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gladtobedifferent
08-16-2011, 10:42 AM
Ok - so I can do 400 m in one go. I can do 1000m in a swim session (eg 200m, 100m x 7, 50 x 2) and am doing 2 sessions a week. I am not sure how I can get to swim a mile - which is my next goal.

I am a slow swimmer (a lot faster than I was though), doing 100m in about 2mins 25 and doing around 25-28 spl for 25m and a stroke rate of 21-23.

Appreciate any tips or suggestions of a plan and practise I should be doing to try and get to that 1 mile distance.

Thanks
gtbd

Richardsk
08-16-2011, 05:26 PM
It seems to me that if you can do 400m in one go then you can already swim 1500m. Just keep swimming. But to convince yourself of this you may have to try first swimming 500m, 600m, and so on.

I am far from being an expert, but I think you would be better off working to lower your SPL and for the time being stick to swimming shorter distances with greater ease and if possible swim more than twice a week.

For the time being I would not try to swim faster but concentrate on swimming with greater relaxation.

Just the thoughts of an old slow swimmer.

gladtobedifferent
08-16-2011, 06:44 PM
I have got my SPL down a lot since I started, and am definately not focused on speed at the moment.

I want to swim a mile so that I know that I can do it - think its a bit like running your first 10k/6 miles - seems daunting to ever imagine doing it when you take up running, then you find you are running it once a week, doing half marathons etc.

I know that once I know I can do 1 mile that doing 400 m will seem a lot easier and then I will then focus on doing distance on one swim a week and technique and speed on the other 2 sessions. I want to be doing aroun 2k per swimming session - whatever the combination/focus in a session.

Agree about uping the sessions per week - but being a triathlete, working mum and running a house etc I find it tough to do 2 swims, 2 20k bike and 3 to 4 runs per week - which is all I am managing at the moment. Also with all the kids off school the local pools are packed with kids jumping in during the lane sessions (which they are not supposed to) and is very annoying!!

A bit skint at the moment so cant afford to pay for lessons. NOt sure how to reduce my SPL below what I have already done - hence I am trying to consolidate where I am at the moment.

I am fairly relaxed when I swim, I dont use my legs but i think you can never be 'too' relaxed - so something I need to constantly remind myself. But you make an excellent point on that.

Richardsk
08-16-2011, 07:34 PM
Hi gladtobe different

I gather that you have already seen the post that suggests SPl ranges for different heights, skill levels etc. When I started the TI journey a few years ago I was taking at least thirty strokes to cover 25m. Now I can usually do it in less than twenty and my best is fifteen or sixteen, but I think that's with too much gliding, which isn't necessarily a bad thing, I think, if you don't incorporate it as a permanent feature of your technique.

I used to be 5' 11" but now it seems I'm nearer 5' 9" having shrunk a bit with age (or too much immersion in chlorinated water) and according to the scheme between 16 and 18 strokes would be about right. Maybe I'll get there soon.

Watching lots of good swimmers and trying to swim with that fluency may help. If you only watched Shinji, Terry and Sun Yang you would probably be on the right track.

Alex-SG
08-16-2011, 07:38 PM
AGREE with Richard 100%.

Somehow people think that you build up the distance gradually, 50m at a time or so. In my case, when I could swim 1 mile, there was some kind of threshold (200-400m) beyond which I could just keep on going.

SPL=25 for a 25m pool means that your SL (Stroke Length)=1m. That is too low. If I were you I would use a tempo trainer and train myself to swim at slower stroke rates but with more glide.

My role model is Shinji (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rJpFVvho0o4), SR=1.40, SPL=12

Anybody with a SPL>20 can enjoy improvement in a short amount of time.

gladtobedifferent
08-16-2011, 10:01 PM
Ok - first time I have been given this advice and it sounds spot on - where and how do I get a tempo trainer ?
And for someone as slow as me how do I use it to help me get better?

Really appreciate you guys spending time in your responses. Let me know re the above

Alex-SG
08-17-2011, 05:10 AM
Ok - first time I have been given this advice and it sounds spot on - where and how do I get a tempo trainer ?
And for someone as slow as me how do I use it to help me get better?

Really appreciate you guys spending time in your responses. Let me know re the above

You can get the TEMPO TRAINER either on the Total Immersion website store (http://www.totalimmersion.net/store/gear-and-accessories) or on other on-line stores. Just google Finis Tempo Trainer.

What do you mean by Stroke Rate of 21-23? The Tempo Trainer scale is more like:
SR=1.0 ( means 1 hand entry every 1 second) - quite fast
.......
SR=2.0 (means 1 hand entry every 2 seconds) - extremely slow

The faster tempo you set, the faster your arms with turn which means less glide and more difficult to have a coordinated freestyle movement.

I am personally targeting 3 Tempo Trainer rates:
SR=1.20 --> Faster pace, end of an Open Water race
SR=1.40 --> Leisure pace, start of an open water race
SR=1.50 - SR=1.60 --> When doing Drills, to test my balance

BY the way, we assume you are familiar with TI drills from the DVD (to learn balance, streamlining and propulsion).

ALSO: If you want to have an idea about your current STROKE RATE, ask someone to time you taking 10 strokes and then divide by 10.

Keep us updated. ALEX

gladtobedifferent
08-17-2011, 09:31 PM
Hi, my stroke rate is 1.7 which is really slow - which reflects my focus on not swimming fast. So maybe I need to up this. However, I know if I try to swim faster that it does not help my technique but does help my breathing!!

I agree with you that I need to increase my stroke length but worried about a conflict between trying to do that and swimming a bit faster, and get nearer to 1.4 !!

I do feel that I am under the water for a long time (I breathe every four strokes) -

guessing I should increase the distance of each stroke first and then try to get my stroke rate down from 1.7 to nearer 1.4 ?

gladtobedifferent
08-17-2011, 09:32 PM
Yes, am familiar with the drills but maybe need to go back to doing more of them.

gladtobedifferent
08-17-2011, 09:56 PM
Ok - redone my maths

28 strokes in 40 seconds (for 25m) so 10 strokes takes 40 sec /2.8 = 1.43

I have done this with a whole range of different logs for me and they are all in the 1.38 to 1.45 range.

So guessing that I should work on my stroke length and my catch ??

dzhou01
08-17-2011, 11:35 PM
Ok - redone my maths

28 strokes in 40 seconds (for 25m) so 10 strokes takes 40 sec /2.8 = 1.43

I have done this with a whole range of different logs for me and they are all in the 1.38 to 1.45 range.

So guessing that I should work on my stroke length and my catch ??

My time is similar to yours. Should we do EVF in catch to increase SL? or only need to work on balance/streamline?

terry
08-18-2011, 09:31 AM
Forget EVF. It's a very complex skill that requires impeccable balance and stability. It's also something that requires shoulder range of motion few people have. Instead think about the following:
1) The most significant contributor - by far - to greater Stroke Length, is drag reduction. Move through water. Don't move the water around.
2) When you do think of propulsion your first thought should be relaxing your hand so your fingers point down and your palm back from entry to exit.
3) Your second thought should be Patient Hand and Hold, rather than Pull/Push.

Richardsk
08-19-2011, 09:29 AM
Hi gladtobedifferent

What about your push-off? Mine takes about three to five beeps of a Tempo Trainer ( set at about 1.4) . This is a chance to practice your superman glide. I think I travel about five meters off a push. Much further off a dive of course, which is why my time for a 25m off a dive is a couple of seconds faster than my time from a push.

Your SPL will come down. But, anyway, you may be one of those swimmers who are more comfortable with a faster turnover. I hope this isn't TI heresy.

The main thing is not to slip water (known as "spinning your wheels"). See Terry's post above.

gladtobedifferent
08-19-2011, 09:40 AM
I dont push off very far from the wall as I feel it is cheating. If I am tired I do, but otherwise do a short or non existent push off.

I focus very much on not starting the pull until the other hand has entered the water, being patient. This is somethign my coach got me to focus on.

My catch is not great. I noticed an excellent swimmer the other day whose catch seemed to pull her hand from shoulder width start to bending at the elbow and the palm coming to below her face (looking straight on). I have been doing my pull part of the catch with my arm 'over the barrel' in line with my shoulder and wonder if I should be letting my palm move nearer to the middle as I would catch more water.

My catch involves - slightly cupping my hand as it goes in, keeping elbow high and passing along the 'over the barrel' arm, but I know that it is not moving me as far forward as it could do.

Also wonder if I should be patient with my lead hand before the recovery hand briefly joins it before the next pull. ie glide a bit with my patient hand before slightly pulling it back as the recovery hand enters the water. That would make my stoke longer. Think that may be what terry means ?

terry
08-19-2011, 09:43 AM
Richard
There's no heresy at all in a faster stroke rate. It's a skill - at least when you combine it with a strong effort to keep your stroke efficient, quiet and relaxed. What makes an effort to increase stroke rate a desirable part of practice is to increase it mindfully, not the heedless churning that's more common. Doing so with the Tempo Trainer is the best way to get both benefit and enjoyment - perhaps even a Flow experience - from doing so.

In every Tempo Trainer practice I do, usually 60% or more is devoted to testing my ability to increase tempo while maintaining grace, ease and efficiency. It's one of the surest ways I know to grow more robust brain circuits.

I posted my latest example at #33 on this thread (http://www.totalimmersion.net/index.php?option=com_jfusion&wrap=showthread.php%3Ft%3D2621).

Alex-SG
08-19-2011, 09:48 AM
Ok - redone my maths

28 strokes in 40 seconds (for 25m) so 10 strokes takes 40 sec /2.8 = 1.43

I have done this with a whole range of different logs for me and they are all in the 1.38 to 1.45 range.

So guessing that I should work on my stroke length and my catch ??

SPL=25-28 for 25m.... SR=1.43 ?

Coincidentally that is exactly the Stroke Rate I was using this morning with my TEMPO TRAINER. My SPL=17

I think I have achieved decent balance and streamlining but the propulsive part of my stroke still needs work.

So I agree with TERRY... if you just work on your balance & streamlining (how you move through the water) you will easily reach the SPL=17-20 range in my opinion.

In fact you can try the following...

1. Do 4x25m of Superman Glide focusing on balance (Keep head low)
2. Do 4x25m of skating focusing on balance
3. Swim 4x25m Freestyle immediately after and just think "GLIDE, GLIDE, GLIDE..." after each hand entry.

ALEX

terry
08-19-2011, 01:43 PM
I dont push off very far from the wall as I feel it is cheating. If I am tired I do, but otherwise do a short or non existent push off.

Glad, a poor pushoff IS cheating, only not the kind you think. Instead you're cheating yourself . . . of a better stroke and better swimming overall.

My advice is: When in the pool, swim the best you possibly can. And when in open water, do the same.

A good pushoff in the pool means you start stroking in a balanced position with the momentum to be able to stroke smoothly from the first stroke. A poor pushoff is likely to result in your needing to fix balance and use excess force to create momentum.

Not just my advice. Mike Pigg came to a TI Weekend Workshop in the early 90s. At the time he was the #1 Olympic distance triathlete in the US and consistently among the best in the world. When another triathlete asked if it was a good idea to neglect the pushoff while training in the pool to mimic open water, he said the following: When I'm swimming I try to practice like the best swimmers in the world. I do the same in the other disciplines. In the pool that means striving to do great turns and pushoffs.

CoachPaulB
08-20-2011, 03:59 AM
Ok - so I can do 400 m in one go. I can do 1000m in a swim session (eg 200m, 100m x 7, 50 x 2) and am doing 2 sessions a week. I am not sure how I can get to swim a mile - which is my next goal.

I am a slow swimmer (a lot faster than I was though), doing 100m in about 2mins 25 and doing around 25-28 spl for 25m and a stroke rate of 21-23.

Appreciate any tips or suggestions of a plan and practise I should be doing to try and get to that 1 mile distance.

Thanks
gtbd

There certainly seems to be an allure associated with swimming a mile. Mostly I find that people that are non swimmers can't fathom the idea that one could go that far in the water. They usually say "what without stopping either?". Nevertheless it is a significant distance to swim and one that is worthy of accomplishing if one sets their mind to it.
Shane Eversfield remarked at TI coaches training school that it is accomplished one stroke at a time. This may sound like an over simplification but, in fact, for myself at least it has been a very useful way for me to approach long distant events. Assuming that you are deploying some of TI's concepts and seeing what you've accomplished already I would think that you could stay the course and build you distance gradually.When you start to get tired try and determine if you are tired because you let your stroke fall apart, in which case you should stop and regroup or that you just need to work on better conditioning. If it is conditioning then you might try going to the pool and just focus on doing the intervals...checking heart rate and recovery rate and lap times etc. When you've made measurable progress then set a date where you get a few days rest before you try your mile again. One stroke at a time.

andyinnorway
08-20-2011, 08:23 AM
Well done on your progress so far, a lot of people find it helps to swim a longer distance in the pool by using some recovery legs of breast stroke. you could start with every fifth.

This way you can build your stamina whilst getting some recovery without stopping.

64 lengths of a pool non stop can be long mentally and physically when you start, so its good to use the breast stroke lengths as markers. Once you have completed that a few times move to every 6 lengths breast stroke and so on until you are swimming the whole mile.

gladtobedifferent
08-21-2011, 08:40 PM
Alex – have i done my maths wrong – rubbish at this kind of thing which is why I like gadgets that do all this for you !! If i have please let me know and where I have gone wrong !

Terry – thanks for push off advice, will happily introduce this back into my training. I only started to omit the push off once I was practising for my open water in July. So will definitely bring that back in.

Alex – like the workout you suggested.

I did manage to do a length with total strokes of 20 for 50m but it took a lot of focus and effort and I was not able to keep it up for my next set of 4x25m (went back to 25/26 per length). I did feel I was doing the same lengthening and glide but the numbers on my pool mate clearly didn’t show that I was doing 20 again !!

Andyinnorway- like the idea of doing breast stroke once every 5 lengths as it would let me re group, re focus. Will try that when i go to the pool tomorrow.

Lots of interesting points coming up.

I had a terrible swim on Friday – maybe its like running sometimes you have a bad one, but its the first time for me with swimming. It started ok, then I managed 20 spl average / length for the two lengths and felt encouraged, but when i couldn’t replicate that I started to get disheartened....then the fast lane (I know it is odd that I am in it !) got businer and busier and I had to start increasing my stroke rate, and eventually felt my stroke rate fell apart and at one point I felt static going down the lane !! At 28 lengths i got out as despite lots of focus nothing was getting better and my stroke was falling apart, so thought best to get out.

Only managed 2 times in the pool last week again – and know I need to do three this week and try and break through doing more than 20 lengths in one go, as part of the journey. Will try what you suggested Alex in at least one of my sessions. And definitely adding back in the push off !

gladtobedifferent
08-22-2011, 12:30 PM
Ok - so didnt manage a mile - but I did do a kilometre all in one go !! Gone from 18 lengths as my one off longest ever to 40 lengths in 25m pool. The last few lengths I could feel it harder as more swimmers joined the pool, and two of the men cut me up at the turns.

Think doing the push offs really helped me believe I could go further, and it was unlike Friday in that I got to 12 lenghts, thought ok do 16, then thought ok can do at least 2 more than my 18 previous best. Got to 20 and thought I felt ok so kept going and got to 30 and thought must be able to do 32 (800), and then at 36 only 4 left to get to the 1km mark.

I am sooooooooo happy cannot tell you.

Averaged 27 strokes per length, but know it was a lot better at the start than at the end. Also, as I increase my distances my average stroke rate does not get worse, which means I am getting better.

Also only breathed to one side. And every 2 strokes - which I hate as i swim much better when breathing every 4. Its the catch with the right arm when I am breathing to the left that is truely horrible !! Focused today on at least doing a partial catch with the right arm rather than just letting is go through the water.

Tomorrow night will practise in blocks of 200s and 100s - usually I only do 1 8x25, but will try and do more 8 length blocks and focus on getting my stroke count per length down a bit.

So happy - off to have my treat - a bag of malteasers !!!

terry
08-22-2011, 01:18 PM
The Tempo Trainer has been so helpful for improving every other measure of swimming - stroke efficiency, 'easy speed' -- that I think why not distance capacity. Since I've already swum 20+ miles at one go on several occasions I can no longer test this thesis myself. Perhaps some one else will and give the rest of us a 'report from the front.'

Here's a suggested test protocol:

1) If you are currently struggling a bit to swim a shorter distance - say 100 to 200m with ease and consistent stroke count-- try swimming that distance with small increases in tempo. E. G. Test yourself @ 1.30, 1.33, 1.36, etc, until you find a tempo that allows you to complete a formerly-fatiguing swim feeling relatively fresh.
2) Once you find that tempo, add 25 to 50 percent to your swim distance (e.g. from 200 to 250 or 300) at your 'easy' tempo.
3) Evaluate. Is your SPL staying constant? Do you still feel as fresh? If so add some more distance at that tempo. If not, slow tempo another .03 or more and test again at that distance.
4) Keep making small adjustments -- increasing distance and decreasing tempo as needed -- to maintain a state of relative ease, efficiency, and freshness.
5) When you reach a 'landmark' distance -- could be a kilometer, could be a mile -- stay at that distance for a while and begin patiently increasing tempo by even smaller increments - .02 or .01.

This process could take weeks or months, but would certainly provide invaluable -- and completely personal/individualized/empirical -- self-knowledge.

terry
08-22-2011, 01:31 PM
Averaged 27 strokes per length, but know it was a lot better at the start than at the end. Also, as I increase my distances my average stroke rate does not get worse, which means I am getting better.

Glad
I share your elation over swimming a 'landmark' distance. Now here's a suggestion for how to use that experience to improve your skill even as you increase distance.

The Protestant Work Ethic that so strongly pervades the Culture of Swimming encourages us to push through pain barriers as coaches put it, to ignore pain and fatigue and push onward.

That works out better on terra firma than in the water, where even small movement errors bring massive energy penalties. When it feels a lot better at the start than at the end, then struggling skills are likely getting more of a chance, than tireless-swimming skills, to implant in muscle memory. And as I noted in this blog (http://www.swimwellblog.com/archives/1378), increasing Stroke Rate is effortless. Increasing (or even holding) Stroke Length is exacting.

Try the Tempo-governed approach I recommend above.

gladtobedifferent
08-23-2011, 08:36 AM
Will definately order a tempo trainer

thanks
gtbd