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Workout Terminology

Workout Types

A key workout is one with a heavy workload. You should perform only one key workout per day - either a swim, bike, run or strength workout. Any other workout on the same day as a key workout should be a recovery workout.

A recovery workout is one you should be able to do anytime, regardless of other workouts that day. It's a time for focusing on technique, winding down or just veging out.

A group workout is intended to be done with a coach on deck. Generally there will be an intense focus on one or more aspects of endurance swimming.

Training Cat: Training categories are based on a fairly standard set of endurance training categories, all of which are based on each swimmer's threshold pace. For a detailed description how each training category is used, see About Training Categories.

More experienced swimmers should base their training category paces on their Critical Swimming Speed (see About Critical Swimming Speed).

Less experienced swimmers who cannot maintain consistent form for 400 yards should not use CSS, but rather their rating of perceived exertion, using the following guidelines:

  • Endurance (EN1) - An easy pace that you can maintain for long periods of time.
  • Threshold (EN2) - A hard 50-yard pace that you can maintain for about 200 yards.
  • Overload (EN3) - A harder 50-yard pace that you cannot maintain for 100 yards.
  • Recovery (REC) - Even easier than EN1, the point is to stretch out your muscles and flush out the lactic acid.

Workout Format

I cannot spend a lot of time cutting, pasting and re-formatting from the workout writer software that I use - so some explanations are in order.

Some workouts show a starting time (usually noon) and ending time. Ignore those - you can do them any time of the day!

Repeat Times

Repeat time: The starting time for each repeat is specified as "on whatever." That is your "send-off" time, which includes swimming time and rest time between repeats. For example, "4 x 50 on 1:00" means that you begin each 50 at the start of a minute. The amount of rest time between repeats depends on how much time you take to complete the distance.

Repeat times and rest times are all just ballpark numbers for newer adult triathletes who swim a 50-yard lap in one minute. This will be too much time for most swimmers.

More Experienced Swimmers: You will be swimming repeats faster than the times shown on the generic workouts. Determine your Critical Swimming Speed (CSS), so that you can set your own repeat times for the workouts. See About Critical Swimming Speed for instructions. You should re-test every 4-8 weeks.

Less Experienced Swimmers: You may need to go slower than the repeat times. You should focus on perfecting efficient endurance freestyle movements - then you can begin cranking it up a bit. Until you can swim 400 yards hard at a consistent pace per 50 and stroke count per length, your Critical Swimming Speed should not be used to set paces for the endurance training categories.

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