Championship Frame of Mind During Distance Sets

Championship Frame of Mind During Distance Sets -- April 26, 2011

Guest column by Chloe Sutton

MISSION VIEJO, California, April 26. MISSION Viejo has been known for its distance swimmers and challenging practices. With coaches like Bill Rose and Mark Schubert, the Nadadores have created some workouts that would make most people exhausted just by looking at them. Since I am a part of this program, I am tested day-in and day-out with these grueling training sessions and after I finish, the number 1 question I get is: "What do you think about for that long?!"

Today, I am going to share some of my "favorite" (or on bad days, "least favorite") workouts and what goes through my head as I'm completing these practices.

I'll start with today's workout. It was a total of 10,100 meters. The main set was:
2000 on 26:00
2x1000 on 12:30
4x500 on 6:15
6x200 on 2:40
8x100 on 1:15

The main idea of this set is to start out at a difficult pace, and then slowly get faster each section until you are at a full sprint on the 100s. I enjoyed this practice. It went by pretty quickly. You have to be strong at the beginning, and then be able to have the endurance and speed at the end. I usually try to think about sets in fractions. After the 2000, you're already one-fourth through the set!!! YAY! Then after the 1000s, you're half way! Party! I repeat "hold on!" and "keep going!" to myself as I start the trek down the second half of the set, because after you reach half way, it's all downhill from there!

Another 8k main set we do, and do often, is:
80x100 on 1:20 with 3 easy (but you still have to make the interval) + 1 fast.

Tough set. For you mathematicians out there, you end up with 20 fast 100s. Get your average, and you have something to beat the next time! You can also do this with 60, and then you can add up your fast 100s for a 1500 time. It can be a good predictor set.

Usually, my thought process in this particular beauty is a one-at-a-time mind set. Stay consistent. Look at each one individually, and focus on each one being better than the one before, because this gets a lot harder as you go. A few strong words after each fast one, never out loud of course, never hurt anyone, and can help keep up the intensity! Woop woop!

Last week, we did a set in morning practice that was 3 rounds of 4x100 and a 400. Little did we know that afternoon practice was going to be the same set, TRIPLED! It was hard as 400s, but as 1200s, it was a gut buster. It looked like this.
3 rounds of:
4x300 on 3:45
1200 on 15:00

The main idea is to hold a challenging pace on the 300s, and then add your times up to equal a 1200. Then, beat that time on the 1200. Each round should be faster. So fun, I know. Math is, again, involved in this set. Sometimes I feel like I'm at school having to add all this stuff together! Who knew swimming would require so much thinking?! This set takes planning and strategizing so that you push yourself, but you're still able to do it correctly.

My mind during this set is usually occupied with numbers, and looking at the clock to make sure I'm on pace. My favorite game to play is singing a song in my head, but the fun part is to put the lap I'm on as the lyrics so that I can sing and not lose count! So it goes like this, twelve-twelve twelve-twelve-twelve twelve-twelve-twelve-twelve-twelve-twelve (put to the tune of Tik Tok By: Ke$ha). The worst is when my Spanish-speaking friend, Anival, starts singing a Spanish Ballad, and I only get a few lines of the tune stuck in my head for a whole two hours. Somehow, that is worse than Ke$ha… who knew!?

Well, I hope everyone enjoyed a peek into my life and my mind. My mind is a scary place, but I like to have fun with my swimming. Happy swimmers swim fast!

Chloe Sutton is an Olympian who trains with the Mission Viejo Nadadores. At the 2010 Pan Pacific Championships, she won gold in the 400 free and silver in the 800 free.