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  #1  
Old 06-03-2011
lmonson lmonson is offline
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lmonson
Default Feeling lost about how to train for speed

Hi All,

I'm feeling lost about what training plan I should follow to improve my speed. I've been trying various things (tempo trainer progressions, maintaining stroke counts while adding repetitions, etc.) -- all taken from from the eBooks (and books) available here.

It is all seeming to be to no avail as, after a year, I'm no faster than I was. I've had some private TI lessons (from certified coaches), and my technique seems good, yet I consistently swim a mile in about 45 minutes, making me one of the last ones out of the lake on any given triathlon, and making me the but of various jokes about TI being a slow way to swim. My time in the pool is the same.

I believe in the TI system, and I'm not looking for instant speed. I just want to know that the plan I am following leads properly in the direction of speed. I don't care if the plan requires patience and builds slowly -- I'd almost prefer that, actually -- I just want to know I'm following a proper plan.

Is there any "official" plan or progression used to build speed?

Thanks for any advice, and I'm eager to answer any questions :)
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  #2  
Old 06-04-2011
cycosuicide cycosuicide is offline
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I think one of the coaches or someone more experienced can give you a real detailed plan. However, I think your best bet is to use the Tempo Trainer. It totally changed the way I view training. Its like a metronome for swimmming. So you know, I am professional musician and I teach my students about getting faster and better at playing their instrument by using a metronome because it is what the pros do.

Buy yourself a tempo trainer, and search the forums on practice sessions on how to use it.
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  #3  
Old 06-04-2011
dshen dshen is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cycosuicide View Post
I think one of the coaches or someone more experienced can give you a real detailed plan. However, I think your best bet is to use the Tempo Trainer. It totally changed the way I view training. Its like a metronome for swimmming. So you know, I am professional musician and I teach my students about getting faster and better at playing their instrument by using a metronome because it is what the pros do.

Buy yourself a tempo trainer, and search the forums on practice sessions on how to use it.
I second cycosuicide. The tempo trainer is a great tool to help you measure progress from session to session. The other two attributes to measure and record are strokes per length and time to complete a distance.

These 3 in combination are probably the best way to achieve/measure consistency because without them, you really have no way to know what was the same from the last workout to the next. For swimming, it is too hard to measure power and other attributes usable in other sports.

I've been doing TI for the last two years and trust in the fact that as I improve, refine, and imprint better technique, I will get faster. There always seems to be something to work on, as evidenced by frequent coaching sessions with Shinji and TI Tune Ups with Dave Cameron.

I have a notebook and video cameras to record sessions and I can mark my progress and write down focal points which I need to work on. I'm a big believer in recording as much as possible. I always watch my videos after - it's enlightening to see if my technique really is as good as I thought it was - it often is not when I can look at it!

For example, I set up a Tempo/SPL Matrix for Goal Setting. In general, we can say that increasing our stroke rate will make us faster. But seeing technique breakdown when your stroke rate rises means that we are exerting way too much energy and losing efficiency (ie. less distance per stroke). By setting up the matrix and recording my various SPLs for 25y (or 50m) over time, I can see where there is an improvement at a given stroke rate, which is pretty much maintaining great form/technique over a wide range of tempos.

There are certainly workouts that can help you, some of which are sold as ebooks here on the TI site.

The other thing that has worked for me is to reduce the workout time in the pool (ie. stop going to Masters swimming) and just swim 800-1200y of just drilling. It is very hard to improve your technique when you tire yourself out. So just work on technique in quality sessions which are much shorter in total length of time.

But about 2 months before a race, I add one workout per week focused on maintaining efficient strokes at my target race tempo (ie. usually I try for 1.0s for a race) and that workout has longer lengths in it, like 100s, 200s or even longer. Here my goal in race prep is to be able to maintain higher tempos with perfect form for longer periods of time. I also train my neuromuscular system to get used to higher tempos so I can swim with less energy expended simply just to keep up with the beep.

I think Terry has said he has prepped for longer races doing sets of 200s, focusing on maintaining great technique at a given tempo. The total length of this workout tends towards 4000m. The other workouts during the week I keep at 800-1200, focusing on technique only but also at higher tempo rates for racing.

Without using/measuring/recording those 3 things: tempo with tempo trainer, SPL, time for a length or lap, I think it would be very difficult to truly know if you are improving, versus just *thinking* that you are improving.
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  #4  
Old 06-05-2011
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CoachKris CoachKris is offline
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Well something is clearly wrong, would love to see your video, ideally from the side underwater, I suspect that you have problems with holding water, but it is only my guess since I've never seen you swimming, but thats the only explanation that comes to me after reading your post. Tempo trainers are brilliant when it comes to building up speed, even if you will simply gently increase stroke ratio every set then within few weeks you should significantly speed up. If you've tried working with tt already and still didn't improved at all I believe that problems lyes in your technique.
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  #5  
Old 06-05-2011
lmonson lmonson is offline
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Thanks for the advice. I'll get some video and post it. I'm not sure where to post it -- on this forum or elsewhere?

In case you might have more advice, I have some data points though they are a bit scattered:

When doing tempo training (not counting strokes), I found only a pretty slow rate to feel natural -- about 1.8 to 1.6 max. Faster than that felt like my stroke was falling apart. I worked my way down to 1.3 over a few months, but it started to feel very strained, so I quit the tempo trainer and went solely to stroke counting (below)

When not using the trainer, but instead focusing on maintaining a stroke count over various distances, I consistently hit about 42 strokes for 50m (each arm = 1 stroke).

Endurance isn't my problem... just speed :)
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  #6  
Old 06-08-2011
lmonson lmonson is offline
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I created another thread with two short videos. Any feedback is greatly appreciated.

http://www.totalimmersion.net/forum/...ead.php?t=2405
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