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  #1  
Old 06-28-2010
jeremy.manning jeremy.manning is offline
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jeremy.manning
Default next steps in getting faster

I've always struggled swimming and decided to follow TI in hopes of completing a sprint triathlon. After about 6 months of practice, I was able to achieve my goal and completed a 900m swim in open water without the use of a wetsuit and having no need to rest in sweetspot at any point of the race! Granted my time was just under 27 minutes, but I felt calm and relaxed throughout with no fear of drowning. Thanks goes out to the TI method for helping me complete something I never thought I could just one year ago!

Now that I know I can cover distances just like in running or biking, I would like to know how to systematically get faster race times. My current SPL is in the 24 strokes per 25 yards range. What should my first focus be? Decrease SPL to no more than 20? Work on stroke tempo? Something else? Thanks in advance!

- jeremy
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  #2  
Old 06-28-2010
CoachSuzanne CoachSuzanne is offline
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Jeremy,

Speed is going to be the product of stroke length times stroke rate. If you watch competitive swimmers, the ones who are the fastest typically take the fewest strokes per length. I just watched a replay of an NCAA meet with the men's mile swim. The winner, a young man from Michigan was in a lane next to a PSU swimmer. The MI swimmer ended up lapping the PSU swimmer with about 6-8 lengths to go, and took consistently fewer strokes. I was so impressed I recorded some of that race on my phone's video camera so i can watch his form at anytime.

24 strokes /25m seems fairly high to me. AT this point, increasing your stroke rate will lead to even more strokes per length.

Id suggest continuing to work on form to try to decrease your stroke count. How tall are you?

I'm 5'3" and when swimming at the upper end of my current speed (about a 1:40/100 pace for 500 yds) I'm taking 17-18spl near the end, 15-16 at the beginning. When I swim a more liesurely 1:45 or 1:50 pace for distacnes of 200-1000 meters, I can frequently hit 14 SPL.

If you are taller than me, I'd suggest trying to get your SPL into the 16-18 range before trying to add tempo. When you get there, we've got more ideas for you.

Post a video if you like.
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Suzanne Atkinson, MD
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USA Paralympic Triathlon Coach
Coach of 5 time USA Triathlon Triathlete of the Year, Kirsten Sass
Steel City Endurance, LTD
Fresh Freestyle

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  #3  
Old 06-29-2010
terry terry is offline
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Great advice from Suzanne. Jeremy, if it's not too personal, how tall are you? With that info, we can suggest a range of SPLs, that will take into account differing skill levels. We can also suggest how to use a Tempo Trainer specific to where you happen to be in the target SPL range.

E.G At my height of 6-0 my SPL range in a 25y pool is 13-16. That's the top level of efficiency, and therefore I can use the Tempo Trainer in higher frequencies, down to .9 sec/stroke. But if my SPL range was say, 16-19 I would be advised to avoid tempos above 1.3 sec/stroke until improving my SPLs.
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May your laps be as happy as mine.

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  #4  
Old 06-29-2010
westyswoods westyswoods is offline
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The above have been interesting post for me as I have committed to OWS this year and have discovered several points.
1. I do not get out of breath and breathing patterns are vastly improved in OW.
2. I seem to automatically switch to what ever pattern I need over the longer distances
when there is no stopping at pools end.
3. Flow and or efficiency is easier to maintain over the long distances. I can concentrate
on a single swim thought for a greater periods of time.
4. Wetsuit swimming is a very different dynamic for many different reasons.
5. My preference is definitely naked. So have been able to swim 75% without.
6. When swimming with WS shoulders tend to be very restricted and sore post.
7. As I posted before I am having a difficult time getting my head around the time factor
in OW. Last night after 30 minutes it head wise it felt like 60. QUESTION FOR ALL
DO OTHERS EXPERIENCE THIS AND HOW DO THEY BREAK IT? I still feel good
physically at this time.
8. Last Saturday I had video taping done, first pool swim in some time and the
tape was not pretty. My SPL increased to about 18, balance was uphill and catch
was all over with crossover, the only thing I can attribute this degradation to is the OWS
with lack of specific drills. So last night I spent time doing drills in OW.
9.To points of the previous post and speed, I need to start picking up my speed. As I see SR and
streamline are the keys to increase speed. Currently my time for one mile OW is around 40 mins
without a wetsuit. This is not fast by any stretch but for me it is a great achievement considering
when I am finished my legs feel good and I am not physically tired. I would like to get my times
to around 30-35 but need to work on tempo, while maintaining form.
10. Tempo is now very slow most likely around 1.7 to maybe 1.5. I attribute this to all of the time
spent drilling with swim thoughts in the pool. Tempo Trainer is not an option due to hearing
loss. For those who will suggest bone conduction my loss is the same in bone and air conduction.
I just saw my audiologist yesterday and was tested. We have been working for several months
developing a tempo trainer that will work and are getting close. When it is done I will let all
know for those who may need or be interested.

In closing after having read this post it most likely belongs in the OWS forum, I have no idea how to move it. If any administration desires to please do so.

Have a Great Day
Swim Well and Silent
Westy
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  #5  
Old 06-29-2010
KatieK KatieK is offline
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Location: Scottsdale, AZ, USA
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Quote:
Originally Posted by terry View Post
Great advice from Suzanne. Jeremy, if it's not too personal, how tall are you? With that info, we can suggest a range of SPLs, that will take into account differing skill levels. We can also suggest how to use a Tempo Trainer specific to where you happen to be in the target SPL range.

E.G At my height of 6-0 my SPL range in a 25y pool is 13-16. That's the top level of efficiency, and therefore I can use the Tempo Trainer in higher frequencies, down to .9 sec/stroke. But if my SPL range was say, 16-19 I would be advised to avoid tempos above 1.3 sec/stroke until improving my SPLs.
Is there a formula we can use as a guide for SPL target by height?
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  #6  
Old 06-29-2010
hagargolf hagargolf is offline
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Default Tempo Trainer advice

Quote:
Originally Posted by terry View Post
E.G At my height of 6-0 my SPL range in a 25y pool is 13-16. That's the top level of efficiency, and therefore I can use the Tempo Trainer in higher frequencies, down to .9 sec/stroke. But if my SPL range was say, 16-19 I would be advised to avoid tempos above 1.3 sec/stroke until improving my SPLs.
Going along with the question from Katie, is there a chart/formula/guidelines of tempo ranges that we should be working out in for a given SPL?

I just purchased a tempo trainer. I started TI back in January with no real previous swimming experience. I currently have an SPL of 20-21. I have been experimenting with different tempos over the past couple of weeks and found that I can maintain that SPL between tempo ranges of 1.6 down to 1.4. As soon as I go lower than 1.4 (1.35 – 1.25 range), my SPL increases to around 23. Do I keep working out within that 1.6 – 1.4 range and strive to continue to lower my SPL to say the 16-18 range? I am 6’-0” by the way. Any comments or advice would be greatly appreciated. Thanks!
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  #7  
Old 06-29-2010
atreides atreides is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by terry View Post
E.G At my height of 6-0 my SPL range in a 25y pool is 13-16. That's the top level of efficiency, and therefore I can use the Tempo Trainer in higher frequencies, down to .9 sec/stroke. But if my SPL range was say, 16-19 I would be advised to avoid tempos above 1.3 sec/stroke until improving my SPLs.
Terry,
I know you have done this before but could you go over the SPL methodolgy. When you push off of the wall, do you count the first pull or even the second both of which occur without recovery. I didn't count the first but if you don't count the first then it makes sense not to count the second. So if you start off with a left arm pull and don't count the first two pulls (left or right) , then does the count start on the entry of the left hand into water (one) followed by the right hand entry (two) and so on. I'm hoping you say that a stroke is on cycle (left and right counts as one) but I'm almost sure you are going to say a stroke is one hand entry.

The funny thing is that I observe a lot of swimmers, some of which I regard as having good form. But generally I see them churning along in this 25 meter pool and only rarely see anybody that I believe has a SPL of 15 or lower counted the way I think you will say it should be counted. It seems that lot of the swimmers on this blog swim at these low numbers. When I really try, I might hit 19 or 20 but realistically (even when I feel like I'm skimmming along the surface) its 22 or 23. I guess I have a lot of work to do. I'm 6'7" and now about 238 lbs. I taken off about 15 lbs and folks say I look skinny. I don't think I am but that what people say. I have long arms (38 sleeves) and fairly long legs (38 inseam). So what should my SPL be and where should I set my tempo timer (I just bought one). I do admit that I thought tempos above 1.2 to ridiculously long and favor the shorter ones which probably says loads about my predicament. Any insights are appreciated.
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  #8  
Old 06-30-2010
jeremy.manning jeremy.manning is offline
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Suzzane and Terry: I am 5'8" tall, not too personal of a question! As an update, I've been using the 6 week intermediate lesson e-book to guide me in getting up to the distance I was trying to swim last week. I finally got to lesson 16 last night and one of the drills really focused in on feeling different SPL. It was the 5 rounds of 2X50, where round one was normal to devleop a baseline (N=21 for me last night), round 2 was N-1, and round 3 was N-2, round 4 was N-1, then round 5 was back at N. This really helped me feel what it was like to lengthen my stroke to get to a lower SPL.

The main set also had me do 15X50 with :20 rest. I made it a point to stay within my SPL of 21 and I noticed two things: 1. My times were faster than they had been by around :10/50. 2. I definitely felt more fatigue in my muscles by the end of the set! Not sure if I am focusing on the wrong things, but I'll figure it out soon enough I believe.

Clarification question: I've been counting my SPL as one stroke per hand entry. I hope this is correct.

westyswoods: I too feel more at ease in open water, believe it or not. I agree that I too feel like constantly turning at the end of the lane interrupts my flow, but I don't really have a body of water to practice in on a normal basis! As for the time factor question, I feel the opposite. I feel like a 30 min OWS feels shorter than it actually was. Maybe it's because I have no reference points?
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  #9  
Old 07-03-2010
KatieK KatieK is offline
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Location: Scottsdale, AZ, USA
Posts: 295
KatieK
Default Tempo Trainer Substitute

Quote:
Originally Posted by westyswoods View Post
Tempo Trainer is not an option due to hearing
loss. For those who will suggest bone conduction my loss is the same in bone and air conduction.
I just saw my audiologist yesterday and was tested. We have been working for several months
developing a tempo trainer that will work and are getting close. When it is done I will let all
know for those who may need or be interested.
When I don't have my tempo trainer with me, I have a little trick for managing my pace. I have words that I repeat in my head to go with a particular tempo. For 1.2 it's Cruise--Cruise--Cruise. For 1.5, it's Slooow_Slooow_Slooow. For 1.1, it's Go-Go-Go. For anything faster than 1.1, I use Ba-Ba-Ba-Ba. Kind of silly, but it works for me.
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  #10  
Old 07-08-2010
splashingpat splashingpat is offline
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Join Date: Nov 2008
Posts: 589
splashingpat
Default Kind Of Silly.....hi Guys....katie Is Great!

Quote:
Originally Posted by KatieK View Post
When
I don't have my tempo trainer with me,
I have a little trick for managing my pace. I have words that I repeat in my head to go with a particular tempo.

For 1.2 it's Cruise--Cruise--Cruise.
For 1.5, it's Slooow_Slooow_Slooow.
For 1.1, it's Go-Go-Go. For anything faster
than 1.1, I use Ba-Ba-Ba-Ba.

Kind of silly,
but
it works for me.
I knew she was talented and great and
I knew she was going to be GREAT..BUT
I did n't have a clue one day ...

I would be swimming and
I would be discussing TI with her
I guess sometimes it's better to be lucky than good!

just silly old
dancin' laughin' and
once in a while just darn lucky,

Pat
hi guys and
hi KATIE ...i hope to that pleasure once again

Last edited by splashingpat : 07-08-2010 at 02:48 PM.
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