Pacing the 1500 Like a Pro

Ryan Woodruff
Head Coach
Lynchburg YMCA

I gave this set (in short course meters) to my distance swimmers recently.  The idea is predicated around Russell Mark’s observations on pacing the 1500 free at the elite level.  He has observed that the very best milers have tremendous front and back end speed but swim at a very consistent pace in the middle.  This set rehearses that concept.

We start off with a 50 pretty fast (near 200 pace) and then follow up with a 100 strong (2-3 seconds slower than 400 pace) and then repeat three consecutive 400s at the same exact speed.  Then repeat the 100 and the 50 to finish a total of 1500m.  Athletes take 20 seconds rest between each swim, meaning their total built-in rest is 2:00 (this makes it easy for determining their swimming time after the fact).  We did a little backstroke for recovery and repeated the broken 1500 twice, trying to descend these repetitions mostly by making our 400 times faster.

Finally, we finished with a straight 1500.  This was icing on an already tough set, but we saw some really good times and I was very pleased with the effort.
Total distance: 6,600m