Use this page to decipher the terms and acronyms your Ignition Fitness coach may use when constructing your swim workouts.
Warm Up (WU)
The warm-up is the start of your swim before the Main Set (MS). Swim this very easy in what will feels like slow motion swimming. Stop to stretch whenever you want. This is the time to adjust goggles, caps and what not.
Main Set (MS)
The Main Set ranges in length from 1500 to over 5000 yards/metres. To modify the main set (or any set of the workout) for less distance, you may either decrease the distance in the repetitions or decrease the number of repetitions. For example: a set of 10x 100 can be modified to 5x 100 or 10x 50 to arrive at a set one-half the distance. If your water time is limited, avoid the temptation to eliminate the warm-up and/or drill sets. These are important for injury prevention, better stroke technique and the flow of the workout. Equally important is to leave time for a cool-down swim at the end of your workout!
Cool Down (CD)
These last few hundred metres is used to finish your workout. Efforts should be easy and relaxed with a focus on efficient swimming while fatigued from the main set. During your cool down, focus on long strokes with good form.
Best Average (BA)
Holding the best time possible for the number of repeats on the given interval. Usually a best average set will allow for more rest, so you can swim at a faster pace. Your pace on a best average set should be faster than when you swim threshold, but not as fast as sprint pace.
Send-off (@ 1.45, for example)
The interval or time on which you begin each repeat of the set. For example, if you swim 4x 100 @ 1.45, the send-off is @ 1.45; if you swim a 1.32 for the 100, you will have 13 seconds rest before you need to leave on the next send-off.
Drill Set (DS)
The drill set is an extension of warm-up. There are rarely interval times associated with this set, so that you may focus totally on stroke technique without concerning yourself with speed or rest. Again, stretch as necessary and pay close attention to your body position and form. Allow your heart rate to come up slowly. You should get 10-15 seconds of rest between each part of the Drill Set.
Swim to the Interval
Swim to the Interval is a general way of specifying that the swimmer pace himself through a swim such that he doesn’t go too fast (getting too much rest) or too slow (getting too little rest). The idea is to pace yourself properly to swim easy for an easy interval and to swim fast for a fast interval.
Descending sets ask you to swim each repetition faster than the previous. For example, the following set:
6x 50: DESC 1->6 asks you to swim six 50’s with each one faster. If the set reads 6x 50: DESC 1-3, 4-6
you are asked to descend the first 3 and second 3 in the set. The fourth 50 should be slower than the third. The third and sixth are the fastest in the set. Unless specified, the interval stays the same, giving you a bit more rest as your swimming time descends.
Building is different from Descending in that the swimmer’s goal is to increase speed within the single swim distance(s). For example, the following set of 3x 100: BUILD asks you to swim each 100 starting easy (with perfect technique) and increasing speed within each 100 to a fast finish (maintaining perfect technique throughout). As you may have guessed, the goal in a “build” swim is to build speed while maintaining good stroke technique.
Negative Split (NS)
Swimming a Negative Split means that the second half of the distance is swum at a faster pace than the first half. For example, the following set: 1×600 NS asks you to swim the second 300m at a faster pace and time than the first 300m. The idea is to control your pace at the beginning of the swim so that you have the energy necessary to swim faster at the end of the swim.
Have any suggestions for terms we should add to this resource? Let us know!