This practice set has become a fav for me and in reading many posts I can imagine it being applied to help or facilitate one's practice.
It's a simple pyramid I borrowed from one of Terry's blogs. The intervals/distances can be altered obviously as well as the intent and repeated over time can be a useful, organized way to practice that certain something; drilling, drilling to WS, pace, catch, 2bk, or the voodoo in you.
The set: 4x25, 4x50, 4x75, 4x100, 4x125, 4x125, 4x100, 4x75, 4x50, 4x25
I believe the 'original' intent was to breathe every three holding the same spl on all working on a sustainable cruise pace. Interval time: :25 per 25yd.
In yesterday's practice I used an interval of :30 per 25yd (as a 'warm up') on the way up and :25 per 25yd on the way down. Breathed every 3 on the 25s, 2R 2L on the 50s, 3R 3L on the 75s, 4R 4L on 100s, and R one length L one length on the 125s. A solid minutes rest then back down.
The 4x allows more opportunity to capture the feeling or 'sense' I'm looking for and helps in carrying it over as the distance increases actually allowing me to better settle into a rhythm, striving to not add effort but become more aware of how I can do it easier; always easier.
I think I had a good practice not exceeding 15 spl and beginning each 'block' at 12-13 spl. 25yd average :20, 50yd :40, 75yd 1:00, 100yd 1:28, 125yd 1:50.
I did find it harder however to lower spl on the way down but did not let it distract me just made note. On the back 25s I was at 14 spl but still :20 so after the set I intentionally 'stretched' out until I made the 12 with little effort. I'm aware the spl will increase over time and distance so the 14 on the end I think is a good thing.
A fun and challenging practice over all, hope you try it.
Todays practice was:
25-Superman Flutter, 25-Right Skate, 25-Left Skate, 75 Whole Stroke (25 nod right, 25 nod left, 25 bilateral 5 stroke).
25-Two Pause Spear Switch, 25-Single Pause Spear Switch, 25-Continous Spear Switch, 75 Whole Stroke (breathing as above).
25-Single Arm Spear Right, 25-Single Arm Spear Left, 25-ZenSkate Left, 25-ZenSkate Right, 100 Whole (breathing add a 25 bilateral 5 stroke).
25-Knuckle Drag progression to Ear Hop, 50 Ear Hop, 75-Whole Stroke (Breathing focus)
100-Ear Hop (focus momentary pause before hand entry), 100-Whole Stroke (breathing focus)
1000 - Continuous Whole Stroke. (17 minutes)
I think that is all.
We finished in 55 minutes and felt really good.
One question. You maintained the pace of :20 per 25 neatly from the 25s to the 75s. On the 100s, your pace jumped to :22 per 25. What happened there?
Your Kaizen goal for this set could be to hold the :20 per 25 steadily through the 125s, then gradually increase pace on the way down.
Excellent set plan though. There are so many opportunities to use a basic pyramid design like this to work on all the aspects of effective, economic swimming.
Pace (which, if SPL is held constant, means adjusting SR)
Overall set length (i.e. when you've improved all four of the above ingredients, add 4 x 150 in the middle.)
The drill sequencing was good. What was your goal or focal point for --or way of assessing -- the 1000 Whole Stroke?
I have two TI Buddies. One I practice with 5-6 days a week, the other can only join us for 3 days (usually). It really makes a difference. Improves the focus. Also great to discuss what light bulb may have finally gone on and which ones are still not wired correctly. We tend to mirror each other.
The 1000 Whole focus was mainly breathing (try 5 stroke bilateral as much as possible and patient hand awareness) and trying to hold form. Interestingly, we discussed how much more aware we are now of our 'faults'. Every thing goes along pretty smoothly for a while and than something changes. So the focus changes to getting back to the groove. Today I had moments where my entry was leaning towards centerline a little, focus back on wide track. Had a short stretch where lower back was a little strained, focus on relaxing neck/shoulders. It is nice to be able to recognize some things on the fly and get it back.
I dont know if that answered your post or not. Probably could have a more defined focus on the 1000 or 750 or 1650 or ??, but it seems like the focus subject rears its head while swimming and changes as the swim progresses.
I wanted to stay within a spl range of 13 to 15 not exceeding 15 and hoped the speed/ pace would happen with an added focus on holding good posture throughout, especially while breathing, not trying to swim any harder.
After the 75s and knowing I still had 2400 yards to go I may have felt the pace a tad quick. I didn't want to lose fluidity for the sake of keeping pace. I believe on the 100s I consciously backed off a bit.
On the way down I wanted to primarily maintain the pace and preserve spl while feeling easier swimming and hopefully a slightly quicker pace.
On average I kept the same pace, quicker on some repeats of each distance some not.
Clearly my original intent did not 'happen' not by lack of focus but perhaps lack of the right focus at the right time (?). (Being timid on turns that weren't quite timed right/smooth or not as streamlined push offs may have been an issue as the distance increased).
On the back 25s I was still at :20 & 14spl. This felt easy. Admittedly I was hoping for some voodoo speed, got a taste but want it to be more constant, controlled and comfortable.
My next practice I used the same template pyramid. This time 4x 25s > 100s, 4x100s > 25s. Wanting to develop just the feel for a gradual increase in tempo as distance increased I omitted keeping times, only resting time. On the back of the pyramid I then introduced the TT. With the TT I thought I would keep the pace/tempo up, while holding sl, increasing pace slightly as I progressed. Also to ensure no 'lapses' in pace as the distance increased.
Well, yes I did peek at the time and when I did noticed I in fact kept pace and increased speed by at least 1-2 sec., this time back 25s at :18 ( I didn't allow the clock to guide me however until after the set was complete and I wanted to see if I was able to keep 'that' pace sans TT smoothly and in my spl range, so I did some 25 and 100 repeats with success).
I'll repeat this again doing it on an interval (not quite sure which yet) and use the TT on the way down again noting my times and comfort level.
(I used TT settings of 1.20 >1.08.)
I would also like to try this using the TT, increasing tempo on the way up the pyramid and decreasing tempo on the way down and see what happens while holding spl.
My goal always trying to find a way to successfully have this control with as much ease and confidence as possible and hopefully become a taller and more fluid swimmer in the process.
In my haste to post (initial one cut 'short' due to life's interruptions) I neglected to thank you for your response and always intuitive advice.
What you laid out is indeed what I pursue.
P.S. Hope to 'join' you at that lake some time this season!
My practice with the TT continues while I work to improve and sustain my pace as I build distance. My goal ultimately to improve my 'cruise' pace, trying to have this happen as a result of swimming more effectively instead of harder while leaving room for available increases in speed 'strategically' as I become more adept to cycling through stroke rates/ spls. Developing a more slippery body position while I do this is a big part of my focus.
Friday's main set
Pyramid as 4x25 4x50 4x75 4x100 4x100 4x75 4x50 4x25
No times. Acclimate to tempo increases as distance increases then decreases.
TT settings 1.16> 1.13, 1.12> 1.06 . Remain within 14-15 spl. 5 beeps per turn (beep1-turn, beep2-push off, beep3, beep4, beep5/stroke, > beep...)
Tuesday's main set
Ladder as 3rounds of 25,50,75,100,200yd (50-100yd backstroke between rounds) then 4@ 25,50,100yd.
TT settings 1.14> 1.12 / 1.11< 1.13
On the 4xs I lessened the tempo to hopefully hold pace while reducing spl, in essence gaining more purchase per stroke.
Thursday's main set
Ladder same as Tuesday then 4x25 4x50 4x100 (TT only on the 100s)
TT settings 1.14> 1.12 / 1.11> 1.09
Before each 200 I would increase tempo to the next repeat setting ie. TT setting 1.14 25yd>100yd then 1.13 for the 200. Next round begins at 1.13 and so on.
I wanted to practice segueing from the longest part of the repeat segment to the next round with a 'preped' sense of tempo timing. My thinking that this will further enable me to sustain or better resist lapses in my pace. A bit more rest was needed before each 200 to make this successful. Rest was kept to 3-5 cleansing breaths, perhaps 6 before each 200.
I did 'time' the 200s although difficult since my watch crapped out and I followed a wall mounted analog clock which was no easy task to focus in on. To the best of my visual ability I gather I stayed within the 2:50 and under range hitting 2:45 or just under. That's already at least :10 better than my old cruise time for 200yd. It's my intention to make at least 2:40 my brisk cruising pace. Right now I'm holding at approx :21 per 25yd length and need to better that by at least :01 accumilatively for x-distance.
Next I'll 'reverse' the ladder in some form.
Wish me luck : )
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