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Old 02-13-2016
CoachSuzanne CoachSuzanne is offline
Join Date: Mar 2010
Posts: 2,453

So todays swim was fantastic. I've been noting some difficulty with left side breathing, which is causing some neck pain. I discussed it with my chiropractor today as I thought I had injured (or misadjusted) my spine from my last swim. It was very strenuous and for the past 3 days my low back, midback and neck have all been in discomfort with spasm and lots of bones "popping" in my spine.

He was completely fine with it all and suggested instead that as my body is getting better able to perform, it's easier for it to find it's current limits as far as higher levels of movement. In otherwords 6 months ago when I was simply moving in the water and swimming no more than 500 yards, it was good just to move and float. Now that I'm trying performance based sets, i'm discovering areas that need work, rather than just getting a resistance workout.

So todays focus was on body rotation to the left in order to improve my left side breathing. With the help of Coach Dinah Mistillis, she suggested 1 armed swimming with the right arm, left arm at my side, breathing to the left. This would force me to rotate my body to get air. We also discussed doing closed fist swimming with the right arm to further require my core to get involved.

That was the skill part the Kaizen opportunities.

The fitness/metrics part of the set was 5 x 4 x 50. Based on the last 2 swims I decided to do these by ascending stroke counts...50 as 17-17, the next 50 as 18-18, then 19-19 & 20-20. I wanted to see if I could calibrate my stroking, and if I could maintain the left sided rotation, thats a bonus! I expected to see descending times within each group of 4 x 50 as well.

Here's the whole set & summary:

5 x [4 x 50] SCY, JCC Squirrel Hill 02/12/14 1650yds (SPL Calibration)

4 x 75 as 25 one armed swimming with right (breath left) + 25 one armed fist swimming right (breath left) + 25 Swim (breath left)
4 x 50 Calibrating SPL before main set

Main Set:
5 x [4 x 50] by SPL in each round:

100IM Easy (did FL, BR, FR, FR since the pool was crowded & wanted to avoid back)
50 FREE Easy

Practice Notes:
Many good insights from the one armed swimming (left arm at side) and breathing to the left, including
-sensation of "opening the door" to the left with my hips. when I did this and followed with my chin & shoulder (nearly simultaneously) there was no strain and a perfect bow wave to the left.

What's odd is it FELT like I was totally overrotated, but there was no indication this was the case. I think the small change from my "usual" rotation pattern made it feel significant.

4 x 50 calibration...I pretty much nailed this, which was surprising ,but made me feel good about the upcoming main set. times descended from about 56 to 49sec per 50.

Main Set: Here's the good stuff. The first 3 sets were nearly spotless in terms of hitting my SPL, perhaps off by 1/2 a stroke, esp on the first or second length of the first 50. Times descended with each ,but not always as much as I would have liked. Often the 19/19 & 20/20 were within .5 seconds of each other, and I would have expected more change.

I noticed in the 4th set of 50s that it became challenging to nail the SPLs and also challenging to get all my body synergized to "open the door" to the left side breathing...but it was doable.

I considered terminating the set there, but I decided to gift myself an extra SPL for the 5th set of 50s, (starting at 18SPL and ending at 21)...but it actually ended up starting at 19 & ending at 22 SPL.

Cooldown was uneventful but felt fine.

Overall I am very pleased with this set and how the descents went and how closely I hit my stroke count targets, which were originally decided byased on my first 2 swims in this improvement project.

Here are the actual times:
Tuneup 4 x 50 on 1 min:

SPL Time Pace/100yd
17-17 0:57.5 1:55
18-18 0:53.2 1:46
19-19 0:50.8 1:42
20-20 0:49.1 1:38

Main Set
5 sets 4 x 50 on 1min, 1 min between rounds
SPL targets 17-17, 18-18, 19-19, 20-20

Time / 50 Pace /100
Round 1
53.9 1:48
51.0 1:42
50.8 1:42
49.1 1:38

Round 2
53.9 1:48
53.2 1:46
50.0 1:40
48.2 1:36

Round 3
53.0 1:46
50.7 1:41
49.6 1:39
48.3 1:37

Round 4
51.1 1:42 <- 18s
49.5 1:39 <-19s (too fast)
50.3 1:41 <-next 2 struggling to get SPL right
49.5 1:39

Round 5
50.6 1:41 <-allowed 1 more stroke per length each round, turned into 2
50.3 1:41
48.8 1:38
49.9 1:40

Great exercise in pace control ,calibration, focal point swimming, kaizen skills. about 15-20% of my left sided breaths were effortless.
Suzanne Atkinson, MD
Level 3 USAT Coach
USA Paralympic Triathlon Coach
Coach of 5 time USA Triathlon Triathlete of the Year, Kirsten Sass
Steel City Endurance, LTD
Fresh Freestyle

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