Training Table: Testing, testing, 1, 2, 3

Over this past week, by availability (pools are open), by choice and by weather (thunderstorms), I spent more time swimming indoors in a pool than outdoors in a lake. As the COVID lockdowns has made it such a long time since I've trained frequently in a pool, I decided to update three of my favorite test sets:

  • 3 x 300 - from Dave Salo for setting my base pace

  • A special 400 IM test set that I developed years ago when I was the online "High Volume" coach for US Masters Swimming

  • Dave Salo's 8 x 100 'pulse plot' test set

On each day, I did a variant of my standard warmup routine, the longest of which is this 1,750 yard/meter set:

  • 1 x 400: IM kick-drill by 25s

  • 4 x 100: free w/snorkel, descend

  • 4 x 100: IM kick, no board, descend

  • 6 x 50: #1 and #6 as dril/scull w/snorkel, #2 to #5 in IM order build to fast

  • 8 x 25: odds fast IM order, evens easy

  • 1 x 50: easy

Sunday, August 2nd - 3 x 300

I was at LA Fitness in yards, did the full warmup and then swam the 3 x 300 test set on a 4:00 interval:

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

  • 2016-01-04 - 3:16, 3:15, 3:14

  • 2018-11-23 - 3:25, 3:22+, 3:19+

  • 2019-08-01 - 3:34, 3:33, 3:30

  • 2019-12-02 - 3:27, 3:29, 3:25

  • 2020-02-03 - 3:18, 3:17, 3:19

  • 2020-08-02 - 3:22, 3:26, 3:25

This puts my Threshold pace at 1:08 ... not too far from the 1:06 pace back in February, and ahead of where I was last December. It felt sloppy, but I was pleasantly surprised with the results.

Monday, August 3rd - 400 IM Test Set

I was back at LA Fitness in yards, and did a shorter warmup, then launched into this:

8 x 50: on 0:55, 2 each stroke, build the odds and make sure the evens are at target 400 IM race pace

  • My dream splits would be 29+ fly, 31+ back, 36+ breast, 29.0 free

  • 10/10/13 - 29, 30+, 36-, 28-

  • 10/17/13 - 31, 31+, 37, 28+

  • 03/04/14 -30, 32, 37, 30

  • 03/15/14 - 29+, 32, 36, 30

  • 12/30/14 - 30, 31, 37, 28

  • 02/12/15 - 31+, 30+, 36, 27+

  • 01/18/16 - 32+, 33+, 39, 30

  • 02/08/16 - 31+, 32+, 37, 29

  • 11/04/17 - 31, 35, 39, 29

  • 11/11/17 - 31, 33, 37+, 28

  • 12/03/17 - 32+, 33, 38, 29

  • 12/24/17 - 31, 31+, 37, 28

  • 01/06/18 - 33, 31+, 38, 29

  • 01/14/18 - 34, 34, 41, 31

  • 01/21/18 - 32+, 33, 38, 29

  • 01/26/20 - 34, 35, 40, 32

  • 08/03/20 - 34, 35, 42, 32

1 x 50: on 1:20, easy breast kick w/snorkel

4 x 100: on 1:40, do as 100 IMs, descend to target 400 IM race pace divided by 4, ideally starting on #1 no slower than 12 seconds above that

  • SCY target would be to descend from 1:14+ to 1:02

  • 10/10/13 - 1:11+, 1:10, 1:07, 1:03+

  • 10/17/13 - 1:12, 1:09, 1:06, 1:04

  • 03/04/14 - 1:08, 1:06, 1:07, 1:06+

  • 03/15/14 - 1:09+, 1:09, 1:05, 1:03++

  • 12/30/14 - 1:10, 1:08+, 1:06+, 1:04

  • 02/12/15 - 1:15, 1:12, 1:08, 1:05

  • 01/18/16 - 1:13, 1:11, 1:08, 1:05+

  • 02/08/16 - 1:16, 1:12, 1:09, 1:05

  • 11/04/17 - 1:18, 1:15, 1:12, 1:08+

  • 11/11/17 - 1:17, 1:15, 1:10, 1:07

  • 12/03/17 - 1:16, 1:14, 1:10, 1:06

  • 12/24/17 - 1:15+, 1:12+, 1:08, 1:05

  • 01/06/18 - 1:16, 1:13, 1:10, 1:07

  • 01/14/18 - 1:17, 1:16, 1:14, 1:13

  • 01/21/18 - 1:18, 1:15, 1:10, 1:04

  • 01/26/20 - 1:22, 1:18, 1:14+, 1:10

  • 08/03/20 - 1:27, 1:20, 1:15, 1:13

2 x 200: on 3:00, build each stroke on #1, try to make #2 at target 400 IM race pace divided by two (e.g., 2:05+ in SCY)

  • 10/10/13 - 2:28, 2:13+

  • 10/17/13 - 2:26, 2:15

  • 03/04/14 - 2:24, 2:22

  • 03/15/14 - 2:27, 2:15

  • 12/30/14 - 2:30, 2:18

  • 02/12/15 - 2:31, 2:17

  • 01/18/16 - 2:35, 2:17

  • 02/08/16 - 2:36, 2:17

  • 11/04/17 - 2:40, 2:26

  • 11/11/17 - 2:33, 2:23+

  • 12/03/17 - 2:36, 2:23

  • 12/24/17 - 2:32, 2:20+

  • 01/06/18 - 2:37, 2:23+

  • 01/14/18 - 2:41, 2:28

  • 01/21/18 - 2:35, 2:21

  • 01/26/20 - 2"42, 2:27

  • 08/03/20 - 2:57, 2:37

4 x 50: active recovery on 0:45, 0:50, 0:55, 1:30

1 x 400: IM on 5:20, hard

  • 10/10/13 - 4:36 (1:05, 1:09, 1:20, 1:02)

  • 10/17/13 - 4:38

  • 03/04/14 - 5:02

  • 03/15/14 - 4:40

  • 12/30/14 - 4:42+ (1:09, 1:11, 1:20, 1:02+)

  • 02/12/15 - 4:47

  • 02/08/16 - 4:46

  • 11/04/17 - 4:56

  • 11/11/17 - 4:53

  • 12/03/17 - 4:51

  • 12/24/17 - 4:46

  • 01/06/18 - 4:53

  • 01/14/18 - 5:01+

  • 01/21/18 - 4:51

  • 01/26/20 - 5:05

  • 08/03/20 - 5:30

Well, I guess my complete lack of any stroke work training since I got into the lakes in mid-May really shone through on this set. Nowhere to go but down/faster on this puppy.

Thursday, August 6th - Pulse Plot

I tried my first 'reserved lap swimming time' at Allandale Recreation Center in Barrie ...

... and ended up having the whole 6 lane, 25 meter pool to myself. The only bummer is that reservations are limited to 45 minutes, so I only got in a 1,050 meter warmup before I swam the test set. The fun, technological twist to this set was that I wore my Garmin Swim 2 watch and set the watch face to display my heartrate as the primary metric. This, I believe, allows for much more accurate recording of my heartrate than my prior method - two fingers on the carotid and count beats for 10 seconds, then multiply by 6.

I did create a Pulse Plot chart, comparing this performance back to two prior periods - 2012 and 2016 - when I was in excellent, top-tier (for me) racing shape:

It is not surprising that my pulse plot has my 'fitness' up and to the left in this chart. As I get fitter, my trendline should move down and to the right. It also makes complete sense that my plot from 2016 shows the best 'heart fitness' as I had trained that season for the 1000/1650 and was in fantastic shape. That was the year I was the fastest across all age groups in the 1000 yard freestyle at the 2016 US Masters Nationals.

For where I am now, as with the IM Test Set, nowhere to go but fitter and faster!

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