This training plan is for the swimmer or triathlete who can swim three times per week and considers themself to be a advanced swimmer.
The plan provides a balanced mix of technique, endurance, open water, threshold (CSS) and speed training. Depending on the time of year and your access to an open water swim training venue you can choose whether to do the endurance session or the open water session on alternate weeks.
Included as attachments to the workouts within the plan are descriptions of the swim drills or training methods and a Critical Swim Speed calculator.
To make the most of this plan you will need to purchase a waterproof metronome, such as the Finis Tempo Trainer Pro. Details of where to purchase are included in the plan.
This session is very much focused on helping you isolate and improve elements of your stroke technique, your emphasis should be on good form and concentration, rather than effort and trying to complete any section of the session as quickly as you can. If you do your drills poorly over and over again, that is the technique that will become ingrained! If you want some help from a coach to ensure you are performing your technique sessions correctly why not seek out a Swim Smooth accredited coach, or attend a Swim Smooth Training Camp or Clinic? http://swimsmooth.cassonz.com/wp/?page_id=1171
This session is designed to provide a warm up and a drill sequence to help you tune into your feel for the water in preparation for a Critical Swim Speed Assessment. When you have completed the CSS time trials and made a note of your times you can use the attached spreadsheet to calculate your CSS Pace or you can download and use the Swimulator+ iPhone/iPad application from iTunes to figure out what your CSS training pace is. Once you have calculated go into your Training Peaks account settings, and create a set of swim speed/pace "zones" under the zones tab. Select the PZI (10) (Threshold Speed) method of calculation, then you need to put your CSS pace per 100m (expressed in seconds) as your threshold pace and then into the Zone 6: parameters, enter it the same in both parameters so that sets a very precise CSS pace, and not a range. This will ensure that your CSS pace is calculated automatically for you for each of your CSS based training sessions in Training Peaks.
Swim laps in three continuous (20 min) blocks of swimming. One minute recovery between blocks. Alternate between 4 mins race pace, 4 mins easy recovery swimming - in a familiar lake try and use your knowledge of the lap/distance/markers and your race pace/ability to judge where you will be approximately in the lap to gauge where the intervals should start and finish. It doesn't need to be precise but the closer you are, the better your pace awareness is getting.
Warm up and use the build set to prepare you for the main endurance sets. With these endurance sessions the emphasis is on swimming at a steady endurance pace with great form - so use the technical sets in the warm up to help you find your feel for the water and raise your awareness of swimming with good technique. As you will be swimming at lower intensity, make sure you don't drift into overgliding, the stroke should still be a continuous rhythm just reduce the effort through each stroke a little.
Muscular endurance sessions will challenge your ability to tolerate pace changes and higher effort swimming. Make sure you swim within your ability to maintain good technique. Be aware that if you work hard and lapse into poor technique it will become ingrained.
Warm up and use the build set to prepare you for the main CSS sets. Ideally you should use a waterproof metronome such as the Finis Tempo Trainer Pro in Mode 1 to guide you in your pacing - http://swimsmooth.cassonz.com/wp/?page_id=1142 Remember when you are swimming the CSS sets, you will make best progress by sticking to the pace through out the sets, don't be tempted to go ahead of the pace in the early sets, because you might not be able to hold the pace later on, save that challenge until the end of the CSS set, and if you can beat the pace in the last few sets its time to re-test and set yourself a new CSS pace!
Do a one lap (or 10-15 min) steady warm up swim. The swim three laps where you will swim to half way at perceived race pace/intensity - check your watch/record the time split, then finish the lap at a much lower steady pace for recovery - record the time split, take a minute's rest then do the second lap exactly the same, aiming to match the first time split or beat it. Repeat for a third time. Every time you swim in open water treat the end of the session as though it were a real transition, its the only realistic opportunity you get to practice getting out of your wetsuit. Tips: Before you get up out of the water, pull the wetsuit neck open to let some water flush through, it will make the suit sldie off more easily. Take your hat and goggles off and hold them in one hand, then pull that arm out through its sleeve letting go of the hat and goggles inside - it will keep them safe and hopefully prevent them getting lost or left behind in transition. Mentally rehearse the sequence and always use the same sequence. You will need to figure out which hand you prefer to reach for the zipper cord, which hand to pull out first and how you are going to step out of the legs.