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CoachSuzanne 06-08-2010 12:57 AM

Plumbers Helper 2900 Descending Ladder/Increasing Tempo
Set is so named as I swum it for stress relief after being hit with a $100 fine for having my water on "illegally" thanks to a handiman playing plumber doing the wrong thing.

So I spent the afternoon playing plumbers helper to a friend who fixed the problem, and them swam this set for stress relief.

The Sets:
Increase tempo with each round. Within each round, reduce stroke count for the broken halves.

with no warmup:
@TT settign 1.3 sec
500 + 2x 250

1.28 sec
400 + 2 x 200

1.26 sec
300 + 2 x 150

1.24 sec
200 + 3 x 100

The splits
Dist Time Pace/100
@1.3 sec/stroke:
500 9:06 1:49
250 4:10 1:40
250 4:10 1:40
@1.28 sec/stroke:
400 7:10 1:47
200 3:15 1:37
200 3:17 1:37
@1.26 sec/stroke
300 5:30 1:49
150 2:25 1:36
150 2:30 1:40
@1.24 sec/stroke
200 3:40 1:49
100 1:43 1:43
100 x
100 x

The commentary
This is a set I took from one of my long course athletes and modified it. His original workout was 4000. I modified it by eliminating the warmup sets, starting right with the first long 500.

I also modified it by adding the tempo trainer settings at increasing tempos, and the intention to increase stroke length for the broken halves of each round.

The first 500 was a warmup, and while I had the TT set at 1.3, I didn't get into that rhythm until about 300 yards in. I was very forgiving on stroke counts and turns, using mostly an open turn at the walls. At each turn I glanced at the clock adn saw the second hand march backwards 5 seconds for every 50 that I did reflecting a precise 1:50/100 pace.

For the 250s, I felt warmed up and made an effort to increase stroke length, primarily with a more core tension(working on reducing tension to "tone") and a more powerful and coordinated 2BK. I rotated through focuses of keeping my head down, eliminating crossover with my left hand and spearing a bit more deliberately and deeply to try and reduce the reaching that I saw on my 1:24 video from the other night.

I tried to release my traps as well during the pull to prevent the tightness in my neck and allow a functionally longer "wingspan" during my catch & pull.

With each reduction I did in the tempo trainer, the long relaxed set allowed me to feel the groove and by the end of each one, I was able to synchronize the tempo easily. At times I felt the tempo was very slow, but each round started with just a bit of effort required to stay in time with the Tempo Trainer.

Each subsequent broken pair of repeats seemed to get better and better. I maintained a strong focus on the coordinated 2BK, keeping a long body line and emphasizing my extension forward to lengthen my body as much as I could without twisting.

The first 25 to 50 of each shorter set was invariably the best length of each round.

During the final 150s at a TT setting of 1.26, I was hitting stroke counts of 14 on the first & second 25, giving me the thought that perhaps I've "maxed out" stroke count at that tempo for that length...only with superhuman effort of taking even fewer strokes will my speed improve at those tempo/distance combinations. Food for thought.

For the final round of 200+3x100 I could sense the fatigue that was setting in...when my first 100 was at a pace nearly as slow as my initial warmup 500, I decided to throw in the towel for the day.

Just as a point to note, my fastest pace for the day was at a tempo of 1.26 for the 150s, and at 1.28 for the 200s (1:36 and 1:37/100 respectively).

While I still feel I could PR at the 500 distance by perfecting turns and push offs at the 1.30 SR, I think that I'm ready to begin those 500 sets at 1.28, or conversely, extend the 500s to 600s, 750s or 1000s at the 1.3 tempo.

Likewise, I can begin thinking about taking that 1:36 pace and extending it to 250s, then 300s and beyond to improve my distance pace.

it will be fun to see where I can "meet in the middle" for my 500 pace...current PR is 1:41/100 for 500 yards, my next goal is 1:36/100 for the same distance...likely at a pace of 1.28 or 1.26 seconds per stroke.

Finally, because of the sensation of having "maxed out" my stroke length several times during this practice, I believe I will begin starting sets like this at a faster tempo from the beginning...maybe a 1.30sec/stroke to warmup, but then go right into the first main set at a faster tempo.

terry 06-08-2010 02:58 AM

An Emerging Master of Smart Practice Planning

There's an elegant "mathematical logic" emerging from your practice planning and execution. You must gain an exciting sense of circuits being constantly honed and improved.

For instance, your Stroke Length circuit improved "automatically" as you halve the distance. I'm not overlooking the aspect of this being a planned outcome on your part, but pointing up that most people have a kind of vague expectation they'll go faster when they shorten a repeat -- because swimming for less time means they can go harder. But you're doing something very specific and unquestionably salutary - increasing efficiency!

Also your analysis of sensing you're hitting a wall of sorts at 14 SPL. I agree entirely. Your analysis that you have two ways around that wall - extend repeat distance or increase tempo - is likewise right on. In fact, I'd say at your height, any effort to get to 13SPL will bring diminishing returns. Far better to swim longer at a given combo of SPL and tempo, or gradually reduce the tempo at which you can hold 14SPL - and every count above it in your current range.

I imagine you're starting to gain this sense I've had from time to time of "inevitable improvement." There are few things cooler in swimming.

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