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  #1  
Old 12-08-2017
Tom Pamperin Tom Pamperin is offline
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Default Training Intensity & Frequency

I'm curious about how often people here are doing "hard" sets during their training.

I think over the years I have developed a habit of avoiding "hard" sessions, focusing more on perfecting form, etc. I want to change that mindset because I'm sure it's holding me back.

At the same time, I don't want to overdo it--I'm not all that young (46) or fit right now. I typically swim 5 days/week, around 2,000-2,500m per session.

Two weeks ago I also added a 30-minute weight training session 3 days/week (for overall health/strength reasons rather than specific to swimming--6 basic free weight exercises including squats, bench, dead lift, shoulder press, lat pulldowns, barbell rows).

So, any thoughts on how often I should consider a tough swim set like a USRPT session? (My current one is 30 x 50m at :45 speed)

Another question: should I mix and match USRPT sets, like 50m repeats one day, 75m the next, and throw in some 25m repeats as well? Or do one set over and over until I can swim all repeats, then move on?

Thanks in advance for any thoughts or experiences you can share--I appreciate it.
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  #2  
Old 12-09-2017
Danny Danny is offline
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Hey Tom, here's a reply from someone who can't even dream of keeping up with what you're currently doing.

I think the best way to get into pushing yourself is to prepare for some competitive event coming at some fixed point in the future, even though I myself have never done this. :0) Making it real always makes the hard work easier, and knowing that the hard work doesn't need to continue forever also facilitates the process. I have tried pushing myself to varying extents in the past, and in fact most of my personal best times come from periods where I did this, but I'm not sure my swimming was actually at its best when I achieved these times. What did happen was that at some point the fun started to fade a little in the swimming.

A lot of people on this forum ask how to "improve their swimming" and the response is always "what are your goals?" The same goes here. If you a looking to set new PB times, then pushing yourself may work, but it can't work forever without a phase of enjoying the benefits you have reaped. Trying to set a new PB may also not help your swimming efficiency, again depending on how you define this efficiency.

My understanding is that your current goal is to do 500 m in 7:30. Do you have a time set to succeed or fail in this goal? That might help in the process.

Good luck!
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  #3  
Old 12-09-2017
CoachBobM CoachBobM is offline
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Swimming and playing a musical instrument are both activities that require a great deal of skill and where speed of execution is also very important. A practice technique that musicians have been using for centuries is:

- Slow it down to a speed where you can do it correctly.

- Gradually speed it up, while still doing it correctly, until you reach the speed at which it needs to be done.

The same principle applies to swimming. You say that you've spent a lot of time "perfecting form, etc." But it's unlikely that you're going to be able to instantly employ that improved technique at race speeds. So you need to work on gradually increasing your stroke rate while maintaining your improved technique.

I think you may find that use of a Tempo Trainer can be a big help to you in doing this. First find the stroke rate at which you can currently maintain your best technique, then over a period of weeks increase that stroke rate. The TT will act like a metronome does in music, allowing you to make sure you are actually increasing your pace. If you can increase your stroke rate while maintaining the same stroke count (i.e., # of strokes per pool length), then you will by definition have increased your swimming speed (and, ultimately, your fitness).


Bob
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Old 12-10-2017
sclim sclim is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CoachBobM View Post
Swimming and playing a musical instrument are both activities that require a great deal of skill and where speed of execution is also very important. A practice technique that musicians have been using for centuries is:

- Slow it down to a speed where you can do it correctly.

- Gradually speed it up, while still doing it correctly, until you reach the speed at which it needs to be done.

The same principle applies to swimming. You say that you've spent a lot of time "perfecting form, etc." But it's unlikely that you're going to be able to instantly employ that improved technique at race speeds. So you need to work on gradually increasing your stroke rate while maintaining your improved technique.

I think you may find that use of a Tempo Trainer can be a big help to you in doing this. First find the stroke rate at which you can currently maintain your best technique, then over a period of weeks increase that stroke rate. The TT will act like a metronome does in music, allowing you to make sure you are actually increasing your pace. If you can increase your stroke rate while maintaining the same stroke count (i.e., # of strokes per pool length), then you will by definition have increased your swimming speed (and, ultimately, your fitness).


Bob
Hmmm, I'm a musician too, and see the similarity in the problems. Right now I'm struggling to get stroke efficiency and the movements required to get everything balanced and coordinated just right seem overwhelming. I seem to be stuck at TT of 1.40 sec for ever, but I finally seem to be getting it. One problem I had was I just didn't seem to have the small muscles in the shoulder well enough developed to be able to properly execute the high elbow position and hold it through the stroke. The muscles started to hurt when finally I started to get it, and now they ache less, so I'm seeing this as an encouraging sign.

But the difference from music is that as you speed up the tempo, the only limitation comes from your innate limitation of brain processing speed, which can improve continuously with practice.

In swimming there is also the physics, that is, the fact of drag being the cube of velocity. But maybe I'm overlooking other advantages of speed. I'm slow enough now that keeping the legs up is a struggle. At higher swim speeds there would be some planing effect that would help keep the leg up, right?
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  #5  
Old 12-10-2017
WFEGb WFEGb is offline
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Hello Sclim, hello Bob,

think the correlation between swimming and playing or singing music is not a linear one. The principle of Kaizen-spiral of improvement seem to fit a little bit better to both.

Faster swimming is not just moving faster. Many adaptation to more speed has to take place. (FE angle of rotation, depth of spear, point of mailslot... ). And the more you slow down your SR the more the drills become balance exercises.

Similar (only) in music. As long as you are playing your instrument note for note they have to become connected to become a melody. If your playing a melody, no matter in what pace, you have to put much work into to get it to what might be called music. (FE phrasing, emphasizing, dynamic ranges, breathing(!) and feeling... ). And as Celibidache showed the music's world: Even or especially in slow tempos you do need extremely precision (and balance(!)) to let it become music...

BTW Sclim be very careful with your rotator cuff blasted through EVF. A look in Terry's 2.0 Mastery lesson 1 and lesson 4 might be helpful (not only with EVF or HEC...).

Best regards,
Werner
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  #6  
Old 12-10-2017
Danny Danny is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by WFEGb View Post
Similar (only) in music. As long as you are playing your instrument note for note they have to become connected to become a melody. If your playing a melody, no matter in what pace, you have to put much work into to get it to what might be called music. (FE phrasing, emphasizing, dynamic ranges, breathing(!) and feeling... ). And as Celibidache showed the music's world: Even or especially in slow tempos you do need extremely precision (and balance(!)) to let it become music...

Werner
Hi Werner, this comment caught my attention. I believe the difference between music and notes is how we listeners perceive it. Because of the focus points you mention above, the individual notes are joined together in a common cause. In a similar manner, swimming can definitely be thought of as an art form, and Shinji is perhaps the most famous swimmer to realize this. There are elite swimmers who swim in an ugly fashion, even though they are fast, and one of the biggest selling points of TI is to teach people how to swim beautifully. There is, of course, the debate as to whether ugly swimming could be made faster by making it more beautiful too, a question that can never really be resolved, but it pays sometimes to keep the distinction between speed and beauty in mind. Not just in music, but also in swimming.
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  #7  
Old 12-10-2017
Tom Pamperin Tom Pamperin is offline
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Thanks for the comments so far--interesting to hear different thoughts. I'd be also interested to hear more practical, less philosophical/conceptual comments.

I'm a strong believer in TI's approach to technique, and I agree about the necessity of some work with a TT at some point. I also find USRPT sets rewarding--both in the satisfaction of doing them, but also in getting faster and fitter.

So, along with technique, I want to challenge my body to work more aerobically/anaerobically--i.e. train with more intensity--with an eye toward becoming not just a "better" swimmer, but a FASTER swimmer as well. NOT at the cost of good technique--e.g. for my current USRPT set I am finding great success in prioritizing SPL of 15-16. While SPL isn't everything, and isn't a goal in itself, I find it a useful indicator, kind of a "summary" of form.

So, to steer back to the original question:

Does anyone have any thoughts specifically on frequency and intensity of training? How much to do, and when?

It's interesting to see the first responses here seem dogmatically TI in nature--understandable, but you're preaching to the choir!

I'm more interested as a next step in my TI progression, to work out how I can/should incorporate more intensity, keeping in mind the end goal of becoming faster. The suggestion of a TT was a good specific idea. Any others?

Thanks!
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  #8  
Old 12-10-2017
WFEGb WFEGb is offline
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Hello Tom,

please excuse for distracting your thread.

To put in an at least a tiny hint regarding your intention (hopefully), I think it's worth to take a look into Mat's Blogs about the Zone of Discomfort collected in this link.

And did you aside your USRPT-work give Suzanne's course "Fast Forward" or Mat's "1-k Masterclass" a try? I think with some tiny adaptation work they are just addressing what you like to get over a 10-12 weeks run: Times, numbers, FPs, test-swims...

Best regards,
Werner

Last edited by WFEGb : 12-10-2017 at 05:01 PM. Reason: Correction
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  #9  
Old 12-10-2017
sclim sclim is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tom Pamperin View Post
Thanks for the comments so far--interesting to hear different thoughts. I'd be also interested to hear more practical, less philosophical/conceptual comments.

I'm a strong believer in TI's approach to technique, and I agree about the necessity of some work with a TT at some point. I also find USRPT sets rewarding--both in the satisfaction of doing them, but also in getting faster and fitter.

So, along with technique, I want to challenge my body to work more aerobically/anaerobically--i.e. train with more intensity--with an eye toward becoming not just a "better" swimmer, but a FASTER swimmer as well. NOT at the cost of good technique--e.g. for my current USRPT set I am finding great success in prioritizing SPL of 15-16. While SPL isn't everything, and isn't a goal in itself, I find it a useful indicator, kind of a "summary" of form.

So, to steer back to the original question:

Does anyone have any thoughts specifically on frequency and intensity of training? How much to do, and when?

It's interesting to see the first responses here seem dogmatically TI in nature--understandable, but you're preaching to the choir!

I'm more interested as a next step in my TI progression, to work out how I can/should incorporate more intensity, keeping in mind the end goal of becoming faster. The suggestion of a TT was a good specific idea. Any others?

Thanks!
Well, whether it's exclusively a TI idea or not, it seems axiomatic that if you learn a streamline and balance skill that you can sustain throughout the distraction and pain you experience as you venture into more stressful, powerful and faster execution, you'll be faster (and more efficient) than you would be without thouse subtle skills.

It always annoys me to see "outsiders" i.e. non TI experts dissing TI, usually on the basis of observing the slower end of the TI spectrum -- the beginners who have not got around to getting faster yet (I'm in that group!) and those who rejoice in the flow of beautiful swimming and are not interested in getting any faster. These experts miss the point that those slow people are still faster than they ever would have been without TI, and many of them would not even be swimming at all without TI.

And not to detract from their various specific valid power and speed related advice, superimposing these additional techniques on established TI efficiency principles can only lead to a win-win situation, i.e. power plus efficiency. But they often don't get the efficiency idea, maybe because they learned those skills somehow themselves automatically and they assume everyone else automatically gets it, or maybe they are unaware of the little inefficiencies that still exist in their own strokes, inefficiencies that, if eliminated would speed them up with no extra muscular effort, but perhaps requiring a major major amount of mental attitude adjustment.
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  #10  
Old 12-10-2017
sclim sclim is offline
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Wow, Tom, I just realize that I need a major shift in attitude.

I keep complaining that I'm slow despite putting in a lot of work (mostly trying still to tune balance). I swim 2-3 times a week, and although I personally find it very hard and intimidating, it is not impossible to do, and I probably quit too soon.

However, in an activity I feel confident in, I am willing to challenge my body and cardio-pulmonary system. Today it is unseasonably warm in Calgary, 12 degrees C and sunny, and I went for my regular weekly 15k run around the reservoir with a fast running buddy. Icy patches restricted our intensity for the first 5k, but we stretched out the pace for the last 10k, which we did at a sub 5min/k pace, ramping up quite a bit in the last 2k. My HR was over 160 for most of this portion and 170 at the end, not bad for mid winter off season..

My point is that I sag in fatigue if my swimming HR gets to 140. Why? It's gotta be mental. And I bet I'd improve a lot faster if I put in 5-6 days a week like you do @ 1.5-2.5k a session. And I can't say my body can't handle it, right?
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