15 x 200 & 19 x 200 – Great IM Prep Sets

So, as per my facebook message a few days ago I wanted to write a post on a swim workout I did this past Wednesday (3,5 weeks out from IMAZ).  I had planned a 5K swim with a Main Set of 15 x 200 and then I was going to do some strength work to finish.

When I am getting closer to races I cut the Warm Ups down in duration and keep them simple.  This is what it looked like for this workout.  300mix, 100kick, 100pull, 100kick, 200 as 4 x 25ez/25fast.

Then it was onto the 15 x 200.  I am not a fast swimmer, never swam as a kid and started swimming in 2004 (after my first triathlon, haha).  Structured swim training started in 2006 at a masters club in North Vancouver.

This workout was (unfortunately) done in a 25m pool, and started at 5:30am.  I was feeling ready to go  for this workout mentally and physically, even though Tuesdays are a tough training day for me (I don’t think the fatigue from Tuesday hits me until mid day Wednesday, always that lag).

That’s the disclaimer over with, so on with the workout and my times.

Leading up to this workout I had planned to send off on 3:05 and descend 1-3s. That means I was planning on doing 5 sets of 3 x 200 with each set of 3 broken down as 1st=steady+, 2nd=strong, 3=hard.  But you do all 5 sets of 3 in a row (so 15 sets on 3:05).  During the warm up I evaluated how I felt and I decided to do the first 3 on 3:10 and see how it went.  I wanted to stay very consistent and even try to speed up through the entire set so I wanted to be realistic and start with a bit more rest.

I nailed the first 3 in 1) 2:57, 2) 2:52, 3)2:45.  Perfect and I felt in control on the 2:45.  I stuck with the 3:10 send off in an attempt to really nail those 3rd ones hard.  When it was all done I had sped up by about an avg 1-2 sec on each.  A solid workout that allowed me to hold really good form for 3000m, perfect.  I then did a 100ez pull and moved onto a strength set. The strength set was 3 x (200 Band and Small Paddles, 100 Band Only) with about 20sec rest after each.  My shoulders were about ready to fall off by that last 100 Band Only, but I was still fully functional and that felt great.

Then the following week I progressed to 19 x 200.  I did 18 x 200 as the same and then nailed one more for a total of 3800m Main Set. Solid.  I held the same times pretty much with most of them being a touch faster.

Why do I think these are such a good workouts?  Well here are a few reasons.

1) Big workouts give you confidence.

2) Descending 1-3s is kind of like a race in that you are often changing pace slightly.

3) Descending also gives you a slight mental / physical breaks but allows lots of quality.

4) 200s are manageable for a lot of triathletes (“non-swimmer background” types), manageable in the sense that you can hold form well throughout, it might take some focus and constant re-focusing but most people can do it!

5) The rest time (15-25sec) gives you enough time to really hit each one with serious quality.  And I do feel that quality is really important on the big swim workouts – there is much more benefit from holding form and keeping control in a long workout (for most of it anyway) if even if you have to slow down the paces a bit or give a few more seconds rest, that’s what I think anyway.  But on the other hand slogging through a 5k workout is going to give you some good benefits too – just getting the mileage done is all you can do sometimes.

Well those are my thoughts on that type of workout.  It is Sunday night and the end of my build up for IMAZ so my brain is as tired as my body – therefore I hope this post made sense!  But now it’s time to watch a movie with my lovely wife and relax.



P.S. Oh yeah, and don’t forget to check out my little video post on facebook – click here

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