Two forms of endurance training are desirable. Intensities A2 and EN-1 are appropriate for basic preparatory training to establish an aerobic base that will enhance recovery and the tolerance of work volumes, essential features when specific preparatory work is undertaken. The second form of endurance training is that which taxes the endurance capacity fully, that is, the maximum aerobic capacity is stimulated (intensity level EN-2). This latter form of adaptation is usually desirable in the specific preparatory phase of training.
This study attempted to determine which training set would best stimulate maximum endurance development.
The following sets of repetition swimming with an intensity that taxed 100% of VO2max were compared to continuous swimming at the same intensity:
The 200 m distance repetitions best matched the aerobic:anaerobic proportions of the continuous swim. However, the difficulty of the sets was excessive. When 60 sec rest was provided, swimmers were able to complete 9 of the intended repetitions at the set pace. When the rest interval was reduced to 30 sec, only six repetitions were possible.
Thus, a training set that stimulates EN-2 level fully has these characteristics:
It is possible to reduce the rest period to 30 seconds and decrease the number of repetitions to a maximum of six. In these swims strict adherence to the pace and rest interval is important.
It is also reasonable to train using 20 repetitions of 100 m at 95% of 200 m pace if the rest interval is between 15 and 30 seconds. Such a set is almost as good as the 30 sec rest 200 m set.
An important finding of the study concerned the length of the rest interval and its effect on the physiological capacity trained.
The above two statements are correct irrespective of the repetition distance and as long as the work heart rate is 160 bpm or higher.
A continuous swim is a valid means of training for specific endurance adaptations. However, interval training allows a greater volume of work to be performed at the desired work level when compared to that which is achieved in a continuous swim. This is why the discovery of the "best" set is desirable.
Implications. The stimulation of maximum aerobic capacity can be achieved by swimming:
[It must always be remembered that there is no competitive swimming event that assesses the best VO2max. Having the best developed VO2max does not guarantee the best trained state for any event. It is desirable to have this effect achieved in the latter stages of the specific preparatory training phase. From then on training must be event specific in pace, energy components used, and psychological control features. Only when those three factors are developed, will training effects transfer maximally to competitive performances. The reader is warned not to get carried away with training physiological factors. Remember, one should train for specific events on the swimming program. An exaggerated focus on physiological parameters will not produce the best performance because other equally or even more important factors will not be fully developed.]
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