A little vanilla speedwork

Hey, it might be vanilla, but it's still ice cream. Sometimes it feels good to just get in and swim. Technique work doesn't have to be lots of drills. It can often be simple mindful swimming. The mindfulness we ask for today is twofold, a connection to the body and a connection to the pace clock. Connecting with your body is the more esoteric of the two, but try it this way... consider your awareness as a point. Place that point in one particular spot. It doesn't matter where, your foot, hand, head or anywhere in between. Anything you are aware of will do. Start from that point and expand outwards.

With all awareness building activities, you need to be patient - awareness does not come overnight, it is the result of a long, committed process. If you can focus on what you ARE perceiving, instead of worrying about what you are NOT perceiving, you will gradually build your awareness from your starting point. Think about that point growing into a sphere - the "point" is located at the places in your body that you ARE aware of - by focusing on that particular point, you can then try to expand that point into a sphere - the outer edges of that sphere then form the basis of new points for you to create new spheres until finally, your awareness becomes quite broad.

The 2nd connection we want you to make today is to the pace clock. (A clock on the side of the pool will be far superior to one on your wrist for this purpose). Used appropriately, this will be a powerful tool to gauge improvements (or lack of) on both lap by lap and yearly spans. With a bit of mindful practice, most swimmers can gauge their spit times to greater than 1 second accuracy with a simple sweep hand pace clock.

For the MAIN SET we want you to pick a distance, # of repeats, and a "send-off interval" that you are comfortable with, but still challenges you.

When utilizing our more common "fixed rest interval" you complete a swim and then recover for a given number of seconds before beginning the next swim. For send-off intervals we begin each successive interval on the next multiple of our send off, regardless of how fast we swim. Swim faster - more rest. Swim slower - less rest.

So swimming 50s on the 1:00, we begin our next 50 exactly 1:00 after we began the previous. We want you to have as close as you can get to :10 rest between swims in the main set today. So pick (and feel free to modify) a send off interval that accomplishes this.

How to use the pace clock


MPD - Most Proficient Drill

LPD - Least Proficient Drill




200-400 CHOICE REST :30

4-8 x 25 MPD on :10 REST

4-8 x 25 LPD on :10 REST

Rest 1:00

MAIN SET (options give 1000-2000)

20-40 x 25 or 50 SWIM on SEND OFF INTERVAL that allows about :10 REST

Try to hold consistent speed through this set. Not simply consistent exertion - really try to keep the speeds the same, within :02 - :03 per repeat. This will require starting easy and building into the set. Be mindful of what exactly falls apart for you as you fatigue. Try to identify one thing that helps pull your stroke back together. It could be the kick or getting a good breath of air when you breath. Regardless, this set is all about finding your groove and staying in it.

TECHNIQUE DOWN (with fins)

6 x 50 KICK with a BOARD on :15 REST


1900 - 3300 yards/meters