Terry's Spring Training
I've barely swum all winter. In fact, except for several practices in a 50m pool while in Florida March 20-25 for coach training, my last pool training session was September 1, Labor Day, the last day the outdoor 50m pool in New Paltz was open.
I've maintained fitness with Olympic weight lifting, yoga, and rowing on a Concept 2 erg. But I plan to swim several open water races this summer. I believe I can prepare for high performance in 10 to 12 weeks--even after no swim training for 7 months. The key is training that's intently focused on steady, incremental improvements in my ability to hold efficient stroke counts, at gradually increasing tempos and for gradually increasing distance.
I began my spring training for summer open water events today. My practice was 1950 yards in 40 minutes. Here's what I did:
Tuneup 300y of 25 FR @ 13SPL, 25 BK @ 16 SPL, 25 BR @ 8 SPL.
3 x 550y on 10:00
#1 @ 1.20 Tempo Time 8:31
#2 @ 1.17 Tempo Time 8:27
#3 @ 1.15 Tempo Time 8:25
My SPL range was 14 to 16. My goal was to avoid exceeding 16 SPL.
I did 3 x 550 because that adds up to 1650y, the equivalent of 1500m in a 25y pool. My cumulative 1650 time was 25:23. I did this as an assessment to set a baseline pace from which I will try to improve as much as possible over the next two months, at which point I'll begin swimming in the outdoor 50m pool and Lake Minnewaska.
I'll do several practices at shorter repeat distances, but the same tempos, to see how much I can improve on this pace. After 3 such practices I'll repeat the set of 3 x 550 to see how much my pace has improved.
The next round I'll make the range of tempos slightly faster, while trying to maintain the same SPL.
Could you, or another swimmer help me to understand these numbers? I get that you did 3 sets of 550...but what does the "on 10" mean?
You swam the first 550 in 8:31; the 2nd in 8:27; the third in 8:25...this is consistent with your 1650 time of 25:23....understood.
So the tempo trainer times are ...for the first 550... 1.20 seconds per stroke?
This sounds like like a nice training set for me...but I want to make sure I understand the underlying math.
PS. have sent away for a tempo trainer for myself...but haven't used one yet.
Many thanks for your time. I notice that at the pool I train in the "tri" crowd has shown up....I guess to put in the pool time for the upcoming season. There is much splashing, pull buoy and flutter board work.....it doesn't look like fun.
As Terry promised in his TI books, I look forward to my pool time...the only tool required....my brain.
thanks very much for the sharing, hope you'll keep us posted throughout the process.
I know you have already used this framework (ie 3x550 as baseline + short repeats practices in between time trials) in the past: based on your experience, to what extent do you expect to improve in 10/12 weeks of pure neuromuscular training? By the way, how many miles are you planning to swim in these weeks?
Finally, which open water distances/environments are you training for, and will you also train your sighting/drafting/straight-swimming capabilities?
Thanks again and sorry for the many questions :)
Great to follow!
I would also like to see a link to a video where Terry swims some laps in the pool at REAL speed.
I only find video's showing swimming in smow motion.
Could anybody share this?
Thanks to all for your comments and questions. As Bob explained I chose a fixed interval of 10 minutes, meaning I would start each swim after 10 minutes had elapsed. This makes it easier for me to track times than if I'd chosen a flexible interval of, say, 1 minute 30 seconds, after each swim.
My target SPL range for all 25y practice is 13 to 16, chosen both from our Green Zone chart and from experience. I made a guesstimate (informed by experience) of what range of Tempos would allow me to complete 3 x 550 without exceeding 16 strokes. However I did hope to be in a range where it took real focus and discipline to hold 16 or fewer SPL on the final 550 and fastest tempo. As it turns out my guesstimate was pretty close. That's also a product of experience.
If I was better conditioned, or swimming shorter repeats I could have maintained that SPL range on faster tempos. And that's my goal for the next two months.
I'll practice 3x/week for between 45 and 60 minutes each time. From experience, I believe that, in two months, I can improve my cumulative 1650 time of 25:23 by at least 5% (to about 24:10) and perhaps as much as 8% (about 23:20). Doing a similar program in the 50-m pool last summer I improved my baseline by almost 10%. But I'll just take it day by day and see where this process takes me. I do it with a sense of curiosity about what I might learn from it, rather than any sense of pressure to reach a certain time. So I don't set a target time for improvement. My body and brain will simply adapt as they are capable. This approach makes it far more enjoyable.
The open water races I will aim to swim well are 1 to 2 miles. I may also swim one or two longer events 5k to 10k, but will set more modest goals--mainly to participate and enjoy -- in these, simply because I anticipate swimming fairly modest volume this summer.
First level of difficulty is counting both laps and strokes is quite enough for many people.
Next level is calculating finishing time for each repeat (which requires you to recall start time) and holding all repeat times (9 of them today) in memory.
Most challenging is choosing focal points to be able to succeed at the fast--which today was to minimize number of laps at 16SPL as tempo increased.
22 April 2015 -- 2250y at SUNY New Paltz
I swam 9 x 250 as follows
#1 Tuneup: Perfect form - I maintained 13SPL -- two strokes lower than I was hoping to maintain during most of the main set. Time was 4:12. Estimated Tempo 1.50 sec/stroke
4 x 250 @ 1.20 Tempo on 4:30 interval Times 3:48-3:47-3:47-3:46
50 Easy for Recovery
2 x 250 @ 1.17 Tempo on 4:30 interval. Times 3:43-3:42
50 Easy for Recovery
2 z 250 @ 1.15 Tempo on 4:30 Interval Times 3:39-3:37
An appointment I had this morning left me barely 40 minutes to swim before pool closed. Still I think it was an extremely valuable 40 minutes. I've really come to have an appreciation for short, yet highly focused and exacting practices. They really concentrate your mind.
Simply by reducing repeat distance by a bit over half, I was able to minting significantly better Stroke Length--saving quite a few strokes in the bargain. Swimming the same range of Tempos for 550 yd repeats, I averaged 16 SPL for most of the set.
Today, on 250y repeats, I was able to average 15SPL (with only a handful of laps at 16SPL during the entire set) throughout. Every lap at 15, rather than 16 SPL, saved me the time my TT was set at -- between 1.15 and 1.2 seconds.
At 1.20 my pace/25y improved from 23.2 sec Monday to 22.7 sec
At 1.17 my 25y pace improved from 23.0 sec to 22.2 sec.
At 1.15 my 25y pace improved from 22.9 sec to 21.7 sec
On Friday, my main set will be repeats of 125y.
Of course I too will follow your progress Terry as I too have been away from my TI (and Forum) a bit, in practice never in thought, and move forward myself as OW season approaches.
Last season for me was wash out as was most of the winter practices due to a nasty calcium deposit in my left shoulder that proceeded to worsen. I've since had a procedure to rectify that (hoping) and so I continue with a bit of weakness on that side.
As always a slow and steady recovery in practice has brought me back to a level of competency to push on, so I gave your practice set a whirl with modification.
My practice day (Tuesday) was divided, with time allowing for approx. 30min. in the morning and 40min. in the evening (post-work).
I had forgotten my TT in the morning so executed only the tune-up portion as you laid out, both in the beginning of the practice and at the end. As a 'main set' I swam approx. 1000 yards counting strokes, beginning with the lower count of my range, then trying to maintain the middle to higher range and when comfy with that tried to subtract strokes while 'maintaining' pace. Tricky business, a task you can successfully accomplish by... stroking slower! Yep, slower, a nano-second, each length, until you've erased a stroke but not so much where you feel your pace has been compromised. All the while focused on ease, feeling your extension lengthen, your kick, connected to hip drive snappier, catch a tad firmer, yet swimming smoothly and quietly lest you become taxed too quickly. I told you it was tricky!
In the afternoon I was able to repeat the tune-up potion @ 12-13 spl FR 16-14 spl BK and 8 spl BR for 300yd
I altered the 550s as:
A) 1x550 on 10:00 and TT @1.20
B) 3x150 + 1x*100 on :20 rest and TT @1.17/*1.15
C) 5x100 + 1x50 on :20 rest and TT @1.15>1.05 (-.02 per rpt)
My cumulative times:
Total = 24:36 for 1650yds
My times quicker naturally with the shorter repeats but wanted to 'assure' a progression while maintaining my spl average.
At this point I felt that may have been compromised if I swam each 550 as a whole. It wasn't a time trial for me but an exercise in control and a measure of it. The outcomes merely information for future progress.
I feel I can next swim a set of 3x550s, unbroken, keeping in mind what I've learned in my previous practice(s) and mark my times for those. Then work to close the gap between the two totals.
The hope, as always, to lower the bar as I proceed.
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