Conditioning, and reinforcing technique.
If all long sets are hard, and all hard sets require technique, are all long technique sets hard? Man, that’s a technically hard question to answer… it’ll take me a long time to answer. 🙂
Here’s a short set (1050 yards) that will push your anaerobic threshold — and boost your confidence that you can handle a faster pace.
Make sure you start with 800 to 1000 yards of warmup/drill before you head into the set.
Swim the following ladder:
50 EZ recovery
You can swim any stroke or IM, and you can switch strokes throughout. But if, for example, you swim 100 IM on the way UP the ladder, you should swim 100 IM on the way DOWN the ladder, so you can compare your times.
On the way up the ladder, swim at an EZ to moderate pace — about 50 to 60% effort. Stay relaxed, and treat this as a continuation of your warmup. Take 30 seconds rest between swims.
On the way down, swim at a fast but controlled pace — 80 to 90% effort. You should be at least at your anaerobic threshold. Again, take 30 seconds rest between each swim.