Training Table: IM channeling Abrahams & Hackett

Way back in March of 2013, I had the pleasure of swimming a 1-1 workout with Rich Abrahams, one of the world's greatest swimmers, a guy who in his 70s can still crush guys decades younger than him. We got together at Cactus Pool in Scottsdale after a "Sprinter's Spectacular" meet at Arizona State University and I asked Rich to bring the workout. The set, rumoured to be one that the legendary Aussie freestyler Grant Hackett used to prepare for the 200 freestyle, is deceptively simple:

  • 16 x 50: on 0:45, every 4th 50 at target 200 race pace

  • 12 x 50: on 0:50, every 3rd 50 at target 200 race pace

  • 8 x 50: on 0:55, every 2nd 50 at target 200 race pace

  • 4 x 50: on 1:00, all at target 200 race pace

with about 1:00 rest or an easy 50 between each set. When I do this set, I try to hold the easier 50s at my Threshold Pace. As I'm training primarily for a 200 fly, I had intended to do all the pace 50s butterfly, but I was a bit sore during the warmup so I switched to an IM set. Doing this had the side "benefit" of adding more fuel to my internal fire when I compared my "peak Patrick" performance from years ago. I was at the 25 yard pool at my local LA Fitness for this.

Warmup sets (1,350 yards)

  • 1 x 400: IM, kick-drill by 25s

  • 4 x 100: on 1:20, freestyle swim w/snorkel aiming to descend (was 1:12, 1:10, 1:08, 1:06)

  • Typically, I try to use my stroke count to create the descend during warmup so I start the first one going 9-10-10-11 strokes per length.

  • Then, on each subsequent 100, I add one stroke to each length (primarily through a combination of faster stroke rate and shorter stroke length) so that my last one is at 12-13-13-14 strokes per length by 25s.

  • 6 x 50: on 0:50, w/fins going 8 SDKs off each wall, on your belly for first 25 into a fast turn and the on your back on the 2nd 25

  • 8 x 25: odds easy double-arm backstroke working on catch, evens fast IM order

  • 1 x 50: easy scull

Hackett IMs (2,250 yards set)

Take an easy 50 kick/scull between each set, along with an extra 50 cool-down at the end. I wore a snorkel and did freestyle on all the easy 50s, aiming to hold 0:35s and was primarily 0:34s, with the odd 0:33 and no 0:36s.

  • 16 x 50: on 0:45, every 4th 50 at target 200 race pace

  • Today, I was 0:35 (fly), 0:35+ (Back), 0:42 (breast), 0:32 (free) = 2:24+

  • Back in March 2014, I was 29, 30+, 36, 29 = 2:04+

  • 12 x 50: on 0:50, every 3rd 50 at target 200 race pace

  • Today, I was 0:34 (fly), 0:35 (Back), 0:40 (breast), 0:31+ (free) = 2:20+

  • Back in March 2014, I was 28+, 31, 35+, 29 = 2:04

  • 8 x 50: on 0:55, every 2nd 50 at target 200 race pace

  • Today, I was 0:33, 0:34, 0:39+, 0:31 = 2:17+

  • Back in March 2014, I was28+, 30, 35, 28 = 2:01+

  • 4 x 50: on 1:00, all at target 200 race pace

  • Today, I was 0:32, 0:34, 0:38, 0:30 = 2:14

  • Back in March 2014, I was 28, 29+, 35, 27+ = 2:00

TOTAL: 3,600 yards

I finally felt loosened up and/or fully warmed up by the time I got to the round of 8 x 50. My fly really started to click by the end, which is great since I have entered the 25, 50, 100 and 200 fly at next Sunday's Guelph Marlin Masters meet!

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