The Animal Set Thread



  • evmoevmo San FranciscoAdmin

    For an added challenge, try drinking approximately half your body weight in margaritas about 6 hours before attempting!

    It's amazing how suddenly one loses this skill. For me it was about... 27 or 28 I think? Enjoy it while it lasts :)
  • ChickenOSeaChickenOSea Charter Member
    27 or 28 margaritas is still pretty good for an oldie
  • Too quiet here lately....

    For those of you doing MIMS, here is a good workout:
    Swim 1.5-2 hours @ race pace/effort (you can stop for feedings on normal schedule), then do 1 hour as hard as you can, then do 15-60 minutes at race pace/effort (or whatever you can muster).

    This is helpful because at MIMS you have the tide with you for the first 90-120 minutes and then you hit Hell Gate and have to fight the current. Being able to switch gears and still be relaxed is beneficial, although in the race you won't be going all-out, but it does feel like that. Then being able to switch back once the tide is with you again and shake out the lactic acid is a valuable skill.


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

  • IronMikeIronMike Bishkek, KyrgyzstanCharter Member
    I'd like to bump this up as I've instituted a once per week 2-3 hour long swim. Love these ideas here, but want more. ;)
  • smithsmith O-H-I-OMember
    edited October 2012
    IronMike said:

    I'd like to bump this up as I've instituted a once per week 2-3 hour long swim. Love these ideas here, but want more. ;)

    That once or twice a week long swim in open water instead of a pool is extremely helpful.

    One set I've liked doing is a ladder/locomotive type set of 3 or 4 x 2,000 in open water. Go about 25 easy then 25 hard (based on stroke count), 50 easy then 50 hard, 75 easy then 75 hard, and finally 100 easy and 100 hard (500)....then go back down the ladder the same way (1,000), and repeat until you hit 2,000. Doing it in a pool is fine, but open water is better.

    As far as pool sets, my favorite test set is 75 x 100s (SCY) with varied intervals between 1:15 and 1:25 depending on how I'm feeling that day. I've done this set in 83-84 degree water at a YMCA, and found that I start to falter around 67 or 68.

    Lactate is for wimps.

  • Here's a fun one:

    5 ( or more, or less) x (100 - 200 - 300 - 400 - 500 - 600)

    Descend pace through each repeat. Rest is 5-10 seconds per 100m.

    Something like this:
    100 @ 1:20 / 100 pace 10" rest
    200 @ 1:19 / 100 pace 20" rest
    300 @ 1:18 / 100 pace 30" rest
    400 @ 1:17 / 100 pace 40" rest
    500 @ 1:16 / 100 pace 50" rest
    600 @ 1:15 / 100 pace 60" rest

  • IronMikeIronMike Bishkek, KyrgyzstanCharter Member
    I did this recently on my long day. N.B., recall my def of monster is different:

    1750 pull (no paddles)
    1500 fins (zoomies)

    All on ~1:45/100 SCM. No more than :10 rest btwn sets.

    Next I'll add the 1000 at the end. Perhaps the 750 in a month or so.
  • IronMikeIronMike Bishkek, KyrgyzstanCharter 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.

    Getting off work 3 hours early today, so will get to do this 10K workout in my SCM pool. Can't wait!
  • heartheart San Francisco, CAMember
    That's a really nice set, Mike. I'll do it this morning in lieu of the 500, 1000, 1500, 2000, 2000, 1500, 1000, 500 I had planned.
  • SharkoSharko Sonoma County, CAMember
    Here is a fun one I recall very well....warm up then 100s (on when breathing slows a bit) and go until my arms fall off!!!!...very creative....

    "I never met a shark I didn't like"

  • SylleSylle Gothenburg, SwedenMember
    One session that I did after Beijing 2008: The full Olympic program including heats, semi-finals, finals, individuals events, relays and medal ceremonies

    It's basically ALL the men events, in the order of the official schedule:

    400 IM
    400 f/c
    100 b/s

    400 IM
    400 f/c
    100 b/s

    200 f/c
    100 b/c
    4x100 f/c

    200 f/c
    100 b/s
    100 b/c
    4x100 f/c

    200 fly

    200 f/c
    100 b/c
    200 fly

    100 free
    200 b/s
    4x200 free

    100 free
    200 fly
    200 b/s
    4x200 free

    200 b/c
    200 IM

    200 b/s
    200 b/c
    100 free
    200 IM

    50 free
    100 fly

    50 free
    200 b/c
    200 IM
    100 fly

    1500 free
    4x100 medley

    100 fly
    50 free

    1500 free
    4x100 medley

    Total of 12150m

    I found the 200 breaststroke was the hardest!
  • I don't like the look of that set one little bit! Nasty butterfly!
  • ketosketos Member
    edited February 2013
    Love the olympic set. I'm going to do a 100KM week this summer and now I'm planning on doing each olympics since I was born (assuming I can find the data)... should cover about 85% of it.
  • ChickenOSeaChickenOSea Charter Member
    I had a 4 hour swim scheduled for today. Skipped it and farted around the house instead. Now I feel terrible. the day off wasn't worth it!!!
  • heartheart San Francisco, CAMember
    Wow, @Sylle - what a great workout! I'm supposed to do 15k tomorrow, and I just realized that, doing the women's events three times with a warmup and cooldown, would be perfect. So that's the plan for tomorrow!
  • SylleSylle Gothenburg, SwedenMember
    Glad you guys like it! And there's always the possibility of adding the OW 10k if you think it is too short!
  • Forgot about the 2 OW events. The program will now be 8 Olympics in 8 days (about 115K unless I'm as bad at counting laps as I am my age)
  • MvGMvG NetherlandsMember
    edited June 2013
    Some pretty sophisticated workouts here, and I am awestruck at the speed at which some of these are supposed to be done. Let me add my two cents.

    I am probably out of line with training orthodoxy. Oftentimes I don't even know exactly what my workout program will be when I walk into the pool. I often make one up as I go, usually aiming for 4-6 kms. I am however quite devoted to my Saturday morning long swims, which I rarely skip. They are anything between 7 and 15 kms, and more as I get closer to a big crossing (I did 23 kms yesterday).

    Some of my favorite long distance sets are 10 or 15 x 1000, or x number of (2500+1500+1000). I have found that mixing in backstroke adds power to my freestyle stroke, and is easier on the shoulders. I don't bother about sticking to exact times, though I do monitor them constantly - I just swim 'at a good clip', and harder if I feel I am up to it.

    Reading through all of the above, my conclusion is that to be able to achieve a really long swim, like the EC, really anything goes by way of training, as long as there is a certain quantity of meters trained. I am not talking about Olympic level, but about reasonably but not excessively fast amateurs swimmers like myself in the 1.20-1.40/100m range, and probably also for slower swimmers. The Dover school of 'total body confusion' is not far off the mark in my view.

    A big risk in my view is training burn-out & mental fatigue in the run-up to a big crossing. Ever since that happened to me only 3 months before my (successful -10h29m) ) EC crossing in 2011, I never train when I don't feel motivated or too tired. Better skip a day or even a week, and the ' hunger' will return, at least in my experience. This is actually the most important training advice I can offer.
  • found this set on the freshwaterswimer website and it looks cool

    The Kitchen Sink Set.
    •1000 w/u: 300 swim, 200 kick, 300 pull, 2×100 IM
    •3×300 pull, moderate
    •4×200 IM, threshold
    •14×50: 2x {fly, fly/back, back, back/breast, breast, breast/free, free}
    •6×100 kick, descend 1-3
    •100 loosen, 400 Free AFAP (as fast as possible)
    •4×100: 50 drill / 50 swim, choice of stroke
    •6×50 fly, smooth
    •200 IM, broken @ the 50′s, 10 seconds rest – AFAP
    •4×25 sprint under-water SDK (streamline dolphin kick) on back
  • evmoevmo San FranciscoAdmin
    mongoose said:

    found this set on the freshwaterswimer website and it looks cool

    Thanks! Here's the original link:
  • I did a slightly watered down version of the kitchen sink set this morning. Did 2.5km at the end but boy did the fly, kill me. Maybe it's also because I did a gym weights session last night. But still I under estimated the set. I enjoyed the 14x50 medley section though and will probably incorporate it into some other sets for variety.
  • Thought this thread could use some more awesome workouts.
    I actually stole this one from a website (I forget where now because I took a screen shot of it and don't have the site) and did it late last summer when I was on vacation and had to train alone. It was fun.
    I adjusted the warmup to a the 600 warmup I always do..workout calls for 400, 200 kick, 300 pull, 4x100 IM drill. I picked up at the drill.
    1000 @ 13:15
    2x500 @ 6:15
    900 @ 12:00
    2x450 @5:30
    800 @10:40
    2x400 @5:00
    700 @9:20
    2x350 @4:15
    600 @ 8:00
    2x300 @3:45
    500 @ 6:40
    2x250 @3:00
    400 @5:20
    2x200 @ 2:30
    300 @4:00
    2x150 @1:45
    200 @2:40
    2x100 @1:15
    100 @1:20
    2x50 @ :45

    Usually my favorite sets are the ones that are top heavy and feel like they take forever at the beginning but then at the end the sections are so short it just flies by!
    BTW, the times were intended for LCM. Um, those look like SCY intervals to me and I took a minute break after each set of 2s (but it was also SUPER hot when I was doing this workout...I live in Florida).
  • suziedodssuziedods Member
    edited December 2013
    EDIT by @loneswimmer: This set and variations thereof will forever be known as:
    Suzie's Set.

    Suzie's Animal Cracker, Thanks Niek, great name.

    Again, not an "animal" set but one of which I am pretty darn proud ...
    60 min of 200's on 3.20( not blazing speed I know)
    1-2 min break for hydrating
    60 min of 200's on 3.15
    1-2 min break
    60 min of 100's on 1.45
    1-2 min break
    60 min of 100's on 1.40
    200 warm down doing drills and stroke count
    Burgers and fries and COKE!!
    BTW, this was documented, in a pool( 25 yrds) and I have done it twice now. I like the simplicity of it and the actual mindlessness as well.
    It's great practice for pacing and ends up being a little over 4 hours and about 14K for me.
    Not really animal, more like a protoplasm?

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

  • ChickenOSeaChickenOSea Charter Member
    OMG when I got back in the pool last week, it was taking me 3.20 to SWIM a 200. I'm copying this though, and padding the intervals
  • IronMikeIronMike Bishkek, KyrgyzstanCharter Member
    @suziedods, how is that not animal? I don't think animal sets have to necessarily be "fast" intervals. I think time is a function that defines animal as well.
  • Great set! I'm going to do that one soon. Thanks, Suzie.

    Molly Nance, Lincoln, Nebraska

  • Molly, I hope to get it done before Xmas as well as a couple of other times. It allows me to have a double burger with fries w impunity.

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

  • I'll swim for fries, too. :-)

    Molly Nance, Lincoln, Nebraska

  • swimchica623swimchica623 Member
    edited October 2013
    I personally consider any set that makes a workout go longer than 3 hours to be considered "animal".
    Sometimes I'll be proud of hard and long sets...but if I do it with us swimmers on a weekday, it's not really animal. Not crazy enough. :)
  • this is a definite animal set.

    I'd barely keep up the hr of 200s on 3m20. My best 200 has been 3m07 so I'd be sprinting for the 1st hr. The second, 3rd and 4th hrs would simply not be possible
  • @mongoose.. I was hitting about 3.10-s.. some 3.12's... even on the 3.15... so it was just a matter of sticking to it... I still say it's a protoplasm. ( if only to be able to use the word 'protoplasm'.)

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

  • loneswimmerloneswimmer Admin
    edited October 2013
    @suziedods, I edited your set to gave it a name!

    I'd already planned my first semi-distance set of the winter for this morning. I had planned 1ks for time, but changed when I saw your set. I used metres, and 3:20 is my current 200m cruising repeat time (I'm not fit and about medium speed normally). First hour went fine, second hour also on 3:15 though I was finishing with 2 to 4 secs only. I only had time for 45 mins of the third hour and used the fourth hour time of 100s on 1:40 which would usually be fine, was quite difficult, I had to add 5 or even 10s every so often.

    What I like about the set is it's extremely flexible and useful regardless of speed. Just plug in your current cruising 200 yard or metre time for the first hour (call it x), take 5 seconds off for the second hour (x - 5s), hour three is x/2 + 5s, hour four is x/2 (or vice versa for 3 & 4). You can do pull or paddles or add drills for some of it, or other strokes and still keep a pattern. It's a great and easily adaptable set to have in the bag. Thanks!

  • Wow, into the annals of MSF.. swoon. :)

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

  • NiekNiek Heiloo, NetherlandsMember
    Suzie's Animal Cracker - Cold, wind, waves, sunburn, currents, jellyfish and flotsam! Hop in and join the fun!

  • I can't believe I am getting excited about doing essentially 4 h of intervals, albeit not at threshold pace (now that is the stuff of nightmares). I might have a go at the first 2 h tomorrow before work, or maybe do 4 x 30 mins.......
  • Here are a couple of nasty workouts we did earlier this year:

    Ron Collins Clearwater, Florida

  • I don't know if this qualifies as a monster set, but the group I swim with did a 12 days of Christmas set today. It is one 25 for each day of the song and follows along.

    Day 1 - 25
    Day 2 - 50, 25
    Day 3 - 75, 50, 25
    Day 4 - 100, 75, 50, 25
    Day 5 - 125, 100,75, 50, 25
    Day 6 - 150, 125, 100, 75, 50, 25
    Day 7- 175, 150, 125, 100, 75, 50, 25
    Day 8 - 200, 175, 150, 125, 100, 75 ,50, 25
    Day 9 - 225, 200, 175, 150, 125, 100, 75, 50, 25
    Day 10 - 250, 225, 200, 175, 150, 125, 100, 75, 50, 25
    Day 11 - 275, 250, 225, 200, 175, 150, 125, 100, 75, 50, 25
    Day 12- 300, 275, 250, 225, 200, 175, 150, 125, 100, 75, 50, 25

    This was in 25ydpool.

    All 100s, 200s and 300 were IM on base 1:30/100
    All 50s, 150s and 250s were back on base 1:30/100 (I'm really bad a back so I alternated 25 breast/25 free)
    All 125s were kick on 2:30
    All other swims were on base 1:20/100 except for the 25s. Those were on :30

    We took a short (about two minutes) break after day 8, day 10 and day 11.

    Total yds - 9100
  • IronMikeIronMike Bishkek, KyrgyzstanCharter Member
    edited December 2013
    @gtswim, just did your 12 days set. Although I could only make it through day 10 and I did free for all. (BTW, that's 5500.)

    Thanks for the work out!
  • IronMikeIronMike Bishkek, KyrgyzstanCharter Member
    IronMike said:

    @gtswim, just did your 12 days set. Although I could only make it through day 10 and I did free for all. (BTW, that's 5500.)

    OK, @gtswim, just did it again, only this time I started with day 12 and went down to day 1. 9100m in 2:53.

    Great set. Thanks again.
  • @IronMike,

    Congrats on finishing the swim. We talked about going the opposite way like you did, but it didn't follow the song so the group consensus was to to keep it as is.

    I do think mentally I would rather do the set like you did, starting with day 12 first.

    This past Sunday we did the 11 days, but did each distance in order:

    etc down to 11x25

    With three of us in the lane we each took turns deciding how to do the sets.

    Also, for the record, I did one-arm fly and no back on the IMs and alternated breast/free on the back sets in the orignal set. My back is actually slower than my breast and my fly is down right awful. I would rather have done the whole thing all free on a consistant time interval.
  • IronMikeIronMike Bishkek, KyrgyzstanCharter Member
    I love the set. It is good practice for concentration, too. I normally count laps versus lengths, but with this set, I counted lengths. For example, when I started, I would think "1 of 12 (flip turn), 2 of 12, etc..." Then "1 of 11, etc..."

    I also found it was a wonderful way of actually bilateral breathing. I'm the coach that preaches to his swimmers "bilateral breath if you want to swim straighter," then practices every-right breathing! But with this set, in order to remember which fricking length I was on, I would chant "one...of...twelve, etc..." in sync with my arms.

    In fact, these two instances (the 5500 and 9100) are the only times I've ever done bilateral breathing for that long (I maybe dropped a length or two, total, out of each workout where I didn't bilateral breath).

    I love this set! The only problem with it is when you do it the first time. When I came home my wife asked "How much did you swim?" and I said, "I don't know, let me bring up excel and do the math." ;)
  • swimmer25kswimmer25k Member
    edited January 2014
    When I needed to work on some speed

    "Alpe du Huez"
    Nasty climbs up the mountain with wicked "switchback chasers" after each one:

    200 (scy) 2:10
    200 fast
    2:00 rest
    400 (4:20)
    200 fast
    2:00 rest
    600 (6:30)
    200 fast
    2:00 rest
    800 (8:40)
    200 fast
    2:00 rest
    1000 (10:50)
    200 fast
    (I averaged 1:56 on the 200s the last time I did this in 2009 prior to getting injured and becoming a coach)

    Only 4000 yards, however, massive suffering along the way.

    Longest pool sets:
    20X800 LCM (10:00)

    4X5000 (2-3 mins rest after each)

    Plenty of 3-4 hour straight swims
  • Another favorite of mine to swim and coach...

    "Texas Longhorn" (aka "sort-of ripped it off from Eddie Reese and changed things around a little bit")

    (These are the intervals I swam this set at in 2009 the week before getting injured. Miss this fun stuff.")

    3X400 scy (4:20)
    1X350 (4:20)
    300 fast
    1 min rest

    3X300 (3:15)
    1X250 (3:15)
    200 fast
    1 min rest

    3X200 (2:10)
    1X150 (2:10)
    100 fast

  • edited April 2014
    So I've been lurking on the forum for a few months and I finally just finished a set that I hope qualifies as an "Animal Set"

    5x1500 fr
    1000 kick with fins
    3x1500 fr
    6x200 backstroke
    2x200 breaststroke
    1500 fr

    Total about 16,100 scy and took about 6 hours. For my 1500s I was on the 28:00 - 30:00. Also I added in those 200s backstroke/breaststroke so I could get my 10% of another stroke for shoulder stability.
  • flystormsflystorms Dallas/Ft Worth, TXMember
    Oh I like that. I'll need that later this month. Thanks for sharing.
  • This was the main set of a 17,200 yard workout. It was a few weeks ago, so I don't remember the entire workout now. The main set is 9,000.

    1000 @14:00
    20x100 @1:30
    20X100 @1:25
    20X100 @1:20
  • wendyv34wendyv34 Vashon, WAMember
    500 alt free/back warmup

    (Do an EZ 100 back after each 1500)

    ~500EZ alt free/back/br to finish it off.

    Now, go inhale a pizza!

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

  • It wasn't an animal set but it WILL be..
    Warm up 500-800
    8x50 on 60( sec)
    8x100 on 2:00
    K/P 100
    7x50 @55
    4x50@45( cuz I cant get below that)
    If you REALLY want to pad it you would do an 800@ pace after the 8x100, a 700 after the 7x100 etc etc. No idea how many yards this is...

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

  • loneswimmerloneswimmer Admin
    edited May 2014
    I occasionally use different variations of the pyramids. They are a bit of a Swiss army knife for longish days where I don't have any particular plan. You can play around with the longest middle legs to dramatically increased total distance.

    A baby pyramid goes from 100 to 900, repeats 900, and descends for 9k.
    A standard pyramid that from 100 to 1k with only 1k is 10k.
    An aztec pyramid has two 1ks in the centre, for 11k total.
    The broken pyramid goes to 1.5k but skips the odd numbers when descending for 13k. If you descend by the same distances, it's 12.5k.
    Giza adds 2k as the centre, with bracketing 1500s, for 16k. (Never gone higher than that in pyramids myself). Etc, etc.

    Broken pyramid.
    100 R.I. 0:05
    200 R.I 0:10
    300 R.I. 0:15
    400 R.I. 0:20
    500 R.I. 0:25
    600 R.I. 0:30
    700 R.I. 0:35
    800 R.I. 0:40
    900 R.I. 0:45
    1000 R.I. 0:50
    1500 R.I. 1:30
    1000 R.I. 0:60
    1000 R.I. 0:50
    800 R.I. 0:40
    800 R.I. 0:30
    600 R.I. 0:20
    600 R.I. 0:10
    400 R.I. 0:05

  • Anyone want to start a "sets that were really scary in college, but not too bad now" thread? This set a little animal-ish. It was the height of "Hell Week" but I'm looking forward to doing it now. We'd all talk about how the 20x200s were coming up and not only that, but they were long course!!

    600, 6x150s 2:30 2x50 warm up
    600 kick
    12x50 pull on :50
    then.... (here comes the scary part....)
    5@3:00 10@2:55 5@2:50
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