Performance Improvements and Success Stories

Recently I've written a couple of blog posts discussing the importance of improving athlete limiters and the proper development of energy systems. The goal being to ensure not only the improvement of said limiters of an athlete but to further develop their strengths as well. With that in mind I thought it was time that we highlighted a few of our athletes here at Podium Training Systems to show not only the scope of racing that happens amongst our athletes, but also the type of improvements and success they've had and how we achieved those gains.

I reached out to a small number of my athletes to see if they would be willing to share their experiences over the past season or two and provide me with what they felt were their biggest improvements.

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Workout Wednesday - 09 April 2014

Yesterday - Tuesday - my swim club focused on threshold - but with a twist.  Maximum effort 25's with a work-rest ratio that kept things tough and in high Z4.

I can't take all the credit on this one.  I attended a lecture at the USA Swimming headquarters here in Colorado Springs a couple weeks ago.  There were a few national team athletes there, as well as coaches.  Great Q&A after the lecture, and the description of this set sounded awesome.

They called them "aerobic sprints".  You'll see what I mean.......

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Workout Wednesday - 01 April 2014

This week I thought we would focus on threshold in the main set.  It's structured a little differently that I normally would.  I wanted to break up the main set to provide some different distances and sendoffs and efforts to make the set manageable for the athletes.

It's hard, but they'll get through it thinking it "wasn't so bad".


This workout is on the schedule for my swim club tomorrow (Thursday).  As always, adjust the send-offs based on the athletes.  You want them to start out maintaining :15 - :20 seconds rest pretty easily, but towards the end they'll need to work for that rest.  There's enough active recovery cooked in to make things manageable.

This is SCY, and will take roughly 1:15 - 1:30.  If time is short, you can cut one of the warm up / pre-sets (each pre-set is 600 yards).

Warm up: 
250 swim
250 pull

8 x 75 on :30 rest
1st length drill, 2nd length kick, 3rd swim

4 x (50 - 100)
On :55 - 1:35

Main set:
12 x 50 HARD on :55
Descend 1-4
150 easy on :20 rest  
6 x 75 on 1:05-1:10
Descend 1-3
100 easy on :20 rest
5 x 50 HARD  on :50
Descend 1-5 (End MAX)
50 easy on 1:30
6 x 25 max effort on :45

300 pull with buoy and paddles.  
Easy effort. Focus on stroke.

Cool down:

150 easy.

This is a big set - 3900 yards if my math is correct.  Tired athletes are a guarantee.  

Workout Wednesday - 26 February 2014

This is the workout that my swim club did yesterday morning.  I usually start the week out with speed, or speed endurance work, and move towards aerobic work come the end of the week or weekend.  I do this as, usually, triathletes have rest days early in the week.  Speed and speed endurance is best done when your athlete is as rested as possible.  High intensity, threshold, training is really tough for athletes to do when fatigued after a hard week of training.  Where aerobic work can be done whilst slightly fatigued.

Hence, todays workout.  More quality efforts.  The set is built around shorter, higher quality, efforts. It's built so that the athlete doesn't get too fatigued during the main set, and there's enough lower intensity efforts to allow for solid recovery.

This is SCY, and will take about 1:15.

Warm up:  
300 swim
200 kick
200 pull

24 x 25 on :10 rest 
Every 4th Dog Paddle
Moderate / Hard effort.

Main set: 
3 x (3 x 50 - 150), 
50's maximum effort on :20 rest.
150's at 200 practice pace on :30 rest.

4 x (3 x 25 - 125) 
25’s maximum effort on :15 rest
125's at 200 practice pace on :30 rest.

1:00 between sets.

200 cool down.

3200 yards

You can see that the 150's and 125's allow for the athletes to recover, where the 50's and 25's don't quite provide enough time for full lactic acid clearance.  The time goes quickly for the athlete in this workout.

As I always say:  Questions?  Contact me!


Workout Wednesday - 19 February 2014

Since I threw a little endurance your way last week, we're going back to some threshold work this week.

This is a set that I gave my swim club just yesterday.  Short distances with high quality and intensity in the main set.  You'll most certainly want to take advantage of a white board for this session, as the main set is a little lengthy and is much easier to understand when written out.

This is SCY, and will push close to 90 minutes.  As always, adjust the send-off times depending on the base 100 times of your athletes.


Warm up:
200 swim
200 kick
200 pull

4 x (75 - 50)  
75’s easy on 1:15 
50’s hard on 1:00 

Main set:
2 x (100-75-3x25, 100-75-4x25, 100-75-5x25) 
100's descending on 1:40
75's easy on 1:10
25's MAX on :45

2 x (50-50-25, 50-50-2x25, 50-50-3x25)
1st 50's descending on :50
2nd 50 easy on 1:00
25's MAX on :45

Cool down:
200 easy

Total yards: 3850

As you can see, we push some threshold in the main set, but add in a 1 : 2 work-rest ratio for the 25's - focusing on speed.  It's a nice mix, in my opinion, that really provides a good quality session.

I'm a big fan of speed endurance / threshold sets.  Athletes tend to focus more on aerobic endurance and "LSD" sets.  (Long. Slow. Distance).  Not that aerobic endurance isn't important, but most often threshold and speed tends to be the limiter for a lot of athletes.  

Want to discuss this topic more?  Reach out to me!