It matters not your competitive distance. All swimmers who want to improve in their chosen event ultimately need to gather more speed. This seems obvious for those racing the 50 and 100. It also applies to the 1500 meters, the open water and the tri-athletes. If you want to move up in the rankings you need speed.
It is relatively easy to find. It is in your home pool every time you go there. The key phrase is "every time you go there". You bring the speed and you "purchase and bank" it when you train in a certain way.
The workout below is an example of how to build some speed into your body. It mixes some reasonably paced recovery/technique swims with some pure lactate threshold rushes. It is perfect for racing junkies. Even if you are not one of those give this a try and see what you experience. It may open your eyes to some new possibilities.
Warm up well for a total of about 1500 yards/meters; be sure to include some stroke work. Finish with 4 or 5 x 50 build up to 80% effort, say on the minute interval.
3 rounds continuous of the following: each round = 750 with 300 worth of "effort"
1x200/4 - 150 at 75% - rest 10 seconds - blast a 50
1x150/3 - 100 at 75% - rest 10 seconds - blast a 50
1x100/2 - 50 at 75% - rest 10 seconds - blast a 50
1x50/1 - blast the entire 50
Then go directly into
1x100/2 - 75 at 75% - rest 10 seconds - blast a 25
1x75/1:30 - 50 at 75% - rest 10 seconds - blast a 25
1x50/1 - 25 at 75% - rest 10 seconds - blast a 25
1x25/.30 - blast the entire 25
Here is the key: go directly into the next round of 200/4 as above etc on the .30 second interval of the last 25 blast.
At the very beginning you will wonder, "Why all the rest?" after the first 200 and then the 150. If you do this properly, you will quickly understand the intervals. They give you enough rest for basically "active recovery" but then the rest begins to go away but the effort swims keep on coming. Done properly this will challenge you. You can add in stroke on the blast 50's and 25's. We recommend the 75% swims done freestyle (or backstroke) with a snorkel to rebalance your stroke.
Make certain you loosen well, in the 600-1000 range depending on your training and fitness level. If you are new to interval training begin with one round of this set progressing to two rounds and then finally three. Two rounds = 1500 with 600 at effort; three rounds = 2250 with 900 at effort.
When we do this type of intense swimming we always follow it with a recovery workout...or a day off! Let us know what you think. If you have a similar set to share send it to us and we'll put it out there. Have a great week at the pool!