Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Swim with Confidence by Testing Yourself with a Broken Set!

As a Professional Triathlon Coach and Swim Coach for Vizsla Swim Team, I like having variety in the workouts I give my athletes. On the other hand, I like to regularly test them to determine their improvement. One way I like to do this in the pool is by having the swimmers perform a Broken Set of (10) 100 meters each month. This is a great way to track their speed on a regular basis.

A Broken Set divides a fixed distance (ex. 1,000 meters) into shorter segments (ex. 100 meters) with a short rest (ex. 10 seconds) between each. The goal is to swim each interval at a faster pace than could be maintained over the entire distance. The entire fixed distance is timed. After completing the entire swim, the time taken for rest should be subtracted to determine the pace for each segment.

One of the swimmers in my group performed this workout earlier this month. She swam the (10) 100s as fast as she could with 10 seconds of rest after each 100. She finished the entire 1,000 in 19 minutes and 50 seconds. After subtracting 90 seconds for her rest, her pace was 1 minute and 50 seconds for each 100. When this swimmer started with our group back in March, her pace was 1 minute and 55 seconds. This is an excellent example of the improvement she has made over the past three months.

Below is an example of a Broken Set that can be done on your own:

Warm Up:

5 x 100 (75 Easy Swim, 25 Kicking on Side)

5 x 100 Build w/ :10 Rest


10 x 100 w/ :10 Rest (Go as hard as you can maintain for each of the 100s. Record your time for the entire 1,000, subtract :90 of rest and figure your 100 pace.)

Cool Down:

2 x 100 (75 Easy Swim, 25 Kicking on Side)

Total: 2,200

This workout is an extremely motivating method of training, especially when it is done in a group environment. It simulates the stress of competition while resulting in a swim time that may be faster than racing time for an actual event. Once you start incorporating this type of workout in your schedule on a regular basis, you should notice your speed improving which will result in confidence as a swimmer and a triathlete!

If you want more help with your swimming in a group atmosphere, please consider joining Vizsla Swim Team! We meet on Monday and Wednesday mornings at 6am at Agnes Scott College in Decatur for a one hour coached workout. I am also available for private lessons at the City Club of Buckhead located inside the Atlanta Financial Center. Visit my website or contact me ( or 404.667.0817) for more information.

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