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Tapering Explained with Example Workout

Tapering means a lot more than resting and is a long process to prepare the athlete for a series of championship meets or “The Big Meet”. The athlete will still increase aerobic capacity while developing the speed needed for the end of the season. Developing Speed and Power is the focus for the athlete’s niche events.

Let’s walk through the first taper workout. Each coach will need to adjust this workout based on practice time constraints and ability of the athlete. Set #1 could be completed once. Set #4 could be eliminated as it is a repeat kick set. Set #5 could be changed to 4 x 100 instead of 200’s and you could adjust your speed to 100 Race Pace work.

Warm up:

You will notice that % of effort is noted throughout the workout. Variable Speed is a major part of the workouts. You don’t want your swimmers training at slow speeds for long periods of time so Variable Speed is always used. You want Race Pace work! Emphasize to your athlete that perceived effort is a major part of the 23 week and 14 week plans. Make sure that your swimmers understand the importance of QUALITY work during taper. TAPER DOES NOT MEAN RESTING BUT THE SPEED AND POWER PHASE.

“No Grab Start: is a drill used to get the swimmer to use legs first when reacting on a start.

Tarzan is used a lot as a speed drill throughout the taper. Please email me with any questions or further explanation of drills or this workout. [email protected]

Heart Rate is only used once in this workout during warm up but is a great tool and used a lot during taper.

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Warm up: start into 300 choice swim Variable Speed by 150 70% – 75%

6 x 50 all no grab starts (emphasize leg reaction first no arm swing or upper body movement)

1-3 25 choice swim / 25 Tarzan heart rate above 25 beats for :10 seconds

4-6 25 choice swim / 25 3 strokes Tarzan fast then 1 stroke easy freestyle with head down repeat pattern.

25 or 50 easy based on what end of the pool you train.

Set #1

Sets are designed for this workout alternating upper body and lower body by set. This is built-in recovery work and a planned part of each workout. All workouts will either alternate upper body and lower body sets or the sets are designed to alternate upper and lower body within the set.

For ex: 4 x 100’s alternating 25 kick @ 70%/ 25 sprint swim/ 25 kick @ 80%/ 25 drill swim.

Incremental Stroke Count – Where the athlete increases the number of strokes per a specific distance to increase speed. This does not imply less efficiency or a change in stroke mechanics.

Complete the set below IM with :15 rest into the 3 x 100 IM on 1:20 send off followed by the 50 easy into the second time swimming freestyle also with :15 rest.

The freestyle part includes incremental stroke count and variable speed work by a specific distance or by stroke count.

The variable speed work in the 400IM is a great way to teach your swimmers how to actually swim the 400IM in a meet.

Set #1 complete this swim set twice – 1st time IM(Individual Medley), 2nd freestyle :15 rest

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3 x 200 reverse IM order (combo fly 2 right arm, 2 left arm, 3 swim both arms) @ 75%

(2nd time thru free – incremental stroke count each 50)

400 IM order (combo fly as above) Variable Speed by 50 75% – 80%

(2nd time thru free – Variable Speed by 50, 75% – 80% with incremental stroke count on the 2nd 50).

3 x 100 IM on 1:20 1st one @ 80% with last sub +/-1:05 adjust for ability.

(2nd time thru free with :15 rest, 1st 100- 15 fast strokes / 15 slow strokes,

2nd 100- 10 fast strokes / 10 slow strokes, 3rd 100- 5 fast strokes / 5 slow strokes)

50 easy into 2nd time

Set #2

This kick set includes variable speed work by a specific distance and kick count. Make sure your athlete understands the importance of kicking. Kicking is specifically outlined throughout the season and especially during taper. Understanding the importance of kicking for speed and power and how to taper legs are essential. This taper process takes you step by step.

Set #2 top stroke kick set :20 rest

2 x 300 VS by 150, #1 70% – 100%, #2 100% – 70%

4 x 50 #1 5 fast kicks / 5 slow kicks, #2 10 fast kicks / 10 slow kicks,

#3 15 fast kicks / 15 slow kicks, #4 20 fast kicks / 20 slow kicks

50 easy

 

Set #3

Race Pace is the goal time the athlete wants to achieve in a specific event. Holding Race Pace when asked for shorter distances is necessary to prepare each athlete for the physical and mental demands of the work needed. Know what times you want the athlete to swim for each distance. When tapering, the athlete will complete race pace sets with less rest, on faster send offs and for longer distances to prepare them for the eventual swim.

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Set #3 top stroke swim

25 on :25 @ 100 Race Pace

75 on 1:20 @ 200 Race Pace

50 on :45 @ 100 Race Pace

100 @ 200 Race Pace

100 easy

2nd stroke swim

50 on :50 @ 100 Race Pace

100 on 1:50 @ 200 Race Pace

75 on 1:30 @ 100 Race Pace

125 @ 200 Race Pace

100 easy

Set #4

Complete as noted above

Set #4 2nd or 3rd stroke kick set repeating set #2

Set #5

Achieving Race Pace is essential and the athlete needs to take responsibility for this. Please adjust rest when breaking the swim or allowing more warm down or recovery time if needed. Try to consider where the athlete is in their training to help you decide parameters for the set. Adjust as needed to achieve Race Pace time.

Complete from blocks if time allows – top stroke swim

flyer’s swim the 1st 200 freestyle, add warm down if needed between 200’s

4 x 200 on 3:30 – 4:00 +/- based on quality and time needed to recover

1st @ 400 IM Race Pace or 500 Race Pace

2nd @ 200 RP – 400 Race Pace/500 Race Pace broken @ 100 for :05 – :15 as needed

3rd and 4th @ 200 Race Pace broken @ 75 and 150 for :05 – :15 each time

100 easy

Total yardage = 6,725

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