In high school, the hardest swim practices of the year were always on Thanksgiving Day and New Years Eve. These were the kinds of practices that you (or, at least, I) dreaded all year, the practices where I spent the entire night before tossing and turning in bed because I knew that 3-4 hours of god-awful torture awaited me on the other side of that alarm clock.
And being the empathetic coach that I am, I wanted to share that experience with my adult masters team.
Sundays, at 2 hours, are our longest workouts of the week (early morning practices are only 90 minutes). So I generally use Sunday mornings to get in a little extra yardage, usually somewhere between 5000-5500 yds (weekday mornings usually hover around 4K).
Earlier this year, as a throwback to the club swimming years, I thought it would be a great idea to shoot for a challenge set towards the end of the year. I had planned to gradually build yardage on Sundays throughout the fall until, at the last workout before the holiday break, we’d reach the pinnacle set of 100 x 100s–for a total of 10K (math skillzzz)–and everybody would enter the holiday season in a wild blaze of glory. Great plan.
Well. Turns out this negligent coach hasn’t coached at all since September. Which means that the masters team has not been building up yardage as originally planned. In fact, I don’t even know if they’ve been doing the full 5,000 on Sundays.
But I had mentioned the set to the head coach and Allison a while ago, and both of them loved the idea. And so, despite the lack of preparation, we got the OK to use the pool for an extra hour and decided to push ahead and do the set.
The set (this version largely stolen from Hillary Biscay, with a few minor adjustments):
*b = your base, so if your base is 1:30/100, b+5 is 1:35, b-5 is 1:25
3 x 100 @ b+15
3 x 100 kick/drill by 25 @ b+20
2 x 100 @ b +10
2 x 100 @ b
8 x 100 swim @ b+30
25 sprint/25 stroke easy/50 easy
2 x 100 @ b+5
2 x 100 @ b
2 x 100 @ b-5
2 minute break to regroup, drink some water, etc
5 x 100 pull or swim (your choice) @ b+5, descend 1-5
# 5 on these should be FAST
5 x 100 @ b+20
25 sprint/25 stroke easy/50 free easy
5 x 100
50 kick/50 easy swim @ b+30
So this past Sunday we went for it. And by “we” I mean Allison and one other swimmer finished the whole set. (I, personally, had not been in the water in over 2 months and jumped in on the 7 x (6 x 100s) on a base of 1:25 and did *most* of that sub-set. I had to make a few of the 100s 50s when I started losing feeling in my arms.)
Even though most swimmers didn’t finish the whole set, a huge number stuck through 6, 7, 8K of the workout said that it was the longest swim they had ever done in their lives. So…success.
I was actually pretty bummed I couldn’t do the whole set. Might have to give this another try in the spring.