Racing with tempo trainer to lower strokes per length.
I havenít posted on the forum in years, but I just bumbled into a training idea that is giving me such good results that I felt I needed to share.
The genesis of the idea
The high school swim team that shares our pool mostly gets faster from the feedback they receive by noting whether what they are doing makes them overtake the person next to them. This is not TI in the least though. I donít want to beat you by putting in more effort right here right now. I want to beat you by being a better swimmer now and into the future.
My training partner and I came up with a way to race that is totally in keeping with the spirit of TI. We set our beepers so that we are evenly matched. Since I am faster I set mine slower. At the slower setting the only way I can beat my partner is to swim more efficiently. So we race each other and the clock, but the only way to get faster is to lower SPL or accidentally over stroke. That happens enough that it is worth mentioning. But basically this idea forces you to look for efficiencies. And you get instant feedback. I look over and see his shoulder instead of his eyes, so I tuck my chin or focus on timing and see if I start to pull abreast of him again.
This all works, but it is not super great. It is pretty much the standard TI mantra of gain speed through stroke length not stroke rate. Terry recently mentioned the down side of having a partner. This is an upside, but not enough of one that I would recommend you get a partner just for this.
A standard setup for us is that my partner is set at 1.3 and I am set at 1.7. We pretty consistently hit about :55 (32 strokes for me) for 50 meters like this and work down towards :52 (30 ish) over the course of a swim practice. The breakthrough is something we call disadvantaged. 1.3/1.7 has us about evenly matched but if he swims faster 1.2 and I am still at 1.7, then he has an advantage over me. So we swim 1.2/1.7 (his advantage) 1.4/1.7 (my advantage) 1.3/1.8 (his advantage) and 1.3/1.6 (my advantage). So in other words we swim where we are evenly handicapped and then every variation of one guy holds the original tempo trainer setting while the other guy goes faster or slower than the original. So a set of 1.3/1.7 is 50 meters x5 with 5 slightly different settings centered around 1.3/1.7. We then do a set of 1.2/1.6 etc.
The freaky magic is that usually the guy at the disadvantage manages to pull out a tie or near tie even though disadvantaged. I frequently find myself behind my partner at mid pool and desperately trying everything I can think of. Tuck my chin, slow my pull, stack my feet, widen my tracks. Each of us usually manages some trick of efficiency that keeps us from getting clobbered even though the straight math predicts that clobbered is exactly what we will be.
Yesterday at 1.7 (partner at 1.2) I pulled off 48 seconds 27 strokes.
So the SPL came down by racing with a tempo trainer exactly as I wrote in the title.