2000m at Lake Minnewaska
Tues 4 Aug 2000m at Lake Minnewaska
I'm posting a lake practice for the first time this summer because it's the first time I used two metrics there this summer. I hadn't timed any of my swims on the 200m line this summer. I either counted strokes or simply swam with Tempo.
I've done almost exclusively Tempo swimming for the last 2 to 3 weeks. I focused on becoming comfortable with gradually increasing Tempos. I now feel as comfortable at 1.0 sec/stroke as I did at 1.12 to 1.15 in late June.
Today I swam Tempo + Time for the first time
Main Set 5 x 400m (approx.) loops on 8:00 at tempos of 1.03-1.02-1.01-1.00-0.99.
I can calculate total strokes for each 400 very simply by dividing time by tempo.
7:02 divided by 1.03 = 409 strokes
6:34 divided by .99 = 398 strokes.
Other things affecting the stroke count differential is that I swam a straighter course on #5 than on #1, Also I started #1 'cold' and that served as my tuneup. That accounts for part of the big 19-second time drop (i.e. reduction in stroke count . . . increase in SL) from #1 to #2.
In any case my excellent Stroke Length/Count at .99 indicates I'm very well adapted to that tempo and can continue to pushing tempo lower.
First Double of the Summer - 4100 (est.) meters
Wed 5 Aug 2000 (estimated)m at Lake Awosting + 2100SCM at Moriello Pool
I swam twice in one day for the first time this summer and first time in at least a year. This morning I swam at Lake Awosting, where I can do long uninterrupted swims up to about 2k in one direction--as contrasted with swimming on a 200m line at Lake Minnewaska. This evening I swam in the 25m (Short Course Meters) Moriello Pool,
Morning at Lake Awosting
My focus was solely on increasing my comfort with Tempos around 1.0 sec/stroke. I did a sort of Tempo Pyramid. I swam an estimated 1000m going west, then returned 1000m going east to my starting point. I started with Tempo at 1.0 sec/stroke, which felt very fast. I stayed with one Tempo for 66-67 bilateral breaths--or about 200 strokes. Then I slowed Tempo by .01. I continued to 1.03, which felt much more controlled. Then I began increasing Tempo by .01 until I'd returned to 1.01. I then swam the entire 1000m return trip at 1.00 Tempo. But now it felt very controlled.
Evening at Moriello Pool
Tuneup 10 x 50 Tempo Pyramid as [4 x 60 @ 1.05-1.07-1.09-1.11] then [6 x 50 returning to 1.05 by .01 changes. I took 38 strokes on the 1st 50. and reduced that to 34 strokes on the 4th. Then I held 34 strokes/50 as I returned to 1.05, meaning my 10th 50 was 4.2 sec faster than my first, though both were at 1.05 Tempo.
Main Task 16 x 100 Tempo + Time set done as follows
1-3 @ 1.05 sec/stroke Time = 1:30
4-6 @ 1.04 Time = 1:29
7-9 @ 1.03 Time = 1:28
10-12 @ 1.02 Time = 1:27
13-15 @ 1.01 Time = 1:26
#16 @ 1.00 Time = 1:26
My best accomplishment was to maintain a constant stroke count of 17-17-18-18 or 70 strokes per 100 from 1.05 to 1.01 Tempos. Stroke count rose to 71 at 1.00. By end of summer I'd like to be able to maintain 70 strokes/100 in a 25m pool at a Tempo of .97.
3 x 800 on Tempo in Lake Minnewaska
Thurs 6 Aug 2400m at Lake Minnewaska
I was so pleased by the 5 x 400 I swam in the lake two days ago that I decided to double the distance today.
3 x 800 on 15:00 (2 loops of the cable)
#1 Tempo 1.03 Time 13:12
#2 Tempo 1.01 Time 13:06
#3 Tempo 0.99 Time 13:01
I was really pleased with this set because, though I doubled the distance, my pace was faster at 800m today than at 400m on Tuesday. And my RPE stayed pretty consistent and never reached 4.
How efficient was I as Tempo increased?
I can assess my efficiency easily by dividing Tempo into Time to calculate total strokes per 800.
At 1.03 sec/stroke I took 769 strokes for 800m
At 1.01 I took 778 strokes.
At 0.99 I took 788 strokes.
So I added only about 1 stroke/100m while increasing Tempo by .02, which I consider very good efficiency. A very encouraging set in every way.
I admire how you work through your projects very much! Please allow a (two) somewhat naive question(s):
Where are your FPs when swimming in such consistency? How do you vary and identify the right ones, if you realize your SL varies?
PS: I ask, because when trying to swim with constant SPLs in different times the first (and too often last, when SR becomes higher) option seems to add more or less force into my strokes, which is not TI-intended...
Thank you for asking what Focal Points I use during these sets. It would be a great topic for a detailed post, but I'll give you the short answer here
1) A firm, light, unhurried initial application of stroking pressure as tempo gets faster.
2) Trying to enter and spear forward strongly with the entering hand with a minimum of water disturbance.
3) Keeping a feeling of great stability in my core and body line.
A Weekend of Swimming
I visited my mum on Long Island over the weekend and took the opportunity to do an ocean swim at Jones Beach on Saturday morning and a swim in Long Island Sound on Sunday morning. Both were fairly easy and restorative since I'd done some demanding training during the week. After returning to New Paltz in the afternoon I decided to add a 25m pool practice for my second 'double' of the summer.
Saturday Aug 8
I visited Field 6 Jones Beach, where I was a lifeguard from 1973-78. There was a strong east-to-west sweep. As soon as I waded in to knee depth I could feel it pushing strongly sideways against my legs. I planned a round trip swim to Central Mall (Field 4) and back, but after swimming for 21 minutes I looked up and found I was already at Field 3, West Bath House. I turned back and it took me exactly twice as long -- 42 minutes -- to return to Field 6. I estimate nearly two miles for the round trip. It was great fun swimming in the swells--and occasionally waves. Several times I drifted toward shore and found myself being tumbled a bit in the shore break, and had to head back out to 50 yards or more from shore where I'd could swim beyond the break.
Sunday Aug 9 Morning
I met Alan Perez, a regular on this forum, at Prybil's Beach in Glen Cove. Alan swims here nearly every day, either heading east toward the historic Creek Club where he is the food and beverage manager, or west toward Hempstead Harbor. We went west just under a mile. The water was pretty 'sporty' from a steady wind--as on Saturday at Jones Beach, much more active than I usually encounter at Lake Minnewaska. The return trip felt super-smooth, perhaps because the wind conditions were more favorable to us. Upon our return, Alan's wife Dee was waiting with a terrific tailgate breakfast spread. I can't think of a better way to start the day than swimming in open water with a good friend followed by a delicious beachside repast.
Sunday Evening 2300 SCM at Moriello Pool
I will be swim open water mile races on both Saturday and Sunday next weekend. Those will serve as most of my fast-paced training for the week--something I typically do only twice a week. So I decided to add a briskly pace, neurally-demanding pool session as a second practice today.
5 x 100 Cruise on 2:00 aiming for stroke perfection.
On #1 I took 60 strokes for 100m and my time was 1:50. By #5 I had improved to 58 strokes/100m and a time of 1:41. I felt equally relaxed on the last 100, but much better attuned to the water and an effective blend of SL and SR. Exactly what I'd like a Tuneup to accomplish.
I planned to swim my broken 1500 (5 x 300) baseline set for the first time this summer in a short course (25m) pool. Six days earlier I'd done my best broken 1500 of the summer Long Course, by descending at tempos from 1.07 to 1.03. For today I wanted to test my ability to maintain an efficient stroke while descending to a 1.01 tempo. So I started and finish the Tempo Pyramid at that tempo.
1-4 I slowed Tempo 1.01-1.05-1.09-1.13. Stroke count improved from 35 to 32.
5-12 I increased Tempo by .02 for 4x50, then by .01 for 4 x 50. I took 34 strokes on my last 50 at 1.01. This is excellent efficiency for me at that tempo, but it took some effort. RPE about 3 on the last 50.
4 x 300 on 6:00, descending with Tempos of 1.05-1.05-1.03-1.02-1.01
I began this with the intent to swim 5 x 300, but felt I had reached my limit on #4 so I stopped there. My goal was to avoid, or minimize, a stroke count of 19SPL as tempo increased.
#1 Tempo 1.05 Time 4:35 - It was fairly easy to hold 17-18 SPL.
#2 Tempo 1.04 Time 4:33 - It took a bit of work to hold my stroke count on 2nd half.
#3 Tempo 1.03 Time 4:31 - It took a lot of effort to hold 18 SPL on 2nd half and I took 19 strokes on the last length.
#4 Tempo 1.02 Time 4:28 - Because of the difficulty in holding 18 SPL on the last 150m I decided to give myself a brief 10-second rest at 150m on this one. Even so it took everything I had to hold 18 SPL and again I took 19 strokes on one length.
I felt so 'stretched' on the 4th 300--both physically and neurally--that I decided to end the set here and save 1.01 tempo for another day.
If I had swum one more, and backed off tempo to 1.05, repeating my initial 4:35, my broken 1500 time would have been 22:42, as compared to my best time in Long Course of 24:14 six days earlier.
Thanks for the mention, it truly was a fantastic start to the day!
I came dangerously close to doing a double myself after work (Sound) but received a text from my wife and opted to spend the time with her listening to a Jimmy Buffet tribute band @ Morgan Memorial Park (GC) enjoying the beautiful twilight sky, gazing at Hempstead harbor behind the stage and couldn't help thinking it as the site for our next starting point! SwimAcrossAmerica just had their event there the day before, Saturday.
I'll have to get some pool time in before as I want to focus on a few things, judging by the short video De took on Sunday and how I felt at the start. I'm now encouraged to do some more tempo work in OW. Stay tuned...
Monday 10 August 2500 LCM in 55 minutes at Ulster County (50m) Pool
Yesterday I not only did a double practice -- about 3km in open water in the morning and 2300 meters in a 25m pool in the evening. In the evening I also swam quite intensively, because of the difficult skill challenge I set myself--holding 18SPL as tempo got faster on 300m repeats.
So today a physically relaxing recovery/restorative practice was in order. I've learned that I sometimes recover more fully with a restorative practice than with a day of no swimming.
However, it's still my habit and preference to give myself highly rigorous skill/neural challenges even on days where I'm carefully controlling physical effort. Here is how I did that today.
Main Task 2000 meters as follows:
[4 x 100 + 3 x 200 + 2 x 300 + 1 x 400]
My plan was to begin with a super-relaxed (RPE of 1) and super-efficient set of 100s, then test my ability to maintain the same stroke count and pace as repeat distance increased from 100m to 400m.
4 x 100 I held 72 total strokes and descended from 2:00 to 1:47
3 x 200 I held 37 SPL and swam times of 3:32-3:32-3:31 (pace of 1:46/100)
2 x 300 I held 37 SPL and swam times of 5:14 and 5:12 (pace of 1:44/100)
1 x 400 I held 37 SPL and my time was 6:55 (pace of 1:43/100)
This was an outstanding exercise in efficiency and pacing and I kept my RPE below 3 throughout. It demanded intense focus on every stroke though.
12 x 50 with Tempo Trainer: Increase Tempo, while holding SPL
I began with tempo of 1.10 and increased by .01 each 50, finishing at a tempo of 0.99 sec/stroke. I began at 40 SPL and held that until taking 41 strokes on the final 50.
Time at 40 strokes and 1.1 tempo = 47.3 sec
Time at 40 strokes and 1.0 tempo (#11) = 43 sec.
Both tasks were demanding both neurally and cognitively. If I lost focus for a single stroke, I wouldn't have performed as well as I did. Yet the overall effect was still physically restorative.
5 x 400 in Open Water -- on Tempo
Thurs 13 August 2000m at Lake Minnewaska
This evening (having only 40 minutes to swim) I did a single-set practice, revisiting what has become one of my favorite standard sets - 5 x 400 on an (approx) 400m loop at Lake Minnewaska, increasing tempo and taking my time on each.
Main Task 5 x 400 on 7:30
The sets of numbers below represent
Tempo - Time - # of Strokes (divide time by tempo)
1.03 sec/stroke - 6:57 - 405 strokes
1.02 - 6:47 - 399
1.01 - 6:41 - 397
1.00 - 6:37 - 397
0.99 - 6:31 - 394
Three good things about today's practice
1) It was very brief (time constraints limited me to 40 minutes) but--because every stroke was focused and purposeful--contributed quite a bit toward my improvement goal for the summer.
2) My stroke count decreased (i.e. Stroke Length increased) as Tempo got faster. This is a rare and valuable skill.
3) Nine days ago I did the same set, on the same range of tempos--but with 30 seconds additional rest between repeats. That time I descended from 7:02 to 6:34. so my times were faster today--meaning stroke counts were lower. Last week, my stroke counts--same distance, same tempo--ranged from 409 to 398. This week from 399 to 394. Small improvements in Stroke Length really do make a difference.
And--after over 50 years as a goal-oriented swimmer (and 26 of practicing TI)--I am still capable of making significant improvements in my ability to maintain long strokes at steadily higher tempos, during a training cycle/Improvement Project. I make incremental improvements from week to week, but over the course of ten weeks, they become quite striking.
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