s.sciame wrote:However, wouldn't we also benefit from a burst of speed sometimes to get behind some swimmers to draft, or at the starts to quickly pass slower swimmers in front of us?
It's a good rationale - as is "IM effort" or "race pace" - but rarely do I find someone who actually knows what this pace is and thus simply over-estimates the pace they can truly sustain. Training a lot like this only makes you race like this. Not knowing where that red-line is and how long you can step over it at the start of a race can be disastrous. In the words of double-Olympic gold medallist Alistair Brownlee:
s.sciame wrote:Gerry Rodrigues often recommends, ie practicing some (not much, but some) fast swimming in every session
...we certainly do that in every session also - usually the build set and also some fun open water drills we do will feature some more up-tempo work
s.sciame wrote:- the swimmer has only 3 to 4 times per week available to swim and has to get the most from those sessions.
...all the more reason to focus on what will specifically make the difference. Our CSS Development and Red Mist endurance sessions are what will give you the biggest bang for your buck when you're time limited.
s.sciame wrote:Wouldn't I benefit from some speed development even if I'm distance oriented?
...your perception might be that you're more distance orientated - in fact the reality might be so - but unless you've truly tested this with the 400 / 200 CSS Test you're never truly sure.
s.sciame wrote:As far as I know you currently don't do any speed development training, but you have a swimming background and have always been fast enough, no?
I do speed development work in the same way I highlighted above - build set / OW drills - but it is not a key part of my own program. Back in the late 90s and early 2000s I recall us doing sets of 8 x 100 f/s from a dive on an 8 minute cycle with every one under 58 seconds. Pure speed work with some of the best triathletes on the planet in the lead-up to the Sydney 2000 Olympics. Did I go better then as a early-20 yo over 1500+ than I do now? Not at all. I'm quicker now. The thought (then) was that this burst of speed would get me on the feet of the really fast guys. The reality was it just made me BRILLIANT at producing masses of lactate but ATROCIOUS at dealing with it. I was never a brilliant sprinter (I'm still poor, relatively), but this methodology - especially when it detracted from the really good work developing sustainable pace - was totally detrimental for my swimming, never mind the knock-on effect on my biking and running.
So, take a leaf from the Brownlee's book - let's face it, they know what they're talking about