Wednesday, November 9, 2011

A heads up for Friday!

Dear Swimmers

Hope you're having a fabulous week...whilst a little cooler I'm glad of the temporary respite from what looked like an early summer last week!

Notice for 9.30am swimmers: Sandy Burt will be covering the 9.30am sessions for me this Friday and next Wednesday and Friday whilst I take a small break to finish one of our exciting new Swim Smooth projects due on the 20th November. It'll be well worth it (guaranteed!) and I can't wait to share with you what that project actually is!! Exciting times.

This Friday:

Just a quick "heads up" about Friday's 5.30am and 6.30am "Fresh 'n' Fruity" sessions. Normally I'd keep it a surprise, but I need to let you know about this one because: a) it requires you to get a mental picture of how it all works prior to the session, b) we have some new technology to help us, which I'm going to show you how to self-adjust, c) it's quite an exciting concept and I just wanted to let you know about it!

This week, we'll be using the new beepers to maximum effect with a progressive set of 100m intervals which we're going to affectionately name "how low can you go?" 

The idea is that you do between 14 and 20 x 100m with ~20s rest between each one depending upon your lane, i.e. lane 1 = 14/15 x 100m, lane 2 = 16 x 100m, lane 3 = 18 x 100m and lane 4 = 20 x 100m. Nothing new there then. As opposed to being restricted to increments of 4" per 100m though, we'll actually just get 1" per 100m faster each interval.

We will start off at a very steady pace  (~10-15" per 100m slower than you'd normally do on a Friday) and as such the actual warm-up will be a little shorter than normal as the set in itself has a very gradual increase in pace. Be warned - this will feel very easy to start with!

Last week if you recall we did a similar small increment but in blocks of 3 or 4 x 100m at a time - this week will literally be 100m, rest, then 100m 1" faster, rest, then 100m 1" faster etc etc until you can't go any further! Sounds nice?! Well, today's 9.30am group actually really loved the challenge! I think you will too!

Starting times:


  • Lane 4: 20 x 100m starting at 1'31" and finishing at 1'12"
  • Lane 3: 18 x 100m starting at 1'38" and finishing at 1'22"
  • Lane 2: 16 x 100m starting at 1'50" and finishing at 1'35"
  • Lane 1: 15 x 100m starting at 2'02" and finishing at 1'48"


  • Lane 4: 20 x 100m starting at 1'36" and finishing at 1'17"
  • Lane 3: 18 x 100m starting at 1'44" and finishing at 1'28"
  • Lane 2: 16 x 100m starting at 1'54" and finishing at 1'39"
  • Lane 1: 14 x 100m starting at 2'05" and finishing at 1'52"

What if you can't make it to the end?

Firstly, whoever is leading has two strikes before they're "out", i.e. miss two consecutive intervals and we swap you with someone else in the lane. We do this until such time that no-one in your lane is able to lead and hit the times. This didn't happen this morning - it was tough but doable. That is what I am hoping for with you guys. If we can't make it, we then go back up the ramp by 4" per 100m and then re-start from this point down again until such time as all your 100s have been done.

The beepers & rest:

The leader of each lane is responsible for the beeper. Immediately after completing each interval, you will take the beeper from underneath your cap (please have one!) and use the LEFT arrow key on the beeper to reduce the interval by 0:25, i.e. 20:00 to 19:75, which equates to 1'20" down to 1'19" in this example. Each tap of the key is a decrease by 0:01 - hold the key down and it goes a little faster. You'll then put the beeper under the cap again and press the top button to reset the beeper at this new pace - you'll hear a single "BEEP" and that is your cue to set off - the beeper will now beep every time you should be at each 25m marker as normal. In practice this process takes about 10-15" and this forms your recovery period.

Those following the leader MUST maintain their gap of 5 seconds and NOT race to catch up and draft, otherwise you'll: a) be swimming faster than you need to; and b) be doing it too easy in the draft of the lead swimmer. Please be conscientious about this!

How hard will this set feel and why are we doing it?

The first 50% of this set will feel unusually easy for a Friday (phew!), the second half will gradually feel much faster than we're normally able to swim. All up, it'll be a great challenge and will demonstrate the benefit of being able to now be a little more precise with our pacings in the squad sessions. Ultimately, in future sets this will allow us to make more significant gains because the gap to the next "step up" can be as little as 0.04" per 100m as opposed to 4" per 100m. You'll probably appreciate that this has got me all geeked out and should be too - together we should be able to really develop our swim specific fitness this summer!!

The set is also designed to allow the leader of the lane get a little practice using the new beeper which will again speed up the flow of future sessions.

Great, can't wait for Friday!


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