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Deck-Based Dryland

The main goal of deck-based dryland (or simply “dryland”) within this program is to increase the overall density of work performed and to increase general working capacities. Another term for this is GPP, or General Physical Preparedness. A high level of GPP will not only increase general fitness, but help facilitate recovery from swim and weight training and, in all, bring your ability to train in the water to a higher level. Increasing your GPP will lead to faster swimming! Multiple qualities can be addressed with a well designed dryland program. Overall GPP can be enhanced through improvements in energy system efficiency, strength (general and core), power output, mobility, flexibility and balance. The goal of this program is not to lay out a cookie-cutter, year-long program, but to give an idea of how to set up dryland work, how to improve some of the basic qualities of GPP, and some general guidelines to evaluate dryland abilities and progression. Dryland workout examples are included, as is a full 7-week dryland taper program. An individual dryland training session will include an active warm-up, the work sets of the day, and a cool-down including active and passive stretching. Most weeks will consist of two lifting workouts. Micro and meso cycles are less important in dryland (than in weight lifting) as GPP can be incorporated at the levels presented here throughout a season. Instead of back-off weeks, dryland training includes test weeks. General qualities can be tested with the exercises listed, and ideal test values are listed, as are specific test workouts. If there is an exercise that is difficult to reach specific test values for (especially the first, easiest test), it is suggested that this exercise (or a variant) be placed first in subsequent workouts. Front-loading is another term to describe this; placing the weakest link of dryland ability first in a workout so that it can be trained in a fresh state. Other than the planned training session itself, you need very little to perform effective dryland work. A willingness to perform the work as indicated is obviously the most important thing to bring to any training session. For dryland training, additionally you will want comfortable clothing that is easy to move in, workout shoes, an exercise mat and/or towel, and a full water bottle. Effective dryland work can be accomplished with none of the above, but having most or all of these items will make the workout more comfortable. An index card with the full workout written on it is also easy to take to the pool and make notations as necessary. An additional item that you may want for dryland work is a medicine ball. Any med ball, bouncy or “dead”, from six pounds to ten pounds (depending on your strength levels) will work. A med ball can be used in conjunction with many exercises to make work more challenging and can be a great addition to improve core strength and power development. You can lift it, throw it, carry it, bend with it, twist with it, hold it close, hold it away, balance on it (cautiously), and use it to augment almost any movement pattern. If you have only one piece of exercise equipment for dryland or at home, it should be a medicine ball. GPP, as defined above, is heightened with all that we do in dryland training. If we improve any of the following qualities, we improve our GPP. Increased dryland ability = improved GPP = faster swimming. Broad definitions of some general work qualities follow. Energy System- The focus here is on using a large amount of our musculature to produce work. Basic work sets move to longer sets, and then to more dense work. Heavy breathing and a lot of sweat are the norm. Rest intervals vary from half to double the amount of time worked (2:1 to 1:2 work-to-rest ratio). Strength- The focus here is on improving relative strength, or the ability to move one’s own body. Basic sets move to multiple, short sets, and gradually progress to longer sets with increased density and or intensity. Rest intervals can vary greatly here, but are generally short (1:1 or less). Core- Improving static, dynamic, and rotational strength in the core of the body (the trunk, or top of the neck to bottom of the hips). Sets can vary, and core work should always be included liberally within a given workout. Rest intervals are very short (4:1 or less). Power- Increasing the rate and magnitude of force production is the focus here. Short, multiple sets will gradually progress to longer, more dense multiple sets. Rest intervals are usually longer here to facilitate nervous system recovery (1:2 or greater). Mobility- Increasing the body’s ability to move efficiently through a full range of motion is the focus here. This quality is improved with increased exercise ablility (as we move through a full range of motion in many planes), and with active and passive flexibility work included at the end of each workout. Now that the list of GPP qualities is defined, it is important to note that the specific qualities trained in a given session are less important than simply putting in work at an increasing density and/or intensity to enhance GPP. Similar to the weight lifting program, a focus on improving movement quality is the goal. What those movements are accomplishing other than work is a secondary concern. In any given workout the focus should be on the movements and their parameters. Why do we train some qualities (i.e. energy system work) in dryland when we can train many of these same qualities in the pool? The best answer is: to avoid over-training in the pool. Including an effective dryland (and weight training) program with a swim training program can help avoid over-use injuries and staleness. A variation in effective training means such as this will lead to higher levels of GPP and increased swim training tolerance and efficiency. Running can also be introduced into dryland training. Short sprints, hill sprints and running stairs can all constitute energy system and/or power work. If shorter efforts (i.e. sprint 3 x (8 x 40m on :25)) are utilized, place this after the regular warm-up (be sure to include lower-body work in this warm-up!) and before any work sets. Count efforts as energy system work if shorter intervals are used (as above), and as power work if more total rest is taken throughout (i.e. sprint 6 x 80m on 3:00 send-offs). If longer running workouts (more than 30 minutes) are part of your training, it is advised that you drop a dryland workout in its favor, or (less commonly) drop a weight lifting workout. This will allow for the recovery needed to accentuate your swim training. Tri-athletes and multisport athletes should gauge volume and intensity for total work (all sports/workouts) performed first, and then plan individual (sport) workouts based on this information. To realize swim performance improvements the total workload must be judged appropriately. Design your program now. Get more information in the Cross Training book and /or the back chapters of the Faster Swimming book.
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Keys to Developing Your Own 7 Week Speed Refinement Program – Intro and Practice Techniques

Hello Coaches and Swimmers.

We are going send out two excellent sprint workouts per week for 7 weeks.  They were used in a 7 week program along with Dryland/weight training and recovery swimming.

For example: Monday – Dryland/Weights, Tuesday – Sprint workout #1, Wednesday – Recovery swimming, Thursday – Day Off, Friday – Dryland/Weights, Saturday – Recovery swimming, Sunday Sprint workout #2.

You can follow this plan for the next 7 weeks and incorporate the Sprint workouts accordingly.

The workouts are designed to develop speed and create the physical and mental understanding of Race Pace (goal time work). Recovery is either written into each set or by alternating kicking and swimming by sets. Do the workouts as written for the best results and maintaining quality.

Each set explains the % of effort needed. You will be introduced to almost all of the aspects that are written into the 23 week, 14 week and 7 week programs created by They are; partner racing kicking/swimming, variable speed work by distance – stroke or kick count, race pace work for all strokes, tarzan drills/sets, incremental stroke count, broken sprints to maintain quality, fins, cords, paddle swimming, heart rate swimming/sets, recovery swimming/kicking, descending swimming or pace, over speed and block sprints to name a few.



1. Racing – The drive to win close races to recover from mistakes and overtake your competition, the desire to win!!!! Some swimmers have that desire and others must be taught. You must add racing sets in your workout. Each swimmer must have the ability to start and stop speed (variable speed) throughout the season, no matter what phase of training you are currently involved. Drafting then passing, stagger starts and racing different abilities of swimmers in practice must be some part of a weekly routine.

2. Race Pace – This isn’t sprinting to exhaustion but creating the speed that will be needed to achieve goal times for each event. Let’s take the 100 free for our example: let’s say your goal is to swim a 48.00 in the 100. In order to achieve this swim, we 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 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 you the confidence needed for the big race. Start the season with enough rest at each desired distance to achieve race pace goal speed and as the season continues to lessen the rest interval and achieve the same result. If you are tired on a given day that you want to do race pace then you must give yourself enough rest to achieve race pace. This doesn’t have to be the main set but just the last 10 minutes of a desired workout. Please remember to do race pace during the aerobic phase of the season and during holiday training. Race pace develops muscle memory and helps create speed and power.

Remember that your dryland program is important and must coincide with this type of training. You will do more race pace as the taper progresses.Recovery and overspeed sets are as important and must be incorporated with race pace. Training with speed and power in the water and during dryland will enhance everything you are trying to achieve in your program.

3. Overspeed – Creating and enhancing muscle memory with the possible speed of a time not yet achieved in a race. Creating speed in short spurts helps train the fast twitch muscle make-up of every swimmer. Cords are a widespread example usually incorporated during the taper or resting phase of a season and should be used throughout. Overspeed can be achieved off starts and walls and during very short distances or with correct tarzan swimming.

4. Tarzan for speed purposes – Swimmers that do water polo use tarzan to see the ball. They are strong, have arm speed, upper body strength and usually are great at kicking. Wow, everything you need for sprinting! Sprinting doesn’t always mean short distances. 200’s are now in the sprint category.If you have ever seen Diana Munz swim she has great kicking skills that were evident in her swims off each wall and at the end of distance events.She shows variable speed and power in the distance events with her upper body and legs…

5. Recovery and dryland – These two categories make most people nervous.Proper recovery must be part of each workout phase and the dryland program must match. You must constantly change body part emphasis in your workouts to ensure recovery. Hard work should alternate legs, core and upper body. That doesn’t mean if you are recovering the legs you can’t work the arms. You need to alternate upper and lower body between dryland and swimming. You can alternate within each set, from set to set, from workout to workout or week to week. Add a true recovery workout once during the week and see how you respond the next day. Maybe you even need a day off as in MENTAL RECOVERY.

6. Each set should include distances as well as the repetitions, mechanics emphasis, and what to do on each part of the swim. For example: 6 X 400’son 5:00 free with 4 fl y kicks off each wall breathing to one side of the pool,to ensure breathing on both sides and even shoulder rotation. Odd swims are variable speed 75% – 95% by 50, with numbers 2 and 4 pace holding 1:02and number 6 being timed with sprint kicking each wall and last 200. Write it down and take it to the pool.

7. You must be able to read the clock and understand negative, even, ascending, and pace terminology for splits in races and practice. Swimmers should constantly be using the clock even during warm-up and warm-downs so times and speed can be inherent. You must understand a certain speed with feel. You must understand and learn variable speed and repeats of a certain pace physically and mentally. Simple example during warm-up 4 X200’s with descending send-offs with a goal time on the last 200. For example, 4 X 200’s on 2:40, 2:30, 2:20 and the last one go a 2:15.

8. Coaches flexibility: Stay flexible and evaluate if the swimmers are getting what you wanted out of each set. Don’t force the issue if motivation isn’t the issue. Change the set to achieve your goal, scratch the set if needed, adjust it or use it later in the season. If you change the set explain why and try to get them to understand the reason. If you can’t explain it you’ll never be able to teach it. If too much info is written for the set slowly increase the stimulus over time. Flexibility is hard as a coach feels the time constraint to get it all in. Fight that urge and back up, as that will help the swimmers more in the short and long term.

9. IM (Individual medley) and the importance of doing sets in IM order. Training the muscle memory of going from one stroke to the other and breathing patterns. Breathing patterns change from one stroke to the other, as does the timing of each stroke. When switching strokes the swimmer must gain control of the breathing pattern before settling into the race strategy of each stroke. Doing sets in IM order will help train the breathing patterns.

10. Heart rate is a great tool to see if you are sick, stressed, overworked, need more rest or just out of shape. You can measure these many ways by creating a set that helps you maximize heart rate and measuring how long it takes you to recover. Remember you are not a doctor nor should you diagnose yourself from this, it is only a tool that can be used to help you at each phase of training. This tells you about aerobic conditioning, fatigue during the core of training and the amount of resting needed to create race pace or sprinting. This tool definitely helps during taper and resting before meets.Consult a doctor or read up about heart rate, as there are plenty of studies and information on the subject. This will help you with flexibility and changing your workouts when needed.

Videos of Tarzan, Overspeed and partner racing are located on our facebook and Youtube pages.We have 13 dryland warm up and workout videos to use. Please email Brad with any questions

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7 Week Speed Refinement Program – Week 7, Workout 13 & 14

Workout #13

Warm up:

start into 2 x 300 :15 rest70% 50 kick / 50 swim

2 x 100 choice swim VS by 50 100% – 75% :15 rest

4 x 50 choice swim VS 5 fast strokes / 6 slow strokes50 easy


Set #1

4 x 125 on 2:15

1-2 50 kick @ 75% / 50 5 up tarzan 2 down easy / 25 tarzan sprint

3-4 50 kick @ 75% / 50 tarzan with inc stk cnt / 25 3 up tarzan 2 down easy


4 x 75 choice kick 50 @ 75% / 25 @ 100% :15 rest

4 x 50 on 1:15 sprint kick top or 2nd stroke

100 easy


Set #2 complete this set twice

6 x 25 partner race free kick on :50

50 easy kick into next time thru

100 easy



3 x 50 drag and pull take rest as needed

4 x 100 recovery swim on 1:35

Total yardage = 3,200


Workout #14

Warm up:

start into 300 choice swim @ 70%

6 x 50 choice kick @ 75% :10 rest

Set #1 freestyle paddle swim

4 x 125 on 1:55 VS by 25 100% – 75% (1-2 strokes higher on faster 25)

start each 125 with 25 @ 100%

2 x 125 on 1:40 open turn to get time @ 25

1st 25 @ 75% focus on longer stroke and breathing /100 @ 90%-95%

50 easy

4 x 75 recovery with Tarzan on 1:15

25 6 stroke tarzan sprint break out then easy to wall

25 5 fast strokes / 4 slow strokes

25 easy


Set #2 top or 2nd stroke kick  :20 rest

2 x 200 #1 VS by 50 75% – 100%, #2 VS by 25 75% – 100%

150 75 5 fast kicks / 5 slow kicks


Set #3 top or choice swim set – add additional rest if needed or warm down

6 x 100 on 3:00 1-3 top stroke, 4-6 2nd stroke

#1, #4 broken @ 50 for :10 – :20 as needed @ 200 RP

#2, #5 broken @ 25’s for :05 – :15 as needed @ 100 RP

#3, #6 straight goal with +/- :05 from best time from block  same strokes as above

100 easy


Total yardage = 2,950

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7 Week Speed Refinement Program – Week 6, Workout 11 & 12

Workout #11

Warm up: start into 600 choice swim @ 70% 4 x 125 choice stroke :15 rest

75 kick 10 fast kicks / 10 slow kicks

50 swim 10 fast strokes / 10 slow strokes

4 x 100 swim VS by 50 75% – 100% :15 rest

check heart rate twice and keep between 25 – 30

100 easy


Set #1

12 x 25 on :50

1,2,5,6,9,10 tarzan increase arm speed

3,4,7,8,11,12 partner racing free kick

50 easy kick on 1:30

2 x 100 on 2:00 5 up tarzan sprint 4 down easy

50 easy kick on 1:30


2 x 50 drag and pull continuous :20 rest

100 easy

Set #2 complete this set twice

2 x 150 free strong with PADDLES on 2:30

2nd time thru top stroke on 2:45

50 kick (25 @ 100% / 25 @ 75%), open turn to get time into

100 swim broken each 25 for :05 – :15, 1st and 3rd 25 @ 200 RP,

2nd and 4th 25 @ 100 RP

100 easy

Total yardage = 3,200


Workout #12

Warm up:

start into each 6 x 50 choice swim VS by 25 70% – 80%

1-3 no grab start, 4-6 quick start

Set #1 Swim set

rest between sets if needed or adjust send offs

3 x 100 on 1:30 VS by 25 75% – (100% @ 100 RP) top or 2nd stroke swim

100 on 2:30 100 5 fast strokes / 5 slow strokes, 50 easy

3 x 100 on 1:35 top or 2nd stroke swim

#1, #3 VS by 25 75% – (100% @ 100 RP)

#2, #4 @ 500 RP or 400 IM RP with inc stk cnt

100 on 2:30 100 10 fast strokes / 10 slow strokes, 50 easy

3 x 100 on 1:40 top or 2nd stroke swim

#1, #2 VS by 25 (100% @ 100 RP) – 75%

#3, #4 @ 500 RP or 400 IM RP with inc stk cnt

100 on 2:30 100 15 fast strokes / 15 slow strokes, 50 easy

3 x 100 on 1:45 top or 2nd

#1, #3 @ 500 RP or 400 IM RP with inc strk cnt

#2, #4 VS by 25 (100% @ 100 RP) – 75%

100 on 2:30 100 20 fast strokes / 20 slow strokes, 50 easy

Set #2 kick top or 2nd stroke :15 rest

complete this part twice

2 x 75 25 @ 75% (broken for :05) / 50 @ 100%

100 @ 75% into next time thru

complete this kick set once :10 rest

2 x 75 VS 25 @ 75% / 50 @ 100 %

4 x 50 1-2 sprint broken @ 25 for :05, 3-4 @ 75%

4 x 25 5 fast kicks / 5 slow kicks

50 easy

Set #3

6 x 50 on :55 6 stroke tarzan break out each wall then finish 25 easy swim

200 easy

Total yardage = 3,425

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7 Week Speed Refinement Program – Week 5, Workout 9 & 10

Workout #9

Warm up: start into 400 choice swim @ 70%

start into each 8 x 50 kick on side fly or free/ work fly kick off each wall

1-4 no grab start, 5-8 quick start

50 easy

Set #1 complete this top stroke swim set twice

6 x 75 on 1:10 build to sprint with inc stk cnt each 25

(flyer’s free / fly / free by 25 do fly break out on free 4-6 fly kicks sprint)

6 x 25 on :40 odds tarzan sprint increase arm speed, evens @ 100 RP

50 easy into next time thru

Set #2 kick top or 2nd stroke – complete this set twice

2 x 100 #1 VS by 25 75% – 100%, #2 @ 95%

50 easy kick into next time thru

200 recovery

2,850 yards


Workout #10

Warm up: 

400 mix

6 x 25 build swim raise HR

Set #1 Individualized top or 2nd race pace

2 x 200 @ 90% inc stk cnt by 50 or repeat each 100 :10 rest

50 easy

Set #2 Paddle swim top stroke

4 x 100 on 1:15  establish goals @ 90%

4 x 75 recovery on 1:10

4 x 100 on 1:10 odds make send off evens goal speed @ 90%

6 x 50 on 1:00  recovery

Set #3 Speed Work rest as needed

6 x 25 build to sprint kick

6 x 25  odds swim build to sprint / evens build to sprint tarzan

200 recovery

2,900 yards

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7 Week Speed Refinement Program – Week 4, Workout 7 & 8

Workout #7

Warm up: start into 300 choice swim @ 70%

Set #1

12 x 75 two strokes by 3 x 75 inc stroke count each 25

:10 rest check heart rate once each stroke to determine speedkeep heart rate +/- 24 – 26 50 easy

Set #2

8 x 125

1-4 swim with paddles, 5-8 fins swim/paddles choice on 3:00

1-4  alternate fly(one arm with paddles) / free by 25(3 laps of fly each 125), 5-8 free

1st two 125s of each set last 75 build last 50 sprint50 easy

4 x 25 partner racing free swim on :50

4 x 25 build to sprint 25’s tarzan on :50

100 easy

2,900 yards

Workout #8

Warm up: 300 choice, 6 x 50 swim descend by 2, 6 x 25 build each swim, 50 easy :10 rest

Set #1 alternate top stroke kick / second stroke kick by distance :15 rest

3 x 200 kick VS by 50 75% – 100%

6 x 50 kick 1-3 VS by 25 75% – 100%, 4-6 VS by 25 100% – 75%

150 alternate 25 3 up tarzan sprint 4 down easy / 25 choice swim @ 70%

8 x 25 5 fast kicks / 5 slow kicks

6 x 50 10 fast kicks / 10 slow kicks

2 x 100 15 fast kicks / 15 slow kicks

150 alternate 25 5 up tarzan spring 6 down easy / 25 choice swim @ 70%

100 easy

Set #2 rest as needed

OVERSPEED 4 x 25 2 – top stroke, 2 second stroke

4 x 25, tarzan

4 x 25 on :25 top stroke swim @ 100 RP

4 x 75 recovery on 1:10

3,400 yards

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7 Week Speed Refinement Program – Week 3, Workout 5 & 6

Workout #5

Warm up:  300 mix @ 70%

6 x 25 each build to 80%  :10 rest

Set #1 tarzan set with recovery

complete the part twice

5 x 25 on :45 tarzan focus on increasing arm speed thru-out each 25

25 easy on 1:00 into 2nd time thru

complete this part twice

3 x 25 on :35 3 up sprint tarzan 1 down easy

25 easy on :45 into 2nd time thru

after all above is completed:

6 x 100 recovery swim on 1:35

Set #2 top stroke swim non-free

8 x 25 on :25 @ 100 Race Pace 50 easy

2 x 100 from a push top stroke sprint within :05-:10 of best time

Rest as needed between

200 easy

2,200 yards

Workout #6

Warm up: start into 300 choice swim @ 70%

quick starts into each 2 x 100 choice swim VS by 50 75% – 100%

no grab starts into each 3 x 50 25 choice swim @ 80% / 25 Tarzan @ 90%

(starting drill used to focus on legs only off of the block)

start into 1st 75 4 x 75 on 1:15

25 3 up tarzan 2 down easy /25 5 fast strokes – 5 slow strokes / 25 easy

50 easy

Set #1 second stroke kick

4 x 75 on 2:15

They are all broken at the 50

25 @ 75% / 25 @ 100% (1-4 broken for :05, 5-8 broken for :10) / 25 @ 100%

8 x 25 on :50

1-4 5 fast kicks / 5 slow kicks, 5-8 partner racing same strokes together

50 easy

Set #2 Paddle swim free :30 rest (descend pace based on your starting point)

400 @ 85% hold 1:05 with inc stk cnt by 100

100 descend pace from above 1:03 +/-

300 hold pace from previous 100 with inc stk cnt by 100

100 @ sub 1:00

50 easy

Set #3 free kick

3 x 200 :20 rest

#1 VS by 25 75% – 100%

#2 VS and (broken :05) by 50 75% – 100%

#3 VS and (broken :10) by 100 75% – 100%

100 easy


3 x 25 pull for speed only choice stroke continuous each swimmerrest within reason

200 easy


Total yardage = 3,475

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Building your Dryland Program – Week 1 Example

Dryland Training 1 – coinciding with Week 1 Faster Swimming Weekly Workouts

Weekly points:

  • Dryland workouts should follow swim practice or be separated by 4+ hours
  • Separate these workouts by at least one day
  • End all sets at indicated times – if you don’t reach a number goal don’t worry, just keep working towards these goals
  • Basic strength and energy-system work
  • If sore from dryland, include extra stretching at the end of any workout

 Workout #1 (Week 1)

Warm-up             2:00 Jumping Jacks or Jump Rope

1:00 Squat/Thrust

Stability 2 x 1:00

5:00 Active and Passive Stretching

Work Sets           3 x 1:30 Mountain Climbers

5 Push-ups every :30            continuous         1:00 Rest between sets

3 x 1:30 Squat/Thrust                        30 goal           1:00 Rest between sets

5 x 30 Squats                             continuous         :45 Rest between sets

Vary stance (narrow, medium, wide)

C-down               4 x 1:30 Core Rotation

Pick 3 exercises, switch @ :30 intervals

5:00 Active and Passive Stretching

Workout #2 (Week 1)

Warm-up             2:00 Jumping Jacks or Jump Rope

1:00 Mountain Climbers

Stability 2 x 1:00

5:00 Active and Passive Stretching

Work Sets           3 x 1:30 Squat/Thrust                        30 goal           1:00 Rest between sets

4 x 1:00 Walkout Push-ups            goal=effort :45 Rest

2 Push-ups per walkout

2:00 Push-ups                              goal=effort no Rest

C-down               4 x 1:30 Core Rotation

Pick 3 exercises, switch @ :30 intervals

5:00 Active and Passive Stretching

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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.



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.

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Open Water Swim Training – Day #20

In order to best prepare you for an open water swim you obviously need to compete in a few open water swims in advance to the BIG SWIM. You will need to be able to maintain your body heat, hydration and energy needs so don’t just swim a lot in the pool without researching your swim well. Remember to take into consideration water temperature, currents, potential storms or intense heat or cold temps for the day.

If the majority of your training is in the pool then you need to train as the previous workouts are written. You can’t train at one speed because that won’t be a reality in an open swim. Your legs need to be strong and your kicking abilities are more important than you can imagine. The variable speed training and tarzan swimming incorporated in the workouts are key to changing your swimming direction, finding out where you are in the water compared to your competition and navigating your course. The continuous heart rate changes in these practices will prepare you body for different energy needs in your race.

You need to understand pacing for your race and how to conserve your energy when needed. Race pace is a huge and essential part of the Faster Swimming programs. The beginning of the race is crazy until the field thins out and you can establish your pace then you need to be able to kick it in for the finish and Faster Swimming will prepare you.

You will need to rest for the big swim so understanding cycles of training will help prepare you for your competition.

This is the fourth installation of the 15th practice session for our Open Water Swim Training example.  Over the next few weeks, we’ll post at regular intervals various days of the training.  The entire training session can be found in our 23 Week Training Session, which can be found here.

Day #20   Mid Distance and Open Water

Warm up:  12 x 50   25 kick / 25 swim  @ 75%

1-6 quick starts, 7-12 no grab starts

25 easy

Set #1  swim set

            32 x 25   descend 1-8 and repeat :05rest

2 x 200 with 6 fly kicks off each wall VS by 25   80% – 85%  :10rest

24 x 25 descend 1-6 and repeat :05rest

3 x 200 with 8 fly kicks off each wall   :15rest

VS by 25  80% – 85% with inc stk cnt by 50

16 x 25 @ 500 RP on :30

400 with 6 fly kicks off each wall VS by 50  80% – 85% with inc stk cnt by 100


8 x 25  @ 200 RP on :35

6 x 75 recovery on 1:10

Set #2  kick set  :10rest

            12 x 75  1-4 build within each 75, VS by 25  70% – 80% – 90%

5-8 VS by 25  80% – 100% – 80%

9-12 @ 95%

6 x 50   1-3 VS by 25  75% – 95%

4-6 @ 95%

25 easy

Set #3  

            6 x 50 no grab starts  25 tarzan sprint / 25  5 up tarzan 2 down easy

25 easy

Set #4  freestyle paddle swim set

            2(8 x 200)  1st set all on 2:15 +/-

100 easy after 1st set

2nd set 1 on 2:20

2 on 2:10

1 on 2:20

2 on 2:05

1 on 2:20

1 sub 1:55

4 x 100 recovery on 1:35

Total yardage = 10,125