Understanding Your Workout: Swim Glossary December 30, 2019 13:48 Updated Follow Not signed in? Log into your Purple Patch account for full access to your education program for coaches and athletes. You need to sign in to view this page. Purple Patch Swim Glossary Technical: This family of swims is focused around recuperation and recovery, technique and form development, or preparation for an upcoming session or race. Recovery: The purpose of this session is to facilitate rejuvenation and recovery. The lower physical stress provides a great opportunity for you to focus on technique and form. Form-Focus: A lower stress session that allows you to focus on body position, pulling form, and synchronization during these sessions. It will be typical to add some swimming tools, or toys, into these sessions to help with form. Speed + Power: The best word to describe this is “over-recruitment.” Even during technical swimming, we like to inject some fast swimming to ensure the body is working to its full potential. Prep: This workout is designed to “prepare” yourself for a coming workout or race, with a little activation and building work, without causing fatigue Endurance: Triathlon open water races require high levels of cardiovascular and muscular endurance. These sessions are designed to develop and extend your ability to maintain efforts in open water. Short Interval = A key performance criteria in racing is to maintain form under fatigue. These sessions are a great way to build endurance while retaining great form. You have the chance to hit each interval with good form and maintain it through the session. Over-Distance = As will most endurance sports, we do need to condition the mind and the body to handle the challenge of race distance, and even beyond. These sessions allow you to convert the endurance of short interval sessions into extended swimming Building = A good time for pacing and self-management, these sessions are for you to learn how to “build” your effort across a series of intervals, with the goal being to increase effort and speed as the session progresses. This is an art and teaches efficiency and speed change. Interval: The focus of these sessions is raising the sustainable ceiling of your performance, while also developing your resilience to be able to hold the best pace under fatigue. You are often asked to retain a maximally sustained pace in these intervals, but always with a focus on rhythm, supple tempo, and good form. We never fight the water, even in these interval-based workouts. HIIT (High-Intensity Interval Training session): These are used to drive adaptation of synchronization, power, and capacity around your swim stroke and your ability to produce force under the water. We often utilize swim toys here to improve speed or force over-recruitment. Building: You will notice that I like athletes to be set up for success, so many stronger intervals as progressive intensity. Different from the building sets of an endurance focus, these tend to be comprised of shorter intervals that progress toward maximal effort, hence creating a great delta of both effort and speed through the main set. Event Specific: You are not a pool swimmer, but a triathlete who races open water. With this in mind, many of the key sessions designed to prepare you for your events and more specifically for the fluctuation and demands of open water swim racing. The sessions under this banner should translate both physically and mentally into your race execution and performance. Pyramid: In this session, we increase the distance throughout a workout. The idea is that you start out with great form, and you hold on to that form as the distance and sets get larger and more challenging. This can mimic the feeling of fatigue and difficulty to maintain form in a race. Threshold: These are notoriously some of the tougher and more challenging sessions, yet if done properly can be one of the biggest keys towards making you feel comfortable at a very strong effort. We will often integrate open water skills, such as sighting, but the underlying mission is to retain form under fatigue. Race Simulation: Programmed variability that will inevitably happen on a race course. The race starts, swimming in a group, buoy turns, establishing a rhythm, spiking surges of speed, and finishing a swim with form are all pieces of a puzzle that we try to simulate in the pool. Open Water: Self-explanatory. In the book, open water sessions are minimal as so many have very limited access to regular open water. The Purple Patch website has a series of wonderful open water swim options for your review. SBB: snorkel, buoy, and band/ankle strap Pull: buoy (Can also add snorkel and/or ankle strap) Descend: each interval gets faster Build by/Progress by: Effort increases over a given number of intervals or over a set distance. For example, 6x100 70-90% progress by 2 would mean your first two intervals would be at 70%, the next two would be around 80%, and the final two would be at 90%. 600 build by 200 would mean a straight 600-yard swim, increasing the effort every 200 yards. Send-off: For those of you not familiar with using a pace clock, it’s time to get used to it as it is a wonderful training tool. At the Purple Patch SF swim sessions, we will frequently set up intervals on a specific send off. 6x100 on 1:30 means you are swimming 6 intervals of 100 yards (or meters) and leaving every 90 seconds. The faster you swim, the more rest you get, but there is a point where you will swim too fast to be able to recover in time. It is great for pacing and consistency. Purple Patch Drill: Single arm swimming usually done with fins and a snorkel. Start with both arms stretched out over your head and then take 2, 3, or 4 strokes with your right arm before switching sides and taking 2, 3 or 4 strokes with your left arm. Here is a great video showing how to perform the drill. The swimmer is using a kickboard here (and no fins), but you can get the basics of how to do the drill. Video Tutorial Kick-Swim: Using fins, kick on your back with your arms stretched over your head focusing on being long and taut for 25 yards and then swim for 25 keeping your focus on maintaining a long, taut vessel. Kick with Board - When we kick with a board, the focus is to improve posture and ingrain a connection between upper and lower body. Video Tutorial Kick without a Board: The mission remains the same as kicking with a board, but we remove the stability of a board. The focus is posture and symmetry, so maintain extension and a taut body. Video Tutorial Kick on the Wall: This can be useful for connecting the rhythm of the upper and lower body in swimming but also integrate a power element to the kick for advanced swimmers. Video Tutorial Speed-Play Swimming: We consistently have a focus of changing your pace and speed in swimming, which is an essential tool in the open water environment. We must train this and dial it in so that it feels normal to increase stroke rate and speed in parallel all without losing rhythm. Video Tutorial Eney Buoy: An important tool within the arc of pulling, this buoy has a role in promoting body position, as well as an integral role in strength and power development. A wonderful piece of the Purple Patch swimming toolkit. Video Tutorial Tech Paddles: These funky paddles won’t assist in power production or swimming faster while wearing them. Instead, they are a technical tool to guide you toward proper line of pull, gaining grip or traction in the catch-phase and force alignment. The key is to translate the connection to real swimming once you take them off. Video Tutorial Dryland Paddles (aka Stretch Cordz): A wonderful addition to in-the-pool training, to assist with technical elements as well as improve muscular strength and endurance. Video Tutorial Tempo Trainer: Swimming is a rhythm and propulsion sport, but when these are combined we want to also have a range of stroke rates (of number of strokes per minute) that you swim relative to effort and duration. We use the tempo trainer to improve awareness and subtly increase sustainable stroke rate without losing connection, rhythm, and propulsion. Video Tutorial Deck Up: In race-specific phases of training we often ask you to simulate race conditions with deck ups -- which involve finishing an interval and hopping out of the pool. This will elevate the heart rate and create stress. The mission is to slide, dive, or jump back into the pool and remain calm when under duress. A much needed skill for the start of races. Related articles Understanding Your Workouts: Bike Glossary Understanding Your Workouts: Run Glossary How do I tweak the Baseline Plan to train for a marathon? Quick Start Guide to the Purple Patch Tri Squad How do I upload workouts into Zwift, TrainerRoad, or Garmin?