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Old 10-04-2014
Talvi Talvi is offline
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Join Date: Mar 2012
Location: Lappeenranta, Finland
Posts: 1,675
Talvi
Default For me, distance feels good

I posted across the way on the FS forum asking for advice on practice for longer distance swims, and Terry gives it here I see, but in the absence of that on my thread, in the meantime I've been doing something different: extending the distance I can swim continuously for. This is my experience FWIW .....

In mid-June last year I could only swim FS for 100m. About a year ago I did my first mile. After that I practiced only short intervals, mostly 50s and 100s, with longer intervals but only occasionally any more than 600m, and by June this year I had begun to feel like I simply couldn't keep going for any longer interval. That to upset me, as my form didn't feel like it was improving much either!

In August the lake was warm enough for me to start swimming further but still I only went 500m before feeling I had to pause and float about for a minute or so before continuing. The idea of doing the Bosphorous swim as the centrepiece of a holiday in Turkey then popped up and I changed strategy. Rather than hope that distance would simply come again, I made the decision to keep on swimming, regardless, and see how far I could go.

Over the last month in the pool I've gone from doing 1km, which was a great relief, to yesterday completing a 2.5km interval. After these "long" intervals (can't call them long in a thread where Terry's talking about continuous 40km's!) I do short intervals, some "sprint" 100's etc.

What I find doing distance is that as I tire my stroke is forced to become more efficient. Muscles that are moving unecessarily just give up. It's like Occam's razor for swimming! Also, the way the tiredness affects me teaches me, by showing me what it is I am actually doing. My shoulder or neck might start to ache so I am obliged to find a better way to move my arm or relax my neck. When I start to struggle I get back to the basics of streamlining and breathing. It seems to work. My 100m pace for the 2.5 was 2:13, hardly trailblazing but still an improvement on the 2:20+ I was at 4 weeks ago.

I'm not sure I understand what muscle perseverance means, perhaps stamina, and in my case, yesterday for instance, I was noticeably far less tired after the 2.5km and after the session, than I had been four weeks ago after a 1km interval.

I definitely do need to do short intervals to focus, but, perhaps I am at a certain stage of fitness and experience, I don't feel that distance swimming is and not practising struggle, in the sense of ingraining poor technique.

Now that I am almost at my target of 3km (9 months early on a 10 month program), my aim is to reduce my spl without increasing the effort. Yesterday the first km was at 18spl while the rest was at 20spl. I know I can get it down to 16spl because there are some lengths at that DPS buried in there, and at the time I have no real sense of which laps these were. I do know though that they are not the laps that I am working hardest in.

Doing distance does perhaps detract from the keenness of any specific focus, because the focus is on the whole stroke and what can be cut out or improved in order to keep going, but for me at the moment I feel it really has benefits.
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Last edited by Talvi : 10-04-2014 at 05:18 PM.
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