I'm filing this one under "triathlon" not "swimming" because you can easily adapt the basic principles below to any of the three disciplines.
|Triathlon: Swim / Bike / Run|
400 free (easy)
10 x 200 free
-- 5 @ 3:05 tempo, staying under 2:30
-- 5 @ 2:55 aerobic pace, staying under 2:40
6 x 50 kick
-- 3 @ 1:00
-- 3 @ 1:05
12 x 50 IM order @ :55 aerobic pace
3 x 100 Free @ 1:30 fast
I put in about 2200 yards in open water yesterday, at a more-or-less steady pace. That took about a half-hour. In running terms, that's a little like putting in an easy three to four miles. I wanted to follow that up with some speed and tempo work today, but I also needed to go long. This presented something of a conundrum.
My answer was the main set, 10 x 200 free, where I did the first five fast and the second five at an easier aerobic pace but on a faster interval. The effect was something like a triathlon brick workout, where the point is to run through having tired legs. Here, I wanted to swim through being tired, holding together a useful, efficient stroke despite having just put down some very hard swimming immediately prior. This was as much mental and emotional exercised as it was physical. No one likes to swim (or run, or whatever) through exhaustion, but it's a very useful training state, if one that's not always easy to reach while holding form. By swimming through it, you build faith in yourself and in your ability to manage physical adversity when times inevitably get tough.
As I said, most triathletes train this through brick workouts, but it's possible to do it running or even cycling if that's your thing. To do it running, you will want to lay out an out-and-back run course of a bit more than a hour. Run an easy five to ten minute warm up, and then set your watch to countdown 2:30 intervals. Alternate running five sets of (2:30 at 5K pace, 2:30 easy), for a total of twenty-five minutes. You should be pretty tired by the end of this, but if you're not, run faster when it's time to run fast. The point is to work the tempo runs at tempo pace, softening up those legs! At the end of five sets, turn around and run home, holding a steady, efficient aerobic pace--80% effort. Breathe through it and stay strong. If you feel good at the end, close out with three to five :30 sprints. Make sure to warm down afterwards.
The rest of my workout was okay. The 12 x 50 IM order wasn't too bad, but man, my backstroke sucks terribly. I then cut my last set down from 4 x 150 fast to 3 x 100 @ 1:30, both because I didn't want to go over 4500 yards total and because the YMCA pool was filling with summer campers by that point, and I wanted to get out of their way. I managed to hold all of my fast 100s under 1:15 with my first one under 1:10. That wasn't too bad, especially considering how tired I'd gotten by the end.
Any questions? Ask 'em below!