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  #1  
Old 05-19-2015
Tom Pamperin Tom Pamperin is offline
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Default Help With Open Water Metrics

Open water season has arrived in northern Wisconsin--which leaves me wondering how experienced OW swimmers handle measuring and recording performance.

In a pool, it's easy to account for: TIME (clock), SPL (count strokes), TEMPO (tempo trainer, or clock + SPL), PACE (clock), DISTANCE (# of lengths), and RPE (how hard does it feel).

What can/do/should be measured in an OW session? And how do you measure it?

How can you be sure to maintain SPL without walls? Or pace without a measured course?

Any ideas or suggestions would be greatly appreciated. I plan to ramp things up in the next few weeks until maybe 85% of my training is in open water, but I still want to retain as much control of these variables as possible, so I need some tricks to measure them.

Thanks!
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  #2  
Old 05-20-2015
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CoachStuartMcDougal CoachStuartMcDougal is offline
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Hi Tom,

There are a couple of ways, Garmin 920 does a pretty good job of tracking distance and stokes in open water. There is also the Finis GPS that attaches to goggles, but is only for distance. I use the tempo trainer setting #2 interval, using SPL and tempo to come up with the interval "beep", e.g 15 SPL x 1.05 tempo = 15.75 seconds. Setting #2 does not have fraction of a second so round up 16 seconds. If you count 15 strokes between beeps, you are on tempo and SPL from the pool. In the above case 15x1.05x5=1:19 100y pace. There is no GPS on the TT of course, no factor for current or drifting, but you know you are swimming at your (sustainable) pool pace, tempo and spl using a TT at setting #2 in OW

Stuart
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  #3  
Old 05-20-2015
s.sciame s.sciame is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CoachStuartMcDougal View Post
If you count 15 strokes between beeps, you are on tempo and SPL from the pool.
Hi Stuart,
you are on tempo but how can you say whether you
are in SPL to w/o knowing the distance you travel in
those 16s? You could take 15 shorter strokes in that
time, no?

Thx,
Salvo
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  #4  
Old 05-21-2015
Tom Pamperin Tom Pamperin is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by s.sciame View Post
Hi Stuart,
you are on tempo but how can you say whether you
are in SPL to w/o knowing the distance you travel in
those 16s? You could take 15 shorter strokes in that
time, no?

Thx,
Salvo
Salvo,

good point--that was what I was thinking, too.

And thanks, Stuart--you mentioned your setting #2 trick on another of my threads, so that's something I'm definitely going to be using (haven't tried it yet).

I probably will forego a GPS and make do with a Google Earth estimate of my usual open water training courses.
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Old 05-21-2015
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Quote:
Originally Posted by s.sciame View Post
Hi Stuart,
you are on tempo but how can you say whether you
are in SPL to w/o knowing the distance you travel in
those 16s? You could take 15 shorter strokes in that
time, no?

Thx,
Salvo
Hi Salvo,

Good question: The short answer "stroke length".

If I'm taking 15 strokes in 20yards at a tempo of 1:05 secs/stroke, my stroke length (at 1:05 tempo) = 1.33y or 4 ft in 16 secs. This assumes I'm swimming in open water at sustainable tempo of 1.05 secs/stroke or 57 SPM. But when you train with tempo, a swimmer will easily distinguish a 1:05 tempo, 1.15 tempo, .95 tempo without a tempo trainer. If I set the TT #2 to 20 secs, at a 1.05 secs/stroke tempo I should take 19 strokes in 20 secs. Distance traveled in 20 seconds is 19strokes x 1.33y ~ 25 yards. Mile pace (1760/25)*20secs = 23.5 mins. This is based on the familiar axiom Rate=Distance/Time or r=d/t

Stuart
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Old 05-21-2015
Tom Pamperin Tom Pamperin is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CoachStuartMcDougal View Post
Hi Salvo,

Good question: The short answer "stroke length".

If I'm taking 15 strokes in 20yards at a tempo of 1:05 secs/stroke, my stroke length (at 1:05 tempo) = 1.33y or 4 ft in 16 secs. This assumes I'm swimming in open water at sustainable tempo of 1.05 secs/stroke or 57 SPM. But when you train with tempo, a swimmer will easily distinguish a 1:05 tempo, 1.15 tempo, .95 tempo without a tempo trainer. If I set the TT #2 to 20 secs, at a 1.05 secs/stroke tempo I should take 19 strokes in 20 secs. Distance traveled in 20 seconds is 19strokes x 1.33y ~ 25 yards. Mile pace (1760/25)*20secs = 23.5 mins. This is based on the familiar axiom Rate=Distance/Time or r=d/t

Stuart
I think what Salvo and I are saying is that in open water using only a TT, there is no way to be sure what DPS you are actually swimming at. I may take 15 strokes in 20 seconds, but with no wall every 25m to establish SPL (and thus DPS), I can't be sure how far I've actually traveled with each stroke.

So in open water, I might swim 15 strokes in 20 seconds, but I won't know whether I've covered 25m, or less, or more.

I think I have trained enough with varying SPL's by feel that I will have a decent guess at what DPS I'm swimming when I try this in open water, but it will only be a guess, and not nearly as accurate as counting SPL in a pool over a known distance is.
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  #7  
Old 05-21-2015
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Hi Tom,

Yes of course and I hear you and Salvo are saying. There is no absolute way to track actual distance or stroke length using just a TT, but you may be surprised how close you may come. I have been able to predict my swimmers IM swim times to withing 30 seconds (they all used TT). Usually I come up with a prediction of their overall time +/- 2mins. I do factor some bumping at the start. buoy turns and drift (and how well and often they sight forward), currents are unknown but relative to all swimmers competing. But then again most IM swims are in a lake.

I have yet to cough up the cash for a Garmin 920 (I'm Scottish and suffer from short arms and deep pockets), but if ans when I do, I will compare results using both (Garmin and TT combined).

If there were a cable swim in a lake, then there really are no other factors to include (unless there's a lot of wind). If you honed your sustainable stroke length on a certain tempo in the pool, that swim should be slightly faster since there are no walls to turn and regain momentum every 25y or 50m.

Stuart
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  #8  
Old 05-22-2015
s.sciame s.sciame is offline
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I'm italian and have short arms too ;-)
Here is the cheap alternative to Garmin I used last
summer:

http://swimsafetydevice.com/

To track trajectory, time, speed etc I simply put my
smartphone (with a free app installed) in the bag.
It worked fine, could upload my tracking data on
Google maps.

And GPS tracking aside, the safety device is also a
very useful tool for all the reasons mentioned in
the link. I think it's a must when swimming alone.

Salvo
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  #9  
Old 05-22-2015
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Salvo! Great idea!! Why didn't I think of that. I use my iphone on bike and have one of those safety floats too. I'll give that a go (and satisfies my deep pocket syndrome :-) ). I find many who use the Garmin 920, take it of their wrist and attach to the back of goggles on their swim; garmin on the wrist often loses sat connection due to arm being below surface more than it's above.

Thanks for the tip!

Stuart
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  #10  
Old 06-09-2015
s.sciame s.sciame is offline
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Hi Stuart,

glad you liked the idea :) Just a little tip: last saturday at the lake I made a mistake. My phone lost the GPS signal (never happened in the past) because I inadvertently placed it under other stuff in the float (towel, t-shirt, sandals). So if you put other stuff in the float it's better to place the phone on top of the stack.

Good tracking!

Salvo

PS: it was the first ow swim of the season, after a long winter in the pool and it's been marvellous: sunny day, fresh water, breathing clean air (not chlorine), unplugged mode (no TT, no pace clock) and no walls, I love open water!
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