Crazy yet Creative Holiday Workouts

It’s that time of the swim year…time to put in the long hard holiday training! Coaches start to increase the distance and breakdown their swimmers in order to set them up for taper and fast swimming in the spring. But probably the hardest part is finding fun and creative ways to put in that distance. Swimmers need to stay engaged and welcome the hard work, because sometimes when you are in the pool it is hard to see the light at the end of the tunnel.

Now we have all heard of the ridiculously long and boring sets (100 x 100’s or a 5000 for time), but how can we be more creative? In my opinion the set below is much more engaging, challenging, and fun than most swimming sets. Perhaps you can include it in your workout regimen this holiday season.

2:01 Set

The idea is to do about 25-30 x 100’s on the 2:01 interval and always finish each 100 before the 00 second-mark. This set is normally done long-course, but could also be done short-course starting on a faster initial number.

The key to this set is where you start. We typically have the slower lanes being the set on the 10 and the faster lanes being on the 30. This means that the slower swimmers have 1:50 to finish the first 100, and the faster swimmers have 1:30.

The second 100 you start 1-second later (hence the 2:01 interval). So the slower lanes start on the 11 and the faster lanes start on the 31. Therefore, in order to finish before the 00, the slower swimmers must complete the 100 within 1:49 and the faster swimmers within 1:29.

The third 100 the slower lanes start on the 12 (needing to go 1:48 or faster), and the faster lanes start on the 32 (needing to go 1:28 or faster).

I think you get the pattern by now. Keep going on the 2:01 interval until you don’t make it back before the 00 and you “miss”. At that point, put on your Zoomers and keep going!

By #30, the slower lanes start on the 40 (needing to go 1:20 or faster), and the faster lanes start on the 00 (needing to go 1:00 or faster).

Note that if you went 2nd in the lane and went 10-seconds behind, then your goal is to finish before the 10 every 100 or else you “miss”. Similarly, the 3rd person in the lane must finish before the 20 every time.

This set gets everyone involved, where both the faster and slower lanes are trying to finish before the same 00 goal time. Because the slower swimmers have a “head start” the faster swimmers are trying to run them down and not “miss”.

The 2:01 interval keeps everyone on their toes, and also helps keep track of how many 100’s you have done before you “miss”. Give a reward to the swimmer that makes it the farthest without missing.

The 2:01 set is a great combination of aerobic and anaerobic endurance. The interval is slow enough to get plenty of rest, but the swims need to be paced out so you can make it through the entire set.

Does anyone else have a fun creative set they like to do during holiday training? Anything that would be more beneficial and less boring than 10 x 1000’s?!

- Mark

Photo CC: Happy New Year World (2010) by Lel4nd on Flickr