Skip to content

Antidotes to Agonism

November 14, 2012

I often like to prescribe longer, rest-interval based workouts to act as an “antidote” to what one of my mentors, Bob Mattson, used to describe as “agonistic training”.  When Bob used this term, it was, to my recollection, referring to the “pace-based” school of training – version #3 of the definitions below from Merriam-Webster (

1: of or relating to the athletic contests of ancient Greece
3: striving for effect : strained
4: of, relating to, or being aggressive or defensive social interaction (as fighting, fleeing, or submitting) between individuals usually of the same species

In other words, to the practice of having ones eyes on the clock continually, striving for a certain “pace” or “goal”.  Bob preferred a more free-wheeling approach to practice paces, where one would find their own level by simply alternating large volumes of work and prescribed rest.  It is interesting to me that the majority of coaches that I encounter prefer the “agonistic model”.That is, our perception of “right training” is such that we emphasize zones over feel — but that which eludes many of us in performance is the ability to “flip the switch”, placing ourselves into our groove (or as a friend of mine calls it, our “zone of tranquility”).

Ourt recent work has been very pace-centric, or perhaps “agonsitic”.  So, here it is, the antidote to agonistic training – yet another spin-off of the Mattson Mind-Grinder.  This one was brought to us by Bob’s son Eric Mattson, years ago, and is one of my favourites.

Swimmers Choice: Mix pulling, kicking, and swimming

MAIN SET (@5:45 AM) – 9 x 500
#1 – by 25s on :05 REST
#2 – alt. 50 / 25 on :10 REST
#3 – by 50s on :10 REST
#4 – alt 75 / 50 on :10 REST
#6 – alt 75 / 50 on :10 REST
#7 – by 50s on :10 REST
#8 – alt. 50 / 25 on :10 REST
#9 – by 25s on :05 REST

From → Uncategorized

Leave a Comment

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s


Open. Friendly. Community Driven.

The 512 Project

Learning to eat healthy on a food stamp budget.


ramblings from a former distance swimmer who enjoys hours on the trail

Rees Vineyard

Wine Growing From Ground Zero


Exploring the Body & Mind Through Sport

Athletic Algorithms

Exploring the Body & Mind Through Sport

<span>%d</span> bloggers like this: