The Animal Set Thread



  • IronMikeIronMike Northern VirginiaCharter Member
    suziedods wrote:
    An "animal set' in my world has just be re-defined as "get as many yards in as possible in an hour next to the youth team that is practicing their diving for the BIG MEET." It was almost like being next to the breakwater in Aquatic Park when a tanker goes by....

    Sounds like great rough water practice!


    We're all just carbon, water, starlight, oxygen and dreams

  • I swim with a US team...I get different (distance) workouts about half the time and one of my coach's favorite things to do is give me a long distance set and the kids a long fly set. The pool is set up with lap lanes only every other lane (so the lanes are double wide...we swim like there are lanes every lane though...two sets of circle swimming). He'll stick the big fast teenage boy flyers...frequently in the same double lane with me and say "It's open water! Gotta get you ready for (*insert upcoming event/race*) Have fun!!" I can't grumble too much...even though when I'm in open water I'm not taking gulps of chlorinated water and trying to make an interval. He put me through a series of racing 500 free in these conditions too.
    Sounds crazy when I am describing it....but actually it is kinda fun....
  • suziedodssuziedods Mem​ber
    edited November 2014
    Bastardized from an @sylmarino set...
    200S 100K 200P
    150 S 100K 150P
    100S 100K 100 P
    2x50 HARD
    1x800 at pace but smooth
    2x50 HARD
    1x600 pace but smooth
    4x50 HARD
    1x400 PACE but smooth
    6x50 HARD
    EZ100 drill
    1x200 SPRINT
    8x50 on 1.30 but sprint sprint sprint
    1x200 P- alternate breathing or whatever to pull your stroke back together
    100 K with out board

    crawl out of pool
  • 100x100.. not fast but done.. 85@1.50 (scy) and last 15 on 1.45. One bathroom break.. out of pool.
    The sad part was I could have done more but the pool was closing.. hence one more reason why we love OWS.
  • loneswimmerloneswimmer IrelandCharter Member
    I put together a (long) blog post for people swimming their first long pool swim (+10k). It's based on a specific session of mostly long sets rather than short intervals and is more for the swimmer doing it by themselves than as part of a group. it is thus intended to help learn about the mental side of distance as much as the physical and includes tips about preparation, during the set, and afterwards.

  • Much respect to those who can do the 100 x 100 set. I can't handle the 100's. I recently did a 5x2000, which was good, and this past Saturday, did a 2-hour straight swim. Got 8700 yards in on that. New Year's Day, I'm going for a 4 hour swim, I need a good answer to that one. I'm working on building up the mental toughness more than anything.
  • DanSimonelliDanSimonelli San Diego CASenior Member
    edited December 2014
    I agree with the mental play in the pool, as I mostly swim in the enjoyable ocean.
    Several hours in pool seems dreadful.
    However, for the last couple years, I've tagged along with some friends to the Y for their Xmas eve morning 100x100 fundraiser event.
    Last year it went by rather quickly and I enjoyed it.
    This year, friend Dave Smith changed it up a bit and led our lane with alternating 10x100(yd) on 1:30 and then 1:20.
    This made it more interesting.
    But it certainly was tough to get into a mental groove with all the turns and having to watch for other swimmers.
    Still, enjoyable and considering doing it again this Wed for New Years Eve morning event.

    So, "monster set" for me mentally relative to the 'King Kong' sets posted here!

    It also helped that we went for a nice couple more miles afterwards in Coronado!
    Let my mind unwind! #-o :D
  • SuirThingSuirThing Carrick-on-Suir, IrelandMember
    generally most of my sessions aren't long enough to be included here but I think this is a reasonable contribution - The Sleep-Deprived Double

    take your favourite lunchtime set and do it twice, back to back, after staying up all night

    the later in the day that you do it the better (ideally lunchtime or later, no getting it done at 4am to be off to bed while it's still dark)

    in my case I like to do it off the back of two or three 12hr night shifts but that's not a showstopper

    that transition from the first "swim down" to the 2nd "warm up" when you've had no sleep is a real test of mental strength .... you're shattered, and you know exactly what's ahead of you .... but looking back at it in the tough stages of a swim, you know you can fight through tiredness

    I tried to convince myself, but, orange flavour electrolyte, mixed with hot chocolate,
    tastes nothing like Terry's Chocolate Orange ....

  • SpacemanspiffSpacemanspiff Dallas, TexasSenior Member

    I drew up this SCM set when I was feeling ambitious. Goal was race pace endurance. It did not go as planned!

    1x500 @ 8:20 (1:35 goal pace leaves 25 seconds rest)
    1x200 Pull @ 3:40 (recovery)
    2x500 @ 8:20
    1x200 Pull @ 3:40
    3x500 @ 8:20
    1x200 Pull @ 3:40
    1 Minute Rest (feed)
    4x500 @ 8:20
    1x200 Pull @ 3:40
    3x500 @ 8:20
    1x200 Pull @ 3:40
    2X500 @ 8:20
    1X200 Pull @ 3:40
    1x500 @ 8:20
    1x200 Pull @ 3:40

    Total: 9200 (10K after warm-up/cool-down)

    Everything went fine until after the 4x500. On the second set of 3x500's, I was gassed. I barely made the first interval, missed the second and pretty much fell apart after that. I called an audible and limped through 1,000 easy and called it a day.


    "Lights go out and I can't be saved
    Tides that I tried to swim against
    Have brought be down upon my knees
    Oh I beg, I beg and plead..."

  • flystormsflystorms Memphis, TNSenior Member

    Oooh that one looks like fun. Adding it to the collection, thank you, Spiff!

  • SpacemanspiffSpacemanspiff Dallas, TexasSenior Member

    @evmo 's post in the Training Advice for Newbies reminded me of this thread and a set I've been meaning to post. This has been on my mind for a couple of years, but I haven't tried it. Yet.

    100 x 100's @ 100 seconds (i.e. @ 1:40). No breaks.

    It seems doable, with discipline. Total time would be 2:46. I can do a 2:46 10K in the pool. On a good day. I suppose I'd need to put a sign on the starting block or something, so I don't have to answer the "mind if I share" question. Of course sharing would be fine. It's the discussion about it that would kill the set....

    Perhaps I'll give it a try one of these days...


    "Lights go out and I can't be saved
    Tides that I tried to swim against
    Have brought be down upon my knees
    Oh I beg, I beg and plead..."

  • JustSwimJustSwim Senior Member

    @Spacemanspiff my team here does the 100 100s on the 100 New Years Eve Day. It is short course yards so it is a bit more civilized. I can't imagine doing this swim on my own. It helps to have a lane full of friends of similar speed and rotate the lead ever 10 reps. For the last 4 years this workout has been the formal start to my serious training season.

  • 100 x100 is completely doable, I just need more pool time. It's a great marker set or a base set. My interval now is a much more..uh "stately" 1.55 but true to form I get faster the last 20. @Spacemanspiff , your interval , I never could meet it .@justswim? it IS a great way to usher in the new year.

  • molly1205molly1205 Lincoln, NebraskaSenior Member

    I love to start New Years Day with 100 x 100s or a straight 10K with my YMCA pool partners. My intervals are so stately, they're as big as Montana.


    Molly Nance, Lincoln, Nebraska

  • brunobruno Barcelona (Spain)Senior Member

    I did a 100x100 last Saturday. It was organized for a charity, so we had 4 lanes for us (5-6 persons per lane). At 3 lanes intervals were 2.00 (one of the lanes 2.15), and we were swimming at around 1.38. And 5min stop every 2K, for drink & food & toilet.
    With a friend, we did 10 series, from 3K to 4K, at 1.25; it was fun, but we regretted it later on the following series...

    If you can read Spanish, I wrote a review about it:

    I found it was great for mental training.

    We have planned another one for the morning of the 24th. This one at 1.50 and without any stop.

  • Sarah4140Sarah4140 DenverMember

    here's to big "stately" swims! i am going to do a pre-Hanukkah pool 10k this week--hoping to do an "end of year" 10k next week , > molly1205 said:

    I love to start New Years Day with 100 x 100s or a straight 10K with my YMCA pool partners. My intervals are so stately, they're as big as Montana.

  • Indeed a world of difference between SCM (not a hope on 1:40), and SCY (I am sure doable on 1:40h). Part of me can't believe I have never tried this sort of thing

  • SpacemanspiffSpacemanspiff Dallas, TexasSenior Member

    Jbetley said:
    Indeed a world of difference between SCM (not a hope on 1:40), and SCY (I am sure doable on 1:40h). Part of me can't believe I have never tried this sort of thing

    SCM! This is, after all, the "animal" set thread.

    "Lights go out and I can't be saved
    Tides that I tried to swim against
    Have brought be down upon my knees
    Oh I beg, I beg and plead..."

  • IronMikeIronMike Northern VirginiaCharter Member

    IronMike said:
    Keeping in line with my definition of "animal," which is vastly different from many of you monster-swimmers out there, here's the set I'll be doing later this week:
    My goal is to do everything on ~1:38-1:40 per 100, with no more than :10 rest after each set.

    This'll be my workout this Friday...if my boss will give me a half-day off! Thanks @evmo!


    We're all just carbon, water, starlight, oxygen and dreams

  • LynneLynne Member

    Was looking for a 7km set when I came across @loneswimmer's blog some posts above on marathon pool sessions... at the end of the blog he writes:

    "Your heart is titanium. Your blood is purest adrenalin. Your will is cold-forged iron, your skin is carbon fibre and your muscles are coiled steel springs. You eat discomfort and you play exhaustion for a fool. You know that pain is merely weakness leaving your body. You do not stop when you are tired, you stop when you are done. You have the worst of all addictions because you, my friend, are an endurance athlete, a distance swimmer"

    Yeah B-)

  • brunobruno Barcelona (Spain)Senior Member

    I can't help but linking this article here

    Well, at the end they include the 100x100...

  • LakeBaggerLakeBagger Central OregonSenior Member
    edited October 2018

    Here is another one for the 10k bank. Explanation for intervals and heart rates below.

    Warm up: 800 every 4th length backstroke(400 fist drill/400swim)
    7x200 on 3:05, holding under 2:45 HR 170-180
    100 easy
    6x50 (25 fly/25 dolphin kick on back) 10-15 sec rest
    2x400 pull free 20-30s rest
    4x75 breast 10-15 sec rest
    100 easy

    8x175 on 2:40 holding 2:20 HR 170-180
    100 easy
    6x50 (25 fly/25 dolphin kick on back) 10-15 sec rest
    4x200 Back pull 10-15 sec rest
    4x75 breast 10-15 sec rest
    100 easy

    9x150 on 2:20, holding 2:00 HR 170-180
    200 easy
    6x50 (25 fly/25 dolphin kick on back) 10-15 sec rest
    2x400 free pull 20-30s rest
    4x75 breast 10-15 sec rest
    200 easy
    Total: 10,000 meters

    Target heart rate: You guys, my heart is funny, so adjust the target HRs to fit you personally. What you want is something that puts you at around 80% of your maximum heart rate. To figure out your max heart rate: take your heart rate a lot during swim practice. Your max HR is the maximum you can get your heart rate up to when you are trying your hardest. Also, if 80% ends up seeming too high, then don't be afraid to start with a lower HR that you can sustain for the whole set.

    Interval: The intervals above are suggestions and not important to follow them. What is important is that you pick an interval where you can maintain your HR goal and get 20 seconds rest. I benefited greatly from everyone else's workouts above last winter, hopefully there will be more new ones to try this winter ;).

  • boobooabooboobooaboo Seattle, WA, United StatesNew Member
    edited November 2020

    Here’s one from college. Think it’s the most I ever swam in one go in a pool. Back then, we didn’t know about intra-swim nutrition, we just drank water and Gatorade and might’ve had a granola bar or two. What were we thinking...

    300 warm up
    300 cool down

    All this yardage to swim the 500 and Mile! If I recall, intervals were between 1:10 and 1:15 base for all swims.

  • LakeBaggerLakeBagger Central OregonSenior Member

    I’m running out of set ideas 9k and above. Please help me out if you have any long sets you love!

    Here’s one of my current go-tos:

    Warm up: 1,000 every 4th length back, first 500 fist drill/second 500 normal

    10x 400s #1-4 pull free, #5 pull back, #6 swim back, #7 swim free every 4th length back #8-10 descend 1-3.

    10x300s same pattern as above
    10x200s same pattern


    Intervals? Bah, who needs ‘em... rest however long you want in between stuff, maybe 5-15 seconds.

  • j9swimj9swim CharlestonSenior Member

    What’s on my plate today
    1000 R60
    10 x 100 last 3 fast
    6 x 400 strong
    6 x 100 descend
    6 x 50 odd fast even EZ
    200 smooth
    3x (8x 100) and #8 with chute
    3 x 200 ez pull

  • curlycurly Issaquah, WASenior Member

    I have a fun item that I throw in workouts when I really have no idea what I want to do. This can be applied to any set and any distance. Here's the basic idea:

    Let's say you are doing a set of 100's. Break that into 4 x 100. Each 100 has a fast 25 that changes each 100.

    1. Fast 25 on last lap
    2. Fast 25 on third lap
    3. Fast 25 on second lap
    4. Fast 25 on first lap

    When I do these with 100's, I really sprint the 25's. You can also walk a butterfly through these if you feel so inclined. So pace the rest and sprint the fast 25. Pick your distance and interval. Pick the number of sets.

    Now you can apply this process to any distance although I like to keep it to easy multiples of 4 because I'm dumb. So 200's with fast 50's, 400's with fast 100's, 800's with fast 200's. Beyond that number it starts to not have value for me, because I think the fast part should really be full effort to get any value out of this. Doing a 4 x 2000 with full effort 500's might do me in. But I know there are some on this site that can do that.

    This is a great set for working on speed and being able to turn on the jets on demand. It also is a nice easy way of helping to keep count of laps and sets because you've got that sprint moving through like an abacus.

  • miklcctmiklcct London, United KingdomMem​ber

    I did the following 10 km set last week with the purpose to test my endurance:

    3 km
    3 km
    2 km
    2 km

    I held 59 minutes for the initial two block with 1 minute feed stop afterwards, but could no longer hold the speed in the 2 km blocks, with the 3rd block dropping to 42 minutes and the final block dropping to 44.5 minutes after a 3-minute toilet break. The whole set took me just under 3.5 hours.

    However, the pool I used was heated so I won't continue swimming there in the summer season, and will go to an unheated pool instead. The longest session length there is only 3 hours (with odd pool length as well - the closest approximation is 41 lengths make 2.5 km there). How can I replicate the same training benefit with limited pool time?

  • curlycurly Issaquah, WASenior Member

    I just tried a new set today that was kind of interesting and challenging. This can be done on an interval or with :15 seconds of rest. Set interval is great because you really have to stick with the program, but :15 seconds rest allows for missing send-offs. The choice is yours.

    First item is select your base 100 free pace. And here's the set....

    1x300 Finish :15 seconds under base pace.
    1x200 Finish :15 seconds under base pace.
    1x100 Finish :15 seconds under base pace.
    1x500 at base pace. Rest :30 seconds and start all over again.

    The effect of this is that you have to swim :05 seconds faster per hundred on your 300's, :07.5 seconds faster per hundred on your 200's and :15 seconds faster on your last hundred. Then you settle back down to your base pace on the 500. After you've done a couple reps of these, it really starts doing a number on you. You have to be really diligent on your pacing and this really helps with your speed consciousness.

    Today I did 4 reps of this to try it out. On the first rep, I was a little too eager and was well under par on that sprint 100. Last rep, I was 5 sec over par. :( I did intervals which really kept me honest and that's what I'd recommend. Not only does this give you a nice bit of work, but it helps with knowing how to pick up the pace and then settle it back down. After the first set, I kind of was under par for the first few hundred on the 500. But the point here is to try to settle back down to your pace after the sprint.

    I'd recommend doing this set fairly early in your workout because I was pretty well cooked after doing it. I did a set of 5x100 after this set just to see what's what and even with a generous rest I could only get :08 seconds under base. Also, do a nice warm up and then maybe a swim to establish your base for the day, that way you can tune the swim for how you are doing at that moment. Sometimes that's a good idea and sometimes maybe not so much.

    BTW, this is very much a set for a marathon or distance swimmer. If your base pace is something like a 1:05, it's gonna be a bit of a challenge. But this is the Animal Set Thread after all...

  • LakeBaggerLakeBagger Central OregonSenior Member

    @curly you have inspired me to give some of these sets where you have to swim hard a try! I’ll do the one above at the next pool workout. Here’s what I did today:

    Warm up 1,000
    45 minute swim (15 easy/15 medium/15 extra medium)
    5x300 pull
    30 minute swim (15 easy/15 medium)
    500 kick with fins
    4x300s pull
    15 minute swim easy
    3x200s pull
    200 warm down

    On the easy I go the effort I imagine going if I were swimming for 24 hours, trying to still stay efficient and focusing on relaxing

    On the medium I go “Catalina Effort” and extra medium is like 10 mile effort.

    I really like doing this set if I’m with a friend who is faster or slower than me so we still get the camaraderie in between the chunks but don’t have to worry about intervals. I also like going by time because I can get a little more in the zone when I’m not living by the pace clock.

    In the past (but not today!) I’ve done it “the hard way”, where you go:
    15 easy/15medium/15extra medium
    15medium/15extra medium
    15 extra medium

    If you have a lot of time, you can do it the hard way, then the easy way.

  • curlycurly Issaquah, WASenior Member

    @LakeBagger said:
    @curly you have inspired me to give some of these sets where you have to swim hard a try! .......

    Man, that's a killer workout. Similar concepts with pushing things to get out of that comfort zone. I think it's very important to not just settle into your pace and swim a million lengths.

    This is based on workouts that my high school coach used to give us. I couldn't stand him. He was the worst coach ever in the whole world. He would set our workout up and had a specific time for every single swimmer on the team. He'd give us the goal time that we were trying to achieve on each set. Then we would report our times to him and he'd note them. Then next workout our goal times adjusted. Somehow they were almost achievable, but not quite. So frustrating and yet magically we all constantly improved... Hmmm....

    Anyway, that's how I do my workouts now. Set some goals that are achievable when I'm warm and dry, and then try to accomplish them when I'm wet and drowning. Now I hate myself because I'm the worst coach in the whole world.

    This is a shout out to Coach Rea. The best coach I've ever had in my life.

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