovery to resting heart rate the better shape the swimmer is in aerobically. The heart rate set must be completed using a set that is a slow build in speed that utilizes slow twitch fibers as they recover faster due to their size and energy demands on the body. Now if a swimmer is predisposed to fast twitch you may begin his or her training. I have developed a 9-week weightlifting program that would start during the finish phase of getting swimmers in shape aerobically and continue thru the sprint phase of training or as some prefer to say the beginning of taper and finish with a 4-week speed work taper that all finishes with the championship meet. You must have some sort of speed work in every practice even if it for 10 minutes at the end of each practice or trailing warm-up. You can’t let the fast twitch of any swimmer to be detrained at any phase of your season.

Coaches please remember the key ingredient to this whole program is based on training swimmers for the exact event. Most coaches still believe that training swimmers for the mile will prepare you for the 500. I believe that training swimmers for the mile will prepare them for the mile and hurt the speed needed for the 500. I said speed for the 500 and speed and power are part of each event. Training for the 50, 100 and 200’s take more speed and power but it one of the important components of training after a swimmer is in shape aerobically. Please remember that while you are in the aerobic phase of training that speed work must always be worked in the work-out and the basis for your lifting program.

The Faster Swimming Strength program and support videos will help you taper lifting with your swimming for Championships!

 

Good Luck at Champs!

Brad

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Grand Prix Meets

Coaches I feel we need to voice our opinions about a few issues at the Grand Prix meets.

I was recently at the Indy Grand Prix meet in March.  As some of you know they have capped the meets at 700 swimmers. One of the Grand Prix meets closed in hours.  The B flight was very small at Indy and could have been expanded by allowing more into the meet. Spring Juniors Nationals can run a quality meet with almost double the swimmers…

Capping the meet at 700 swimmers has had a ripple effect for the meet.

1. Coaches are signing swimmers up for the meet in advance and deciding whether to attend later.

2. There were over an hour of scratches each day and a lot of no shows in the meet.  This affects the posted meet timelines as well as hurting swimmers who get closed out of the meet.

I feel we need to address space in warm ups especially at National Level meets Sectionals, Grand Prix, Juniors, etc.

Swimmers and Coaches work all year preparing and tapering for a great meet just to attend these meets and compromise proper warm up space.

To provide proper warm up space do we have schedule meets differently or have scheduled breaks during the meet.  I am sure many of you have thoughts on how to handle space issues so please share your ideas.

Looking forward to hearing your thoughts.

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Successful Sport Task Management Part 1: Follow Up to 10 Principles of Athletic Success

This is a follow up to an article we posted on Facebook in January 2012. The article was titled “The 10 Principles of Athletic Success.” If you have questions, please know that we answer every email and phone call.

For the next 3 email newsletters, we’ll be discussing Successful Sports Task Management.

Successful task management for a sports season has many, many facets and in explaining my thoughts I will do my best to move from general to specific throughout this series.  Taking a top-down approach helps to account for the variables involved and allows the day-to-day focus to remain on what is happening in the present; with a solid, principle-based structure that we have built on through experience (the past); and some degree of comfort we are heading in the right direction (toward the future).  This top-down approach toward planning allows the freedom to focus on the here-and-now aspects of task management.

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FOLLOW UP:

These principals function well as a base for decision making and problem-solving and lead us directly to our Purpose.  We do our best to keep things simple and concise in order to focus on what matters to our teams.

Our Team purpose is to Learn, to Have Fun, and to Compete.  We want all of our athletes learning not only sports skills to an ever higher degree but also to learn how to have fun and compete at the same time; how to train and have fun at the same time; how to balance their energies and commitments to make it all work.  We emphasize that learning is a life-long process and that there is always more to know and experience.

Having fun can be tough during an exhausting training set or a critical competition – and so goes hand-in-hand with learning.  We do what we can to make training and competition more fun than anxiety-producing.  This focus on fun is especially important at the developmental stages of sport and carries over into high-level performance far more than many perceive.  Learning the skills & rules of the sport should be made as fun as possible as well – not always an easy task for the coach!

Competing is where the rubber meets the road in sport – competitions allow us to see where our preparations have led us.  We delineate competitions into 3 categories: Developmental, Important, and Critical.  Developmental competitions are to get an indicator of where we are in our training, to practice at competing, and perhaps to try a new technique, strategy or tactic that we have been working on in practice.  Most developing/younger athletes have mainly developmental competitions.  Important competitions allow us to compete at a higher level, many times with a little added rest to get a true picture of our skills and conditioning.  Important competitions might include a mid-season Invite, a league championship or perhaps the last meet of the season for the developing athlete.  Critical competitions allow full display of all of the athlete’s capabilities and allow for top-level performances.  We peak for critical competitions, dropping back on volume to assure full system recovery and sports performances, and this peaking phase comprises a significant portion of the end-season for the higher level athlete.  Critical competitions include meets that qualify on to the next level, whether through place or on time.  And we strive not to lose sight in all of the above – competitions should always include both learning and fun at some level for the athlete to find continued success.

Our purpose for our athletes individually is simply: Training, Eating, and Sleeping.  This covers our main bases of both efforts expended and the regeneration required to move on to the next level.  The team purposes above are incorporated into the athlete’s training, which the athlete should strive to adhere to, and then also incorporate the 10 Principles as a base to work from individually at training.  More specific training task management is looked at in Part 4 of this series.  Eating can be an unnecessarily complex issue that we will address in Part 3 of this series, and Sleeping we will address next in Part 2.