This page is to for those of you who have an interest in fitness swimming and perhaps want to improve your understanding of swimming. If however you already work with me at the Southampton triathlon club and want to remind yourself of any training principles then this is also for you, so WELCOME!
Southampton Triathlete Workshop 29th March 2008 with Kathy Read
Low intensity, generally the warm-up/warm down, drills and technique or recovery between sessions to maintain/stimulate improvements in aerobic capacity
Low heart rate 60-80 b/b/max RPE 6-8 very light less than 75% max
300-1000m rest 10-20secs short recovery due to low intensity
Moderate aerobic (A2)
Aerobic capacity training helps V02 max.
Sustained by the fat metabolism (glycogen)
RPE 9-12 fairly light 40-60b/b/m 75-85% race speed
repeat distances 200-1000m sets
Rest 10-40secs depending on distance of the set
Improvement in the aerobic capacity depends on the biological adaptations in the slow twitch fibres. Peak adaptation in mitochondria content occurs with shorter intensive sets also. Long extensive workouts are more suitable for improving the cardiovascular system. Short intensive recruits the mitochondria and focus training on that part of the biological adaptation.
Anaerobic threshold training (AT)
Threshold is high quality aerobic training (adaptations include aerobic power and lactate metabolism) and should form apart of the training for longer distances. Helps to develop aerobic capacity. It is the maximum intensity of effort that can be sustained for an extended period of time without lactate steadily accumulating and where the level of lactate production equals the maximum rate of lactate removal.
RPE 13-16 repeats of 100-500m Rest 10-20secs fairly high heart rate 30-40 b/b/max
Maximal Oxygen Uptake (vo2 max) or aerobic power (AP)
Training at this level involves swimming at near maximal training pace for periods of 2-5 minutes depending on the type of swimmer. 2-3 minutes is ample time for many swimmers to stress their aerobic system maximally.
RPE 17-20 very hard 10-20b/b/m race pace or faster 50-300mset repeats
Billat et al (1999) demonstrated that it was the exercise speed at vo2max rather than the actual oxygen consumption that was the most powerful influence on training to improve aerobic power.
Aerobic power training tends to drive both the aerobic and anaerobic capacities lower if the majority of the remaining swims are not slow enough. It is very important to insert extra regeneration work in a training week in which aerobic power sets have been planned.
Lactate tolerance (LT) anaerobic capacity (AC)
High intensity work. Training adaptations are, increased glycogen storage capacity and increased ability to remove lactate during and after exercise.
RPE 16-20 very hard Repeats 50-200m Close as possible to best time, 1:1 work rest ratio
This training for long distance swimmers is similar to maximal aerobic training, as the build up of lactate is similar however long distance swimmers may work at maximal oxygen uptake and maintain low levels of lactic acid. High volume training can cause low glycogen levels and makes lactic acid production difficult to achieve.
Lactate production (LP)
This trains your body to achieve near maximal lactate build-up (peak lactate) the training load challenges you to complete as much work anaerobically and as much lactic acid as possible over 60-90secs. More rest needed for high level efforts but the adaptations improve the concentration of the glycolytic enzymes, which facilitates the pyruvate - lactate reaction.
RPE 17-20 very hard intensity maximal short rest recovery should include low intensity swims to metabolise lactic acid. Set is 90-110% comp distance
Speed alatic acid system (SP)
This training increases the recruitment of motor units and effects the rate of force development and the overall neuromuscular co-ordination during maximal bouts
Sprinting at maximum speed for 5-10secs, No lactic acid is produced
Or 25m sprints at fast but comfortable speed RPE15-16 hard 1:3 long rest
Swim an 800m or 1000m/2000m even paced as possible. Check heart rate at end of swim, for a comparison on this only. This swim in itself can be a marker of improvement if repeated 4-6weeks later and is a better result. Can take an average of the overall pace and use for a set, 4x200 or 8x100 to give a pace to aim for 20x100 on 2.00min aim to build into the set hold a time that may be A2 pace/aerobic threshold check heart rate regularly, Repeat test set 4weeks later, looking to either have a lower heart rate for the same pace or able to swim quicker repeat times or if both factors, it will indicate an aerobic improvement and therefore a fitness improvement. The next time you swim the test set it is possible to perhaps decrease the rest time but holding a similar heart rate and time to make another improvement.
For a tough test set to tolerate lactic acid levels
3x200 or 4x100 every swim is as fast as you can to be at race pace. Rest is the same ratio to the swim time or even double the amount of rest.
Stroke count test sets
8x50 aiming to start with a comfortable time and count the total number of strokes taken for the 50. As the pace increases through the set, aim to keep the same stroke count. This will show, stroke efficiency maintenance while increasing swim speed.
Planning of training
Generally any training plan would be based around targeting when the main competition is and which other competitions will be important throughout the season.
This can be broken into weeks of types of training or workload. These are called mesocycles or training phases. You will need to look at how many swim sessions you are planning to do each week and then the amount of metres achieved in each session and also a weekly volume of meterage.
For example there may be a 12week cycle where perhaps there is 2-3 weeks of low key training, but building up the overall weekly volume, mainly drills and aerobic type intensity, then next 1-2weeks is called the build phase, again increasing the weekly meterage, including some more tough sets at anaerobic threshold type pace.
The next 4weeks will be a solid block of training with longer sets and some recovery swims and high volume each week.
If there is a major competition after 12weeks, the training becomes more specific leading into the last 2-3weeks towards the competition and would include some race pace training as well as still some aerobic and anaerobic sets with the overall distance of the training decreasing both within the session and the weekly volume also.
It is crucial to have some test sets throughout and some evaluations of monitoring physical adaptations, such as heart rate improvement, stroke efficiency, and fitness improvement specific to a certain set.
Remember it is not just about the training but also allowing the physical adaptations to take place while the body is being stressed. This can mean having some extra rest within your training plan and making sure you have an eating plan that will give you enough glycogen replacement, especially during intensive training periods. Without careful planning and monitoring, it can lead to overtraining.
Resting heart rate will be elevated for a prolonged period. If it is raised by 10 beats or above this can indicate your body is fighting an infection or possibly there may be adaptation of the training workload taking place but it is a warning signal to you that your body may be working too intensively.
Feeling more fatigued than usual for prolonged periods. Usually it will mean after sleeping adequately that you do not feel any more energised or recovered. It could mean that sleeping patterns are disrupted but also excessive sleeping may be a problem .
Your muscles may feel very sore and heavy, again for a longer period than normal training adaptations take. You may be moody, depressed or irritable and even emotional.
Eating habits may change either feeling not hungry or comfort eating.
You may have a series of infections or find that you constantly feel under the weather.
Injuries will not heal very quickly.
Training will be generally at one pace or level, usually too intensive, again heart rate may be high but it could be you do not have enough power to get your heart rate to the required level. You may feel weak and the stroke slipping in the water.
Recovery from overtraining may take weeks or even months depending on the severity of the overtraining and a special programme must be worked out to not take the energy systems into anything above the A1 A2 training zones until the above indicators of overtraining have improved.