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terry 11-04-2015 05:58 PM

Terry's 2015 Fall Training Lab (Practice Log)
Strictly speaking, I completed my Summer Training Lab Sept 7 when the 50m Ulster County Pool and Lake Minnewaska closed for the season. I continued swimming in Lake Awosting, until Oct 2, then was away from New Paltz for the past month. On Oct 19, I swam from Corsica to Sardinia (15.5Km in 4h31m including 'fueling' stops) with TI buddies, Lennart Larsson and Tommi Patilla. The three of us swam Gibraltar Strait in Oct 2013. From Sardinia, I went to the UK for 12 days.

Nov 3 I returned to New Paltz. I'll stay here through the end of the year and resume a regular schedule of pool training for the first time since Sept 7.

I celebrate my 65th birthday March 25. Since age 55, I've attended Masters Nationals each time I entered a new age group -- to learn the 'state of my swimming' I plan to do so again next spring. (For those who might like to join me at the meet, it will be in Greensboro NC April 28-May 1.

I like to set 'galvanizing' goals for these 5-year intervals. In fact I generally only set performance goals for the pool at those 5-year intervals. Between them my competitive focus remains fairly keen for open water season.

So here are my two goals for the next 7 months
1. I'll enter 6 events in four disciplines at Masters Nationals - 500-1000 Freestyle, 200 Butterfly, 200 Breaststroke, 200 and 400 Individual Medley. My goal is to medal in each event and try to match or beat the times I did in 2011 at age 60.
2. To set as many Adirondack Masters 65-69 records (for 25y course) as possible. I"m aiming to set at least one record in every discipline and try for a clean sweep of the freestyle events--from 50 to 1650y. The shorter events will be my greatest challenge, but this goal will ensure I pay attention to speed.

A focus on short-distance speed is holistic, because (i) it's my lifelong weak point; and (ii) it will prod me to more intensive training, which has been shown to benefit the health of mitochondria and telomeres, both of which are markers for resisting the physical declines typical with aging.

AWP 11-04-2015 11:40 PM

Something told me to check the TI Forum today, having been away from it for, well, quite some time, for a bit of inspiration as I head into the 'off season' and indoor swimming. And not to disappoint, here is Terry's declaration for his next go, perfect!
I'm happy to say I've ended my OW swim season this week. Any time I can say that in November is a plus, thankful for the amazing weather!
My curiousity is now peaked towards your interest Terry, in the other disciplines and have actually applied them a bit in my recent practices in the pool; although it's been awhile.
Still feeling the pull towards longer swims I recently did an extended version of your IM warm up: rounds of 4x25 as FR/BK/BR/FR
Initally beginning as 4x4x25 then deciding after the third round to keep going, but as a pyramid. After the 4x4x25 moving up to 1x4x50, then 4x75 and 4x100 before returning to 75s, 50s then 25s; one continuous swim ( paused twice to empty a leaky mask).
My intent was only to reacquainte myself and swim as smoothly as possible doing so, then as the repeats shortened again , hold my focus and groove, count strokes and see if I could maintain that or better it or feel an improvement in momentum with the same perceived effort...
A fun exercise I've never done before, what do you think ...?
My feeling, that I'd almost surely break that up and apply a measure(s) to gauge any progress/improvement. A fun exercise nonethelessless...
Look forward to following along...


terry 11-05-2015 09:41 AM

First Practice - at Hampton Lido in London England.
On Tuesday (Nov 3) I read the New Yorker magazine article, WHAT WE THINK ABOUT WHEN WE RUN.
In part it was of "Poverty Creek Journal" a collection of 51 brief reflections on a year's worth of runs. The article also included a summary of a study published earlier this year in the International Journal of Sport and Exercise Psychology. Sports psychologists gave clip-on microphones to 10 distance runners and asked them to narrate their thought process during a run.

What did these runners think about?
How hard it was to move at their desired speed: “Come on, keep the stride going, bro.”
How soon they could stop: “Come on, you have enough energy for a mile and a half.”
And quite often about how miserable they felt while running. The researchers summarized: “Pain and discomfort were never far from their thoughts.”

It made me wonder why people carry on with such a masochistic exercise. If they knew how it feels to practice Kaizen Swimming, would they give up running? Or would they run differently--the way it's taught in ChiRunning?

In any case the contrast between the runners in this study and the practice I'd done just one day earlier could not be more stark.

Before I describe my practice, I'll review several principles of TI Fast Forward training methodology:
1. Always focus on improving your swimming.
2. Create a feedback loop-either subjective (Focal Points) or objective (SPL, Tempo, Time). If the latter, use two metrics. Tempo+SPL or Tempo+Time or SPL+Time.
3. To swim faster, design problem-solving exercises that strengthen your ability to hold Stroke Length, while increasing Stroke Rate. We call this the 'Algorithm of Swimming Success.'

Mon 2 Nov Approx. 3500 meters at Hampton Lido, London

Sean Haywood (he swims for TI UK Coach Tracey Baumann and was among 27 members of her training group who went with Tracey to Ironman Mallorca the previous month) invited me to swim with him at the Hampton Lido, an outdoor 36-meter pool. We swam from 6:45 to 8:00 am. Having never swum in a 36m pool, I went in with no idea what my SPL or pace might be. But that's never a problem. I can 'create meaning' in any pool, just by counting strokes during my tuneup, which I swam in the 'medium speed' lane.

Swimming with a feather-light catch and barely-there kick, I took 24 strokes the first length, then added one stroke on each of the next three laps--reaching 27 SPL on the 4th. (I later did a calculation and found that the Green Zone for my 6-foot height in a 36-meter pool should be between 24 and about 28 strokes.) Then the tuneup effect began to take hold, and I shaved a stroke bringing me to 26SPL. I swam continuously for another 10 to 12 minutes, holding 26SPL pretty steadily (except when I overtook another swimmer and sped up to pass).

Feeling ready for a challenge, I moved into the 'fast' lane and turned on my Tempo Trainer. It was set to 1.17 sec/stroke. I figured that was as good a place as any to start. I swam 4 lengths (144m) continuously, and averaged 27 SPL. Armed with that information, I decided to swim a Tempo Pyramid, slowing tempo by .02 each 100 until my SPL returned to 26--or 104 strokes for the 4-lap swim. I reached that at 1.23--taking 25 strokes on the 1st length, 26 strokes on the 2nd and 3rd and 27 strokes on the 4th.

Next I would test how long I could hold this stroke count, while increasing tempo by .01 sec after each 144m rep. With a brief exception, I held this stroke count for 11 reps--to a tempo of 1.13 sec/stroke.

I missed my intended count on only one length, taking 27 instead of 26 strokes on the 2nd lap at 1.15 tempo. Because I was a bit too slow on flip turn and pushoff, I had to rush a bit to synchronize the hand entry of my first stroke to the 4th beep. I knew in that instant that the cost of the momentary lapse would be an extra stroke. This happens commonly because while each stroke must be only .01 faster, each turn must be .05 faster (.01 x 5 beeps from final stroke on one length and first stroke on the next).

I made my approach to the wall a little stronger and somersault a little faster on the next two turns and regained my target stroke count on the final two lengths, then held it for one more rep, at 1.14. At 1.13 I exceeded my target count again and knew I'd reached my limit. I then dropped down to 3-length (98m) reps and held my 26SPL average (25-26-27 strokes) until I reached 1.09.

At 1.08 my SPL rose again, so I cut another length from my repeats, carrying on with 2-length (72m) repeats, holding 26 SPL to 1.06. Then I cut another length and finished my practice by holding 26 strokes from 1.05 to 1.02 sec/stroke. My final length was 27 strokes at 1.01.

If a researcher had given me a waterproof mic and asked me to record my thoughts between repeats, I'd have said that I was having the time of my life. I spent over an hour focusing on every single stroke--the definition of mindfulness--and consequently remaining completely absorbed.

As I solved the challenge of holding SPL as Tempo increased, I swam almost exactly one second faster on each rep (104 strokes x .01 sec). But the experience of swimming faster was enormously pleasurable. As I progressed through the set, my movement through the water felt better and better--more integrated, more fluent. And the overall effect produced a highly satisfying Flow State.

Does it get any better than that?

terry 11-05-2015 09:48 AM


Originally Posted by AWP (Post 55601)
I've ended my OW swim season this week. Any time I can say that in November is a plus, thankful for the amazing weather!

Alan, what was the water temp on your final swim in the Sound. Was that Sunday morning? I contemplated texting you for a swim on Tues morning, but I knew that I'd probably awake at around 3am (body still on UK time) and should hit the road for New Paltz before drive-time traffic.

AWP 11-05-2015 04:00 PM

Tuesday afternoon, 58F but the air temp in the 70s! Clear skies, sun high and bright, air/water temps similar to Memorial Day weekend when I usually try to start my season.
The only goal I've set for myself this off season, going into next, is to create a practice schedule, a physical one, and stick to it or to the best of my ability; feeling a need to regain a deep focus, following your progress will help...

terry 11-05-2015 05:19 PM

I shudda stuck around to do that swim with you! But my computer wasn't cooperating and I had work to catch up on.

terry 11-10-2015 02:52 AM

First Stroke Medley Practice
Sunday 8 November, 1800 yards in 40 minutes at Bard College

My improvement project from now until the end of the year will be a Stroke Medley project.
When I swam Corsica-Sardinia on Oct 19, that concluded six months of working exclusively on distance freestyle--which began April 20 with a broken 1650 baseline test set.

I like to see balance in my practice over the course of the year, so the next several months will be devoted to shorter distances and all strokes. By Stroke Medley, I mean I will that the great majority of my sets for the next 40 days or so will combine two or more strokes. In early 2016 I'll do some single-stroke projects--one focused on 200 Butterfly and one focused on 200 Breaststroke.

My intention yesterday was to swim a baseline test set of
100+200+300+400 Individual Medley (IM) at Bard College. But the pool was too crowded for me to swim Butterfly, so I decided to save that for tomorrow at SUNY New Paltz, where I have a decent chance to have my own lane for the 20-plus minutes it will take to swim my baseline test set.

Instead I did the following
600 continuous as 25 FR, 25 BK, 25 BR. I held fairly consistent stroke counts of 13 SPL on FR, 16 SPL on BK, 8 SPL on BR

Main Task
4 rounds of (3 x 100 Easy Medley) Descend on 2:00
Easy Medley is what I call an IM with FR substituted for FL. Sometimes I do this to minimize effort and fatigue. Other times, like yesterday, because the pool is sufficiently crowded that I'm reluctant to swim Fly--because of the potential for annoying my lane mates by smacking them with my wide-sweeping recovery.
So these 100s were 25 FR+25 BK+25 BR + 25 FR. I held the same stroke counts as on my Tuneup.
On Rounds 1 and 2, my times were 1:45-1:44-1:43
On Round 3 I swam 1:43-1:42-1:41
On Round 4, I swam 1:41-1:40-1:36
I was obviously a bit too cautious for most of this set, probably because I hadn't swum Medley sets in over a year.

PS: Today I registered for my first Masters pool meet in three years--on Dec 13 at Ithaca College. I signed up for (all events are Short Course Yards)
200 Free Seed time 2:35
400 IM Seed time 6:55
200 IM Seed time 3:20
200 Breast Seed time 3:25

These seed times are pure guesswork. I haven't trained for these events in over a year, nor have I raced them in three years.
On Dec 13, we'll see how accurate my self-seeding has been.

terry 11-10-2015 08:17 PM

Baseline Test Set 100-200-300-400 IM
Tues 10 Nov 2000y in 42 minutes at SUNY

I went to the pool this morning in a state of high anticipation. I was planning to swim the baseline test set for the Improvement Project I've chosen for what remains of 2015. and quite eager to learn how well I'd swim on it.

8 x 100 EZ IM (25FR+25BK+25BR+25FR) on 2:00.
For Tuneup I love doing an open-ended descending series of short repeats--usually 100s. I start out at a super-easy pace (Level-1 Perfect in the TI scale of perceived exertion). I continue swimming as long as I can shave at least one more second from my time without adding strokes.
Today my stroke counts were 13SPL for FR, 16SPL for BK, 8SPL for BR
(I swam #1 in 1:56 (i.e. only 4 seconds rest before starting #2) and #8 was 1:41. I could have continued shaving time from this, but wanted to save something for the main task/baseline set.

For recovery before starting the baseline set I swam 25BK-25FR super easy for 200y.

Main Task
100 + 200 +300 + 400 Individual Medley.
My goal on this set was to swim a relaxed sustainable pace on the 100 IM, then try to maintain that pace for 200, 300, and 400--while also maintaining my stroke counts from the 100 IM.
My times
100 IM 1:48
200 IM 3:34 (1:47/100)
300 IM 5:19 (1:46/100)
400 IM 6:58 (1:44/100)
So I did even better than I hoped--increasing my pace each time I increased repeat distance by 100y.
I also maintained my stroke counts of 8SPL for FL, 16SPL for BK, and 8SPL for BR. I held 14SPL for FR until the 400, when I allowed myself 15 strokes.

I'm thrilled with how well I swam this because (1) I've done almost no pool training since the summer and (2) I hadn't done any stroke medley training for close to two years.

I'll repeat this baseline test two to three more times between now and the end of the year.
My cumulative time for 1000y IM (adding up all times above) is 17:39. My goal will be to improve both the 400 IM and my cumulative 1000 IM as much as possible in the next six weeks.

Note: I swam a modified medley that I've favored since my coaching days 30+ years ago as a way of keeping stroke efficiency high and pace strong by minimizing the effect of fatigue from butterfly.
The conventional way to swim 400 IM is 100 Fly + 100 Back + 100 Breast + 100 Free.
I did it this way (4 x 75 Fly-Back-Breast) + 100 Free.
I did the 200 and 300 IM similarly.
This keeps me fresher than if I started the 400 IM with a 100 Fly. It also gives me more opportunities to practice the transition between strokes.

terry 11-12-2015 08:56 PM

Main Set of 200 IM Repeats
Thurs 12 Nov 2000y in 45 min at SUNY

My training protocol in this Stroke Medley Improvement Project will be to cycle through a series of three training sessions. I will shorten repeat distance, while keeping average stroke count consistent, in each training session.
In the first practice my main set repeats will be 200y
In the second, I'll swim repeats of 100y
In the third, I'll swim repeats of 50y.
Each time I cut repeat distance in half, my pace should improve, though I keep stroke counts the same.
When I swim faster, but SPL remains the same, my tempo is 'automatically' faster.
So my nervous system adapts to faster tempo while maintaining Stroke Length. This has been proven the most valuable training adaptation in swimming.
The ideal is for my 200y repeats to be faster as I begin each new cycle, as a result of the neural adaptation that occurs when I swim shorter--and faster--repeats.
I've used this protocol many times successfully in freestyle. This is my first try using it for Stroke Medley repeats.

In my baseline test set my 200 IM was 3:34 and my 400 IM was 6:58, which is an average of 3:29 per 200. My goal for today was to swim all 200s faster than that average, while keeping my average stroke count as close as possible to what it was on the baseline set.

Tuneup 400 continuous 25 FR (13 SPL) + 25 BK (16 SPL) + 25 BR (8 SPL)
50 Perfect 25BK+25FR
3 x 100 IM Descend on 2:00 I did 1:47-1:46-1:45. These were at RPE-2 Cruise.
50 Perfect 25BK+25FR

Main Task 2 rounds of 3 x 200 IM.
On the 1st round I swam conventional IM (50FL+50BK+50BR+50FR)
On the 2nd round--to compensate for residual fatigue from 1st round--I swam a modified IM 2 rounds of (25FL+25BK+25BR) + 50 FR
On 1st round I swam a 25 recovery, then rested 20 seconds between 200s.
On 2nd round I swam on a 5:00 interval--about 3:30 swim and 1:30 rest.

Round 1:
Round 2: 3:26-3:25-3:23

Note: I use a breast kick on both Butterfrog and Breaststroke. 100y of breast kick in each 200 caused me to feel muscle strain--verging on a pulled muscle--at the top of the adductor muscles on my inner thigh. During the 1st round of 3 x 200 I felt it in my left leg. I managed to finish the round without impairment by switching to a dolphin kick in Fly and making my Breast kick narrower.
In the 2nd round I felt it--more acutely--while swimming Fly on the 3rd 200. That forced me to switch to dolphin kick in mid-lap, and to make my kick much gentler in Breast. Somehow I still managed to swim my best time of the round in that 200.

However I recognize I'll have to modify my practice plans to avoid injury.
1. I haven't swum Fly or Breast--and thus have not made much use of my adductor muscle in over a year. So I'll probably have to work into this Stroke Medley training more gradually.
2. I made need to include some practices where I do no Breast ("Frog") kicking to give the adductor muscles a rest.

Nonetheless, this was a very successful training session, since my 200 IM pace was four seconds faster than during my test set just two days ago, while my SPL remained the same.

jenson1a 11-13-2015 11:17 AM

Terry (or anyone else who can answer this), I have a question. In post number 9--Main Set of 200 m of IM repeats, Terry said this:

Before I describe my practice, I'll review several principles of TI Fast Forward training methodology:
1. Always focus on improving your swimming.
2. Create a feedback loop-either subjective (Focal Points) or objective (SPL, Tempo, Time). If the latter, use two metrics. Tempo+SPL or Tempo+Time or SPL+Time.
3. To swim faster, design problem-solving exercises that strengthen your ability to hold Stroke Length, while increasing Stroke Length. We call this the 'Algorithm of Swimming Success.'

I understand the first 2 principles, but the third one is confusing. How do you hold stroke length while increasing stroke length? Can someone explain?


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