The Lunchtime Set Thread

evmoevmo San FranciscoAdmin
edited October 2013 in Resources
Sets for working stiffs!

This is a thread for high-quality, distance and threshold-oriented sets that are designed to be finished in approximately 45 minutes. Leaving 10 minutes of warm-up and 5 minutes of cool-down, you should be able to complete a full workout in about an hour - and then get back to the office!

Typically, these are sets I do with Santa Barbara Masters (LCM) or with my training partner Zack (SCY).

Definition of "BASE" -- There are varying definitions, but to my mind the simplest is: The fastest interval at which you are capable of doing 10x100 in an average workout. AIA - adjust intervals accordingly!

Usage note: "400 on BASE + 10" means "400 on BASE interval * 4, plus 10 seconds," not "400 on BASE interval + 10 seconds per hundred."


  • evmoevmo San FranciscoAdmin
    [2400 LCM]

    3x300 @ BASE +20 / +10 / +0
    3x200 @ BASE -5
    3x300 @ BASE +0 / +10 (hold same pace as #1) / +20 (faster than #1 & #2)

    "Masters minute" rest between each round.
  • IronMikeIronMike Moscow, RussiaCharter Member
    OK, now you gotta explain a "masters minute"!
  • evmoevmo San FranciscoAdmin
    edited March 2012
    "Masters minute" is a term I've only recently become acquainted with, but have such affection for that I've adopted it as my own.

    To my understanding, basically, it means: "A minute's rest, rounded up to the nearest 30 seconds." Or alternatively, "About a minute's rest, unless a tacit agreement arises among lanemates to extend it to 2 minutes. Or whatever, because it's Masters and you can do whatever you want."
  • IronMikeIronMike Moscow, RussiaCharter Member
    I like it. I must add it to my dictionary, and words like grandpa pace and penance laps.
  • AnneAnne La Jolla CA USACharter Member
    edited March 2012
    Guaranteed to need a latte and lunch after this one... intervals are for LCM
    "Duck Duck Goose"
    3 X [2 X 250m @ 3:45, 1 X 300m @ 4:00]
    "A" Group has to do it all on 3:45
    Mortals may pull the 300's as needed
  • evmoevmo San FranciscoAdmin
    On Thursdays I work out with my training partner Zack at the UCSB Rec Center. We were introduced, coincidentally, through my Catalina pace swimmer Gracie (small world). We alternate responsibility for making up the workout. Today is my day. Here's the main set I have planned for us:

    [2600 SCY]
    2x150 @ +15
    4x100 @ BASE (for us, 1:10)
    2x150 @ +15
    4x100 @ +10 (faster)
    2x150 @ +15
    4x100 @ +20 (even faster)
    2x150 @ +15
    (master's minute rest)
    200 at goal pace for a 500, one at a time, filmed
  • Leonard_JansenLeonard_Jansen Charter Member
    [3000 SCY not counting warm up/down]

    3x"drop dead" 1000's with a master's minute between each.

    A drop dead 1000 is a NON-STOP 1000 done as follows:
    4 laps at 1-2 mile race pace, 1 lap as hard as you can,
    3 laps at 1-2 mile race pace, 2 laps as hard as you can,
    2 laps at 1-2 mile race pace, 3 laps as hard as you can,
    1 laps at 1-2 mile race pace, 4 laps as hard as you can.
    (a "lap" is up & back of a 25 yd pool = 50 yards)

    This is for a transition or peaking period and is good prep for shorter races. It can also be adapted for longer races by making the 4,3,2,1 sequence @ long race pace and the 1,2,3,4 sequence as a hard race acceleration - of course, then you have to do more of them and that won't fit into a lunchtime.

    “Moderation is a fatal thing. Nothing succeeds like excess.” - Oscar Wilde

  • IronMikeIronMike Moscow, RussiaCharter Member
    Finally! One I think I can do. Thanks Leonard_Jansen.
  • Leonard_JansenLeonard_Jansen Charter Member
    Mike - Here is another one of the same ilk:

    "Zen mile" a.k.a. broken 1650
    11 lengths, rest 15 sec.
    10 lengths, rest 15 sec.
    9 lengths, rest 15 sec.
    3 lengths, rest 15 sec
    2 lengths, rest 15 sec
    1 length.

    A length is 25 yards.

    You can also do this as a "Zen butterfly double mile" which is the same as the above, but after the 1 length , rest for 15 secs and then do the original IN REVERSE. (The butterfly in the name is for the shape of the workout, not that you are doing butterfly stroke.)

    BTW, for the "drop dead" 1000's you can also turn these into "drop dead" 500's by doing lengths instead of laps.

    “Moderation is a fatal thing. Nothing succeeds like excess.” - Oscar Wilde

  • evmoevmo San FranciscoAdmin
    edited March 2012
    One of my favorite lunchtime sets. I like it because it simulates a short-distance open-water race: (1) Get out fast for good position; (2) Hold pace; (3) Bring it home with all you've got.

    4x100 @ BASE (just make it)
    4x300 @ BASE+30 (hold same pace)
    4x100 @ BASE (whatever you've got left)

    Zack and I did this today with a base interval of 1:10 (SCY) - meaning 300s on 4:00.
  • I learned this set from my coach two years ago. Every month we would swim a timed 1,000 (LCM), and he would give us various sets throughout the month to train for the timed swim. This set immediately became an old friend, and I trot it out 5-6 times a month:

    400 @ BASE
    100 easy, active recovery
    400 broken at the 200, with 20 seconds rest at the break. Overall time for this 400, once the 20 seconds is pulled out, should be 6-8 seconds faster than the first 400.
    100 easy, active recovery
    400 broken at the 100, with 10 seconds between each 100. Overall time for this 400, once the 30 seconds is pulled out, should be 6-8 seconds faster than the second 400.
    100 easy, active recovery

  • BillBill Member
    evmo said:

    One of my favorite lunchtime sets. I like it because it simulates a short-distance open-water race: (1) Get out fast for good position; (2) Hold pace; (3) Bring it home with all you've got.

    4x100 @ BASE (just make it)
    4x300 @ BASE+30 (hold same pace)
    4x100 @ BASE (whatever you've got left)

    Zack and I did this today with a base interval of 1:10 (SCY) - meaning 300s on 4:00.

    Had at this one yesterday at lunch, used 1:20 base SCM... trying to hold the 100 pace on the 300s cooked me good (maybe I should have slowed down the 100s a little).

    Thanks evan
  • bobswimsbobswims OregonCharter Member
    edited April 2012
    After leaving swimming following high school I returned to the sport after my second year of law school (and a bum knee that prevented me from doing anything else). I had a limited time between classes, but was able to squeeze in 1 hour on a regular basis. As with most things I decided to go all out. Eventually I could routinely swim 5,000 yd in 60 minutes. It wasn't until during the following summer when I was invited to swim with a high school team that I did anything that resembled a typically structured workout.
  • evmoevmo San FranciscoAdmin
    Here's the main set I've planned for myself & Zack today at noon:

    2500 SCY, BASE = 1:10
    • 3x300 @ BASE+10
    • 2x200 @ BASE+20
    • 1x100 AFAP (as fast as possible)
    • 100 easy (active rest)
    • 3x100 @ BASE
    • 2x200 @ BASE+10
    • 1x300 AFAP
    Hold steady pace (but still make interval) on parts 1/2/5/6.
    Blast the 100 & 300 (we'll be aiming for 1:00 and 3:15, respectively).
  • BillBill Member
    A touch over an hour, so you might have to sneak in the back door getting back to the office.

    4500 SCM, Base = 1:20

    3 x 1500 SCM with a master's minute rest between each
    - 1 @ Base + :45
    - 1 @ Base
    - 1 @ Base - :45

  • evmoevmo San FranciscoAdmin
    edited June 2012
    Here's my entire lunchtime workout from Thursday, which I made up on the spot but in retrospect, am pretty pleased with.

    3500 SCY, Base = 1:10

    400 loosen

    warm-up set (1000 SCY):
    • 4x25 underwater streamline dolphin-kick
    • 4x50: 25 scull, 25 drill
    • 4x75: fl/bk/br, bk/br/fr, br/fr/fl, fr/fl/bk
    • 4x100 free @ BASE+20: 12/13/14/15 SPL by 100
    main set (2000 SCY):
    • 4x250 @ BASE+5 (3:00) - aerobic, just make the interval, set up for Part 2
    • 10x100 @ BASE+20 (1:30), best average - i.e., aim for fastest 1000 sum
    100 cool-down
  • bobswimsbobswims OregonCharter Member
    75 yards under water with one breath and a pint of Guinness. OK so I can only do 50 yd these days so I drink 2 pints of Guinness instead.
  • evmoevmo San FranciscoAdmin
    Was assigned this set this morning. Didn't quite make it, but I love the concept. A real ball/ovary-buster. Great for open-water pacing.

    9x200 SCY

    1 @ BASE-10
    2 @ BASE
    3 @ BASE+10
    2 @ BASE
    1 @ BASE-10

    (Base = 1:10, i.e., 2:10, 2:20, 2:30, 2:20, 2:10 = ouch!)

  • heartheart San Francisco, CACharter Member
    A fun way to add an extra 1,000 to any workout (this was 1/4 of today's set for me):

    50 fast, 50 easy
    2*50 fast, 50 easy
    3*50 fast, 50 easy
    4*50 fast, 50 easy
    5*50 fast, 50 easy

    I took 5 seconds between the fast 50s and 20-30 seconds rest after each easy 50.
  • I read this from Mike Oram the other day on the Channel Swimmers group. Actually made a good lunchtime set. Just the right balance of fast work and a nice bit of sustained.

    Managed 52 mins which I was pleased with at my somewhat pedestrian pace.


    Target time between 1 hour 30 mins when starting working down to 1 hour or less
    Check your pulse / heart rate and record it.
    Start with a warm up of 10 lengths plus 1 x length back stroke
    (275 metres = 11 lengths to loosen up before your sprints)
    4 x 100 metre sprints watching the clock
    (400 metres 16 lengths - hard swimming with short rests in between each set) -- total = 675 metres
    short rest - until you are fit (4/5 mins max) - if you don't need a rest you are not working hard enough.
    Rest time is the time to consider your recovery rate by checking your heart rate and it's recovery time.
    Do a timed swim of 75 lengths (1875 metres - 75 lengths about a nautical mile which is 1852) -- total = 2550 metres
    short rest (4/5 mins max) - heart rate recovery time
    200 metre sprint (200 metres is 8 lengths) -- total = 2750 metres
    short rest (4/5 mins max) -
    Wind down swim of 250 metres (10 lengths) total = 3000 metres
    120 lengths x 25 = 3000 metres or 1.62 nautical miles
    Heart rate at finish and recovery time
    Note the time it takes to complete the set in your log/diary each time you complete it.
    Use this as your bench mark to test your improvement over your training periods.
    Don't be surprised if it takes a few sessions to complete the 120 lengths of the pool or if you never get it down to an hour.
    If it takes you more than 75 mins (that's 2200 metres or 2400 yards = 1.2 nautical miles it's going to be a very long swim.
  • Kevin_in_MDKevin_in_MD Senior Member
    These are great, I actually have a slightly different take, there are two lanes open for 25 minutes between practices while I wait for my daughter to finish her swims.

    Here's one I did last night.

    12 x 25 back on :30 with hella fast kick (excellent way to warmup quickly)
    500 at comfortably hard effort don't look at clock til the end, can use result for performance model.

    20 x 25 (:10) small paddles, buoy and kicking with very fast turnover 72+ (working to build specific turnover and strength).

    Take daughter to McDonald's if she finished her homework before practice!
  • Bumping this for visibility to new members. Not every set or even most, is an animal set.
  • evmoevmo San FranciscoAdmin
    As winter in the northern hemisphere approaches, and some of us are spending more time in pools, it's time to bump the Lunchtime Set Thread.

    Any new Lunchtime sets to share?
  • My favorite, the Fishburne set. 3500 of fun.

    5x100 - Base + 25
    4x 200 - Add Base-5 to the 100 interval
    3x300 - Add Base-5 to the 200 interval
    2x400 - Add Base-5 to the 300 interval
    1x500 - Add Base-5 to the 400 interval

    For example, if Base = 1:20, then you start at 1:45 and then add 1:15 to each:

    5x100 - 1:45
    4x200 - 3:00
    3x300 - 4:15
    2x400 - 5:30
    1x500 - 6:45

    If your Base = 1:15, you start at 1:40 and add 1:10 to each:

    5x100 - 1:40
    4x200 - 2:50
    3x300 - 4:00
    2x400 - 5:10
    1x500 - 6:20

  • SpacemanspiffSpacemanspiff Dallas, TexasSenior Member
    Our masters group did this killer set as a Thanksgiving Eve punishment. Only half of those who started were still around by the time the beatdown was over. I don't recall a set that decimated the pool so much.

    250 IM inverted pyramid (up an down) in 25 meter increments. Each additional stroke is 25 meters farther than the one before, such that the middle (longest) interval looks like this: 25 fly, 50 back, 75 breast, 100 free. Each interval is base +15 per interval, not cumulative, so that you're only getting about 3-8 seconds rest per interval (after accounting for the back/breast speed and fly fatigue). So if your base is 1:40, then 25m interval is :40 (1:40/4 = :25+:15); 50m interval is (:50+15) :65; 100 @ 1:55; etc. I'm not 100% sure that it was +15. It might have been +20. It felt like +5, but the math doesn't seem plausible. Whatever it was, there was no feeling of "rest" after the first 4-5 intervals. Gasp 6-8 breaths and push off.

    Here are the "up" intervals (down is the reverse of this):

    25 fly
    25 fly, 25 bk
    25 fly, 50 bk
    25 fly, 50 bk, 25 br
    25 fly, 50 bk, 50 br
    25 fly, 50 bk, 75 br
    25 fly, 50 bk, 75 br, 25 free
    25 fly, 50 bk, 75 br, 50 free
    25 fly, 50 bk, 75 br, 75 free
    25 fly, 50 bk, 75 br, 100 free
    No repeat of the long and then back down by carving off the last 25m each interval (i.e., the first down interval only has 75m free).

    The worst part is: I missed the "and then back down" part of the instructions. So I'm hanging off the backstroke grips, desperately trying to open my lungs enough to catch my breath, approaching the tipping point of satisfaction overtaking pain, when the number 2 guy says: "You going?" "Going where??" "Back down" "Oh, hell" and then I pushed off for 20 more minutes of suffering...

    To those of you (like me) who look at this and think, "that doesn't look so bad": beware! There's something about starting each interval with 25m fly. It gets to you. Physically and mentally. I told coach we need to make this our regular Friday workout, but I don't think he wants to scare off the masses...

    2,500 meters, not including warm-up/cool-down.

    "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 Dallas/Ft Worth, TXMember
    Ohh... love this!!
  • SpacemanspiffSpacemanspiff Dallas, TexasSenior Member
    Been saving you a spot @flystorms!

    "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 Dallas/Ft Worth, TXMember
    I'll be there soon, Spiff! We finally got a new coach hired and he starts in January. I'll come play after things settle out.
  • I love these, this thread is how I found you guys. Keep'm coming!

  • wendyv34wendyv34 Vashon, WASenior Member

    My Tuesday swim buddy came in with this set today, which will work best in a short course pool. You start with a distance and a send-off, then you drop the send-off 10 seconds (or 5 if you want to prolong the suffering) each rep until you can't make the send-off, then you drop the distance by 50 and make as many send-offs as you can and so on until you get to your ending send-off. We started with 200's at 3:00 and went down to 1:00. He's faster, so he got an additional rep at the longer distance. It's tougher than it sounds.

    My set went:

    200 @ 3:00, 2:50, 2:40

    150 @ 2:30, 2:20, 2:10, 2:00

    100 @ 1:50, 1:40, 1:30, 1:20

    50 @ 1:10, 1:00

    This icon means your face is red and snot is coming out of your nose at the end of the set, right? :\">


    It's always a bad hair day when you work at a pool.

  • suziedodssuziedods Charter Member
    edited February 2016

    Another one I just stole from @sylmarino ..

    Warm up -as you please..

    4x25 on 30
    50 on 1.00 ( or whatever interval is good for you)
    4x25 on 30
    100 on 2.00
    4x25 on 30
    200 on 4.00
    and back down again.

    The 4x25 actually become harder.. and I am beginning to believe in an abacus for anything over a 100

    Looking for the next big thing.. ... @suzieswimcoach

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