One Practice without TT and one with TT
I"m staying at the Grand Hotel in Taipei for a week. It has a lovely outdoor, unheated 50m pool. Lines on the bottom but no lane markers to the water gets a bit wavy with several swimmers going at once. Every morning between 0630 and 0800 I see middle-aged and older Chinese swimming with impressive ease. I love being in their midst. One or more look to be practicing TI nearly every day. (TI is very popular in Taiwan as a result of 30k copies of my latest book in complex chinese characters sold here in last 3 yrs.)
Some years ago, I read John Douillard's book, "Body, Mind, Sport" about the application of mindfulness principles to sports practice. One is the ayurvedic technique of doing nose-only breathing in a variety of endurance activities.
TI Coach Grant Molyneux writes extensively about the practice in his book "Effortless Endurance" which TI will release here as an e-book in the coming week.
Some runners and cyclists have reported exciting breakthroughs from its practice It's more of a challenge in swimming - because you need to inhale through your mouth. Since reading Grant's book on Monday, I've experimented several times this week with the technique. I keep my mouth closed between inhales and nose-breathe only during rest breaks between repeats. It's gotten easier - and more relaxing - each time I've practiced it.
Both days my warmup was 50+100+150+200, resting 3 breaths between swims and trying to stay close to initial SPL. I stayed within +2 of SPL on my first 50 throughout.
Yesterday I swam 4 x 500 counting strokes and progressing through a variety of Focal Points. On my first 2 x 500 I used Balance Thoughts; on the next 2 x 500 Streamlining Thoughts. The Balance thoughts were quite relaxing. The Streamlining Thoughts improved SPL by 1-2 per 50m.
I finished with 10 x 50. The goal here was to swim at the fastest pace I could manage while holding same SPL as on the 500s. My primary focus was on achieving a pronounced sense of effortless-power-through-integration. It felt amazingly smooth and effective.
Today I swam my warmup at -1 SPL compared to yesterday's. My main set was quite similar 4 rounds of 5 x 100, instead of 4 x 500, but with TT and normal breathing today.
Round 1 @ 1.20 Averaged 77 Strokes for all 5 x 100.
Rounds 2-4 @ 1.19, 1.18, 1.17 respectively. Averaged 78 strokes for rounds 2-3 and 79 strokes for round 4.
Then I swam 8 x 50 increasing tempo by .01 on each. Tempo on #1 - 1.10. Tempo on # 8 - 1.03. 38 SPL on #1-4, 39 SPL on #5-6, 40 SPL on #7-8.
Analysis On 100s
77 strokes x 1.2 = 1:32.4 avg pace for 1st round
78 strokes x 1.19 = 1:32.8 pace
78 strokes x 1.18 = 1:32.0 pace
79 strokes x 1.17 = 1:32.4 pace
So if add one stroke, while increasing tempo by .01 I add a fraction of a second. If I hold SPL while increasing tempo by .01, I subtract a fraction.
It's these sorts of tiny gains, improving SL by a couple of millimeters, or tempo by hundredths of seconds, which can multiply to noticeable gains in speed over the course of weeks.
Analysis on 50s.
38 stk x 1.10 = 41.8 sec
38 x 1.07 (#4) = 40.7 sec
39 x 1.05 (#6) = 41.0 sec.
40 x 1.03 (#8) = 41.2 sec
Knowing I optimize speed-for-effort @ 1.05 is useful info in guiding me on selection of tempo for now. Hopefully in a week or three I can optimize at a slightly faster tempo.
Head Coach & Chief Executive Optimist
May your laps be as happy as mine.
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