Tempo Trainer Guidance
I know this topic has been discussed extensively but I still need a few pointers to get me started. If my post is entirely redundant, please direct me to previous posts that will answer my questions.
Just ordered TT and was wondering where to start? I have been doing TI for 2.5 yrs. now and feel proficient in the basic areas (balance, relaxation, breathing, 2 beat kick, streamlining and overall efficiency). I am 6'0, 165lbs. and stroke count for 25 yds. is consistently 15-16.
However, there is one area I have not mastered and I hope the TT will be able to help me. My practices are all geared to 100 meter intervals because I get too winded to continue without a break. Or is it possible I have been conditioned to this distance? Usually swim 2,000 meters in workout but just in sets of 100's, 3 days/wk.
What kind of TT practice would begin me on this journey of achieving more distance without stopping every 100 meters as I do? Pool is 50 meters.
Thanks in advance for your help/advice.
Sure,strategy can always get better with more expertise training.Increasing your distance per action,is the first part of go swimming speed training.The next part is keeping that range per activity and different your activity rate or diving speed to find what works best for you.
Your barrier may turn to be mainly psychological and I guess the only way to find out is to experiment. Swim 100m and then carry on and swim another without resting. If necessary swim at an easier pace than you normally do. Focus on relaxation and exhaling gently all the time your face is in the water. Add another 100m (or 50m if you prefer) every week and you will soon be swimming 2000m in one go, which may not be the ideal workout, of course , but once you've done it you'll know you can.
I usually start with a "warm-up" of 1000m.
But following that is very variable, sometimes only another 500, sometimes another 2000.
By starting with a longer distance and calling it a warm up, you can give yourself permission to swim more slowly. Try something like a balance focus, then a streamlining focus. I find that for the first 100-200 just concentrating on a loose head is good, then marionette arms, then mailslot entry with no splashing and bubbles. That pretty much takes me out to 1000. :)
It may be that you are not breathing quite enough. What is your breathing pattern?
I cannot breathe every 3rd stroke except for short distances, so I have to breathe every 2nd. Alternate lengths on which side you breathe if you are currently breathing bilaterally.
Permission to Swim More Slowly
Your phrase 'permission to swim more slowly' is quite powerful. I've relabeled what most people call "Warmup" . . . Tuneup . . . which I think better reflects the neural training emphasis. Warmup refers to a physiological process - increasing blood flow and thus muscle temperature, which makes the muscles more supple and responsive.
I only felt I had permission to swim more slowly in the last five or six years. In an email exchange with my friend (and TI student) Amby Burfoot, a Boston Marathon champ (68) and exec editor of Runner's World for 30 yrs, he related that Kenyan marathoners typically warm up for a race at a pace as slow as 9 minutes per mile -- close to half their racing speed.
I read that and thought 'when do I ever swim at half my racing speed?' At the time my best racing pace for the 1500m equivalent 1650y free was about 1:15 to 1:16 per 100. I realized I never swam at anything remotely close to 2:30, or even 2:00 per 100. But I decided that henceforth, I would start every practice by swimming at the slowest, easiest pace I could -- yet strive to remain fluent and rhythmic.
The effect was instantaneous. I felt and swam much better in everything that followed. Swimming at superslow paces (which turned out to be somewhere between 1:30 and 1:40) did two things: (1) I became hypersensitized to the interaction of my body and the water; and (2) My balance and stability were far better tuned -- and I could feel the difference at every faster speed. Within a few months I had swum the 1650 in a pace of 1:12 per 100. Giving myself permission to swim slower, made a clear difference in enabling me to swim faster.
In teaching in my EP, I've seen that virtually no one knows how to swim slowly . . . and well. Students who are far slower than me in racing terms cannot keep from crashing into the current-generating unit at the front of the pool when I set the current at moderate speeds. Then I turn the current much gentler and show them I can swim easily in place without compromising form.
Three specific ways to swim slower
1) Observe your hand speed on catch. After a moment-of-stillness begin catch with the slowest possible speed and lightest possible pressure.
2) Explore how slowly you can recover, without introducing discontinuity (no back-end pauses) or instability.
3) Turn your TT down gradually. Can you maintain flow at 1.80?
And here's another idea. Try doing an ASCENDING set. Descending sets are so commonplace. Everyone reflexively does them all the time. If you want a special or memorable set, give yourself permission to do an Ascending set.
Test your ability to swim gradually slower over the course of a series of 50 or 100y/m repeats.
Here are several possible Ascending skills
1) How much can you ascend in a single set?
2) How much can you ascend on a single stroke count?
3) Pace Control: Can you ascend a series of repeats by exactly one second each?
I'm going to try that today after my tuneup then start a thread on that topic.
I think you'll discover these are exacting skills requiring great focus and great body control. And therefore invaluable.
Permission to Swim Slower is now a Blog post
Aging has given me a much improved perspective on the relativity of 'speed' in swimming. Though my times may slow as a natural process, I have more purposefulness and passion than ever, and approach every practice--indeed every set, length and stroke--with a sense of mission to maximize the swimming potential I have at this moment in life.
See the blog at http://www.swimwellblog.com/archives/1820/
Swim Better Every Year
A book I'd like to write will be titled "Swim Better Every Year." It will be about how to broadly reframe how you define "swim better" and on how to make good use of those faculties which improve with age, while minimizing reliance on those that decline with age. I think swimming offers better opportunity to do this than any other physical activity.
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