The Mini Goldilocks Set - Your First Proper Training Set?

A post this week for our new Swim Smooth Community Manager - Myffy - who has a background in several sports but is new to swimming herself.

If you are learning to swim freestyle and working on the basics of the stroke then check out the "Mini Goldilocks" set here and give it a go yourself. If you normally just get in and swim lengths then this might be your first ever structured training session. Mini Goldilocks is perfect for that!

Over to Myffy:

Starting out on Day 1 at Swim Smooth HQ was exciting enough, but my excitement soared when within 10 minutes I was presented with a party bag of Swim Smooth essentials! As I delved into the bag and fully investigated the contents, there were towels, books, manuals and swimming hats for every day of the week:



But I quickly came across some items I had no idea how to use - a Tempo Trainer Pro, Fins and Paddles were among them. Having been busy with other sports and only ever swum occasionally I was excited to get down to the pool and test out all of these new goodies!

With the kit bag in tow, I quickly made my way down to the pool to try out swimming the Swim Smooth way. SS Head UK Coach Adam Young was keen for me to test out a classic Swim Smooth Set - "Goldilocks" - but adapted it slightly to suit my ability level. To maintain the pace throughout this whole set, I got to use my first piece of equipment - the Tempo Trainer! 

Here's the set:

Mini Goldilocks Set

3 x 50m + 1 beep rest
1 x 100m (Baby Bear)

3 x 50m  + 1 beep rest
1 x 200m (Mama Bear) 

3 x 50m  + 1 beep rest
1 x 300m (Papa Bear)


Ideally this session should be swum with a Finis Tempo Trainer Pro in mode 1 or mode 2 so that it beeps once per length to you in a 25m/yd pool or twice per length in a 50m pool.

The goal is to stay with the beep so that it paces you through the swim at constant speed. This should feel quite easy during the 50s but get harder over the 100, 200 and 300! After each of the 50s, stop and wait for the next beep - we call this "one beep rest".


In preparation for the new role, I made sure I was well read on all things Swim Smooth and put the book, Swim Smooth, The Complete Coaching System for Swimmers and Triathletes first on my holiday reading list! Armed with all the theory behind the freestyle stroke, I was now faced with the challenge of recreating this in the pool.
Beep beep!

The book highlighted the importance of getting your breathing technique right, so to feel a bit more comfortable in the water I made sure I started off with a few sink downs. Spending a long time bobbing at the top of the water made me quickly realise that I needed a much stronger exhale to get me to the bottom of the pool more easily. With the stronger exhale I sunk down to the bottom with ease so thought I was ready to set the Finis Tempo Trainer to 0:27s for a 25m pool and started the first 50m of the 'Baby Goldilocks Set'.

[Adam: With more experienced swimmers we use something called the CSS Test to determine your pace per length but if you are new to swimming, take an initial guess (perhaps 35 seconds per 25m in mode 2) and swim a few lengths and try and stay with the Tempo Trainer Pro beep. Too fast or too slow? Adjust the beeper until it feels like you are swimming at a good level of effort but not sprinting to keep up.]

I placed the Tempo Trainer underneath my swimming cap, a device you set to your estimated time for one length of the pool. Start the length on the beep and aim to reach the other end of the pool by the second beep. Feeling very smug with myself that I managed to set the Tempo Trainer to the right mode, I set off for my first lap with a strong push off from the wall. So strong that the Tempo Trainer was forced out of swimming hat and I was left having to swim the wrong way in the lane to retrieve it!

After the minor delay I quickly got back to the set, I was feeling good after the 'Baby Bear' and found focusing on my breathing helped to keep my breathing strong and body position up in the water. Despite this, the longer swims in the set provided me with a real challenge. Trying to keep my breathing strong, arm straight out in front on the breathing stroke and staying in time with the beeper proved to be a bit of a struggle and did lead to a sense of panic, so I decided to skip a beep in Daddy Bear to stay on time.

Even though the final swim was tough, it did not take away from the enjoyment of the swim and my eagerness to return to the water. And I've learnt several valuable lessons for my next session! Don't push off too hard from the wall! Stay calm and breathe - focusing on my breathing was a great way to switch off from everything outside of the pool. Don't be too harsh on yourself if you don't quite manage to complete what you set out to do, the way you wanted to do it. Being consistent with your training is key and you will still see improvements!

If, like me, you are new to the world of swimming, the Swim Smooth Guru has some great programmes to help you out. Try our Learn2Swim programme or the 'Boosting the Bambino' programme and experience the joys of life in the water:





Bye for now,

Myffy


Swim Smooth!
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6 comments:

Stuart said...

Thanks for this, I enjoyed reading it.

I did struggle with some dissonance between “new to swimming” and “27s per 25m”. To me that’s a pretty decent pace, especially if you’re new to swim training.

People reading your blog and trying that pace may blow up though!

Kirby said...

The Towel! I'm a huge swim smooth fan and would love to rock that towel but don't see it in the store. Is it available for public purchase?

Cyndy said...

Thanks for being a fan! Yes of course you can get the towel in our shop here https://shop-us.swimsmooth.com/products/swim-smooth-beach-towel?_pos=2&_sid=f5a2fba6c&_ss=r

Lew said...

Could you clarify the training set for me please? The 3 x 50M and 1 beep rest: I assume this is one beep rest after each of the three 50M, then the 100M straight through?

Lew said...

Could you clarify the rest intervals please? I assume its one beep after each of the three 50s, then the 100M straight through? Also, Why not use mode 3 so you can gauge right away if you're dropping off the pace? Thanks!

Cyndy said...

Lew, yes you take one beep rest after each 50, then swim 100m and take 1 beep rest and back to your next set of 50's. The beeper is set to beep every 25m using Mode 1. This gives you your best feedback. At the first beep you should have swum 25m and at the second beep finish the 50m. When swimming the 100m you will hear the beep at 25, 50, 75 and then touching the wall when it beeps for the fourth time at 100m. If you are ahead of those distances when you hear the beep then you need to slow down. If you are behind that distance when you hear the beep you need to speed up. Mode 3 is typically used for your stroke rate, not your pacing. Enjoy the set and let us know if you make your time for Papa Bear. Check out this article for more on stroke rate http://www.feelforthewater.com/2017/06/as-you-change-speed-what-should-happen.html.

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