I took about a month break off swimming and got back to it a month ago, and I found I had lost a lot of focus. I could only maintain my prior SPL by doing a length at a time, and I gradually managed to stretch this out to 4 lengths, although my last length was usually iffy for good form, and obviously deteriorating SPL. But I wasn't able to identify a specific muscle group or body zone that just couldn't put out the required force any more.
So the question regarding what was actually happening when I tired really resonated with me -- it was not an obvious answer; I was in some minor distress, but I wasn't always short of breath. If I was short of breath it often transpired that this was only a secondary phenomenon as I compensated for deteriorating technique by powering through, which was grossly inefficient and energy wasting.
Today I really got my act together, and resolved I would do 1000m in 5 200m sets trying to maintain all the elements of good form that I had practiced prior (in focussed points). I really focussed mentally to get everything right, or as right as I could, and was able to carry out my plan successfully. What was really gratifying was that by implementing mental discipline I was able to maintain my prior almost-best SPL count often all the way through or maybe failing by half or 1 stroke only on the last length. It obviously was a mental concentration and discipline/patience thing, as my muscular strength or cardiovascular endurance didn't suddenly improve the last couple of days.
P.S. One of the specific things that I was able to identify was that when I got tired and started to crap out, I stopped reaching out nice and long with my lead hand. My elbow wouldn't extend fully, and/or my shoulder blade wouldn't slide as far forward of my head on the reach. It was mixed up somehow with the thought that if I were to reach out all the way like I was supposed to, I wouldn't have the concentration or energy to keep in balance and alignment, so the easy way out for this up-coming stroke was to do a "sort-of" reach. But with mental discipline I was able to over-ride my reluctance and to do a proper full reach, and almost always the balance and alignment was still achievable.
A real eye-opener.
Last edited by sclim : 11-26-2015 at 09:06 PM.