Friday, March 19, 2010

The Goldilocks Set (with pic this time)

Spring is nearly here in the Northern Hemisphere and we know that many of you triathletes are increasing the intensity of your training in preparation for the race season ahead. Here's a favourite challenging main-set of ours to start to develop your threshold speed in the water. We call it the Goldilocks set:

(If you're still learning to swim freestyle and don't feel up to this yet don't despair - we'll have a less challenging swim set for you guys coming soon. If you're not sure if you can manage it then give this session a crack - we're sure you'll surprise yourself!)

Main Set For Lane 1 (for those swimming 1:50 to 2:30+ for a fast 100m)
Repeat this set twice through, taking 60 sec rest between each set:
100m + 30 sec rest
200m + 30 sec rest

Main Set For Lane 2 (for those swimming 1:35 to 1:50 for a fast 100m)
Repeat this set three times through, taking 50 sec rest between each set:
100m + 25 sec rest
200m + 25 sec rest

Main Set For Lane 3 (for those swimming sub 1:35 per 100m)
Repeat this set three times through, taking 40 sec rest between each set:
100m + 20 sec rest
200m + 20 sec rest
300m + 20 sec rest

Very important: Swim each of the repetitions at the same speed - the maximum sustainable pace you can manage over the whole swim. Don't sprint the 100m then slow down over the 200m and 300m. So the 100m should feel straightforward, and 200m quite hard and the 300m very hard to sustain. Great distance swimming is about pace judgement under pressure and this starts in training!

You can see why we've nickname this the Goldilocks set as the 100-200-300s get progressively harder - think 'baby bear' 'mama bear' 'papa bear'!

Some notes on this set:

This is the main set of your swim session, you should perform a warm-up and ideally a short drill set before starting this. Also follow with a cool-down swim to help flush waste products from your muscle groups.

If you swim in a yard pool simply swim the meter distances as yards. You can improvise the session a little to lengthen it if you like.

If you have a Wetronome Mk2, swim this set using the lap-interval mode to beep every 25m and take one beep rest (arrive on one beep, go on the next) between each swim and two beeps rest after each set (100-200-300). If you have a good understanding of your CSS pace then swim the set at this pace or just a touch faster.

The Goldilocks set is an example of 'CSS' swim training - what we consider to be the best way to develop your lactate threshold pace. This sort of controlled sustained speed with short recoveries is the key to becoming a faster distance swimmer. Many swimmers attack shorter swims with more recovery - great training for sprinters but no so good for distance swimmers. Find out more here.

You'll find our complete training knowledge, including a mix of key sets like this one, in our 35 Session Waterproof Training Plans.

Swim Smooth!

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