Training program

Wow what a few weeks this has been. I set out to write this blog more regularly but then get distracted by work (I really do love my job and its not hard to distract me)
We set out with a plan for the season. Very clearly defined results that would consitute a successful season for Larne Swimming Club and its members.

1. To build a TEAM ethos in what is an individual sport.
2. To develop a model that would generate a culture of success.
3. To put in individual performances that would turn heads.

Have we achieved these things?

Well the season isnt over yet – in fact we are only just getting to the exciting part now – but we are def on the right track.

Our partnership with Swimzi has generated a brand that the atheletes are getting behind and starting to look and act like a team.

Swimzi kit

As for the coaching model…..a few people (actually quite a lot of people) have asked me for my thoughts on how we do things in Larne.

For the record i dont think we do anything particularly ground breaking but here are my thoughts on what we do do.

I don’t fully buy into the USRPT model as I feel some sort of volume is required as my swimmers are all effectively age group athletes. However I like the principle of individualisation that is facilitated by it. I think this is the best way I have found to provide this in a squad system

Our weekly plan is as follows

Monday – 400 free & 200Fly
Tuesday – 100 fly & 200 BC
Wednesday – 400 free , 100 BC & 200 BC
Thursday – 100 BC & 200 BRS
Friday – 400 Free 100 BRS & 200 BRS
Saturday – 100 BRS & 200 Free
Sunday – 100 Free & 200 Free (LC)

We do 30 mins of prepool every weekday and this takes the form of circuits, yoga or core, on a Thursday they enjoy visualisation (#relaxwithJim) and on a saturday we do 45 mins of pilates.

The younger swimmers don’t do 3 sets per session they would do 2 and then a drill set.

Everyone does the 400 free and 200 fly

The athletes aged over 15 can switch to #1 though the medley guys follow the outline above.

I try to coach the athlete not the session though so if someone needs a rest I will move them to reduce intensity and allow recovery.

For the National Squad we have 8 sessions a week but have the facility to go to 10 when that is needed. While they continue to PB off 8 though I won’t increase it.

The season outline

The season plan I use is very simple. Where it fits we use a 6 week block 
Week 1 is build with drills and descending work
Weeks 2 – 5 are loading weeks
Week 6 is adaption (when we rest this is the exact 1st week we use so they know exactly what to expect)
These blocks can be adjusted up to 7 or down to 5 to fit with competition schedule.

We started the season with all sets at Race pace +6 per 50 (i.e. 100 meter repeats were +12)
Every 6 weeks if we have held pace for the block we increase the load by reducing rest or increasing pace.
We didn’t get to race pace until the 2nd week of Jan this year.

At its core I believe I run a 400 Free and 200 stroke program. I think that this is playing the percentages and that physiologically speaking this is the range we are most likely to gain success.

Everyone up to the age of 15 does all strokes and all distances.

When I start to see an aptitude for a specific thing we add that to the sessions. So I have a power session on a Friday with stretch cords for the few that show an aptitude for sprinting and a 1500m pace set for the guys who look like could be at that end of the spectrum.

My best results at age groups as a club were in the 400 free where everyone PB and held even paced splits the whole way so i think this is backing up my initial thoughts.

I don’t do big aerobic sets at all anymore BUT 60 x 50 free @45 for example is fairly aerobically demanding so I think we still get the endurance base needed to train.

We cover 45k a week every week.

When we race unrested I expect them to get within 1% of PB.

We have only rested once – into Dave McCullagh – and I did the same adaption week we always use followed by 10 days of race prep.
(We broke 24 records, qualified 2 onto European Senior team, 2 onto European Junior team and just missed a FINA A time)

I don’t know if this is the long term solution but it seems be working at the moment. 

I find it quite intense for me as I need to be ‘on’ the whole time…..i LOVE adaption weeks as I can get off their backs a bit. 

For it to work the athletes need to be on the ball taking times recording stroke rates etc.

This allows me to coach and not be a time keeper at end of lane.

Like i said……nothing ground breaking but the confidence I have gained though the Sports Coach UK Aspire program has allowed me to not worry about failure but rather to learn from it so i am less afraid of taking some risks.

Anyway……next stop London for Europeans, Hungry for European Juniors and then……..who knows.


Posted by Peter


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