Another purpose for the TT
Today I had a great set with the Tempo trainer I thought I'd share.
First, the background. As I have posted before, I have been playing around with changes to my timing based on some advice from Coach Dave. My two options:
1. I found great ease with what I guess would be the EVF technique. I would set the anchor as my arm other arm is recovering, then switch during the spear. I found I had to focus a lot on maintaining balance, but when I did it felt great. I also focused on moving my arms as slowly as possible within a given tempo to lessen the pressure on the shoulders. It worked, but it was a bit inconsistent.
2. Coach Dave suggested a much more patient lead hand and very exaggerated Front Quadrant timing. It his stroke, based on Grant Hackett's distance stroke, (Dave, please correct me if I am saying this wrong) you only set the catch as the spear and switch are happening. So when you finish the switch, the anchored arm is still at head level and you press back from there. He also mentioned the much understated value of the momentum of the recovering arm being thrown forward. Because you spend much more time in skate, balance and efficiency are much easier. But because the anchor has not finished by the end of the switch, I lost the power of the body roll. At first, I had shoulder popping from this motion. Dave suggested I was still too rotated. Today, I started feeling more competent and less shoulder strain with this technique so I tested as follows:
4x50 hold stroke count at 13 using Dave's stroke and measure heart rate for 10 seconds
4x50 same with my old stroke.
I was testing a new technique so I started very slowly (1.6 per arm on the TT) Each round I increased by 0.1 which is a fast increase, but possible since I started so slowly and have been working on this for a while.
I did 5 rounds. As I increased tempo to 1.4 I increased to 14 strokes. At 1.2 I went to 15.
I liked this set because it gave me a HR comparison for the two techniques with time, rest, tempo held constant. It took me a few rounds to really start to feel good with Dave's stroke but at every level it was even or 1-2 beats/10 sec easier.
Just for the record, before this set I did a bunch of drill work with the snorkel to flatten out my rotation a bit more and learn to switch without pulling. I did 400 or so swim with my stroke free and back with fist gloves so my stroke was primed as well. After the set I did a bunch of Breast stroke work. I like doing:
4x25 3kicks/1 pull working on kicking straight back and so no undulation comes from my kick. (I want all hip motion to come from my chest falling in, not my kick. And I want to find a perfectly strait body line while kicking.)
4x25 3pulls/1 kick working on smoothly getting over the top of the stroke so there is no hitch (stopping point) as I recover the arms.
6x75 3kicks/1 pull, 3 pull/1K, swim.
I have no idea how much I did in total but I was in the water for two hours before I knew it. It felt amazing.
One of the reasons I posted this was to point out a thought pattern I have. I have seen great success with my stroke. I have gotten my 15 stroke length down to 0.6 after a particularly good two weeks of training. I have had success with Dave's stroke. How do I pick which one is best? And, will there be a time when the two techniques merge. Hackett, for example, uses the stroke Dave taught me for the 1500, but moves into a stroke like my old one for the 200. There might be a time when I can do that. For now, I am deciding which one I want to use for LCM regional champs in July and SCM champs in October. I am probably going to swim the 1500 and the 400IM. I'll keep you all posted if I can get to those meets this year.
But try the set when you are considering a change. It works well.