Workout for Wednesday, July 25, 2018

Wednesday, July 25, 2018

Evaluation of your true cruise interval, with Chris and Tina


Warm up:

600 choice



Drill set:

1×300 swim, every 3rd length kick


Odds:  25 kick/50 single arm drill

Evens:  25 kick/50 rhythm drill

Focus on stroke balance and symmetry

4×50 swim Golf on cruise+20 sec



Main set:

Some background: 

Cruise interval is more than just a way to bin swimmers by lane during our practices.  If properly and accurately applied, a swimmer’s cruise interval means a level of effort on the order of 60-70%.  This level of effort is approaching the crossover point between aerobic and anaerobic activity, but not going over it. While an extended set on cruise interval will challenge the swimmer, provide an excellent cardio workout and burn fat in the process, it should not take the swimmer into the realm of glycogen burning—that’s beyond the anaerobic threshold.  That’s what coaches call “the piano zone.”  After a period of high intensity work, further activity without adequate recovery or refueling will leave the swimmer feeling as if they are carrying a grand piano on their backs.  A cruise interval set, while fatiguing, should not blow the swimmer up.  To paraphrase an old joke, you might be going anaerobic if…  1.  You’re absolutely gasping for breath halfway through the set.  2.  You’re starving after you finish the set, and you find yourself dreaming of doughnuts.  Lots of doughnuts.  3.  You’re blown up and dead for the rest of the day.  While there is a time and a place for everything (as evidenced by cruise+ and cruise- intervals on various sets), a straight up set on cruise interval should challenge the swimmer, but not destroy them.  In terms of numbers, if a swimmer has an appropriate cruise interval dialed in and is swimming in the proper lane, he or she should be getting not less than 5 and not more than 10 seconds rest per 100 on a set that totals 1000 to 1500 yards or meters, or as we like to say, “all day long.”  Beyond that, it becomes a measure of the depth of conditioning in the swimmer. 


There are a couple of ways to get a handle on your cruise interval.  First, what kind of send off interval can you hold on a set of 10-15 100s freestyle where consistently get 5-10 seconds rest on each one?  That’s a matter of trial and error on top of the swimmer’s conditioning level and motivation.  The second way is to swim a straight 1000, get the time and divide it by 10.  Round the result up to the next 5 second mark.  For example, if you swim a 1000 free in 14:37, your average pace per 100 is 1:37.  Round up to 1:40 for your cruise interval.  You should be able to hold a set of 10×100 on 1:40, holding somewhere between 1:30 and 1:35 per 100.


Why is cruise interval meaningful for us, and, more importantly, why is the right cruise interval meaningful?  It gives us a very solid cardio conditioning workout, while at the same time affording us just enough rest and recovery time to maintain proper stroke technique.  Swimmers who get behind the fatigue Eight Ball frequently tend to develop bad stroke habits.  These, in turn, lead to diminished workout capacity and achievement, as well as an increased potential for injury.  These things serve no one.  While it may be a matter of pride to grind one’s self into pulp during a set, it’s not only not so smart, it does more harm than good in the long run.


So take some time on a set like this to do the analysis, and be honest with yourself.  Try a test set like this without fins or pulling gear, which often mask bad stroke habits.  An appropriate cruise interval will benefit both the swimmer and his or her lane mates. Ultimately, the swimmer will be not only better conditioned, but faster as well, due to better technique and focus.


We’ll see versions of test sets like this in the coming weeks.


10×100 on cruise.  No breaks and no gear.

Are you holding a pace that gives you 5-10 second rest on each one?

1×1000 straight swim

Your goal time is 10 times your cruise interval.  Maybe even a bit faster.  If you want to use gear on this part, knock 5-10 seconds per 100 off your goal time.



Last set:

4×50 on cruise+10 sec, ascend 1-4

4×75 (25 kick/25 drill/25 swim)


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