Should I do the birthday set?
The posting of Nicola and Celine’s birthday party set brought a number of enquiries from members of our trisutto family? Coach why didn’t we join the swim party? How come I had my birthday set and you gave me 48x100s? I wanted to do The Birthday Set!
So let’s look at what it is, and the reasoning behind the different programs for di!erent athletes.
The set is an old swim session primarily done by some great distance swimmers back in the 1970s. I used to watch Stephen Holland (1976 Olympic Games bronze medalist) in awe as he punched out 100 x 100m all on 1 minute 10 seconds long course. This created a bit of a craze with distance swimmers of the time. The hardest set of this type that I saw was done by Bobby Hackett (1976 Olympic Silver medallist). He swam 100 x 100y leaving on 1 minute (short course yards) in the USA, then told his coach it was a piece of cake. When his coach then asked ‘the tough guy’ to do a 1500y fly, he did so with ease, and then said ‘I’ll raise you one’ and did a second 1500y fly. He indeed was a tough guy.
So I brought the 100 x 100 set in my kit bag to Triathlon as well as a few others that were ‘frowned upon’ in Triathlon. We decided that it would be the birthday set in Trisutto.
However this is where we need to explain that it is not done for everyone and not even for all of the good swimmers if it doesn’t fit with their fitness. This session done at the wrong time can be very destructive.
take into consideration where you are in the build up to your program.
consider fitness levels. This is our third short pro training camp. We have had athletes with birthdays on the first two camps. However our fitness levels were not where we could cope with such a physical exertion to be a positive asset.
if you have a certain physical or stroke impediment no matter how fast you are as a swimmer, we don’t do this type of swim.
We may also use swim tools including large pull bouys to protect the shoulders from possible over use strain when swimming this (and other) sets. The ability of the swimmer doesn’t need to be a factor in not doing such an arduous session. However if one is a slow(er) swimmer then this is more than a swim session, it is an immune system test, much like a race. You will need to give yourself time to recover from it. Just as if 4km is your normal swim session, this session has also got to be treated like a race experience, and that smart rest is needed to help it be a positive to your work and not a negative.
Can it be a beneficial workout? Of course. However it needs to be done when you are fit enough to cope, have a technique to cope with the physical strain, or use tools to alleviate that problem and help assist to make it manageable.