I've got one more note to add about initiatives Andy has undertaken. My last post commended him for undertaking an Improvement Project
. You can see an example of my most recent Improvement Project on the thread A Month of Backstroke Excellence,
during which I improved my time for 200y Backstroke at 15-16SPL from 3:30 to 3:08 -- not shabby considering I've been working on backstroke for over 20 yrs.
The purpose of an Improvement Project is to raise your sense of purpose to a sense of, perhaps, mission.
The elements in an Improvement Project that maximize your prospects for engagement, enjoyment and improvement are the following, as I see it.
1) Make your project objectively measurable.
In my Backstroke project I did a baseline set I swam 50+100+200 backstroke @ 15-16 SPL and timed each. I repeated that exact set a month later (but modified to [4 x 50 + 2 x 100 + 1 x 200]). Also, measuring via two metrics is better than one. Not just time, but time+SPL or time+tempo.
2) Give your project a defined time period.
Andy defined his as 21 sessions.
3) Add an element of accountability.
Report progress to someone
. Reporting on the Favorite Practices and Sets conference on this forum is one way. You don't need to do this with as much detail as I did on the backstroke forum, but in more general terms, how you're progressing, what you're learning.
A second project I think would be worthy of considering is an Accountability Project. Andy's signature includes his best practice times for both 2011 and 2012 for 100-200-400-800-1600m, updated as they improve. I hope he'll continue with that for 2013. (Note
-- Andy, you might consider adjusting the 1600 to 1500 since it's a standard race distance and will allow you to compare your times with others of your age who swim it in Masters meets.)
I think I'll begin doing the same thing in 2013. Rather than record my freestyle times I think I'll record my times for 100-200-400 IM since during my pool-swimming season I focus on Different Strokes and shorter distances, to balance my focus on longer freestyle during OW season.