Originally Posted by s.sciame
Hi Tom, I'm currently swimming 3-4 times a week, doing mostly sets of 100's, 50's and 25's (not pure USRPT however, in general I keep the rests shorter than the standard 20s).
One thing I'm trying to fix is my addiction to Tempo Trainer. After years of intense and creative use of the tool, the result is that when I swim without it I'm just slower and I can't figure out why! Maybe I slack a bit into and out of the walls, don't know (with TT I always count the beeps also during the turns, no way to slack). Or maybe I just unintentionally slow down the cadence during the swim. This would be another proof that neural training matters and that's fine. However I don't like to know that my best performance depends on an external tool (perhaps chasing a faster swimmer would produce the same outcome in a more natural way).
Curious to know if others have ever dealt with similar side effects after swimming a lot with Tempo Trainer.
Salvo: I use the TT almost always, but I am still getting a lot of training use from it. For instance, I notice that my stroke is still irregular, and I sometimes detect very minor stroke to stroke irregularities. The fix for it (for me, anyway) is demanding a very strict cadence for the moment of catch, for instance. I believe the overall effect is getting me to tidy up my balance, so I'm still getting a good benefit from the TT. But when required, I seem to be able to switch to "noTT" mode quite effortlessly. But also I see no need at present necessarily to wean myself off.
However, for yourself, have you tried doing a 100m, say at a tempo that is suitable for the speed you're aiming for, then doing a test run with
the TT to see that the time matches your expectation and calculation, given your appropriate SPL. Then doing it without the TT, but just matching the pace in your head with the time you want, assuming the SPL will look after itself. If you are good at hitting a precise pre-determined time for a 100m, for instance, it can't be difficult to re-train a proficiency without the TT.
Unless the problem you are talking about is the ability without TT to easily hit precise times for, say 100m, until they get so fast that they hit a speed/time range that you can easily achieve with
the TT, but it's hard to without
the TT, in which case I misunderstood, and your problem is that you like having a coach yelling in your ear when to stroke, and it's easier for you that way, so much easier that it's hard to raise the required effort without the beep. Hm, I get like that when running with a fast buddy (just automatically matching his pace, I mean, not his foot cadence) -- but I don't respond well to any (non-human) mechanical device telling me to run faster (in running I have never been able to run with a TT-like cadence setter -- it wouldn't work due to micro irregularities of terrain and other randoms that make synchronizing footstrike to a beep problematic).
I must say that one possible reason I have not missed the "TT crutch" is that without the TT I have not been exposed to any prescribed difficult expectation or self imposed trial to meet a given time or speed. But my feeling is that my own technique is fragile enough that I don't want to encourage any bad habits flailing around for speed! For me, better practice correctness until my technique is secure.