Originally Posted by CoachSuzanne
**About the title of this set: My boyfriend came to watch me swim and saw me talking to "Mr. Biceps" in the lane next to me and accused me of flirting (it was kind of cute to see him jealous). The name "Flirting with Tempo" came to mind, but I figured he wouldn't appreciate that title. Looked up flirting on thesaurus.com and came up with Trifling...so a little alliteration sounded good, hence "Trifling with Tempo"
LOL. And as usual you've proven a good one to pull a practice 'report' out of me as well as I'm busy working on tempos and pace too. This particular practice was intended to be one of tempo work, no plumbing problems here but my TT was acting up (wouldn't let me out of 1.00 or shut off; maybe some sort of divine message) so I decided to take a more organic approach. I really didn't want to mark my times either so I proceeded with a set focused primarily on relaxed swimming noting only my spls as I gradually 'increased' my tempo within each repeat.
The main set: 8 x 250 ( :10- :20 sec. rest between repeats)
Although I wanted to use the first couple of repeats as my warm up I swam an initial gentle 250 to dial in.
My intention was to keep within one stroke of my 'n' (which I would establish on the first repeat) as I progressed. Additionally keep a different stroke thought throughout each repeat (ie soft hands, breathing, "toe flick") and note any differences that would perhaps enhance or hinder a feeling of relaxed swimming.
By far the focus that produces, for me, the best feeling of coordination and fluidity is that of soft hands and a totally tense free recovery, finishing my strokes forward. More attention comes in when pace picks up so as not to rush my stroke thus shortening my stroke. Instead, I'd shift focus to "hip nudge" and swimming "just off my stomach". This allows for continued relaxed swimming as the 'load' is kept away from my arms and avoids fatigue and inefficiency there. A natural switch for me is then made to focus of the kick, "toe flick", albeit a non-overt one most of the time I need to be careful here as was pointed out to me recently I tended to splay a bit once in awhile on one side. This undoubtedly was happening when I 'focused' on the kick. As has been said many times, what one feels in the water is not necessarily what is happening in the water. I never felt an overly stated amplitude in my kick but apparently it was happening.
To come full circle, I almost always return to a soft hands/marionette focus and the grove continues.
Incidentally, my 'n' on repeat one was 15 (although I'd hit 14 on most odd lengths, initially). As I increased my tempo I even hit 13 on some initial lengths of each repeat.
I finished as:
(clearing the slate)
hold spl, increase tempo
hold spl, stroke thoughts while jivin' my rhythm
relaxed swimming, hold spl
relaxed swimming, perfect form (breathe every 3)