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Old 05-24-2010
sasquatch sasquatch is offline
Join Date: Jan 2009
Location: South Jordan, Utah
Posts: 62
Default my problem exactly

After purchasing the tempo trainer I got very comfortable with my 15-16 SPL on 1.2 sec/stroke, and used that for almost all of my swimming last summer. I think I was a little too narrowly focussed on a 10k swim in August, and a goal time I'd set for myself. I did well with the swim, but since it was my first timed open water swim I didn't know to leave any wiggle room in my tempo to make up for going off-course, feeding, wind, waves, rain, hail and snow (it was an interesting day). I know my tempo varied during the race, but back in the pool swimming at a tempo even a little faster than 1.20 sec/stroke felt very rushed and inefficient.

I have the same personal goal time for the race this year, but have been using the tempo trainer on shorter sets in an attempt to build a little more sustainable speed, and get comfortable swimming at a faster tempo. I have followed some of Terry's (and others) workout ideas in the pool and been very pleased with the results.

Back to one of ewa's original questions though: There are some great ideas here on using the TT in the pool, but does anyone have any suggestions for continuing improvement with the TT in open water? I'm hoping we had our last snowstorm today and that the lakes will warm up enough soon so I can get out of the chlorine soon and would welcome any ideas.
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Old 05-24-2010
AWP AWP is offline
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Join Date: Nov 2008
Posts: 575

Originally Posted by sasquatch View Post
Back to one of ewa's original questions though: There are some great ideas here on using the TT in the pool, but does anyone have any suggestions for continuing improvement with the TT in open water?

I'm itching myself to get back in and plan on Wednesday, rain or shine!
As for the TT, my last time w/ TT in OW was approx. 3wks ago. I had planned on a 'upside down' pyramid; that is I would slow down the tempo and then build it back up.
I'd planned on putting it under my caps, right near my temple so that it would be easy to touch and change. I practiced the movement of touching and changing the TT repeatedly with my left hand so that I'd at least be somewhat smooth about it in OW. Unfortunately there is no easy way about it that I'm aware of at the moment.
My plan was simple. I would set the TT at what I felt would be a somewhat quick pace to start (1.10) to get acclimated to the water temps (at the time I believe 57F). From there I would count 100 strokes before changing setting, slowing by .01 (1.11). I did this from 1.10-1.12, then counted approx. 200 strokes before slowing again, from 1.12-1.14. How did I manage to count all those strokes? Well, it didn't really matter if I was accurate, the sense of time I wanted to spend on each setting was there.
When I reached what I had hoped was 1.14 on the TT I stopped and turned back still on 1.14. This time I would 'reverse' the stroke counting starting with 100 strokes before increasing the tempo and so on. This left me spending more time at the quicker tempos and finishing stronger, or so I hope.
I carried a smile when I paused near shore at the end of my practice and removed the TT from under my caps to find it beeping at 1.10. I decided to swim another 50 strokes down and back to end my swim.

The 1.10 to start worked out fine btw but the tempo was initially a bit slow. I've found I can 'naturally' increase my SR in OW where in the pool it takes a keener sense of concentration or so it seems. However the 1.10 setting helped me settle into my stroke rhythm.

Hope some of this is of interest/help to you and I will certainly look to continue and expand on this sort of practice in OW while oting any insights I may be able to share w/all.
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Old 05-25-2010
terry terry is offline
Head Coach
Join Date: Apr 2008
Posts: 2,305
terry has disabled reputation

Originally Posted by AWP View Post
I did note that the more relaxed I could swim, a feeling of conceding to the water, esp. when fatigue crept up, the better I was at holding my spl and form. The more tense even if I was focused intently, I'd almost always add a stroke.
This is wonderfully evocative of an "organic and opportunistic" thought process that I feel is the ideal way to approach virtually any effort at improving your swimming. So much of traditional/conventional swim training - as advocated in books and magazines or practiced at your local pool by Masters and youth teams and lap swimmers - is based on arbitrary, and often rigid formulas. X # of repeats, of Y distance at Z pace or HR. (Incidentally, these formulas came from research conducted on treadmills and exercycles, not swimming yet retain the veneer of being "scientific.")

People follow these formulas uncritically, mainly because it's what everyone else - particularly those in the know - seems to be doing. It's like buying IBM equipment used to be in business. You're immune from criticism if you do.

In Alan's example, and virtually every practice set shared on this forum - whether the goal of the task is to improve efficiency or pace - TI Swimmers have pursued a distinctively thoughtful and adaptable process. Most often this means starting with a "discovery" swim or set intended to reveal what your mind and body are ready for at this moment in time. Then think of a way to pursue, measure and evaluate improvement on the baseline, adjusting approach and strategy based on your experience as you go.

This could mean shortening or lengthening the repeats, or the rest interval, or the tempo. It could mean doing one repeat again because you sense some "slack" in how you performed it - though your plan might have called for something different. It could mean making a choice to swim the same pace repeatedly, rather than seek a faster one -- but create that pace with fewer strokes, or a more leisurely tempo.
Or it could mean seeking to improve that pace - with no increase in exertion - by shortening repeat distance or increasing recovery interval. And recognizing that the enhanced pace resulted from completing the distance with fewer, more effective, strokes.

And afterward taking satisfaction in the knowledge that you just improved your neural program or circuit with the electrical signals that traversed between brain and muscles on each stroke.

You are collectively creating the future of improvement-minded swim training.
Terry Laughlin
Head Coach & Chief Executive Optimist

May your laps be as happy as mine.

My TI Story

Last edited by terry : 05-25-2010 at 12:38 PM.
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