Set of The Week: Distance Descend To Pace

Photo Courtesy: R-Sport / MIA Rossiya Segodnya

Welcome to Swimming World’s Set of the Week! This week’s set is a distance based aerobic set that mixes in some 500 pace work. Take a look at the set and the description below.

3 Rounds:

    500 fast on 6:30

    3 x 100 descend to 500 pace on 1:30

    100 easy between rounds

The set begins with a 500 at a high aerobic level on a relatively challenging interval. Following the 500, swimmers will do a step down set of 3 x 100’s on an easier interval, where they descend to 500 pace. The first 100 should start no slower than the pace they were holding on the 500 to start the set. So, if a swimmer goes 5:30 on the 500, they should start no slower than 1:05 on the first 100 descend.

The goal of the 3 x 100’s is obviously to get to 500 pace, but also to teach swimmers what certain paces feel like. A key element for any distance swimmer is to have confidence in the pace they are setting, knowing that they can finish their race strong. Often, swimmers will surprise themselves with how fast they can be at a primarily aerobic level, giving them a better sense of how hard to push to get to a manageable pace.

By starting the descends at the same pace that their aerobic swim was, swimmers will learn how to find their correct 500 pace under more physical stress. It’s easy enough to descend to 500 pace across 3 x 100’s if you start at a 1:20 as opposed to a 1:05, as swimmers will be more apt to get to 500 pace simply by going “all out.” A tighter descend will not only get more out of them at an aerobic level, it will help teach them what it will feel like to try and hold their pace in the second half of their 500’s. Happy swimming!

All swimming and dryland training and instruction should be performed under the supervision of a qualified coach or instructor, and in circumstances that ensure the safety of participants.

 

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Author: James Sica

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James Sica is the Men and Women's Assistant Coach at Massachusetts Institute of Technology. He has been an assistant coach at CMU in Pittsburgh, PA (2015-2017), a volunteer assistant coach with the Harvard women’s program (2014-2015) and an assistant with the Ithaca College men's program (2012-2014).

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