Last week I traveled down to the The Woodlands, Texas to do a swim-focused training camp with Coach Tim Floyd of Magnolia Masters. In past years, I have set aside 2-2.5 weeks for this training camp. Unfortunately, this year I was limited to only attending for one week; my typical observation of a 2 week training camp is that the best work is done between days 4-12 of the 14. Sometimes, the qualitative work can happen earlier, but it's been my experience that it takes several days to really feel on point. With that in mind, we did our best to maximize the time I was there with the real focus of the camp taking place on the back half of the week.
When I was in college, I read a number of books about training and endurance athletes. One of my favorites was simply titled "Pre" about the famous distance runner, Steve Prefontaine. This book had a biographical element, but it differed from many other books because it included so many numbers related to Prefontaine's training and racing. I'm not a purely analytical person, but I enjoy hearing about both sides of a performance: the training completed and the subsequent results. Giving context to an athlete's performance based on what numbers they posted in training is always fascinating, no matter how many different ways, and times, I see it.
With the above in mind, I am going to try to give context to last week with as much detail as I can remember (or I recorded).
Sunday, January 8th: Travel day; arriving in Houston around 7:00 p.m. and The Woodlands around 8:30 p.m. Training in Boulder included a moderate swim in the a.m. before heading to the airport.
Monday, January 9th:
7:00 a.m. Session
400 swim w/fins, 300 kick w/fins, 300 paddles
4 x 100 on 1:30 1-4 as 1:15,10,06,02
12 x 75 as 25k/50 swim 1-4 3x on 1:25 down to :55 on last two rounds
40 x 50 on :45 steady effort holding :33 to start, then eventually settled at :32 to finish
200 cool down
At 11:00 a.m. I did a 65 minute trainer ride that included a gradual aerobic build in 20 minute blocks that essentially broke down to 20 min easy, 20 min 200-250, 20 min 250-300 watts
At 2:30 I returned for the 2nd swim of the day and that workout looked like:
500swim w/fins, 300 kick w/fins, 200 paddles, 100 swim
8 x 50 1-4 2x on :50; 2nd round hit :28 on last 50
4 x 100 kick on 2:15 gradually descending to 1:33 on last rep
12 x 75 on 1:10 6 swim, 6 pull down to :47 on the swim and probably :49-50 on the pull (no paddles)
All in all a pretty easy day; though I only felt mediocre at best in any of the three sessions.
Tuesday, January 10th:
7:00 a.m. Swim
400 swim w/fins/400 kick w/fins, 400 paddles
8 x 50 1-4 2x on :50 down to :28 on 2nd round
6 x 100 as 50kick/50 swim on 1:45 eventually finishing under 1:20
Two rounds of 20 x 25 on :35 holding :12+/:13- on all with some easy swimming between rounds
500 cool down
Within 20 minutes of finishing morning swim session; I did a 13K steady run on the IMTX run course.
Afternoon 2:30 swim session:
4 x 100 1-4 on 1:30 down to :62
12 x 25 as 2 fast, 1 easy 3x on :40; included some kick
6 x 50 for time on 3:30; easy recovery swimming on the balance. Fastest time 26.9, slowest 27.2 so pretty tight standard deviation.
500 cool down
Immediately upon returning from swim, did another 65 minute trainer ride building in similar 20 minute blocks as I did the previous day, but slightly improved results/
On this day, I made sure to block the run immediately after the first swim so that I would still have about a four break before the two workouts in the afternoon. This worked well and allowed me enough energy to the keep the quality up in the afternoon.
Wednesday, January 11th
No swim today
Morning run of 14K included 6 x 3 minutes fast on 2 minute float on the back half.
Afternoon trainer ride of 1:45 included 10 x 3 minutes; mostly moderate with last few intervals above 300 watts
Felt pretty tired to start the day after the Tuesday sessions. Run session was fine in terms of numbers, but felt lousy. Ride felt much better relatively.
Thursday, January 12th
7:00 a.m. Swim session
Missing some details from this morning session unfortunately, but it was an easier session at about 3500 yards. Shorter than usual
11:00 a.m. Trainer ride as 3 laps descending (London Loop) on Zwift; last lap of 24 minutes or so at 300-320 avg. This was the best I had felt all week so far, falling in line with what I mentioned about about taking a few days to adjust to a training camp.
2:30 Swim Session
8 x 50 1-4 2x on :50
5 x 100 as 25kick/50swim/25kick on 1:45
Two rounds as 4 x 25 as fast/easy on :40, 3 x 200 2:45. First round of 200s paddles in 2:15,13,12; 2nd round 200s were swim at 2:17,15,13.
400 cool down
Ride and 2nd swim felt good today; a good lead up to Friday which is typically the hardest swim training of the whole week.
Friday, January 13th
7:00 a.m. Swim
8 x 50 1-4 2x on :50
8 x 25k/50 1-4 2x swim on 1:25
20 x 100 on 1:30; suggested target 1:04. Held 1:03 on first half, then once settled I held 1:02 and a couple 1:01's on back ten
400 cool down
It took me a while to really fall into line with this workout. When we do these 'hold pace' sets, I often find myself needing to literally 'warm up.' I find when I'm on point, I will start to feel myself heat up and loosen up, making the pace work more manageable.
2:30 p.m. Workout
4 x 75 1-4 on 1:10 down to :45
Can't remember the lead in set, but another 4-500 of work before main set of
12 x 100 on 1:25 target 1:03; held 1:02 the entire time. Opposite from this morning, I was able to find the pace and rhythm immediately and felt comfortable even with 5 seconds less rest. I am typically an "afternoon trainer" in that, I find I perform better later in the day; particularly the further I get into training blocks.
400 cool down
Saturday, January 14th
Morning 10K steady run around 9:30 a.m.
Afternoon Swim Meet:
Showed up at about 12:15 p.m. Warmed up for about 2500 before swimming:
100 yd in 56.35; this felt pretty awkward. Lacked much rhtythm. Swam easy for 5-600 yards, before then swimming:
500 yds in 5:25. This felt much better; held 1:05/100 on this rep and seemed to be more switched on than I was for the 100.
Did some easy swimming, then later we did a 200 yd relay. I swam the anchor leg in 25.2. This also felt much better than the 100. Cool down after. Over 4000 yards between all the race, warm up, transition, cool down, etc.
After returning from the swim meet, I did another trainer ride with some 3 and 1 minute intervals; hitting the highest power of the week.
Sunday, January 15th.
Tired this morning; the Friday/Saturday intensity combo had definitely left its mark. Ran an easy 8 mile run with a friend in the morning, then packed up and traveled back to Boulder. I wish I could have stayed for a second week as I was finding form late in the camp, but that will have to be saved for another time.
Some notes about the training:
You will see a lot of uniformity in the warm ups and this can be very helpful in determining how ready we are for faster training. If descend times are coming easily, there may not be much more warm up needed. If they don't come easily, it means a more lengthy warm up is likely needed. If the extended warm up is still not yielding better times, it might mean the day's goals might need to be altered.
Within the descend sets at the beginning of each workout, I like to do the 8 x 50 1-4 2x the most. I can typically have a good idea of how I'm feeling by how the 7th and 8th rep go. If I comfortably hit 28+/29- on the 7th rep, I'm ready to go. If I only hit :30+, I'm either not warmed up, tired, or both.
Some photos courtesy of Magnolia Masters: