USRPT meets ULBST

30 November 2020

LA Fitness - Barrie Cundles Road - 25 yards


Ultra-Short Race Pace Training became all the rage a few years ago, spurred on particularly when then 14 year old Michael Andrew went pro. Young Mr. Andrew was coached by his father and was the poster-child for this training methodology, an approach that eschewed swimming's more traditional training approach of lots of yards in favor of swimming fast, but with lower volume. Kind of a less is more approach.


As an aerobic-oriented swimming creature, I never really adopted that methodology, though certainly took some concepts from it and applied it to my longer races. In 2016, for example, I achieved Masters "lifetime" best times in both my 1000 and 1650 yard freestyle with virtually all of my pace work for those events done on 50, 100 or 150 yard repeats.


But, today, I did a variant that I'll call ULBST - Ultra-Long Brute Squad Training. The classic "Brute Squad" order of events is to do the 200 fly, 400 IM and the 1500 meter or 1650 yard freestyle in a single session of a meet. The Davis Aquatic Masters team, though, has been amping this up for the last dozen of years with a virtual event, challenging swimmers to start the clock with the 200 fly and then stop it when they finished the 1650. Swimmers are allowed to take as much or as little rest between events as they want, but I was told that most swimmers just go straight through. As I had no confidence that I could swim a 300 fly straight, I decided to take 20 to 30 seconds rest after each of the 200 fly and 400 IM ... of course keeping the clock running.


I looked at the records for my age group and set my sights on the 27:44.2 top time. I figured I could do this ...

  • 200 fly - aim for 2:30, then rest to 3:00

  • 400 IM - aim for 5:10, then rest to 8:30 total

  • 1650 free - aim for 19:00, ending up at 27:30

It all seemed so feasible sitting in the warmth of my bed when I woke up ;)


I strapped on my Garmin Swim 2 watch as my timer and had my Form Goggles ready by the side of the pool, configured to show my running time and my total distance for the 1650. Candidly, I'm still not a fan of the Form goggles; I find the heads-up display more annoying than informative and the bulk of the goggles make them uncomfortable. But, I couldn't see myself counting the 1650 correctly. So, while I swam the 200 fly and 400 IM with my favorite Speedo Vanquishers, (in lovely Texas burnt orange purchased in Austin in 2014), I switched over to the Form goggles for the mile.


My results were close, but not quite at expectations:

  • 200 fly - 2:40, then rested to 3:00

  • 400 IM - 5:20, then rested to about 8:50 total

  • 1650 free - 18:54 ....

... finishing the wall at 27:46.7, just shy of my goal ... but pleasantly tired and happy that I pushed through it.


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