With even this short exposure to the TT, I completely agree--I am very happy I finally paid attention to the posts and Terry's recommendations about its use. I care less about the time of the tempo in an absolute sense, and more about the TT's utility in helping you precisely CHANGE the tempo. Also, its metronomic capacity REALLY focuses you, and I am sure this is where it plugs into the nervous system (we are such rhythmic animals in so many ways). That focus has helped me stop thinking and start feeling, at least a tad more than without the TT. And I tend to overthink when I am swimming.
So--good to hear from you on this. I appreciate it.
And how do you keep track of the data on your way home to the computer?
SR=1.35 --> SPL=17 (*)
SR=1.33 --> SPL=17 (*)
SR=1.30 --> SPL=17.25 (*)
(*) my estimated average of comfortable SPL after 8 LAPs.
To track my swims, I use:
a. FINIS Swimsense: I use the Swimsense to record and then display my laps and lengths.
b. GoPro video camera with suction cup mount: The popular waterproof sports camera is also great for recording your swims. It's too bad that they stopped making both a standard definition video and standard, non-wide angle lens model. You can use the wide angle model but your videos are distorted which may make analysis difficult. Also, going to high definition video is fun, but the filesizes are much larger and harder to store as many as standard definition video files.
c. Sanyo VPC-WH1 High Definition Waterproof Flash Memory Camcorder w/ 30x Optical Zoom: This is probably the best video camera for underwater recording that is available today. Some of the cheaper ones don't have good enough sensors to get clear pictures underwater, especially in indoor pools where the water can get murky. I also bought a suction cup camera mount to use it underwater.
2. Paper: I use Rite In The Rain waterproof notebook and pens (buy them on Amazon). They allow you to write when the paper and pen are wet, and the paper does not disintegrate when it gets wet.
Technological swimming aids:
1. Tempo Trainer: It's the staple TI tool and indispensable if you are attempting to track progress.
2. FINIS Swimsense: More for tracking time and counting lengths. I use it less so for counting strokes since it only counts one arm. I also am not sure how accurate it is for tracking time for a length within a set of lengths. But it is good to get sense for generally where your stroke count per length is.
In absence of a Swimsense, you can use any waterproof stopwatch for time recording. Some watches have downloadable data options now. You may want to find one of these so that you can record your times for later viewing. Otherwise, writing them down at the edge of the pool works. (Or you can train your memory like Terry did to just keep it all in your head!)
What you can track:
1. Time: this is per length and per lap, or overall time for a set of laps.
2. Strokes per length: Count, remember it, write it down. The Swimsense will give you a one arm count of strokes.
3. Tempo: Set your TT and remember it, or write it down, for each length/lap/set of laps.
4. Heart Rate: This is also trackable and I would track it but I have not gotten around to trying the new FINIS ear clip - one thing I do not like about the ear clip is that I cannot download the data. Heart rate chest straps are sometimes unreliable in water.
5. Video of technique: Visually see improvement in recorded videos.
Other elements that give feedback:
1. Your perceived mental state before, during, and after the workout. In certain instances, it may be good to record this so that you can get familiar with how a workout might progress given your assessment of your body before you start. You can also get into the workout and test your body's performance level, and then adjust the workout accordingly.
2. Your perceived exertion, given a particular workout. For instance, sometimes I'll jump into the pool and start a workout at a certain tempo and my perceived exertion is, for some reason, way high when compared to a previous day. It may mean that I have not recovered enough from a previous workout and I adjust accordingly. On the other hand, if my perceived exertion on a higher tempo workout is less than previous, I may take that as a positive sign that my nervous system is adapting to swimming at that tempo.
3. How fast the broken line elements on the bottom of the pool move by as I swim - Lately, I've had one major issue that I've spent the last few months working on, and that was the fact that my left side spearing produced a lot less propulsion than my right. This was one that I would never have figured out was a problem, had I not noticed that the lines on the bottom of the pool were moving a lot faster and for a longer time underneath me as I speared on my right side, but on my left, they would move less fast and even come to a stop before my next right spear. Now as I drill to imprint better left side spearing, I use the visually determined speed at which those lines move under me to see how close I can get my left side spear to equal that of my right side spear.
I track these elements separately and together, in various combinations depending on what I'm working on at the time.
I'd like to add that while David's post gives what may be the best guide available anywhere on the use of technology to improve the quality of your swimming, your practice and your ability to analyze objectively, we have also corresponded on the degree to which we both value using simple human memory to track nearly every key detail from my practice.
Virtually all the practices I've logged -- mostly on the Favorite Sets and Practices conference -- have been done without a data-tracking device like SwimSense. Through years of practice I've developed the ability to recall nearly every repeat - distance, time, stroke count, and tempo -- during an hour of practice, to be logged later after I get home. I'm confident this adds to the brain optimization created by mindful practice in the pool.
Still, I've got a new SwimSense and am looking forward to using it because the Finis web site has some cool graphing and data analysis capabilities.
PS: I wanted to share an example of serendipity and synchronicity relating to this thread. I'm in the Bay area this week and decided to take advantage of my visit to seek a meeting with Dr Carol Dweck of Stanford whose specialty is describing the Fixed (limited/risk-avoiding) vs Growth (resourceful/risk-embracing) Mindset. This morning I confirmed an appointment to meet and chat on Friday.
Immediately after sending an email to confirm, I browsed the Forum and read the latest posts to this thread. As I wrote Carol immediately after this thread illustrates "the extent to which the emphasis we give to Continuing Improvement and Deliberate Practice have fostered a culture in which people consciously cultivate a growth mindset and model it for others. How many other examples have you seen of 'communities of shared interest' that practice what you advocate?"
as terry mentions, i believe the highest level of discipline is to train yourself to keep it all in your head: recalling the last workout, deriving key focal points, building the next workout, executing the next workout, changing the workout on the fly based on differences from what you had planned, remembering all the results, and then keeping it all in memory for the next workout and/or for your log.
i am definitely not up to the point of keeping every bit of data in my head yet, but it is something i am keeping in mind as one of those things i am trying to master in TI....
I look forward to hearing about your chat with Dr. Dweck.
Appreciate all your insights about various technology--esp. the waterproof paper. You commented that you noticed that when spearing on your left side, the propulsion wasn't as great as it was on the right. I have the same problem, only on the right side. Tried to figure out what I was doing differently, but so far haven't come up with anything. Have you reached any conclusions?
I guess I am getting old, but I really admire all the creativity and insights that these posts contain. Hopefully someday I will be able to contribute something also.
I think I have a similar problem, and I am getting a consult on it from my TI coach in a couple of weeks The problem also manifests itself as an asymmetry in breathing (not a surprise), in which I arch my back and push down with my lead hand as I take a breath. I can understand the stimulus to this behavior: fear of not getting that breath. But why it is asymmetrical and how to fix it have evaded my grasp, so to speak.
No video, but any ideas would be welcome.
Interesting question and thread. I have been mostly doing 1600m to 2000m crawl swims. I bought a Swimovate and a small clock. Not all the lanes have a clear view of a clock, and sometimes my goggles fog up, so I leave the clock at the end of the lane where I can easily see it. I swim for a given time, and let the watch count my laps and calculate my time per 100m. That frees me from counting laps. I breathe to alternate sides on alternate lengths to work both sides of my body equally. Once every two weeks I do a workout of Breast, Back and Fly.
After a good summer, I feel comfortable at those distances, but I haven't been getting faster. The TI diagonal kick timing feels good, but sometimes my legs feel too deep. I'm wondering if my head is too high. I have a good videocam with an u/w housing. My wife filmed me quite a few years ago, and was just trying to talk her into filming me again, if the club allows it.
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