How do you personally measure TI progress?
As you try to become a better TI Swimmer, how do you actually measure "TI Progress"?
How do you know you are improving?
What are you trying to achieve?
Ultimately, how fulfilled you feel after a session.
Factors that effect that fulfillment:-
did you feel more relaxed and balanced than before.
did you set and complete mindful tasks.
did you swim faster than before with more comfort.
did you leave the pool feeling refreshed and excited about your next swim.
For me, good TI freestyle is the nearest a person can get to unaided flight (and one reason why it is so addictive), pulse and glide, just as an eagle enjoys the air, we enjoy the sensation of the water providing us with weightless motion.
In contrast, shoulder driven freestyle I would compare to a burrowing animal, a fox or a badger digging a tunnel. High stroke rate, pain management but endless practise builds strength and endurance and young foxes and badgers can dig fast tunnels but that doesn't mean they enjoy it.
Overall aim, Goals, Inputs, Outputs
Good question. Made me think and contemplate this years swimming, especially today (see bilateral swimming below).
Overall aim is to gain "flow" states, and a feeling of ease and wellbeing fpcussing on tasks. All the time facing not achieving things and "bad swims", being outpaced etc. all with equinimity and the realisation that we go though stages in learning, but the only thing that stops us improving is giving up. Total self acceptance, despite failing...I am OK no matter how well I feel I do or what others think of me, or how slow I feel compared to others.
THREE things that I measure my "improvement" (relative to me and no one else):
Goals - what goals have I set myself this year?
e.g. 1. Swim 1.4km and 1mile open water swim for British Heart foundation (I did one of these last year)
e.g. 2. be able to extend my stroke rate range from around 1.6s per stroke to 1.0s per second with a feeling of ease and time
e.g. 3. be able to swim one length with no push off in 17 strokes
e.g. 4. be able to swim 1 mile bilaterally as opposed to the present one sided. Best last year - two lengths.
e.g. improve shoulder flexibility.
Inputs - what have I been trying to do to achieve these goals?
1. Joined outdoor swimming club which involves a 1km swim once or twice each week, entered for the swims (not races, for charity).
2. Bought tempo trainer and swim in pool and open water at faster stroke rates while counting strokes and keeping those as low as possible. Swim the charity swims at 1.15s per stoke. Do sets of increasing tempo using tempo trainer, then down..
3. Practice swimming one length with no push off, focussing mind on lengthening body, ease in water, feeling it supporting me, keeping feet near surface, touching heels together sometimes between kicks, getting kicks tuned to pulls (left arm pulling with left foot kicking)....Been trying to do Louis Tharp's thing of doing four strokes for a length (8 is the best so far and exhausted), repeated single lengths for 15 minutes. Watch and practice Popov's drill from Youtube (rollover drill).
4. Building lengths of bilateral swimming - 10 length, then 20 lengths, then 30 lengths upto 1 mile swims breathing bilaterally, but slowly, enjoying the feeling of water support and leisurely breathing.
5. Do stretches of arms above head in "streamlined position" during the day, during swimming/resting, after swimming.
6. Practice practice practice
Outputs how have I got on with achieving these goals
1. Did both swims (couldn't swim one length of crawl three years ago - I am 53 now) and really enjoyed them, felt really relaxed. Enjoyed open water swimming with people much more competent than me.
2. Tempo trainer enable me to swim outside at 1.15s per stroke (last year I was stuck on 1.6s per stroke). Not comfortable faster than this yet and strokes per length creeps up. Easier to swim faster stoke rate in sea than pool.
3. Achieving 20 strokes in a length with no push off (I am 5'10), still a way to go...
4. Achieved the mile today, bilaterally, and without stiff neck
5. I can hold my hands together when my arms are straight above my head (couldn't do that last year) - still a way to go.
Plenty of room for improvement. But feeling quite encouraged.
For me it is easy. :)
A little more than a year ago I couldn't swim more than a couple of laps without getting out of breath. This was really frustrating because I could road cycle for miles and miles. Now, I can swim (in the pool) as far as I like. Mostly my time dictates my distance. In other words, I have about an hour to swim. So, I do drills for about 20 minutes and then swim whole stroke for the rest of the time.
This summer I entered a mini-tri. The swim was in the pool (500 meters), 6 mile bike, and 2.5 mile run. I completed the event. This is another measure of my progress. I would have never thought about entering something like this a few years ago.
Finally, each day I just measure my progress by feeling healthier, swimming relaxed, and trying to complete my drills more efficiently. I have started to use a tempo trainer, but I am still getting used to this tool.
More than a year later, I just FEEL better when I am swimming. The sensory perception and feedback that I get just feels better each time in the pool. On days that it doesn't (and I know this now because I can FEEL it), I just shift my time frame of an hour more towards the drill process. This biggest area of my self awareness is in my balance. When I am not in balance, I don't seem well, breathing is off and so is the relaxed state that I am seeking.
It's just so relaxing to be in the pool and to breathe calmly. I come out refreshed. I go through my day a lot more peacefully. It helps my business, my family relationships, and my well being.
I get just as strong a feeling of fulfillment by reading the thoughtful, articulate posts on this Forum. I've been on many tri and swim forums (and yes I'm biased) and none come close to the elevating perspective that is common here.
In this context it seems appropriate to share an excerpt from the introduction from my current work-in-progress Swimming That Changes Your Life.
>>In The Art of Happiness: A Handbook for Living the Dalai Lama wrote that the purpose of life is happiness. But let’s look more narrowly at swimming. Your conscious goals probably include one of the following:
• To swim a short distance safely and comfortably.
• To swim a longer distance for health and fitness.
• To have a low-impact way of exercise as I age.
• To swim for recreation and relaxation.
• To swim faster—whether for personal achievement or competition.
This book tells the story of a groundbreaking ‘experiment’ in which hundreds of thousands of swimmers all over the world--most of them adults who only began swimming in middle age--discovered an entirely new way to swim. While each person’s initial goal was only to swim a short distance safely . . . swim a longer distance for health . . . etc. they discovered that the same approach that helped them achieve their utilitarian goal also made them noticeably happier and improved the conditions for creating related benefits in health, personal relationships, professional endeavors, etc.
And here’s the key part: Their happiness didn’t occur only because, or until, they achieved their original goal. It occurred because they were working on solving a difficult problem or challenge. They discovered they experienced a sense of purpose, enjoyment—even transcendence—while doing so, which proved so addictive that experiencing happiness replaced the original goal as the motivational fuel to maintain unblinking focus and persist through any difficulty.>>
Very good insights, thank you.
As I read Terry's post I really have to agree on the "sense of purpose part".
First you work on Technique, then you build endurance, then you go for speed... and thanks to TI you always have ways to measure how you are doing.
I am more of a "theoretical/factual" swimmer as opposed to someone who goes by feel. I recently saw a post of someone who is keeping track of SR, SL, SPL in excel... I have started doing the same.
One single type of work-out these days:
3. Drills with Swim
4. Swim with Tempo Trainer decreasing SRs (Ex. 1.35, 1.33, 1.30)
GOAL: Feel a good, under-control, long stroke at SR=1.6 --> SR=1.2 (for the moment).
It is amazing how fast I am progressing with the Tempo Trainer. I have a reference SPL of 17 these days (for 25m). Last week the faster I could swim was SR=1.40 to hold SPL=17. This week I can achieve the same SPL at SR=1.30. This means an improvement in speed of 1.7sec per LAP without dropping my SPL.
Congrats on the good work. I would like to emulate you.
I see this:"One single type of work-out these days:
3. Drills with Swim
4. Swim with Tempo Trainer decreasing SRs (Ex. 1.35, 1.33, 1.30)"
Could you please describe in more detail the workouts of that week that precisely helped you drop your time and keep your SPL? For example, how were you thinking about your stroke to keep SPL constant while dropping SR times: "patient extended arm..." or "press on my lungs..."? I'd like to hear that.
Let me explain what I am trying to do with this type of work-out.
My ultimate goal is to swim with good technique at various Stroke Rates (SR=1.60 slow --> SR=1.20 medium fast, for me at least)
Anything faster than SR=1.60 felt too rushed. My stroke quality was deteriorating which meant that SPL could easily drop from 15 strokes per length to 20 just by accelerating from SR=1.60 to SR=1.30
So the Plan is the following, please note that this is a small workout because I have little time to practice...
- Just a simple 4 x 25m Freestyle, trying to relax
2. Drills (EX. I decide to work on Balance)
- 4 x 25m of Superman Glide/Flutter
- 4 x 25m of Skating
3. Drill + Swim
- 8 x 25m Mixing Drill & Swim (skating + 5 FS strokes + skating + 5 FS strokes...)
When I stroke I focus on transferring the Drill feeling to the Freestyle stroke
4. Swim with Tempo Trainer
- 8 X 25m SR=1.35
- 8 X 25m SR=1.33
- 8 X 25m SR=1.30
Count the average number of Strokes per Length at each rate (Ex. 17, 17.25, 17.50, 17.75)
NOTE: In between each LAP I do some BOBs with the Tempo Trainer timing reproducing the Freestyle breathing pattern (exhale beep 1, beep 2, beep 3, quickly inhale, exhale beep 4, 5, 6...). All Beeps under water exhaling.
5. After the Swim, Record this in Excel and add a formula for SL and Speed (m/sec)
NOTE: In the following swimming session I will set the TT to SR=1.33, 1.30, 1.27....
The Drill + Drill/Swim sets condition my body to think "Balance".
When I swim with the Tempo Trainer I teach my brain + Body to repeat that wonderful balanced/coordinated stroke at incrementally faster stroke rates.
The Excel helps me keep track of the speed I reach and I ensure that over time I can keep my Magical SPL=17 at faster and faster stroke rates.
The only strange thing so far is that I seem to improve every week. Looks like the TT is doing wonders. ALEX
Thanks--that is exactly the kind of explanation I needed.
I just bought a TT a week ago and I am playing with how to use it with purpose. Your detail helps me translate this wish into a plan.
It looks as though you are keeping lap times, as well (if you are calculating speed). Makes sense.
Two questions: by "BOBs" do you mean the stand-still breathing exercises? And--is there an efficient and accurate way to keep track of all this data, so that when you get to your computer you really have the right numbers?
Thanks again for taking the time to paint this picture so clearly.
Actually I am not keeping track of LAP Times for speed. I am thinking as follows:
Pool length = 25m, my push off is about 3.5m. So if I take 17 strokes to get to the other end, I am covering 21.5m with 17 strokes at a Stroke Rate of SR=1.30.
Easy to calculate SL (Stroke Length) and SPEED.
It is kind of fun to see your SPEED increase week after week as a result of the TEMPO TRAINER teaching the body to maintain the same STROKE efficiency at an incrementally faster Tempo.
The BOB thing with the TT is indeed a breathing experiment. When I swim Bilateral each beep is 1 hand entry and I get to breathe in between beeps [3,4], [6,7].... I expect this exercises to slowly teach me to breathe asymetrically, to inhale and exhale the right quantity of air, and to have a perfect breathing timing.
My thinking is that perhaps this will help my breathing problem (I tend to hold my breath and probably not do what the BOBs with TT are teaching me).
As soon as I reach a point where my STROKE feels good at SR=1.20 (my target fast pace) I will focus 100% on the breathing to build endurance (probably many BOB's with immediate Freestyle Laps right after).
For sure I can say the TT is a fantastic investment.
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.
1. my kick timing is not quite right to sync with my spear
2. my hip drive on my left is not as coordinated as on my right side.
3. i am also overreaching on occasion with my spear and need to make it enter the water earlier, versus reaching almost all the way out until my arm is nearly straight before entering the water, where it loses my ability to maximize the weight shift's contribution to the energy of the spear.
4. there may be loss of streamline during the left spear which may be the cause of faster deceleration i experience on the left side.
i have been breaking down the elements and starting to return to basics. i am also seeing if Shinji or Dave Cameron have some time to work with me on this issue. It is annoying to have 50% or so of my left side speed disappear, which equates to probably about 25% of my total speed.
|All times are GMT. The time now is 03:19 AM.|
Powered by vBulletin®
Copyright ©2000 - 2021, Jelsoft Enterprises Ltd.