Training Plan 5K

A 3-month pace improvement plan for 5km open water racing.

Honoring the Copyright
Copyright © 2016 Mediterra International, LLC and Mathew Hudson. This website contains Mediterra International's proprietary information for use in our Online Coaching Program. As a paid member of the program you may use these materials for your continuing personal training. You are permitted to copy this information for your personal use only. On all copied materials keep the names Mediterra International and Mathew Hudson designated as the owner and author. Please do not distribute these materials or sell them to anyone else in any form, physical or electronic, or use them for commercial activity. If you would like to use them to teach others, or use them in a commercial activity, please contact Mediterra International to set up an agreement for your specific situation.

Instructions

Overview

This Training Plan is divided into 3 cycles – a 5-plus-1 recovery week cycle, followed by two 4-plus-1 recovery week cycles. And a suggested test swim at the start of each cycle, spanning 16 weeks until the race or the final test swim.

There are 4 recommended practice patterns per week with progressive assignments, for a total of 52 practices. If you can do more practices per week then I encourage you to repeat those practices of that week which have felt most productive to you.

Cycle #1

  • Baseline Test Swim #1
  • Week 1
  • Week 2
  • Week 3
  • Week 4
  • Week 5
  • Rest Week 6

Cycle #2

  • Baseline Test Swim #2
  • Week 7
  • Week 8
  • Week 9
  • Week 10
  • Rest Week 11

Cycle #3

  • Baseline Test Swim #3
  • Week 12
  • Week 13
  • Week 14
  • Week 15
  • Rest Week 16

Final 5k Race or Test Swim

The first three test swims are distance-trials. You are assigned a fixed amount of time and your objective is to choose an even pace to hold consistent and cover as much distance as you can in that time frame.

The test swims should be done on a separate day when you feel your body is in good shape.

Your Objectives

Your swim achievement goal is:

  • Level 1: to swim 5000 meters for the first time or
  • Level 2: to swim 5000 meters faster with more ease than before.

Covering 5000 m for the first time, or swimming it faster is your quantity objective while doing it at the same or lower effort level is your quality objective.

At some points in the training plan I will give different assignment to Level 1 and Level 2 swimmers. You may choose either route, or modify those assignments to fit your needs better.

Choosing Your Level

Level 1 Considerations

Your main objective in the training is to build up your capacity for swimming this kind of distance at an even pace. ‘Even’ pacing means you are aiming to hold a consistent speed for the entire race, to distribute your energy evenly and have enough at the end to finish feeling well.

The chief challenges you may face are generating and sustaining power for this distance and maintaining focus for that entire time which will protect your energy expense.

Your first skill objective is to reach a suitable stroke length and maintain that for the entire distance. That SL may be about 50% to 60% of your height or wingspan. You will need to develop a feel for stroke length in the pool because you won’t be able to monitor it easily in open water.

Your second skill objective is to memorize a suitable tempo and hold that consistent for the entire distance. When consistent stroke length is combined with consistent tempo, you achieve consistent pace.

Level 2 Considerations

You main objective in the training is to build up your resilience for holding average pace over the entire distance. ‘Average’ pacing means you are aiming to vary your pace by calculated amount at different points in the race to adapt to the race and competitor conditions, so that you finish with a better time from a wiser use of your energy.

The chief challenges you may face are maintaining intensity and maintaining focus on your chosen focal points.

Your first skill objective is to develop a feel for a suitable stroke length and maintain that consistently. That SL may be about 55% to 65% of your height or wingspan. You will need to develop a feel for stroke length in the pool because you won’t be able to monitor it easily in open water.

Your second skill objective is to develop gradually faster tempos and use certain tempos to set up ‘pace gears’ you will use at different sections of your race.

Skill Projects

There are three categories of skills you will focus on in order to affect greater efficiency:

  1. Body position and movement pattern
  2. Breathing
  3. Stroke Synchronization

For these categories I will suggest something to work on, or you may select a focal point from your own assessment of your needs.

Measurements

In order to make progress you need to measure and monitor information coming from your body and from your performance. Your progress will depend on improvements inside the body which correspond to improvements in performance (swimming easier, swimming farther, swimming faster) measured outside the body.

What is happening on the inside of the body (how does it feel?) - a quality - will correspond to what is happening outside the body (what does it produce?) - a quantity. You can read more about these internal (subjective) measurements in this post on Two Essential Measurements.

And these are the external (objective) measurements.

Five External Measurements

In every practice, in every swim, you will monitor those internal sensations. On many of your practice sets you will also measure external results.

Quality Star Rating

Here is a simple rating system I will refer to when assigning you a quality objective.

  • 1 Star (♦) - disappointing - below my standard
  • 2 Star (♦♦) - acceptable - at about the standard I have set for myself
  • 3 Star (♦♦♦) - marvelous - above the standard I have set for myself

When your performance is at 1 star for more than 50% of the time consider lowering the complexity of the task in order to create a more suitable challenge level for your current neurological abilities.

When your performance is at 2 Star for more than 60% to 80% of the time, keep going. This is good imprinting work. If it is above 80% then you should consider raising your standard for quality, or raising the complexity of the task.

When your performance is at 3 Star for more than 30% of the time (Good Job!) you should consider increasing the complexity of your task.

Choosing Drills

When preparing for an advanced swimming goal such as a marathon-distance race, drills are there to support your skill improvement, not dominate it.

Drills, at this stage in your athletic training, will be most useful to you for tuning up your attention and control over some correction or change that is challenging to you. When used with understanding drills will make it easiest for your brain to build new circuits for new movement patterns.

You have been exposed to the standard set of Total Immersion drills in your initial TI training experience. You will be pointed to use those drills, while I give you the specific skill project with some suggestions on which focal points to use.

Each person going through this training plan will be working on individual skill needs therefore each person needs to pick the appropriate drill and focal points. Ask your coach for some suggestions if you are not sure.

You may refresh your memory of the drills from:

  • your copy of the TI training DVDs.
  • A workshop or camp manual from one of Mediterra’s training events
  • On the Freestyle Drill Resources page

You may find additional instructions and guidance on how to use drills in Coach Mat’s blog and in the Knowledge Base of this Online Coaching Program:

Choosing Focal Points

Focal Points are the center piece of Total Immersion training. You have been exposed to the standard set of TI focal points in your initial TI training experience. In this course you will be given skill projects with some suggestions on what to focus on. But you will need to choose your own specific focal points for each set.

You may find a list of focal points in:

  • your copy of the TI training DVDs.
  • A workshop or camp manual from one of Mediterra's training events
  • On the Freestyle Drill Resources page
  • On the 101 Focal Points page (Coach Mat's extended toolbox of focal points)

You may find additional instructions and guidance on how to use focal points in Coach Mat's blog and in the Knowledge Base of this Online Coaching Program:

Too Challenging Or Not Enough?

This master class has been designed with a wide range of swimmers in mind. It is likely that some of these practices, as written will feel a bit too easy or a bit too hard for you. That means you need to adjust the challenge level of the practice set to fit the needs of your body and brain right now. I will make some suggestions in the course for Level 1 or Level 2 swimmers. In addition to those suggestions you may increase (or decrease) the challenge slightly by:

  • increasing the distance of the repeats
  • increasing the number of rounds
  • simply counting strokes
  • requiring yourself to hold a certain stroke count, consistently
  • adding a Tempo Trainer set to a comfortable (easy) tempo and sync the beep to some part of your stroke.

You can read more about Challenge Multipliers.

Practice Planning

This training plan will provide you with only the main practice sets for your sessions. You will need to design your own routine for your tune-up (a.k.a. warm-up) and your review (a.k.a. cool-down). But we have some suggestions:

For Tune-Up

For Review

  • 200-500 meters of low physical intensity, but high attention to details. This is your time to gently test your skills and take notes about what to adjust in your next practice based on today's results.

I strongly recommend that you do not skip your tune-up time even when you feel you are short on time for practice. The productivity of the work you do in the main set will depend a lot on the quality of your tune-up time. If the systems of your body have been given the time they need to wake up and get unified you will get far more out of your efforts for the day.

I also recommend that you keep your tune-up and review sections fairly routine. Don't change things too often. It will just make practice planning a bit easier and save mental energy, and make it easier to notice differences in your condition from day to day.

Rest Week

Rest week is when you give more substantial rest to the performance systems that have been working specifically on swimming. You may continue with swimming, and should do some as long as the level of stress and energy expense stays low. You may enjoy other athletic activities, as long as they do not drain you of the energy that needs to be restored nor put strain on the systems that are recovering.

Also, be aware of activities that are enjoyable. Swim in the ways that are most pleasant (without strain).

If you want this decision really simplified you may consider repeating the practices from the previous week, but cut the distance (repeat and total distance) by half, and lower the effort level.  Use your discretion where this approach applies to the practice set.

If you are doing the right kind of rest you should notice both your energy and your motivation to swim getting stronger. If it is staying low, even after a week, check in with your coach and consider you may need more rest, or a deeper form of rest.

Testing and Success

To test progress and reveal strengths and weak spots you need to take a test swim periodically. You will have one at the beginning of each stage, and then you will have your final test swim at the end.

Remember that the results are just information which will show you how well new skills have been integrated into your swimming system. Data that reveals weak spots is good news because it reveals what needs more work and shows you where you need to concentrate your effort in your precious practice times.

Success is defined as improvement, not perfection. More specifically, success is indicated by an improvement in your external results because of specific changes you've made in your internal control. Improvements in quality (it feels better, easier) come before improvements in quantity (it makes me move farther, faster), so don't overlook those internal improvements when seeing your external results in the test swims.

Coach Guidance

In your Personal Discussion Zone, under the topic of MCxx Stage 1, 2 or 3 (depending on which stage you are in), you may write your report on observations and results from the practices for each week and ask questions of your coach.

How Much Rest?

In the beginning we will use rest intervals between swim portions to break up the distance. Rest is there to give not only your body a moment to restore some energy, but for your mind to restore higher attention.

Rest may be passive (like waiting quietly at the wall), or active (like doing a drill or exercise that is different and lighter than the main action).

In general, I recommend that you use 5 to 15 seconds passive rest between repeats (breaks between those smallest swim pieces in each set), and 15-30 seconds active rest between rounds (those breaks between a set of swim pieces).

Of course, the goal is to eventually remove rest until you can swim the entire distance continuously. So, keep in mind that gradually reducing rest intervals (by swimming longer repeats, or by taking less seconds for rest between repeats) is an sign of increasing fitness, in body and mind.

Resources

You may find some additional resources to help you understand training concepts and prepare for your practices.

On our Resources page you will find a Glossary of Practice Terms. You may want to look at that if you are not familiar with the terms used in swimming practice culture. We have some terms unique to Total Immersion training as well.

You will also find many articles describing different aspects of Total Immersion training in our Knowledge Base. Some topics that may be useful to you right now, as you begin this course:

Open Water Specific Instructions

Pace Gears

For open water racing, establishing Pace Gears is the center piece of your 5k training.

Just as a cyclist can switch into different gears to change pace at different parts of the race, you too will develop ‘pace gears’ to switch between. The training you do in this plan is meant to help you establish certain gears that correspond to pace and energy demand which you can then use in a calculated way during your race. These pace gears allow you to protect your limited energy and achieve a  higher average speed for the race. They give you the ability to adapt to different water and competitor conditions which may urge you to change pace at a particular moment.

To start, your first reference point is Rate of Perceived Effort:

Rate-Perceived-Effort

Rate Of Perceived Effort (RPE) is your internal, subjective sense of how quickly you are burning up fuel. With this sense in place, you can monitor your energy expense and find the more economical pace for your event and conditions.

You will establish five Pace Gears (G1, G2, G3, G4, and G5) that correspond to these RPE levels.

Each pace gear will have an approximate SPL x Tempo combination that set your pace and effort.

In the pool, you will use Strokes Per Length (SPL) and Tempo (seconds per stroke) units. Just count strokes to the wall, and time those strokes to the BEEP of the Tempo Trainer.

In open water, you need to train with two fixed points and estimate stroke count between those two points (just as if you were going to swim in a pool of that length) based on stroke length. If you know your SPL in the pool, and you know the distance of your can help you calculate SPL for your unique open water route.

Example Calculations

Let’s show an example of how to set up these pace gears.

Ricardo has a comfortable SPL of 18 when he is swimming at ‘walk’ pace in his 25m local pool. Based on his height (or wingspan) of 1.75m and a few assumptions, 18 SPL translates into a stroke length (SL) of 1.11 meters per stroke. And his tempo at that walk pace is about 1.40.

So, we can say that Ricardo has a G1 at 18 SPL x 1.40 sec Tempo.

When Ricardo goes to the sea to practice, he has two fixed points that are 175 meters apart. He will translate his pool metrics to this open water setting so that 18 SPL in a 25m pool equal about 157 SPL in 175 meters. So, when Ricardo wants to swim at ‘walk’ pace in open water he can set his TT to 1.40 and then count stroke between those two fixed points to see if he is staying on the pace he has intended.  If he takes more strokes than 157 then that means he has allowed his stroke to shorten a bit, and if he takes less than 157 strokes then that means he has lengthened his stroke more than intended, perhaps working too hard.

Furthermore, in the pool where measurement is easiest, Ricardo has worked out some combinations for the other 4 gears:

  • Gear 1: 18 x 1.40 (walk)
  • Gear 2: 18 x 1.34 (jog)
  • Gear 3: 19 x 1.25 (cruise)
  • Gear 4: 19 x 1.19 (run)
  • Gear 5: 20 x 1.10 (sprint)

Ricardo will use these settings in his pool practice in order to deeply imprint the feel of both the stroke length and the tempo together so that when he is in open water, without walls and without a TT, he can reproduce these gears by muscle memory.

But, over the course of his training, the SPL x Tempo settings for those gears may adjust – particularly, we expect to see Ricardo’s SPL stay fixed, but his Tempo increase a bit for each gear.

Calculating Your Own Gears

If you do not already have some ideas of where your SPL and your Tempo should be set for these gears, don’t worry. This is a big part of what this training plan and our discussion is meant to help you with.

If you are practicing mostly in the pool, getting numbers for your SPL, your Tempo and then evaluating your RPE with different combinations will be fairly easy to do. The fixed dimensions and conditions of the pool make it easy to measure.

If you are practicing mostly in the open water, you have to set up a system that will hold you accountable to certain objective achievements in skill. If you can measure it you can be sure it is getting better or not. So, this is why I urge you to find one or more placed in your open water area that have two (or more) fixed points, or a fixed route where you can measure the distance between those points (with GPS or Google Map).

The first step is getting a sense of your Walk-Jog-Cruise-Run-Sprint RPE paces. Practice switching between them, as if you were clicking gears on the bicycle or shifting gears in the car. You are tuning your sense of effort first.

The second step is to use a Tempo Trainer to experiment and associate a certain tempo with each one of those RPE settings. You will have a certain range of tempos that cover these gears right now, as you start, but the Tempo Practices in this plan will gradually shift that range toward faster tempos.

The third step is to then do stroke counting at each RPE setting to see what SPL is associated with each gear right now. Yet, the practices in this plan may shift your SPL over the following weeks.

Conditioning Instructions

Though I don’t have a conditioning program set up for you yet in our resources, I do encourage you to set one up if you don’t have one already. There are lot’s of ideas and videos available online to show you how certain exercises should be done.

I can offer you some guidance from my own conditioning practice below. In your discussion zone we can talk about any exercises you already do for this purpose.

Purpose of Conditioning

  • To prepare the structure and tissues of your body for the repetitive and accumulative stresses of 5k swimming and racing, which reduces the risk of injury and premature wear and tear.

Conditioning is meant to create superior posture so that your movements access the safest and most powerful pathways. It is meant to stabilize joints which handle large or repetitive loading so they stand up to the stresses without injury. It is meant to increase the range of motion to full healthy expression so that you can move in the safest and most powerful patterns the body is designed for.

Duration

Conditioning sets may be as short as 15 minutes or up to an hour.

I recommend breaking conditioning into these four categories and in this order of priority:

  1. Spine mobility (5 minutes)
  2. Core strength (10 minutes)
  3. Joint mobility (15 minutes)
  4. System strength (15 minutes)

Next to each I have suggested an amount of time in which you should compose a compact routine of essential exercises. If could be extended, if you have time for it, but when time is short, have a compact routine ready.

Intensity

Your conditioning work will be around RPE 2, 3 and 4 with ample rest to give muscles time to respond and recover.

The intention is to build posture, mobility and strength which corresponds directly to your swimming needs. So, there is an order to development and a style of conditioning that matches the kind of work the body will do with distance swimming.

The goal is to build lean-strength for moderate but extremely repetitive motions. Do not work your muscles to fatigue, but challenge them each time.

Organization

This is the general categories for your Conditioning Session:

  • Spine flexibility
  • Spine + core stability
  • Mobility in shoulders and hips, ankles
  • Strengthening major power trains

We do not provide a specific dry-land conditioning assignments for you in this program, but you may ask for suggestions.

 

Tempo Trainer Tips

A Tempo Trainer is an essential piece of this training plan.

And, for open water swimming with a Tempo Trainer, I want to urge you to practice and master this one skill: learn to click the buttons on the TT without removing it from your swim cap.

This has two main advantages:

  • You do not risk losing it in the water.
  • You save a lot of time during variable tempo intervals by clicking it in place, versus removing it, clicking it, and putting it back.

For race training, there are no ‘rest’ moments given in the race. So, when practicing race simulation with stroke count intervals in open water, you can hold Skate position, reach a hand up to feel the buttons, and click it in just a few seconds, and quickly resume your swimming with a minimal disruption to body position or momentum.

Instructions

Pre-set the Tempo Trainer to the setting you intend to start with. Turn it off, if you will not use it immediately.

Place the TT under the swim cap toward the back of your head, behind the ear, where you can reach it with your dominant (writing) hand. Make sure the cap completely covers the TT and comes back snugly upon your skin or hair. Make sure the two TT buttons are at the bottom and then check to assure yourself that you can feel with your fingertips both the left and the right button through the swim cap.

Practice turning on the TT by pressing the right button for 1 second and practice turning it off by pressing down on both buttons at the same time.

[In Mode 1] Practice clicking the TT faster by 0.01 second pressing the left button, and practice clicking the TT slower by 0.01 second pressing the right button. In the practice sets of this training plan you will be adjusting tempo only by 0.03 seconds (3 clicks) between any two repeats – so not enough to forget your click amount in the midst of a demanding interval set.

Weaning Off The Tempo Trainer

The Tempo Trainer is a wonderful tool for training our stroke timing, just as a musician would use a metronome to train the rhythm for a certain song. But just like a musician in a concert, we don’t get to use the Tempo Trainer in official races. So, we’ve got to learn to keep timing without one BEEPing in our ear. I call this ‘weaning’ off the TT, like a baby eventually weans off breast-feeding.

The process of weaning off the TT is simple to explain: you regularly train with the TT BEEPing on every arm stroke. After a period of time imprinting certain tempos you intend to use for racing, you then set the TT to skip BEEPS, so that you have to take ‘silent’ strokes between beeps, until you don’t need the TT anymore to hold perfect timing. After this, you can use Stroke Count Intervals and a memorized time chart to check your tempo during swims (explained below).

An Example

Ricardo has been practicing to hold a cruising pace stroke at 1.25 seconds. This means the TT BEEPs for every arm stroke at 1.25 seconds. For the next phase of TT training, he slows the TT down to 2.50 seconds and then synchronizes just one arm to coincide with that BEEP – the arms must still move at 1.25 tempo, but only one arm gets a BEEP. The other arm has to hit it’s timing in silence, but in time the brain will anticipate and fill in that gap, and Ricardo will be able to hold the tempo with 50% less frequent BEEPs. On the first interval he synchronizes the left arm to the beep and on the next interval he synchronizes the right arm, in order to balance the effect on each arm.

To go further, Ricardo then sets the TT to 5.00 seconds and then synchronizes just one arm to coincide every other stroke – so there is a BEEP-stroke, then silent-stroke, silent-stroke, silent-stroke, BEEP-stroke. This is just like the 4-beat of many songs.

I have tried it with the TT set to every third stroke (to BEEP at 3.75 seconds in Ricardo’s case) and it is a very challenging timing interval. One could find some utility for this 3-stroke TT setting (like for bi-laterial breathing), but I think its value is limited. 4-stroke time gap seems to be the next reasonable frequency.

Final Wean

One can take it even further to set the TT at 10.00 seconds (every 8th stroke). But I think once you’ve got a good rhythm at 4-stroke interval you can practice turning the TT off altogether. At that point your brain can either fill in the gaps for the three silent-strokes or it cannot.

Next, if you are in the pool, you can calculate the number of seconds, and number of strokes you will need to reach the other wall, and set the TT to this number of seconds. Then push-off the wall on the first BEEP and follow your memorized sense of tempo with stroke counting, to see if you can touch the other wall at the moment of the next BEEP. This is a nice exercise, but if you get off count, you have to go off tempo for a while in the next length to re-align and you won’t know if you’ve come close until you get to the next wall.

In open water, my preferred way to monitor my memorized tempo is to touch the split button on my watch, count strokes to a certain number and then quickly check my split to see how many seconds went by.

I use this equation: Stroke Count x Tempo = Total Seconds

Here is my tempo-time chart based on 300-stroke intervals:

  • 300 strokes at 0.95 tempo = 4 minutes, 45 seconds
  • 300 strokes at 1.00 tempo = 5 minutes, 00 seconds
  • 300 strokes at 1.05 tempo = 5 minutes, 15 seconds
  • 300 strokes at 1.10 tempo = 5 minutes, 30 seconds
  • 300 strokes at 1.05 tempo = 5 minutes, 45 seconds

For various reasons I have settled into using 300-stroke intervals as a standard unit of distance and time estimate for open water swimming. Every 300 strokes I know I travel roughly 300m and about 5 minutes has passed. I can then be in the middle of a swim and if curious about my tempo, hit my split button, count off 300 strokes, and then glance at my split to see a ‘close-enough’ reading of my average tempo over the last 5 minutes or so.

This has become for me a quite reliable and useful way to monitor tempo without a Tempo Trainer.

Stroke Counting Tips

I occasionally hear complaints from swimmers who are new to stroke counting while swimming. Like bi-lateral breathing, counting is just a basic mindful skill we need to put in the effort to acquire and then it is there for use like an easy habit. One can turn it on or off as needed.

Over the years I have developed some ways to reduce the mental complexity for myself. For various reasons I like to use up to 300-stroke intervals in open water, but this is a high number to count to, and honestly I would often lose count going that high when there are so many other things competing for attention.

First, I see how the brain has something like two ‘channels’ which can send/receive signals simultaneously, possibly related to the fact that we have two halves of the brain controlling different functions at the same time. The way I describe it, the right side of my brain can monitor the focal point, while the left side of the brain does the stroke counting. And this is the explanation I use for what is happening in my head while I swim, and it encourages me to believe you can do it too.

So, if I want to go that high I don’t count 300-strokes anymore, I count 150… twice. I count left arm ONE, right arm ONE, left arm TWO, right arm TWO, and so on. That greatly reinforces the count so I don’t forget and I don’t have to count as high. It also balances out my arm action because I found, if I only count one arm, I sometimes tend to accentuate something on only that side of the body and I did not like this imbalance. So, I count both arm, but use the same number for both arms, so each get the emphasis of the count moment. This is similar to the effect a Tempo Trainer can have if you set it to skip strokes (explained in Weaning Of The Tempo Trainer).

So, you may pick stroke count interval that fits your current attention span (like 20, 50, 100, etc) and start experimenting with different ways to count so that you settle on one or two that will feel nice to your brain.

Daily Baseline

Here is a Total Immersion value: “Today, I want to leave the water a better swimmer than the one who entered.”

There is a lot of meaning in this little statement. One of those meanings relates to the fact that the conditions you find in the water today may not be close to the conditions you faced yesterday. And so your expectations for performance need to be adjusted to today’s reality, not just based on yesterday’s results.

When practicing in the pool, usually the pool conditions are quite steady, other than the crowds. But things in your body and mind do change from day to day, and you should make some account for those factors, both positive and negative.

Within a good tune-up (a.k.a. warm up) time you can read a lot about how your body is doing and what it may be ready to work on today, or not.

When practicing in open water, there can be a great deal of variation in the conditions from day to day, in addition to any changes in your own person. When those conditions change, your expectation need to change also.

So, one way of setting up better expectations for the day is to use the first minutes in the water to run some measurements on those conditions and come up with a plan for how to use those daily numbers to set some improvement goals for your practice this day.

For example, you come to the sea and find the wind is blowing to the west and that means you will have a head-on wind-driven current while you swim to the first point, a side current while swimming to the next, and a tail-current pushing you as you come back to the starting point. You cannot easily compare stroke counts or performance between the three sides of this route, but the first time around you can count strokes and set some expectations for improvement unique to each side of that route.

Or, let’s say you come to the sea and there are waves today, but you normally don’t swim with waves. They may be stressful and straining on the body, more than you are used to. You can adjust your practice plan to remove the agenda that requires smooth water and pick up the task to work on a skill you need for improving your competence and confidence in wavy water.

Rather than set a certain time requirement to swim the route in wavy conditions, you simply set the goal of achieving the distance peacefully, at any pace required by those conditions. And in achieving that, you will in fact leave the water a better swimmer than the one who entered – one with more experience, more skill, more confidence.

And that is a successful practice that takes into account the realities of each unique day.

Race Strategy

I want to suggest different race strategies for the two different levels of swimmers.

For Level 1 Swimmers, I suggest you aim for holding a fairly even pace during your race, learning to restrain your exertion at the beginning, and settling in to a sustainable pace in the middle, and preparing to keep up the effort as you near the end.

If we break the race into 4 sections the pattern may look like this:

  • First 500 meters: Gear 2
  • 2. Quarter: Gear 3
  • 3. Quarter: Gear 3
  • Last 500 meters: Gear 4

And for your focal points, I may recommend these:

  • 1. Quarter: Breathing
  • 2. Quarter: Synchronization
  • 3. Quarter: Synchronization
  • 4. Quarter: Sending Force Forward

But keep in mind, there could be several details about your race location or conditions that could urge a different strategy. That is something for us to talk about closer to the race date, in the last cycle.

For Level 2 Swimmers, you can consider the simple strategy above, if you are simply racing against your own previous performance, but if you have concerns about competition and special conditions for this race (like a mass start, for example) we can develop a race strategy customized to your race situation.

Metrics In Moving Water

Only some swimmers who train in open water regularly have the luxury of water that is always calm and still.

More likely the water will be moving, and moving differently on different days.

Often, a favored route will have a current or waves in one direction and we swim at different orientations to that current/waves at different sections of the route.

In this case, you need to set up a measurement plan for each section of the route, which will make sense for that section. A rear-end current will push you faster. A side current will disrupt stability. A head-on current will shorten the strokes.

But these are great opportunities to practice improvement relative to those conditions. Each section of the route presents a challenge of its own. For example, you can take a stroke count on that section and then try to match it or improve upon it the next time through.

If you swim out-and-back with a head-on/tail-end waves, you can play the game of averages and swim that line several times. Your goal is to set an average stroke count for both with/against the waves, then make the goal of matching or improving upon your stroke count for the next laps on that line.

Or, you can set different Pace Combinations to test which ones allows you to swim with the same effort level at different orientations to the waves.

There are lots of valuable training games you can play in open water under all sorts of conditions. It’s just that absolute precision does not exist in open water swimming. The natural forces require you to adapt and to adjust your expectations.

So, when you show up to the open water venue and find it different or less attractive than before, consider how you think you should currently be able to perform under today’s conditions and then set a goal for practice to improve upon that performance expectation.

Test Swim Conversion

This training plan is designed for adult athletes who train ‘on a budget’ – a limited amount of time and energy available for training, in addition to other life and work responsibilities. Therefore, the training strategy is about getting the most sustainable performance gains from your limited amount of training time.

For those who are already capable of 5k swims, setting up a full 5k race distance test swim every cycle may not fit into your time and energy budget. And for others, who are new to this distance, the whole point of the program is to get you ready for that distance by the end of the training period.

With that in mind, the test swim is much shorter than race-distance, meant to sample your progressing abilities without requiring a long recovery.

So, I will provide you with a rough calibrated distance-goal chart to accompany your test swim results. This chart is based on the expectation that you may swim 2% faster on this shorter distance.

If your goal is to achieve 5km in MM number of minutes, then you can aim to achieve XX distance in your 60 minute test swim.

  • 130 minutes / 2400 meters
  • 125 minutes / 2500 meters
  • 120 minutes / 2600 meters
  • 115 minutes / 2700 meters
  • 110 minutes / 2800 meters
  • 105 minutes / 2950 meters
  • 100 minutes / 3100 meters
  • 95 minutes / 3250 meters
  • 90 minutes / 3400 meters
  • 85 minutes / 3600 meters
  • 80 minutes / 3850 meters

This will give you some numbers to use to evaluate your data from the 60 minute test swim.

Weekly Practice Pattern

4 practice patterns per week with a different focus for each.

Weekly Practice Schedule

There are four practice types that are assigned each week. These four practice types will be described just below this section.

You can arrange those four practices any way you like over the course of a week. However, if you would like some guidance on this, we proposed this schedule for how you may arrange your practices.

And, we recommend some general conditioning exercise (on land) to be distributed across the week also.  A smaller focus, and a little each day is preferable over trying to do everything in one session, on only a few days. The specific conditioning exercises are not within the scope of this course, but the focus for each conditioning session are suggested below.

DAY Monday Tuesday Wednesday Thursday Friday Saturday Sunday
PRACTICE Attention Practice Tempo Practice Pace Intervals Distance Practice
CONDITIONING strength core, mobility strength rest core, mobility core mobility

 

 

 

 

 

Notice how practices of higher intensity have rest days afterwards.

You may repeat practices during the week, if you have time for more.

Attention Practice

Attention Practice Plan

This is the general outline for your Attention Practice:

  • Tune-Up (a.k.a. warm-up) – your choice
  • Main Set 1
  • Main Set 2
  • Main Set 3
  • Review (a.k.a. cool-down, or wrap-up) – your choice

You will do one Main Set for each skill project assigned in the plan below.

In the plan below, you will be assigned intervals for each skill project. In addition, as needed, you may choose any of the activities below and insert them into that practice to enhance your awareness and control during the set:

  • 1 minute Visualization
  • 2 minute Rehearsal
  • 2 minute Drill
  • 3 minute Drill + 3 or 4 whole strokes
  • 2x ‘Drill + 6 to 8 whole strokes’ (about 25m)

While doing drills you may stop and stand when you need a breath, or use interrupted breathing. I highly recommend that you do the drills in short repeats (6 to 10 seconds at most) and give your brain quick reset opportunities with each break for breathing.

Attention Practice Instructions

Purpose

  • To increase awareness of details which will improve your stroke ease and effectiveness.
  • To increase control over those details.

Distance

Each main set will be about 600 meters long. A different skill project will be assigned to each main set (those sets are given below on this webpage).

Location

These practices are most suited to the pool, or they can be done in open water, with stroke count intervals between two fixed points.

Metrics

In these practices you will use measurements of Strokes Per Length (SPL) in the pool, or stroke count between two fixed points in open water.

Because this course is preparing swimmers for open water racing, and many will be doing all or part of the training in open water, you need to practice counting strokes. I explain the importance of this in Why count strokes? And, you may read more encouragement for this on the Self-Coaching Guidebook.

For practices in open water, almost all of the work requires setting up distance intervals that are measured in terms of stroke count, where 1 stroke is approximately 1 meter long. So, a 50 meter (or yard) interval will be measured as 50 strokes.

Pool Specific Instructions

In these practices stroke count will be the primary indicator of how your efforts with each focal point are affecting your stroke efficiency. Seeing your SPL go down, or finding that it feels easier to achieve the same SPL are signs of improvement.

Open Water Specific Instructions

If you have two fixed points within about 50-100 meters you can swim between, then you can use these as your virtual ‘walls’ and swim it a few times to establish a SPL unique to this swimming line. Then you may use stroke count to reveal improvements in stroke efficiency. If there are no two fixed points, then you may simply use stroke counting to measure the length of each interval, and use the subjective sense of ease to decide how the focal point is affecting your stroke efficiency.

Intensity

Work around RPE 2. The physical effort should be moderate, while the mental effort should be very high.

Complexity

The challenge level (the neurological complexity) is determined by the focal points you choose and the standard for quality you set for each of those focal points.

Focal points will be recommended to you for each Main Set, and you may change those to suit your individual needs. You may choose 1 or 2 focal points to use for each set.

You may view the standard TI Drills and points on the Freestyle Drill Resource page, and view many more of from my collection on the 101 Focal Points page.

Level 1 swimmers may use one single focal point and practice the discipline of holding attention on that one focal point.

Level 2 swimmers may blend two focal points together and practice at that greater level of complexity. In addition, I urge Level 2 swimmers to practice counting strokes on much of their practice sets, to monitor the external effects of focal points. Make it a habit (that you can turn on/off as needed).

If the skill requires training one side of the body you may break the set into two rounds and concentrate on one side on the first round, then concentrate on the other side on the second round. This can make it easier to hold attention and build control.

Remember, your objective for these attention practices is to improve control, not accomplish distance. Choose quality over quantity every time.

Success Is…

  • Holding your attention on the chosen focal point the entire time
  • Achieving the control or improvement that you are aiming for.

Your quantity objective is to achieve the distances for each set. Your quality objective is to successfully achieve your focal point goal 70-90% of the drill or interval at 2 or 3 Star performance (see Measurements box above for definition of Quality Star Rating).

If you are able to achieve the result you are aiming for more than 90% of the time you should consider increasing the complexity of that task to keep the system optimally challenged.

Failure Points

The main failure points to look for are:

  • Your attention is wandering away from the chosen focal point
  • You cannot achieve the standard for control that you expect

When you notice yourself failing to achieve the quality you expect in your focal point that is the signal for you to find the possible cause so you can make adjustments in your focal point or adjustment in your task complexity. If you start to do much better then notice what specific change you made to affect that improvement – then protect and memorize that change.

If you are not able to achieve the desired control with the chosen focal point, consider that this specific skill might be dependent on another skill which you should work on and strengthen first. Or you might need to switch to a different focal point which is more effective at helping you make the change you are aiming for.

Pace Interval Practice

Pace Interval Practice Outline

This is the general outline for your Pace Interval Practice:

  • Tune-Up (a.k.a. warm-up) – your choice
  • Main Set (just one)
  • Review (a.k.a. cool-down, or wrap-up) – your choice

The distance and complexity for each distance set is designed according to the cycle. You will find the specific set for each practice listed on this webpage below.

Please read the Pace Gears section above. That will explain the specific purpose of this practice.

Pace Interval Practice Instructions

Purpose

  • To practice specific race-ready SPL x Tempo (Pace) combinations
  • To condition your body for race-like pace and endurance stresses
  • To develop distinct ‘pace gears’, and switch between them by feel

Distance

There will be one main set, with total distance between 1500 to 2400 meters.

Location

These practices can be done in the pool according to the assigned interval distances, or in the open water using stroke count intervals.

Metrics

In these practices you will be counting strokes, using a Tempo Trainer to maintain tempo and holding an assigned RPE.

Intensity

You will be working with and switching between RPE 2, 3, and 4, as assigned.

Complexity

On each distance set you will need to pick 1 or 2 focal points from that week’s practice.

You will be holding at the assigned RPE level, while adjusting SPL x Tempo combinations (pace gears) to suit that RPE.

Level 1 swimmers may work on holding a single focal point for one lap and then switch to the other focal point for the next lap, or you may hold one focal point for the entire repeat. Level 2 swimmers may blend two focal points together to challenge your control further. You will need to insert rest between each distance interval. I have given recommendations for rest above, on this webpage. The challenge level (the neurological complexity) is determined by the focal points you choose and the standard for quality you set for each of those focal points.

Success Is…

Your quantity objective is to hold the assigned SPL for each set. Your quality objective is to successfully achieve your focal point goal 60-90% of the drill or interval at 2 or 3 Star performance (see Measurements box above for definition of Quality Star Rating).

Failure Points

The primary failure points you will look for are:

  • Your attention is wandering away from the chosen focal point
  • Losing control over pace (dropping more than intended)
  • Losing control over RPE (going higher than intended)

When you notice yourself failing to achieve your objective for the task that is the signal for you to find the possible cause so you can make adjustments in your focal point or adjustment in your task complexity. If you are failing to meet your standard for more than 50% of  the time you may add more rest, or adjust your SPL or Tempo variable.

Tempo Practice

Tempo Practice Plan

This is the general outline for your Tempo Practice:

  • Tune-Up (a.k.a. warm-up) – your choice
  • Main Set 1
  • Main Set 2
  • Review (a.k.a. cool-down, or wrap-up) – your choice

The distance and complexity of these tempo sets are designed according to the cycle. You will find those sets listed for each practice on this webpage below.

Tempo Practice Instructions

To begin you will need to experiment (if you don’t already know) to find a ‘cruising’ tempo that feels quite natural to you already. This would be a tempo that is comfortable to hold for as long as you can swim right now. We will call this TC (for Tempo – Comfortable).

Purpose

  • To increase precision of movements during breathing.
  • To improve the consistent timed rhythm of those movements.

Distance

The main sets will total about 1700 to 2000 meters.

Location

These practices may be done in the pool or in the open water. You will use either the assigned repeat distances in the pool, or use stroke count intervals in open water.

Metrics

In these practices you will use measurements of Tempo and Rate of Perceived Effort (RPE). You may monitor stroke counts, if you have a fixed distance to swim between.

Intensity

You will work around RPE 3 to 4, with the expectation that as you move to a slightly faster tempo, your effort level will go up to RPE 4 at first. As you adapt to the tempo the effort level will go down to RPE 3. That is the signal that adaptation is progressing, that one dimension of your speed capability is growing.

Complexity

The challenge level (the neurological complexity) is determined by the focal points you choose and the standard for quality you set for each of those focal points, and the tempo at which you try to maintain control over those Focal Points.

For Level 1 swimmers you may follow the progressive tempo assignments for the entire course, or at any time, you may hold at a certain tempo if you feel you need more time to adapt to it.

For Level 2 swimmers I will recommend gradual tempo increases during each cycle. The tempo will increase in certain increments, no more than -0.03 steps at a time. I will give those recommendations, but again, you will need to adjust a little more or a little less to suit your individual needs.

Success Is…

Your quantity objective is to hold the assigned tempos for each set. Your quality objective is to successfully achieve your focal point goal 60-90% of the drill or interval at 2 or 3 Star performance (see Measurements box above for definition of Quality Star Rating).

If you are able to achieve the result you are aiming for more than 90% of the time you should consider increasing the complexity of that task to keep the system optimally challenged.

Failure Points

The main failure points to look for are:

  • Your attention is wandering away from the chosen focal point
  • You cannot maintain the precision over movements that you expect

When you notice yourself failing to achieve your objective for the task that is the signal for you to find the possible cause so you can make adjustments in your focal point or adjustment in your task complexity. If you are failing to meet your standard for more than 50% of  the time you may add more rest, or lower the tempo slightly (by 0.01 to 0.03 seconds). You may be stepping ahead in tempo before your body has fully adapted to the previous tempo.

Distance Practice

Distance Practice Outline

This is the general outline for your Distance Practice:

  • Tune-Up (a.k.a. warm-up) – your choice
  • Main Set (just one)
  • Review (a.k.a. cool-down, or wrap-up) – your choice

The distance and complexity for each distance set is designed according to the stage. You will find the specific set for each practice listed on this webpage below.

Distance Practice Instructions

Purpose

  • To increase your attention endurance
  • To build metabolic (energy-supply) capacity for total race distance
  • To increase your awareness and control over holding steady RPE
  • To build mental routines you will use during the race

Distance

There will be one main set, with total distance starting around 2000m in the first week and approaching 5000m at the end.

Location

These practices are most suited to open water, where you practice in the conditions you will actually be racing in. But you may adapt these to the pool when necessary.

If practicing in the pool, you will need to add 10% in a 25m pool or 5% in a 50m pool  to the total assigned distance to compensate for the non-stroking distance in the pool during the turn and push-off.

Metrics

In these practices you will be counting strokes to create mental distance intervals, and controlling Rate of Perceived Effort (RPE).

You may use a Tempo Trainer set to suitable tempo for each RPE level (which together we will estimate for you during the training).

Intensity

You will be working with a variety of RPE assignments, RPE 2, 3, and 4.

Complexity

On each distance set you will need to pick 1 or 2 focal points from that week’s practice.

Level 1 swimmers may work on holding a single focal point for one interval (or a part of that interval) and then switch to the other focal point, or you may hold one focal point for the entire interval.

Level 2 swimmers may blend two focal points together to challenge your control further.

You might need to insert rest between distance intervals. I have given recommendations for rest above, on this webpage. The challenge level (the neurological complexity) is determined by the focal points you choose and the standard for quality you set for each of those focal points.

Success Is…

Your quantity objective is to hold the assigned Focal Point and RPE for each interval. Your quality objective is to successfully achieve your focal point goal 60-90% of the drill or interval at 2 or 3 Star performance (see Measurements box above for definition of Quality Star Rating).

Failure Points

The main failure points to look for are:

  • Your attention is wandering away from the chosen focal point
  • Mental exhaustion (reaching a mental limit)
  • Physical exhaustion (reaching a metabolic or muscular limit)

When you notice yourself failing to achieve your objective for the task that is the signal for you to find the possible cause so you can make adjustments in your focal point or adjustment in your task complexity. If you are failing to meet your standard for more than 50% of  the time you may add more rest, or adjust Tempo.

Mesocycle #1

Week 1

Baseline Test Swim #1

For your first test swim we just want to see what you can currently accomplish in a distance-trial.

The rules are simple:

You have 60 minutes. Pick a pace you feel you can hold for more than one hour – one that will make you go at your ‘cruising speed’, but not leave you wasted at the end, about RPE 3 – then see how much distance you cover in 60 minutes. You can rest as much as you need to, but the timer keeps going.  If you stop before 60 minutes that is fine also – just note the time and the distance and the condition of your body and mind when you stopped.

Before the test swim you will simply go through your normal warm-up routine, then start the test swim.

You may use a Tempo Trainer if you use one already. Set it to a tempo you are already comfortable with from training.

Pay attention to your sense of effort during the entire 60 minutes and not the time at which you feel any changes in pace, energy, and focus. These may be important markers for measuring your progress during the training program.

Attention Practice 1.1

Distance

1200 meters

Interval Assignment: 2 rounds of (2x 50, 1x 100) for each set, with 2 minutes drill before each round.

Main Set 1: Stroke Control

Based on your own assessment or our discussion, choose a part of your body position or movement pattern to work on and select 1 or 2 focal points to use during this set.

Main Set 2: Breathing

Specifically examine your head position before, during the turn, and at the moment of taking a breath, on each breathing side. Look for any improvement opportunities, the select 1 or 2 focal points to use during this set. Work to make your weak side as good as your strong side.

Main Set 3: Synchronization

Referring to the stroke synchronization points in the page above, examine and improve a feature of your AB sync points.

Pace Interval Practice 1.3

Choose 2 focal points from the Attention Practice for this week.

Main Set

1500m total

5 rounds of 300, with active rest of 50 easy fist swimming between rounds. Set pace for each round at the assign pace gear G#.

  • Round 1: G2
  • Round 2: G3
  • Round 3: G2
  • Round 4: G3
  • Round 5: G2

Quality Objective: maintain your attention on the chosen focal point for each round, and hold the assigned pace gear consistently for the entire distance.

 

 

Tempo Practice 1.2

Choose focal points from the Attention Practice for this week.

Main Set 1: Tempo Pyramid

800m total

Purpose

To relax into each tempo and quickly establish a sustainable rhythm.

Instructions

Choose two focal points. Use the first focal point on one repeat, and the second focal point on the next repeat.

Round 1: 4x (2x 50 at each tempo) with 10 seconds rest to change TT. Start with your Tempo Trainer set to TC (your current comfortable racing tempo). Then speed up the tempo by -0.03 second on each repeat. You will finish on TC + 0.09 seconds.

Round 2: 4x (2x 50 at each tempo) with 10 seconds rest to change TT.  Start with your Tempo Trainer set to TC – 0.09. Then slow down the tempo by +0.03 second on each repeat. You will finish on TC.

Monitor stroke count but you do not need to constrain your SPL.

Main Set 2: Tempo Intervals

1800m total

Purpose

To gradually adapt by relaxation into each incrementally faster tempo.

Instructions

Choose two focal points. You may alternate use of each focal point.

At each tempo setting, work on relaxing into the rhythm of that tempo, so that your strokes become easier, more precise, where this tempo does not feel quite as fast as it used to. If, at a certain tempo, you do not feel you are feeling that ease, that rhythm yet, remain at that tempo for another round until you do.

6 rounds of 6x 50

  • Round 1: Tempo at TC
  • Round 2: TC – 0.03
  • Round 3: TC – 0.06
  • Round 4: TC – 0.03
  • Round 5: TC – 0.06
  • Round 6: TC – 0.09

Rest 15 seconds between repeats. Drill for 30 seconds between rounds.

Distance Practice 1.4

For the distance practice you will use stroke count intervals to divide up your swim mentally, and change focal point on each interval.

Main Set

2000m total

Divide into 50, 100, or 200m mental intervals – this means you will change focus after this distance, but you might not take a physical rest.

If necessary, aim to rest at no less than 300m intervals.

Choose two or three focal points, and set up a rotation plan to use those focal points during the swim.

Set effort level to RPE 3, or Gear 3.

Quality Objective: to maintain consistent focus during each interval and maintain steady Gear 3 for the entire distance.

Week 2

Attention Practice 2.1

Distance

1500 meters

Interval Assignment: 3 rounds of (50, 100, 150, 200) for each set, with 2 minutes drill before each round.

Main Set 1: Stroke Control

Based on your own assessment or our discussion, choose a part of your body position or movement pattern to work on and select 1 or 2 focal points to use during this set.

Main Set 2: Breathing

Specifically examine the timing of breathing – the moment you start, the moment you touch the air, the moment you begin to turn down, and the moment you return to eyes-down position. Look for any improvement opportunities, the select 1 or 2 focal points to use during this set. Work to make your weak side as good as your strong side.

Main Set 3: Synchronization

Examine and improve a feature of your AC sync points.

Pace Interval Practice 2.3

Choose 2 focal points from the Attention Practice for this week.

Main Set

1500m total

3 rounds of 500, with active rest of 50 easy fist swimming between rounds. Set pace for each round at the assign pace gear G#.

  • Round 1: G2
  • Round 2: G3
  • Round 3: G3

Quality Objective: maintain your attention on the chosen focal point for each round, and hold the assigned pace gear consistently for the entire distance.

 

 

Tempo Practice 2.2

Choose focal points from the Attention Practice for this week.

Main Set 1: Tempo Pyramid

800m total

Purpose

To relax into each tempo and quickly establish a sustainable rhythm.

Instructions

Choose two focal points. Use the first focal point on one repeat, and the second focal point on the next repeat.

Round 1: 4x (2x 50 at each tempo) with 10 seconds rest to change TT. Start with your Tempo Trainer set to TC (your current comfortable racing tempo). Then speed up the tempo by -0.03 second on each repeat. You will finish on TC – 0.09 seconds.

Round 2: 4x (2x 50 at each tempo) with 10 seconds rest to change TT.  Start with your Tempo Trainer set to TC – 0.09. Then slow down the tempo by +0.03 second on each repeat. You will finish on TC.

Monitor stroke count but you do not need to constrain your SPL.

Main Set 2: Tempo Intervals

1800m total

Purpose

To gradually adapt by relaxation into each incrementally faster tempo. By returning to the various tempo settings, and working at that tempo for a duration, you brain will have time to adapt to it.

Instructions

Choose two focal points. You may alternate use of each focal point.

At each tempo setting, work on relaxing into the rhythm of that tempo, so that your strokes become easier, more precise, where this tempo does not feel quite as fast as it used to. If, at a certain tempo, you do not feel you are feeling that ease, that rhythm yet, remain at that tempo for another round until you do.

3 rounds of:

  • 2x 100 at TC
  • 2x 100 at TC – 0.03
  • 2x 100 at TC – 0.06

Rest 15 seconds between repeats. Drill for 30 seconds between rounds.

Distance Practice 2.4

For the distance practice you will use stroke count intervals to divide up your swim mentally, and change focal point on each interval.

Main Set

2000m total

Divide into 100 or 200m mental intervals – this means you will change focus after this distance, but you might not take a physical rest.

If necessary, aim to rest at no less than 300m intervals.

Choose two or three focal points, and set up a rotation plan to use those focal points during the swim.

Set effort level to RPE 3, or Gear 3.

Quality Objective: to maintain consistent focus during each interval and maintain steady Gear 3 for the entire distance.

Week 3

Attention Practice 3.1

Distance

1800 meters

Interval Assignment: 4 rounds of (150) for each set, with 1 minutes drill before each round.

Main Set 1: Stroke Control

Based on your own assessment or our discussion, choose a part of your body position or movement pattern to work on and select 1 or 2 focal points to use during this set.

Main Set 2: Breathing

Specifically examine a piece of your ‘air management’ – Are you exhaling with a steady stream of bubbles from you nose on non-breathing strokes? Are you making only partial air exchanges on each breath cycle rather than pushing out most of your air? Try each for a length: no-exhale, partial exhale, and full exhale and notice which has a more relaxing affect on the whole body.

Look for any improvement opportunities, the select 1 or 2 focal points to use during this set.

Main Set 3: Synchronization

Examine and improve a feature of your BC sync points.

Pace Interval Practice 3.3

Choose 2 focal points from the Attention Practice for this week.

Main Set

1800m total

6 rounds of 300, with active rest of 50 easy fist swimming between rounds. Set pace for each round at the assign pace gear G#.

  • Round 1: G2
  • Round 2: G3
  • Round 3: G3
  • Round 4: G2
  • Round 5: G3
  • Round 6: G4

Quality Objective: maintain your attention on the chosen focal point for each round, and hold the assigned pace gear consistently for the entire distance.

 

 

Tempo Practice 3.2

Choose focal points from the Attention Practice for this week.

Main Set 1: Tempo Pyramid

800m total

Purpose

To relax into each tempo and quickly establish a sustainable rhythm.

Instructions

Choose two focal points. Use the first focal point on one repeat, and the second focal point on the next repeat.

Round 1: 4x (2x 50 at each tempo) with 10 seconds rest to change TT. Start with your Tempo Trainer set to TC – 0.03. Then speed up the tempo by -0.03 second on each repeat. You will finish on TC – 0.12 seconds.

Round 2: 4x (2x 50 at each tempo) with 10 seconds rest to change TT.  Start with your Tempo Trainer set to TC – 0.12. Then slow down the tempo by +0.03 second on each repeat. You will finish on TC – 0.03.

Monitor stroke count but you do not need to constrain your SPL.

Main Set 2: Tempo Intervals

1800m total

Purpose

To gradually adapt by relaxation into each incrementally faster tempo.

Instructions

Choose two focal points. You may alternate use of each focal point.

At each tempo setting, work on relaxing into the rhythm of that tempo, so that your strokes become easier, more precise, where this tempo does not feel quite as fast as it used to. If, at a certain tempo, you do not feel you are feeling that ease, that rhythm yet, remain at that tempo for another round until you do.

6 rounds of 6x 50

  • Round 1: TC – 0.03
  • Round 2: TC – 0.06
  • Round 3: TC – 0.09
  • Round 4: TC – 0.06
  • Round 5: TC – 0.09
  • Round 6: TC – 0.12

Rest 15 seconds between repeats. Drill for 30 seconds between rounds.

Distance Practice 3.4

For the distance practice you will use stroke count intervals to divide up your swim mentally, and change focal point on each interval.

Main Set

2500m total

Divide into 100, or 200m mental intervals – this means you will change focus after this distance, but you might not take a physical rest.

If necessary, aim to rest at no less than 300m intervals.

Choose two or three focal points, and set up a rotation plan to use those focal points during the swim.

Set effort level to RPE 3, or Gear 3.

Quality Objective: to maintain consistent focus during each interval and maintain steady Gear 3 for the entire distance.

Week 4

Attention Practice 4.1

Distance

1800 meters

Interval Assignment: 2 rounds of 2x (100, 200) for each set, with 1 minute drill before each round.

Main Set 1: Stroke Control

Based on your own assessment or our discussion, choose a part of your body position or movement pattern to work on and select 1 or 2 focal points to use during this set.

Main Set 2: Breathing

Specifically examine your head position at the moment of taking a breath. Is the chin reaching up and the forehead tilting down? Does it feel almost like your head is tilted downhill? Is there a bow-wave almost coming over the up-side of your swim cap? Aim for a very sneaky breathing position.

Look for any improvement opportunities, the select 1 or 2 focal points to use during this set. Work to make your weak side as good as your strong side.

Main Set 3: Synchronization

Referring to the stroke synchronization points in the page above, examine and improve a feature of your AD sync points.

Pace Interval Practice 4.3

Choose 2 focal points from the Attention Practice for this week.

Main Set

2000m total

4 rounds of 500, with active rest of 50 easy fist swimming between rounds. Set pace for each round at the assign pace gear G#.

  • Round 1: G2
  • Round 2: G3
  • Round 3: G4
  • Round 4: G3

Quality Objective: maintain your attention on the chosen focal point for each round, and hold the assigned pace gear consistently for the entire distance.

 

 

Tempo Practice 4.2

Choose focal points from the Attention Practice for this week.

Main Set 1: Tempo Pyramid

800m total

Purpose

To relax into each tempo and quickly establish a sustainable rhythm.

Instructions

Choose two focal points. Use the first focal point on one repeat, and the second focal point on the next repeat.

Round 1: 4x (2x 50 at each tempo) with 10 seconds rest to change TT. Start with your Tempo Trainer set to TC – 0.03. Then speed up the tempo by -0.03 second on each repeat. You will finish on TC – 0.12 seconds.

Round 2: 4x (2x 50 at each tempo) with 10 seconds rest to change TT.  Start with your Tempo Trainer set to TC – 0.12. Then slow down the tempo by +0.03 second on each repeat. You will finish on TC – 0.03.

Monitor stroke count but you do not need to constrain your SPL.

Main Set 2: Tempo Intervals

1800m total

Purpose

To gradually adapt by relaxation into each incrementally faster tempo. By returning to the various tempo settings, and working at that tempo for a duration, you brain will have time to adapt to it.

Instructions

Choose two focal points. You may alternate use of each focal point.

At each tempo setting, work on relaxing into the rhythm of that tempo, so that your strokes become easier, more precise, where this tempo does not feel quite as fast as it used to. If, at a certain tempo, you do not feel you are feeling that ease, that rhythm yet, remain at that tempo for another round until you do.

3 rounds of:

  • 2x 100 at TC – 0.03
  • 2x 100 at TC – 0.06
  • 2x 100 at TC – 0.09

Rest 15 seconds between repeats. Drill for 30 seconds between rounds.

Distance Practice 4.4

For the distance practice you will use stroke count intervals to divide up your swim mentally, and change focal point on each interval.

Main Set

2500m total

Divide into 100, or 200m mental intervals – this means you will change focus after this distance, but you might not take a physical rest.

If necessary, aim to rest at no less than 400m intervals.

Choose two or three focal points, and set up a rotation plan to use those focal points during the swim.

Set effort level to RPE 3, or Gear 3.

Quality Objective: to maintain consistent focus during each interval and maintain steady Gear 3 for the entire distance.

Week 5

Attention Practice 5.1

Distance

1500 meters

Interval Assignment: 2 rounds of 2x (100, 150) for each set, with 1 minute drill before each round.

Main Set 1: Stroke Control

Based on your own assessment or our discussion, choose a part of your body position or movement pattern to work on and select 1 or 2 focal points to use during this set.

Main Set 2: Breathing

Specifically examine the timing of taking a breath. Are you turning to breath as soon as possible in the stroke? Are you returning to eyes-down position as soon as possible, so that you do not see your own recovery arm? The sooner you turn to breath and finish the easier it will be to get a good breath and less disruptive to your streamline. Yet, as you get tired it will urge you to be lazier and later in your breathing. Resist that tendency.

Look for any improvement opportunities, the select 1 or 2 focal points to use during this set. Work to make your weak side as good as your strong side.

Main Set 3: Synchronization

Referring to the stroke synchronization points in the page above, examine and improve a feature of your BD sync points.

Pace Interval Practice 5.3

Choose 2 focal points from the Attention Practice for this week.

Main Set

1900m total

3 rounds of 600, with active rest of 50 easy fist swimming between rounds. Set pace for each round at the assign pace gear G#.

  • Round 1: G2
  • Round 2: G3
  • Round 3: G4

Quality Objective: maintain your attention on the chosen focal point for each round, and hold the assigned pace gear consistently for the entire distance.

Tempo Practice 5.2

Choose focal points from the Attention Practice for this week.

Main Set 1: Tempo Pyramid

1000m total

Purpose

To relax into each tempo and quickly establish a sustainable rhythm.

Instructions

Choose two focal points. Use the first focal point on one repeat, and the second focal point on the next repeat.

Round 1: 5x (2x 50 at each tempo) with 10 seconds rest to change TT. Start with your Tempo Trainer set to TC – 0.03. Then speed up the tempo by -0.03 second on each repeat. You will finish on TC – 0.15 seconds.

Round 2: 5x (2x 50 at each tempo) with 10 seconds rest to change TT.  Start with your Tempo Trainer set to TC – 0.15. Then slow down the tempo by +0.03 second on each repeat. You will finish on TC – 0.03.

Monitor stroke count but you do not need to constrain your SPL.

Main Set 2: Tempo Intervals

1800m total

Purpose

To gradually adapt by relaxation into each incrementally faster tempo.

Instructions

Choose two focal points. You may alternate use of each focal point.

At each tempo setting, work on relaxing into the rhythm of that tempo, so that your strokes become easier, more precise, where this tempo does not feel quite as fast as it used to. If, at a certain tempo, you do not feel you are feeling that ease, that rhythm yet, remain at that tempo for another round until you do.

6 rounds of 6x 50

  • Round 1: TC – 0.03
  • Round 2: TC – 0.06
  • Round 3: TC – 0.09
  • Round 4: TC – 0.06
  • Round 5: TC – 0.09
  • Round 6: TC – 0.12

Rest 15 seconds between repeats. Drill for 30 seconds between rounds.

Distance Practice 5.4

For the distance practice you will use stroke count intervals to divide up your swim mentally, and change focal point on each interval.

Main Set

3000m total

Divide into 100, or 200m intervals.

If necessary, aim to rest at no less than 300m intervals.

Choose two or three focal points, and set up a rotation plan to use those focal points during the swim.

Set effort level to RPE 3, or Gear 3.

Quality Objective: to maintain consistent focus during each interval and maintain steady Gear 3 for the entire distance.

Week 6 – Rest Week

Rest Week 6 Practices

You get to choose what practices to do this week. Swim at least 3 times this week, but make your distance and intensity about 1/2 of last week.

You may repeat any of the practices at half intensity, or better, swim for complete enjoyment and swim with other stroke styles. But try to swim 3 times.

Be careful with other activities so that you allow your muscles, joints, energy systems and mind to rest and recovery this week with light, enjoyable movement.

Mesocycle #2

Week 7

Baseline Test Swim #2

For your second test swim we want to see how the training has adjusted your metrics.

The same rules as the first test swim:

You have 60 minutes. Pick a pace you feel you can hold for more than one hour – one that will make you go at your cruising speed, but not leave you wasted at the end, about RPE 3 – then see how much distance you cover in 60 minutes. You can rest as much as you need to, but the timer keeps going.  If you stop before 60 minutes that is fine also – just note the time and the distance and the condition of your body and mind when you stopped.

Before the test swim you will simply go through your normal warm-up routine, then start the test swim.

You may use a Tempo Trainer if you use one already. Set it to a tempo you are already comfortable with from training.

Pay attention to your sense of effort during the entire 60 minutes and not the time at which you feel any changes in pace, energy, and focus. These may be important markers for measuring your progress during the training program.

Report your test results, with any data on stroke count, tempo and splits, in your Discussion Zone.

Attention Practice 7.1

Distance

1800 meters

Interval Assignment: 3 rounds of 2x (50,100,150) for each set, with 2 minutes drill before each round. One round for each Main Set.

Main Set 1: Stroke Control

Based on your own assessment or our discussion, choose a part of your body position or movement pattern to work on and select 1 or 2 focal points to use during this set.

Main Set 2: Breathing

Specifically examine your lead arm position before, during the turn, and at the moment of taking a breath, on each breathing side. During the entire turn-to-breathe-and-return motion that lead arm should be extending forward. It can begin the catch as soon as your eyes return to looking down position.

Note that this timing requires you to have your head turning back to eyes-down AHEAD your recovery arm – if you can see your recovery arm with your own eyes, your turning too late and it will interrupted the timing of your arm switch. Early breath and early return allows you to have your head back in position when your recovery arm and lead arm are ready to switch.

Look for any improvement opportunities, the select 1 or 2 focal points to use during this set. Work to make your weak side as good as your strong side.

Main Set 3: Synchronization

Referring to the stroke synchronization points in the page above, examine and improve a feature of your AB sync points.

Pace Interval Practice 7.3

Choose 2 focal points from the Attention Practice for this week.

Main Set

2000m total

5 rounds of 400, with active rest of 50 easy fist swimming between rounds. Set pace for each round at the assign pace gear G#.

  • Round 1: G3
  • Round 2: G2
  • Round 3: G3
  • Round 4: G4
  • Round 5: G3

Quality Objective: maintain your attention on the chosen focal point for each round, and hold the assigned pace gear consistently for the entire distance.

 

 

Tempo Practice 7.2

Choose focal points from the Attention Practice for this week.

Main Set 1: Tempo Pyramid

800m total

Purpose

To relax into each tempo and quickly establish a sustainable rhythm.

Instructions

Choose two focal points. Use the first focal point on one repeat, and the second focal point on the next repeat.

Round 1: 4x (2x 50 at each tempo) with 10 seconds rest to change TT. Start with your Tempo Trainer set to TC – 0.06. Then speed up the tempo by -0.03 second on each repeat. You will finish on TC – 0.15 seconds.

Round 2: 4x (2x 50 at each tempo) with 10 seconds rest to change TT.  Start with your Tempo Trainer set to TC – 0.18. Then slow down the tempo by +0.03 second on each repeat. You will finish on TC – 0.06.

Monitor stroke count but you do not need to constrain your SPL.

Main Set 2: Tempo Intervals

1800m total

Purpose

To gradually adapt by relaxation into each incrementally faster tempo.

Instructions

Choose two focal points. You may alternate use of each focal point.

At each tempo setting, work on relaxing into the rhythm of that tempo, so that your strokes become easier, more precise, where this tempo does not feel quite as fast as it used to. If, at a certain tempo, you do not feel you are feeling that ease, that rhythm yet, remain at that tempo for another round until you do.

6 rounds of 6x 50

  • Round 1: TC – 0.06
  • Round 2: TC – 0.09
  • Round 3: TC – 0.12
  • Round 4: TC – 0.09
  • Round 5: TC – 0.12
  • Round 6: TC – 0.15

Rest 15 seconds between repeats. Drill for 30 seconds between rounds.

Distance Practice 7.4

For the distance practice you will use stroke count intervals to divide up your swim mentally, and change focal point on each interval.

Main Set

3000m total

Divide into 100 or 200m (or stroke) intervals.

If necessary, aim to rest at no less than 300m intervals, and make it an active rest rather than passive rest – slow down intensity or stroke pressure for 15-30 seconds, but keep swimming.

Choose two or three focal points, and set up a rotation plan to use those focal points during the swim.

Set effort level to RPE 3, or Gear 3.

Quality Objective: to maintain consistent focus during each interval and maintain steady Gear 3 for the entire distance.

Week 8

Attention Practice 8.1

Distance

1500 meters

Interval Assignment: 3 rounds of 2x (100,200) for each set, with 2 minutes drill before each round. One round for each Main Set.

Main Set 1: Stroke Control

Based on your own assessment or our discussion, choose a part of your body position or movement pattern to work on and select 1 or 2 focal points to use during this set.

Main Set 2: Breathing

Specifically examine the timing of breathing – your head begins to turn (in conjunction with your shoulders) toward the breath at the moment you begin the catch. Notice the connection in timing and imagine your catch hand is pressing on a lever which pulls your head toward breathing position simultaneously.

Look for any improvement opportunities, the select 1 or 2 focal points to use during this set. Work to make your weak side as good as your strong side.

Main Set 3: Synchronization

Examine and improve a feature of your AC sync points.

Pace Interval Practice 8.3

Choose 2 focal points from the Attention Practice for this week.

Main Set

2000m total

4 rounds of 500, with active rest of 50 easy fist swimming between rounds. Set pace for each round at the assign pace gear G#.

  • Round 1: G2
  • Round 2: G3
  • Round 3: G4
  • Round 4: G3

Quality Objective: maintain your attention on the chosen focal point for each round, and hold the assigned pace gear consistently for the entire distance.

 

 

Tempo Practice 8.2

Choose focal points from the Attention Practice for this week.

Main Set 1: Tempo Pyramid

800m total

Purpose

To relax into each tempo and quickly establish a sustainable rhythm.

Instructions

Choose two focal points. Use the first focal point on one repeat, and the second focal point on the next repeat.

Round 1: 4x (2x 50 at each tempo) with 10 seconds rest to change TT. Start with your Tempo Trainer set to TC – 0.06. Then speed up the tempo by -0.03 second on each repeat. You will finish on TC – 0.15 seconds.

Round 2: 4x (2x 50 at each tempo) with 10 seconds rest to change TT.  Start with your Tempo Trainer set to TC – 0.15. Then slow down the tempo by +0.03 second on each repeat. You will finish on TC – 0.06.

Monitor stroke count but you do not need to constrain your SPL.

Main Set 2: Tempo Intervals

1800m total

Purpose

To gradually adapt by relaxation into each incrementally faster tempo.

Instructions

Choose two focal points. You may alternate use of each focal point.

At each tempo setting, work on relaxing into the rhythm of that tempo, so that your strokes become easier, more precise, where this tempo does not feel quite as fast as it used to. If, at a certain tempo, you do not feel you are feeling that ease, that rhythm yet, remain at that tempo for another round until you do.

3 rounds of  (6x 100):

  • Round 1: TC – 0.06
  • Round 2: TC – 0.09
  • Round 3: TC – 0.12

Rest 15 seconds between repeats. Drill for 30 seconds between rounds.

Distance Practice 8.4

For the distance practice you will use stroke count intervals to divide up your swim mentally, and change focal point on each interval.

Main Set

3200m total

Divide into 100 or 200m (or stroke) intervals.

If necessary, aim to use active rest at no less than 300m intervals.

Choose two or three focal points, and set up a rotation plan to use those focal points during the swim.

Set effort level to RPE 3, or Gear 3.

Quality Objective: to maintain consistent focus during each interval and maintain steady Gear 3 for the entire distance.

Week 9

Attention Practice 9.1

Distance

1800 meters

Interval Assignment: 3 rounds of 2x (300) for each set, with 1 minutes drill before each round. One round for each Main Set.

Main Set 1: Stroke Control

Based on your own assessment or our discussion, choose a part of your body position or movement pattern to work on and select 1 or 2 focal points to use during this set.

Main Set 2: Breathing

Work again on your lead arm during the breathing action. Specifically, keep your arm extending forward in the direction of travel until the head returns to eyes-down position. It is not a mere passive position, the body is continuing to transfer force forward, the bodyline lengthening, while breathing. It should create an even more stable, less turbulent sensation in this moment.

Look for any improvement opportunities, the select 1 or 2 focal points to use during this set.

Main Set 3: Synchronization

Examine and improve a feature of your AD sync points.

Pace Interval Practice 9.3

Choose 2 focal points from the Attention Practice for this week.

Main Set

2400m total

6 rounds of 400, with active rest of 50 easy fist swimming between rounds. Set pace for each round at the assign pace gear G#.

  • Round 1: G2
  • Round 2: G3
  • Round 3: G2
  • Round 4: G4
  • Round 5: G3
  • Round 6: G4

Quality Objective: maintain your attention on the chosen focal point for each round, and hold the assigned pace gear consistently for the entire distance.

 

 

Tempo Practice 9.2

Choose focal points from the Attention Practice for this week.

Main Set 1: Tempo Pyramid

800m total

Purpose

To relax into each tempo and quickly establish a sustainable rhythm.

Instructions

Choose two focal points. Use the first focal point on one repeat, and the second focal point on the next repeat.

Round 1: 5x (2x 50 at each tempo) with 10 seconds rest to change TT. Start with your Tempo Trainer set to TC – 0.06. Then speed up the tempo by -0.03 second on each repeat. You will finish on TC – 0.18 seconds.

Round 2: 5x (2x 50 at each tempo) with 10 seconds rest to change TT.  Start with your Tempo Trainer set to TC – 0.18. Then slow down the tempo by +0.03 second on each repeat. You will finish on TC – 0.06.

Monitor stroke count but you do not need to constrain your SPL.

Main Set 2: Tempo Intervals

1800m total

Purpose

To gradually adapt by relaxation into each incrementally faster tempo.

Instructions

Choose two focal points. You may alternate use of each focal point.

At each tempo setting, work on relaxing into the rhythm of that tempo, so that your strokes become easier, more precise, where this tempo does not feel quite as fast as it used to. If, at a certain tempo, you do not feel you are feeling that ease, that rhythm yet, remain at that tempo for another round until you do.

6 rounds of  (3x 100):

  • Round 1: TC – 0.06
  • Round 2: TC – 0.09
  • Round 3: TC – 0.12
  • Round 4: TC – 0.09
  • Round 5: TC – 0.12
  • Round 6: TC – 0.15

Rest 15 seconds between repeats. Drill for 30 seconds between rounds.

Distance Practice 9.4

For the distance practice you will use stroke count intervals to divide up your swim mentally, and change focal point on each interval.

Main Set

3500m total

Divide into 100 or 200m (or stroke) intervals.

If necessary, aim to rest at no less than 300m intervals.

Choose two or three focal points, and set up a rotation plan to use those focal points during the swim.

Set effort level to RPE 3, or Gear 3.

Quality Objective: to maintain consistent focus during each interval and maintain steady Gear 3 for the entire distance.

Week 10

Attention Practice 10.1

Distance

1800 meters

Interval Assignment: 3 rounds of (200,300,100) for each set, with 1 minute drill before each round. One round for each Main Set.

Main Set 1: Stroke Control

Based on your own assessment or our discussion, choose a part of your body position or movement pattern to work on and select 1 or 2 focal points to use during this set.

Main Set 2: Breathing

Examine how you are exhaling during the stroke between breaths. At lower exertion level aim to send a steady, but gentle stream of bubbles from the nose. As intensity increases start to exhale from the mouth also. During higher intensity swims, start with gentle bubbles and then very gradually increase the rate of exhale as you approach the moment your mouth touches the air.

Look for any improvement opportunities, the select 1 or 2 focal points to use during this set.

Main Set 3: Synchronization

Referring to the stroke synchronization points in the page above, examine and improve a feature of your BD sync points.

Pace Interval Practice 10.3

Choose 2 focal points from the Attention Practice for this week.

Main Set

2400m total

4 rounds of 600, with active rest of 50 easy fist swimming between rounds. Set pace for each round at the assign pace gear G#.

  • Round 1: G3
  • Round 2: G2
  • Round 3: G3
  • Round 4: G4

Quality Objective: maintain your attention on the chosen focal point for each round, and hold the assigned pace gear consistently for the entire distance.

 

 

Tempo Practice 10.2

Choose focal points from the Attention Practice for this week.

Main Set 1: Tempo Pyramid

800m total

Purpose

To relax into each tempo and quickly establish a sustainable rhythm.

Instructions

Choose two focal points. Use the first focal point on one repeat, and the second focal point on the next repeat.

Round 1: 5x (2x 50 at each tempo) with 10 seconds rest to change TT. Start with your Tempo Trainer set to TC – 0.06. Then speed up the tempo by -0.03 second on each repeat. You will finish on TC – 0.18 seconds.

Round 2: 5x (2x 50 at each tempo) with 10 seconds rest to change TT.  Start with your Tempo Trainer set to TC – 0.18. Then slow down the tempo by +0.03 second on each repeat. You will finish on TC – 0.06.

Monitor stroke count but you do not need to constrain your SPL.

Main Set 2: Tempo Intervals

1800m total

Purpose

To gradually adapt by relaxation into each incrementally faster tempo.

Instructions

Choose two focal points. You may alternate use of each focal point.

At each tempo setting, work on relaxing into the rhythm of that tempo, so that your strokes become easier, more precise, where this tempo does not feel quite as fast as it used to. If, at a certain tempo, you do not feel you are feeling that ease, that rhythm yet, remain at that tempo for another round until you do.

3 rounds of  (3x 200):

  • Round 1: TC – 0.06
  • Round 2: TC – 0.09
  • Round 3: TC – 0.12

Rest 15 seconds between repeats. Drill for 30 seconds between rounds.

Distance Practice 10.4

For the distance practice you will use stroke count intervals to divide up your swim mentally, and change focal point on each interval.

Main Set

3800m total

Divide into 100 or 200m (or stroke) intervals.

If necessary, aim to rest at no less than 400m intervals.

Choose two or three focal points, and set up a rotation plan to use those focal points during the swim.

Set effort level to RPE 3, or Gear 3.

Quality Objective: to maintain consistent focus during each interval and maintain steady Gear 3 for the entire distance.

Week 11 – Rest Week

Rest Week 11 Practices

You get to choose what practices to do this week. Swim at least 3 times this week, but make your distance and intensity about 1/2 of last week.

You may repeat any of the practices at half intensity, or better, swim for complete enjoyment and swim with other stroke styles. But try to swim 3 times.

Be careful with other activities so that you allow your muscles, joints, energy systems and mind to rest and recovery this week with light, enjoyable movement.

Mesocycle #3

Week 12

Baseline Test Swim #3

For your third test swim we want to see how the training has improved your metrics, and where weak spots remain.

The same rules as the first test swim:

You have 60 minutes. Pick a pace you feel you can hold for more than one hour – one that will make you go at your cruising speed, but not leave you wasted at the end, about RPE 3 – then see how much distance you cover in 60 minutes. You can rest as much as you need to, but the timer keeps going.  If you stop before 60 minutes that is fine also – just note the time and the distance and the condition of your body and mind when you stopped.

Before the test swim you will simply go through your normal warm-up routine, then start the test swim.

You may use a Tempo Trainer again if you used one on a previous test. Set it to a tempo you are already comfortable with from training.

Pay attention to your sense of effort during the entire 60 minutes and not the time at which you feel any changes in pace, energy, and focus. These may be important markers for measuring your progress during the training program.

Report your test results, with any data on stroke count, tempo and splits, in your Discussion Zone.

Attention Practice 12.1

Distance

1800 meters

Interval Assignment: 3 rounds of 2x (50,100,150) for each set, with 2 minutes drill before each round. One round for each Main Set.

Main Set 1: Stroke Control

Based on your own assessment or our discussion, choose a part of your body position or movement pattern to work on and select 1 or 2 focal points to use during this set.

Main Set 2: Breathing Pattern

Experiment with different breathing patterns that you may use during your race.

Patterns are set by stroke count. Patterns you may consider are:

  • 3-stroke (standard bi-lateral)
  • 2-stroke on left for 20 breaths, then 2-stroke on right for 20 breaths
  • 2-3-2-3
  • 3-4-3-4

The pattern is meant to serve your need for frequent, abundant air exchange. So make the pattern fit your effort level which drives your rate of air exchange. As effort level goes up or down, your stroke tempo may change which then changes the amount of time between strokes and changed your window of breathing opportunity. So your breathing pattern needs to adjust with respect to both effort and stroke tempo.

Choose two or three breathing patterns and use those during the practices from here on.

Main Set 3: Synchronization

Choose the synchronization pairing which is your strongest, or most stroke-impacting combination to focus on.

Pace Interval Practice 12.3

Choose 2 focal points from the Attention Practice for this week.

Main Set

2000m total

5 rounds of 2x 200, with active rest of 50 easy fist swimming between rounds. Set pace for each round at the assign pace gear G#.

You have two options on the follow pace gear set – you may stay working with moderate gears in Option 1 or more intense gears in (Option 2).

  • Round 1: G3 (G4)
  • Round 2: G2 (G3)
  • Round 3: G3 (G3)
  • Round 4: G4 (G3)
  • Round 5: G3 (G4)

Quality Objective: maintain your attention on the chosen focal point for each round, and hold the assigned pace gear consistently for the entire distance.

 

 

Tempo Practice 12.2

Choose focal points from the Attention Practice for this week.

Main Set 1: Tempo Pyramid

800m total

Purpose

To relax into each tempo and quickly establish a sustainable rhythm.

Instructions

Choose two focal points. Use the first focal point on one repeat, and the second focal point on the next repeat.

Round 1: 4x (2x 50 at each tempo) with 10 seconds rest to change TT. Start with your Tempo Trainer set to TC – 0.09. Then speed up the tempo by -0.03 second on each repeat. You will finish on TC – 0.18 seconds.

Round 2: 4x (2x 50 at each tempo) with 10 seconds rest to change TT.  Start with your Tempo Trainer set to TC – 0.18. Then slow down the tempo by +0.03 second on each repeat. You will finish on TC – 0.09.

Monitor stroke count but you do not need to constrain your SPL.

Main Set 2: Tempo Intervals

1800m total

Purpose

To gradually adapt by relaxation into each incrementally faster tempo.

Instructions

Choose two focal points. You may alternate use of each focal point.

At each tempo setting, work on relaxing into the rhythm of that tempo, so that your strokes become easier, more precise, where this tempo does not feel quite as fast as it used to. If, at a certain tempo, you do not feel you are feeling that ease, that rhythm yet, remain at that tempo for another round until you do.

6 rounds of 6x 50

  • Round 1: TC – 0.09
  • Round 2: TC – 0.12
  • Round 3: TC – 0.15
  • Round 4: TC – 0.12
  • Round 5: TC – 0.15
  • Round 6: TC – 0.18

Rest 15 seconds between repeats. Drill for 30 seconds between rounds.

Distance Practice 12.4

For the distance practice you will use stroke count intervals to divide up your swim mentally, and change focal point on each interval.

Main Set

4000m total

Divide into 200 or 300m (or stroke) intervals.

If necessary, aim to rest at no less than 400m intervals, and make it an active rest rather than passive rest – slow down intensity or stroke pressure for 15-30 seconds, but keep swimming.

Choose two or three focal points, and set up a rotation plan to use those focal points during the swim.

Set effort level to RPE 3, or Gear 3.

Quality Objective: to maintain consistent focus during each interval and maintain steady Gear 3 for the entire distance.

Week 13

Attention Practice 13.1

Distance

1800 meters

Interval Assignment: 3 rounds of 2x (100,200) for each set, with 2 minutes drill before each round. One round for each Main Set.

Main Set 1: Stroke Control

Based on your own assessment or our discussion, choose a part of your body position or movement pattern to work on and select 1 or 2 focal points to use during this set.

Main Set 2: Breath Timing

Specifically examine the timing of breathing – and look at the relationship between your head turning (to the left) and your right arm entering the water and extending forward to the target. Feel that connection between the head-shoulder rotation and the extending arm. Perfect that connection.

In relation to this extending front arm, have that lead arm hold its extended position until your face returns to eyes-down position.

Look for any improvement opportunities, the select 1 or 2 focal points to use during this set. Work to make your weak side as good as your strong side.

Main Set 3: Synchronization

Choose what seems to be your weakest synchronization pairing, or that which seems to have the least impact on your stroke. Experiment with that connection, changing it a little more and a little less than normal to see how it affects the sensation of force transferring through your body. Make new discoveries which may increase your appreciation for the connection of these parts.

Pace Interval Practice 13.3

Choose 2 focal points from the Attention Practice for this week.

Main Set

2100m total

7 rounds of 300, with active rest of 50 easy fist swimming between rounds. Set pace for each round at the assign pace gear G#.

  • Round 1: G3
  • Round 2: G3
  • Round 3: G4
  • Round 4: G3
  • Round 5: G3
  • Round 6: G4
  • Round 7: G4

Quality Objective: maintain your attention on the chosen focal point for each round, and hold the assigned pace gear consistently for the entire distance.

Tempo Practice 13.2

Choose focal points from the Attention Practice for this week.

Main Set 1: Tempo Pyramid

800m total

Purpose

To relax into each tempo and quickly establish a sustainable rhythm.

Instructions

Choose two focal points. Use the first focal point on one repeat, and the second focal point on the next repeat.

Round 1: 4x (2x 50 at each tempo) with 10 seconds rest to change TT. Start with your Tempo Trainer set to TC – 0.09. Then speed up the tempo by -0.03 second on each repeat. You will finish on TC – 0.18 seconds.

Round 2: 4x (2x 50 at each tempo) with 10 seconds rest to change TT.  Start with your Tempo Trainer set to TC – 0.18. Then slow down the tempo by +0.03 second on each repeat. You will finish on TC – 0.09.

Monitor stroke count but you do not need to constrain your SPL.

Main Set 2: Tempo Intervals

1800m total

Purpose

To gradually adapt by relaxation into each incrementally faster tempo.

Instructions

Choose two focal points. You may alternate use of each focal point.

At each tempo setting, work on relaxing into the rhythm of that tempo, so that your strokes become easier, more precise, where this tempo does not feel quite as fast as it used to. If, at a certain tempo, you do not feel you are feeling that ease, that rhythm yet, remain at that tempo for another round until you do.

3 rounds of  (3 cycles of 2x 100, new focal point each cycle):

  • Round 1: TC – 0.09
  • Round 2: TC – 0.12
  • Round 3: TC – 0.15

Rest 15 seconds between repeats. Drill for 30 seconds between rounds.

Distance Practice 8.4

For the distance practice you will use stroke count intervals to divide up your swim mentally, and change focal point on each interval.

Main Set

4300m total

Divide into 200 or 300m (or stroke) intervals.

If necessary, aim to use active rest at no less than 400m intervals.

Choose two or three focal points, and set up a rotation plan to use those focal points during the swim.

Set effort level to RPE 3, or Gear 3.

Quality Objective: to maintain consistent focus during each interval and maintain steady Gear 3 for the entire distance.

Week 14

Attention Practice 14.1

Distance

1800 meters

Interval Assignment: 3 rounds of 2x (300) for each set, with 1 minutes drill before each round. One round for each Main Set.

Main Set 1: Stroke Control

Based on your own assessment or our discussion, choose a part of your body position or movement pattern to work on and select 1 or 2 focal points to use during this set.

Main Set 2: Breathing Pattern

Take the breathing patterns you chose from Week 12 and experiment with those at different tempos, associating each one with some specific tempo range and effort level.

Main Set 3: Synchronization

Again, choose your strongest synchronization pairing to work with. Experiment by adjusting the timing a little more and a little less than normal to see how it affects the sensation of force transferring through your body. With those observations refine that connection further.

Pace Interval Practice 14.3

Choose 2 focal points from the Attention Practice for this week.

Main Set

2000m total

5 rounds of 400, with active rest of 50 easy fist swimming between rounds. Set pace for each round at the assign pace gear G#.

You have two options on the follow pace gear set – you may stay working with moderate gears in Option 1 or more intense gears in (Option 2).

  • Round 1: G2 (G4)
  • Round 2: G3 (G3)
  • Round 3: G3 (G3)
  • Round 4: G3 (G3)
  • Round 5: G4 (G4)

Quality Objective: maintain your attention on the chosen focal point for each round, and hold the assigned pace gear consistently for the entire distance.

 

 

Tempo Practice 14.2

Choose focal points from the Attention Practice for this week.

Main Set 1: Tempo Pyramid

1000m total

Purpose

To relax into each tempo and quickly establish a sustainable rhythm.

Instructions

Choose two focal points. Use the first focal point on one repeat, and the second focal point on the next repeat.

Round 1: 5x (2x 50 at each tempo) with 10 seconds rest to change TT. Start with your Tempo Trainer set to TC – 0.09. Then speed up the tempo by -0.03 second on each repeat. You will finish on TC – 0.21 seconds.

Round 2: 5x (2x 50 at each tempo) with 10 seconds rest to change TT.  Start with your Tempo Trainer set to TC – 0.21. Then slow down the tempo by +0.03 second on each repeat. You will finish on TC – 0.09.

Monitor stroke count but you do not need to constrain your SPL.

Main Set 2: Tempo Intervals

1800m total

Purpose

To gradually adapt by relaxation into each incrementally faster tempo.

Instructions

Choose two focal points. You may alternate use of each focal point.

At each tempo setting, work on relaxing into the rhythm of that tempo, so that your strokes become easier, more precise, where this tempo does not feel quite as fast as it used to. If, at a certain tempo, you do not feel you are feeling that ease, that rhythm yet, remain at that tempo for another round until you do.

You have two options on the follow tempo progression – you may stay working with tempos in Option 1 or progress further with tempos in (Option 2).

6 rounds of  (3x 100):

  • Round 1: TC – 0.09 (0.12)
  • Round 2: TC – 0.12 (0.15)
  • Round 3: TC – 0.15 (0.18)
  • Round 4: TC – 0.12 (0.15)
  • Round 5: TC – 0.15 (0.18)
  • Round 6: TC – 0.18 (0.21)

Rest 15 seconds between repeats. Drill for 30 seconds between rounds.

Distance Practice 14.4

For the distance practice you will use stroke count intervals to divide up your swim mentally, and change focal point on each interval.

Main Set

4600m total

Divide into 200 or 300m (or stroke) intervals.

If necessary, aim to rest at no less than 400m intervals.

Choose two or three focal points, and set up a rotation plan to use those focal points during the swim.

Set effort level to RPE 3, or Gear 3.

Quality Objective: to maintain consistent focus during each interval and maintain steady Gear 3 for the entire distance.

Week 15

Attention Practice 15.1

Distance

1800 meters

Interval Assignment: 3 rounds of (200,300,100) for each set, with 1 minute drill before each round. One round for each Main Set.

Main Set 1: Stroke Control

Based on your own assessment or our discussion, choose a part of your body position or movement pattern to work on and select 1 or 2 focal points to use during this set.

Main Set 2: Breathing Your Choice

For this set choose the breathing skill that you feel still needs the most attention before your race.

Main Set 3: Synchronization

Choose the synchronization pairing that you feel has potential to help you further but needs more attention. Experiment with placing your focus on different details of this pairing to see which focal points help you activate a sensation of superior transfer of force through your body. Take note of that focal point and prepare to use it during your practice this week and in the upcoming race.

Pace Interval Practice 15.3

Choose 2 focal points from the Attention Practice for this week.

Main Set

2400m total

6 rounds of 400, with active rest of 50 easy fist swimming between rounds. Set pace for each round at the assign pace gear G#.

You have two options on the follow pace gear set – you may stay working with moderate gears in Option 1 or more intense gears in (Option 2).

  • Round 1: G2 (G4)
  • Round 2: G3 (G3)
  • Round 3: G4 (G4)
  • Round 4: G2 (G2)
  • Round 5: G3 (G3)
  • Round 6: G4 (G4)

Quality Objective: maintain your attention on the chosen focal point for each round, and hold the assigned pace gear consistently for the entire distance.

Tempo Practice 15.2

Choose focal points from the Attention Practice for this week.

Main Set 1: Tempo Pyramid

1000m total

Purpose

To relax into each tempo and quickly establish a sustainable rhythm.

Instructions

Choose two focal points. Use the first focal point on one repeat, and the second focal point on the next repeat.

Round 1: 5x (2x 50 at each tempo) with 10 seconds rest to change TT. Start with your Tempo Trainer set to TC – 0.09. Then speed up the tempo by -0.03 second on each repeat. You will finish on TC – 0.21 seconds.

Round 2: 5x (2x 50 at each tempo) with 10 seconds rest to change TT.  Start with your Tempo Trainer set to TC – 0.21. Then slow down the tempo by +0.03 second on each repeat. You will finish on TC – 0.09.

Monitor stroke count but you do not need to constrain your SPL.

Main Set 2: Tempo Intervals

1800m total

Purpose

To gradually adapt by relaxation into each incrementally faster tempo.

Instructions

Choose two focal points. You may alternate use of each focal point.

At each tempo setting, work on relaxing into the rhythm of that tempo, so that your strokes become easier, more precise, where this tempo does not feel quite as fast as it used to. If, at a certain tempo, you do not feel you are feeling that ease, that rhythm yet, remain at that tempo for another round until you do.

You have two options on the follow tempo progression – you may stay working with tempos in Option 1 or progress further with tempos in (Option 2).

3 rounds of  (3 cycles of 2x 100, new focal point each cycle):

  • Round 1: TC – 0.09 (0.12)
  • Round 2: TC – 0.12 (0.15)
  • Round 3: TC – 0.15 (0.18)

Rest 15 seconds between repeats. Drill for 30 seconds between rounds.

Distance Practice 10.4

For the distance practice you will use stroke count intervals to divide up your swim mentally, and change focal point on each interval.

Main Set

5000m total

Divide into 200 or 300m (or stroke) intervals.

If necessary, aim to rest at no less than 400m intervals.

Choose two or three focal points, and set up a rotation plan to use those focal points during the swim.

Set effort level to RPE 3, or Gear 3.

Quality Objective: to maintain consistent focus during each interval and maintain steady Gear 3 for the entire distance.

Week 16 and 17 – Taper Weeks

Taper Weeks 16 and 17 Practices

Week 16 – First Taper Week

Choose three practices from Week 15. Make your distance in the main sets about 2/3 of that volume, and lower the overall intensity to about 1/2 of what it was last week. Short repeats of high intensity (high tempo, power) are good, but not so much to leave you fatigued in any way. Provide lots of rest between those intense repeats.

Be careful with other activities so that you allow your muscles, joints, energy systems and mind to rest and recovery this week with light, enjoyable movement.

Week 17 – Second Taper Week

Choose three practices from Week 15. Make your distance in the main sets about 1/2 of that volume, and lower the overall intensity to about 1/2 of that Week 15. These practices should awaken your nervous system, but not make your body feel ‘tired’. Short repeats of high intensity (high tempo, power) are good, but not so much to leave you fatigued in any way. Provide lots of rest between those intense repeats.

Be careful with other activities so that you allow your muscles, joints, energy systems and mind to rest and recovery this week with light, enjoyable movement.

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