Training Table: 3 x 300 Base Freestyle Pace

Thanks to both my Dad (who is still racing in his 70s) and my coaches growing up, I built the habit of maintaining training logs from an early age. Historically, those were in notebooks, but for almost a decade starting in late 2008, I maintained a swimming training blog on the US Masters Swimming website. For a long time, there was a vibrant, online community where swimmers shared ideas on training and racing, with each of us picking up pointers for drills, sets, and entire workouts. It was a great, if a bit obsessive (yours truly included), and supportive group. The community still exists, but, after USMS de-emphasized their focus on this part of their member offering, the community dwindled significantly and I fell out of the habit.

As I'm getting motivated to race again next spring, I figured this was as good as any a place to re-start my training log. Though our 'Training Table' at the University of Texas referred to our athletes' dining hall, this seemed a relevant enough name for this portion of 1001 Pools.

I've been back in the water with more focus for a couple of weeks now, so this morning was time to set my 'base pace,' the interval I will use for repeat 100 freestyles. Ever since I read Dave Salo's excellent Complete Conditioning for Swimming,I have been using his recommended 3 x 300 test to figure this out. The set is done as follows:

  • The goal is to swim hard, but to be as close to even splitting within each 300 and across the set of 300s.

  • After the first one, you set your interval to give yourself 45 to 60 seconds rest. Historically, I have used a 4:00 interval in short course yards and 4:30 in short course metres.

  • Your Threshold Pace is simply your average 100 time across the set.

  • I then create my 'Base Pace' by adding 5-10 seconds to my Threshold and use my Base Pace as my primary training interval.

This might make more sense below.

I swam today at the exceptional Valley of the Sun JCC pool, diving in a little after 6am.

Standard Warmup (1,500 yards)

I generally do either this exact warmup or a very close variant to it for most workouts. This allows me to assess how I'm feeling and how my times are from day to day.

  • 1 x 400: IM, kick-drill by 25s

  • 4 x 100: on 1:30, freestyle swim, descend wearing a Finis snorkel

  • 1:12, 1:11, 1:08, 1:04

  • 4 x 100: on 1:50, IM kick, descend, odds w/board on stomach, evens on back no board

  • 1:32, 1:29, 1:29+, 1:25

  • 6 x 50: on 1:00, #1 and #6 are easy breastroke kick while wearing the snorkel; evens are strong IM order

  • 0:31 (fly), 0:33 (back), 0:39 (breast), 0:30 (free)

3 x 300 Test Set (1,000 set / 2,500 yards total)

  • 1 x 50: easy breaststroke kick w/snorkel

  • 3 x 300: test set on 4:00

  • My best performance ever on this was back in December of 2016, when I went 3:08+, 3:09, 3:08+

  • Today I was 3:25, 3:22+, 3:19+

  • This puts my Threshold pace at roughly 1:07.5

  • I will set my Base Pace at 1:15

  • 1 x 50: easy breaststroke kick w/snorkel

TOTAL: 2,500 yards

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