Terry's 2015 Summer (LCM) Training Project
Thurs 25 June 2300 LCM at Ulster County Pool
Today was my first day training in an outdoor 50m pool, which I'll continue--along with lake swimming in Minnewaska and Awosting--until Sept 7. I began with a broken 1500m baseline test. I could have swum 3 x 500m, but opted instead for 5 x 300m as this will result in a faster baseline 1500m pace. I was quite pleased with my results, which no doubt showed the benefit of my just completed 2-month Spring Training Project, in a 25y indoor pool.
Tuneup 6 x 100 at RPE 1-2 on 2:10
I held 72 strokes (36SPL) and descended these from 1:56 to 1:43. A 13-second improvement without adding strokes is a pretty routine, but still quite good tuneup performance for me. It means I considerably increased Tempo while keeping Stroke Length constant. I did this by gradually increasing the pressure I applied to the water.
Main Set 5 x 300 on 6:00.
I began at an average of 40 SPL and (by plan) gradually allowed average SPL to rise to 41 then 42, while also trying to incrementally increasing pressure applied to the water in my stroke.
My times were
I hoped to swim 4:49 on the last one, but wasn't displeased with this result, as it means I gave my best effort on final two 300s, not just the last one.
As I progress through the summer my goal will be to reduce the differential between slowest and fastest 300 (i.e. start the set faster and still descend) as well as improve overall pace by more than 6%.
Cumulative broken 1500m time = 24:45 for an average of 1:39/100m.
Average SPL on this set was 41 and I calculate average Tempo at 1.12 to 1.13.
To improve by 6% I'll need to bring my broken 1500 down to 23:16. I'll aim to get it under 23:00.
That means holding 41 SPL at Tempo of about 1.06. Or swimming at a slightly slower tempo and bring average SPL down to 40. Or I could average 42 SPL at a faster tempo, like 1.00.
I will work on adapting to all three combinations during my training project..
Nothing but 100m Repeats
Fri 26 June - 2600 LCM at U.C. Pool [Season Total 4300m]
I have 11 weeks for my Summer Training Project since the outdoor 50m pool in New Paltz will remain open until Sept 7.
I plan to swim 5 to 6 days per week, something I've rarely done in the past 10 years. And on some occasions, probably at least once/week, but sometimes more often if I have the time and feel fresh enough. I'll swim twice a day, combining a pool practice and a lake swim.
In recent years most of my training projects--most of them logged on this Forum--have been focused on gaining the most improvement from the least training volume. I've gotten very good at doing that, so it's probably a good time for a change of pace.
In part this is because I turn 65 next March and plan to swim a few Masters meets--regional and/or national championships--next spring. Since age 55 I'd done this at 5-year intervals.
I've lost considerable speed in the last decade-a process that has accelerated noticeably since I turned 60`. This is something fitness experts predicted--that performance capably declines more steeply after turning 60.
However, I've also considerably reduced my training volume in my 60s, so in the next nine to 10 months I'll raise it up again to find out how much of that lost speed I can recover through greater fitness. Naturally I'll report my progress and insights here.
Main (Only) Set
Swim 3 rounds of 100m repeats
Round 1: 10 x 100 on 2:10
I held 38 SPL and RPE of 1-2. Times descended from 2:00 to 1:47
Round 2: 8 x 100 on 2:05
I held 39 SPL and RPE of 2-2.5. Times descended from 1:45 to 1:42
Round 3: 8 x 100 on 2:00
I held 41 SPL and RPE of 2.5 to 3. Times descended were 1:41-1:40.
Over the three rounds, rest intervals and times came down. SPL and RPE went up, but I minimized increase in RPE (a conscious goal) by allowing myself more strokes but making them lighter as they got quicker.
Main Set: 50s at Quick Tempo - Controlling SPL
Sunday 28 June 3200 LCM at UC Pool [Season Total 7500m]
It was a cool and rainy Sunday. There were two women in the pool when I arrived, but for the last 50+ minutes I had the incredible luxury of an 8-lane 50-meter outdoor pool to myself and my own private lifeguard.
I used my two favorite training tools today -- Fistgloves (which I had not used in 8 or 10 years but plan to begin using regularly this summer) and a Tempo Trainer. Both seem to have had a noticeably positive effect on how I swam after using them.
Tuneup/Baseline Set 5 x 100 on 2:10
I swam at RPE 1-2 and 36-37 SPL. Times gradually and effortlessly descended from 2:00 to 1:52. This set of 5 x 100 became a 'baseline' for this practice, which I repeated twice--after using Fistgloves, then again after a Tempo set.
Fistglove Set 5 x 100 on 2:15
SPL stabilized at 40-41 which I felt was great for swimming with a gloved fist. Times gradually improved from 2:05 to 2:02. RPE about 2.
Baseline Set - 2nd try 5 x 100 on 2:00
I didn't try to descend these. Instead I just tried to maintain consistency at RPE 2.5. SPL was 36-37 and times were consistent at 1:50.
I reduced rest interval by 5 seconds, but averaged faster times at same SPL as on Tuneup.
Tempo + SPL Set 6 rounds of (4 x 50) at 1.08, 1.06, 1.04, 1.02, 1.01, 1.00
I tried to keep SPL at or under 42 as Tempo increased. SPL was 40 at 1.08 and still only 41.5 (42 going down, 41 coming back) at 1.00. Excellent outcome for this early in my Long Course training.
RPE on this set was 3.5 to 4, but I felt very controlled and efficient. with little or no fatigue.
My rest interval between 50s in each round was 22 beeps--or about half the time I spent swimming (43-44 beeps including pushoff)
Baseline Set - 3rd time's the charm 5 x 100 on 2:00
After swimming quite strongly--and a bit effortfully--on the 50s, I had my strongest performance of all on the baseline set.
I again held 36-37 SPL and maintained RPE at 2.5, but averaged 1:46, four seconds faster than the previous time.
I've recently re-introduced fist, single finger and whole hand 'drill' progression for tune-up to a swim buddy. I enjoy extended/alternating lengths using fist 'drill', periodically. The parallels continue...
I've also recognized a need to "up" my practice opportunities, + cycling (just revived my Bianchi), so will be interested in your progress for 'inspiration'!
5 rounds of 3 x 100
Thurs 2 July 2100 LCM in 45 min at Ulster County Pool [Season Total 9600m]
Tuneup 6 x 100 on 2:20 with Fistgloves. I held 40 SPL and descended to 2:06, with average time 2:08. RPE was 1-2. SPL a bit lower and times a bit slower than the last time I used Fistgloves, earlier in the week. But I was already fully tuned up that time.
Main Set 5 rounds of 3 x 100 on 2:00, with 30 seconds extra rest between rounds.
I plan to make 100m repeats, done in several different ways, the 'meat' of my pool training this summer. I want to see if I can develop more speed this summer than last by concentrating more on shorter repeats. Last summer I cycled through main sets of 200m, 100m, and 50m repeats.
Round 1 I held 1:43 at 38 SPL. RPE 3
Round 2 I held 1:39 at 39 SPL. RPE 3+
Round 3 I held 1:36 at 40 SPL RPE 4
Round 4 I increased SPL to 42 (I'd intended 41, but didn't have good control) and went the same time, despite working noticeably harder. RPE 4+
Round 5 I decreased RPE to 41 and descended 1:36, 1:35, 1:34. Felt much better and RPE 3+ to 4 as I descended.
This told me that my optimal SPL right now for faster swim paces is 41. This is only slightly above the mid-range of my Green Zone. I SHOULD be able to swim 42 SPL feeling good control and see faster times as a result. I can do this by swimming more with Tempo Trainer to adapt to faster Tempos. Right now my Tempo comfort zone only extends to about 1.04 sec/stroke. I'll work until that is faster than 1.00.
Finding my Tempo Trainer 'Discomfort Zone'
Sat 4 July 3200 LCM [Season Total 12,800m]
Today I decided to follow up on my last practice in which I discovered a week point at 42SPL--I worked harder, felt rougher, and didn't gain any speed, compared to 40SPL on the previous round.
Today I experimented to find my weak point via Tempo instead of SPL.
16 x 50 Tempo Pyramid
I started with Tempo at 1.06, slowing it by .02, then increasing by .01.
My SPL was 43 at 1.06. I planned to keep slowing Tempo until SPL dropped to 39. That occurred at 1.16. Then I began increasing Tempo by .01, intending to continue until my SPL hit 42--the count that had been my weak point in Thursday's main set of 100m repeat. I hit 42 SPL at a Tempo of 1.02--much better than my starting point on this set of 43 SPL at 1,06,
3 rounds of (3 x 100 with Fistgloves + 5 x 100 with Tempo Trainer)
The 100s with Fistgloves were at all RPE 1-2, 40-41 SPL and times of 2:05 to 2:08. I did them mainly to sensitive my hands to hold water and for a bit of a rest break between the more effortful rounds of 100s with Tempo Trainer.
Tempo Trainer 5 x 100s
Round 1: Tempo 1:10 Average SPL 40 Average Times: 1:38-1:39 RPE 3
Round 2: Tempo 1.07 Average SPL 41 Times: 1:37-1:38 RPE 3+
Round 3 Tempo 1.05 Average SPL 42 Times: 1:37-1:39 RPE3 +
My takeaway is that I'm not yet ready for a 1.05 Tempo. I didn't work harder, but neither did I swim faster. In another week I hope to be better adapted to that Tempo, and a 42 SPL and see them produce faster times than lower SPLs and slower Tempos.
How I Kept My Stroke Long (and Smooth) at Fast Tempo
Sun 5 July -- 2400 LCM [Season Total 15,200m]
My last two practices revealed weaknesses at an SPL of 42-43 and Tempo near 1.0 sec/stroke. At both I feel a bit rough and rushed, effort doesn't feel sustainable, and I gain no speed from slightly lower SPL or slower Tempo.
In today's practice I worked on that weakness with mostly 50s, all of them with Tempo.
I swam this series at RPE-1 Perfect, holding SPL consistently at 36-37 as distance increased. I didn't use TT, but am now curious how slow I'd need to set Tempo to hold the same stroke counts for same distances. I'll do that sometime this week.
Main Set: Tempo Pyramid
This was unusual in that I spent far more time increasing than slowing tempo.
6 x 50, slowing tempo by .02 sec/stroke from 1.20 to 1.30. SPL decreased from 38 to 36-37 (SPL was higher going in one direction than in the other).
32 x 50 increasing tempo by .01 from 1.29 to .98.
I held 37 SPL almost to a 1.20 tempo, then held 38-39 to about a 1.10 tempo. I began adding strokes more frequently between 1.10 and 1.00, but still felt smooth and controlled. SPL was 41 at 1.00 and 42 at 0.98.
I was very pleased with how this set worked out. Changing tempo by the smallest increment (.01 sec/stroke) always makes adaptation much more successful.
What were my times?
Adding 3 beeps for pushoff
At 1.30 sec/stroke x 37 SPL my 50m = 52 sec = 26:00 for 1500m
At 1.20 tempo x 37 SPL = 48 sec - 25:00 for 1500m
At 1.10 tempo x 38.5 SPL = 45.6 sec = 22:48 for 1500m -- This combination felt like my Sweet Spot today
At .98 tempo x 42 SPL = 44.1 sec = 22:03 for 1500m. Not sustainable, but felt good for 50m.
Friday 10 July 2000 LCM in 45 minutes [Season Total 17,200m]
I've had a hard time getting to the pool this week--combination of a busy schedule and some inconveniently timed late afternoon t-storms.
And tomorrow morning will be my first race since last summer, the inaugural Mystic Sharkfest, a 1500-m swim through the historic seaport of Mystic on the Mystic River. It looks like great fun. I'm doing it to share the experience with my good friend Amby Burfoot, the 1968 Boston Marathon champion and long-time editor of Runner's World magazine. Since turning 60, Amby has been an avid TI swimmer, who still takes great pleasure in running.
Besides the pleasure of spending time with Amby and his wife Cristina, the Sharkfest looks like great fun. Read about it here.
Last evening I'd done 6 x 200 at fairly brisk pace along the line in Lake Minnewaska, increasing tempo 1.06, 1.05, 1.04 every 2nd, so I hoped to keep my effort pretty moderate this morning to avoid feeling flat going into tomorrow morning's race.
Tuneup 800m continuous with Fistgloves
This was at an RPE of 1 to 2. I was very happy to keep SPL at 40-41 throughout. I think this is as efficient as I've ever been in a 50m pool for a long-ish swim with gloves on.
Main Task 16 x 50 on increasing tempo. Try to minimize increase in SPL
This makes two consecutive pool practices (albeit 5 days apart) on which my main task was 50m repeats, but shorter repeats allow me to swim brisker tempos and times, with less residual fatigue.
I started with Tempo at 1.19 and increased by .01 on each successive 50, finishing at 1.04 tempo, the fastest tempo I'd swum at last night in the lake. Right now this feels like the upper limit of tempo at which I can maintain a strong but not excessively taxing pace.
SPL was 37-38 at 1.19 = 24:20 1500m pace (RPE 3)
SPL was 38-39 at 1.10 = 22:48 1500m pace (RPE 3.5)
SPL was 40 at 1.04 = 22:12 1500m pace (RPE 4)
I finished with 200 Cruise (1.5 to 2 RPE) at 35-36 SPL.
Congratulations on your Sharkfest swim!
Thank you Richard. How did you happen to notice me in those results? I had great fun and plan to write an account of it for my blog.
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