After a successful summer season most OMS swimmers are asking, “Now what?” That’s easy. For 2016: ePostals, State Meet, and the Long Course National Championships at Mt. Hood in August. So how are you going to prepare for these major events?
I have one suggestion. Swim hard and fast in workouts. The key is not so much to put in a lot of yardage but to swim the yardage fast. You want to swim close to race speed in workouts. If you need to hold sub-1:10 pace for a particular time in a 1650, go 1:09s on 1:30 consistently. If you are a sprinter, give yourself more rest in between efforts and make those 50s and 100s fast. But here’s the catch. Start now.
Start now in workouts getting those repeat times down where you can go 10 x 100 on short rest, getting close to the 1650 pace you want. Start now, swimming fly, back, or breast, and do fast 50s with 30 or more seconds rest in between, so you can swim with proper form instead of dying the last ten yards.
In this I am not advocating that you do what some USS swimmers are now trying, dropping the yardage and focusing on all out speed workouts, what some call ultra-short, race-pace training (USRPT). I still think you need a base of just Time In The Water (TITW). There is also a need for distance workouts, 200 and 400 repeats, and even some LSD swimming, along with speed.
In particular you can use the ePostals as a jump start for the fall. Treat the 3000 and 6000 yard ePostal swims this fall as training swims. USRPT workouts are fine if you will swim only one or two short events in a meet. Most of us do all six events possible in a weekend meet. For that you need a physiological training base that only TITW will give you.
What I’m trying to get you to do this fall is look ahead already to 2016 goals. Some of these we won’t know until the USMS convention in early October and the OMS Board retreat afterward. We don’t know what extra-long course meets we will have in Oregon to prepare for the Nationals next August. We don’t know what pool setting we will have at the State Meet. (I hope short course meters.) We don’t know the order of events yet for the 2016 Nationals.
However, we can set our heads into what we need to do to get ready for 2016. Get that base in this fall and begin to swim faster in workouts. Alternate LSD days with speed days, or alternate long distance days with IM/stroke days to lay in a base program for 2016. Use this fall to get in shape to swim fast after the Hour Swim in January. Then in early 2016 you can really focus on swimming fast in workouts for the State Meet and Nationals.