Long-time listener, first-time caller with what may well be a stupid question.
I’m an LSD convert who has been doing CF since July and CFE running workouts for about 2 months and have recently started incorporating CFE swimming workouts as part of my training for a half ironman in April. My question is: for the longer intervals (i.e. the 3x350m intervals from November) what intensity level are you looking for during that long an interval? Obviously it will be slower than a 50m or 100m best pace but from an RPE perspective what is the goal?
When I did that 350m interval workout I went as fast as I could at all times during the 350m. Meaning I started fast and slowed down during the 350m as necessary to be able to complete the distance then kicked it in at the end such that I was very spent at the end of the 350m interval. I only ask because that is a little different than how I attack intervals when I run. And I should say that I have a lot more running experience than swimming experience. Is my approach the right one?
And when I’ve done shorter interval workouts I’ve followed the same pattern: basically going as fast as I can at all times. And to do that I’ve had to slow down for half-laps or laps to be able to complete the intervals sometimes. For example on the 10x100m w/15 sec between I slowed down significantly on the latter 100m intervals because I had expended so much energy on the earlier intervals and the 15 sec rest was for me a very short rest. And sometimes when I’ve had to slow down to get my heart rate down I’ve switched to breast-stroke since it seems to help.
The reason I ask is it feels like I’m actually making mini intervals of the prescribed intervals (especially on longer intervals). I’m sure its a product of my lack of swimming experience but I wonder if I’m taking the right approach.
Thanks in advance for this site, the workouts, and any help you can provide.
Part of the reason for the varying interval lengths is to learn pacing. For a 350 m swim, you should be going as hard as you can on that interval that will allow you to complete all the intervals within a a few seconds of each other. The first one should be about the same as the last, if everything goes right. So for instance, in a set of 4x200s, we would prefer to see 3:03, 3:05, 3:07, 3:03, as opposed to 2:47, 3:03, 3:13, 3:25. Either way you will probably feel like you are going all out, but if you cash it in on the first one, you can’t possibly complete the rest of the set properly.
It also depends on rest. If there is shorter rest periods, pacing is crucial. If a set says full recovery, then each rep is designed to be done all out. So you would pace more on 4x200s with 1 min rest, than 4x100s with 3 min recovery.