I am developing a 10 week swim training programme for myself at the momment and would appreciate any information and advice you have on what I should be doing in each session. My final goal is both endurance and speed (I would like to do 200m freestyle in under 2:45). Any help with where I should start would be GREAT!
I think that you have some great goals and already have a great idea about that race. I was wondering how old you were (like if you were on a high school swim team or rather if you were training for a masters event) and... where you are from. You spell "programme" like you are European. I was just wondering.
Ok well the first thing is that you definitely have the right idea. A 200yd or 200m freestyle takes both speed and endurance. Because of this, it takes a special type of mind-set to swim the event. Actually, it was pry one of my best events so I guess you would be talking to the right person. Also, to toot your own horn, it seriously may be one of the toughest events in swimming because of it being such a diametrically opposed race. Be proud of yourself if you do make that time!
As far as your ten week schedule and training, I would say to start slow for the first week or so in order to not get too fatigued or sick. Coming off of this, I would do (for any type of event) a good warm-up followed by some stroke work and then go into a pre set and a main set and then kicking and pulling in the end. Thinking about the 200m free, I would do a standard warm-up of about 600-800 meters at the start. I would do 200-300m of swimming, 200 m. of kick and then 200 pull. (obviously if you are swimming in a yd. pool then just redo the numbers) Then you would want to do a small set of stroke work. On a 200m free, you do need to think about swimming well because you are going to need every ounce of technique to swim it as fast as you can. I would suggest doing like a very easy set of say 8-10 50s where you are doing stroke drills for freestyle such as catch-up or closed fist. The intervals should not be fast and you should be concentrating on great technique and ease and fluidity through the water. After this, you might want to consider breaking the rest of your workout into two main sets. You are exactly right in the sense that you need both speed and endurance. I would suggest doing a distance training portion and a speed training portion. For the first main set I would work on your endurance and pace at the same time. I would suggest doing a set of like 3-400s on a moderately strong interval but not at full speed. You need to be working on getting your lungs to hold the air while you keep thinking about that technique. You can decide how much time you have and how far you can swim when figuring out how many of these 3-400s to do. Again, you should be "feeling it" so to speak because you will feel it certainly in a 200m freestyle. After you complete this portion, do a sprint portion for a main set which will be your other component of the race. I would suggest doing 100s since you are going to be swimming much longer than a 50. You might want to do a set of 8-10 hundreds alternating easy-fast(sprint) with the easy ones as a "progressive rest" where you start swimming into the next easy 100 right after your fast 100. These should be on a very generous interval so that you can take full advantage out of the sprints. Be thinking even on the 100s how you would swim each 100 in the 200m free as you do them. Finally, close out with a light to moderate kick and pull set. Maybe you can do a 200 of each or do a set of 5 50s of each or something like that. I always like to end with a pull set because it leaves a good feeling in your mind about proper stroke before you leave the pool.
Quickly about the race...start thinking about how to break up the race into parts. I always thought of the race in terms of 4 seperate 50s. I always believed that your first 50 should be very fast without going all out. Your second 50 should be a 50 to hold. The third 50 should be a build 50 where you are increasing your pace but not killing yourself. And of course the last 50 should be all-out with whatever you have left in the tank. Remember, the first 50 should be fast but smooth since you have a dive to help you. Also, think of this race as the longest sprint that you will ever do. It technically is a sprint even though it encompasses both types of swimming like we were talking about. As such, treat it like one. You do have to think about a quick dive, good turns and higher turn-over. Don't blow yourself out like you might in a 50 but definitely think of it as a faster race. As far as pace, you want to keep the 4 50s pretty close with your first and last being your fastest and the two in the middle being a hair slower. You can have your coach or relative work on the pace with you on a few practice runs.
I hope this helps you. If you have any more questions or would like to discuss anything further, you can email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Good Luck Sarah!