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  #31  
Old 08-11-2011
AWP AWP is offline
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As luck would have it I had a similar practice this morning as well.
I followed suit in Terry's endeavor to 'find' harmony in practice and performance (after an ill prepared swim in the same event which invigorated my focus and motivation).

Wednesday August 10 @ 30 yard outdoor pool
Set 1
Pyramid 2400
Goal was to maintain or better spl as I proceeded with the same tempo and distance increased, then as distance decreased and tempo increased. Tempo began @ 1.09
4x30 1.09
4x60 1.09
4x90 1.09
4x120 1.09
4x120 1.08
4x90 1.07
4x60 1.06
4x30 1.05

As tempo remained constant in the first half I managed to stay within and better spl at times; within 10%.
As tempo increased I gained a better sense of ease and was able to better spl even as tempo increased.
I continued with the increase in tempo and repeated part of the process.
Set 2
2x120 @ 1.03
2x90 @ 1.02
2x60 @ 1.01
2x30 @ 1.00
Still the focus was on maintaining spl, at times 10% better at times 10% worse.
5x30 @ .99
@ .98
@ .97
@ .96
@ .95

I wanted to leave the pool with easy feeling at these tempos and effort. At each pause between sets/repeats, the tempo increase in fact became easier allowing for a better focus on execution thus hold on water and overall 'feel'.
Overall I felt successful in my return to tempo work and left with a feeling of being "back in class".
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  #32  
Old 08-18-2011
terry terry is offline
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Default Repost from another thread

I'm reposting this from the thread Need Advice about Tempo Trainers on the Freestyle conference:

Originally Posted by Alex-SG
I have the feeling that below SR=1.2 it is more difficult to stay coordinated and it will take a lot more time if I ever try. ALEX

I'm pretty convinced your nervous system/brain can adapt to nearly anything if you give it time. The most exciting insight I've gained from TT practice is how marvelously plastic/adaptable neurons are.

I had an interesting experience in the last two days. On Tuesday I swam 2400 yards in Lake Minnewaska, doing 6 x 400 at a series of descending tempos - 1.00, 0.98, .96, .94, .92, .90.

I had planned to do only 5 x 400, finishing at .92, but it still felt pretty quiet, smooth and not rushed. So I decided to do a Sun Yang 400 (he swam his 1500m world record at .90) to finish. It's quite striking how leisurely he made that look. When it's YOU swimming at .90 it feels REALLY brisk.

And yet it was exhilarating. I felt like I was just flying. So I determined that I'd do at least 200 yds @ .90 in all my subsequent lake swims. Yesterday I took a client up to the lake and spent about 40 minutes swimming with her at a 1.50 tempo. When she decided to take a rest break, I said "While you rest I'll show you Sun Yang's tempo." (She's from Taiwan.)

I reset TT to .90 and took off. No matter what I did I could not keep up with that tempo. About 20 hrs earlier I'd matched it easily. But that was after working gradually down from 1.0.
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  #33  
Old 08-19-2011
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Default 15 sec faster for 200 at same tempo

Now that my two National Masters Open Water Championship races are past (I was 1st in 5k on Aug 6 and 2nd in 2-Mile Cable on Aug 13) with a few more casual races still to come, I'll practice less in the 50m Ulster County Pool and more in Lake Minnewaska. But I'll still use the Tempo Trainer, somewhat differently.

On Tuesday I swam 6 x 400s, increasing tempo steadily from 1.00 to .90. My focus was mainly on maintaining a feeling of relaxed, leisurely stroking, with a no-slip catch, even as the tempo became quite brisk. As always I was really struck by how quickly the brain and nervous system adapt to a well-designed task with a strong feedback loop.

On Thursday I swam 16 x 200, doing what I call an 'Asymmetric Tempo Pyramid. That means I gradually slow tempo by larger increments, then increase it again by smaller increments. As I slow tempo, I'm trying to increase Stroke Length or efficiency. I measure by counting strokes. Then I try to maintain the improved efficiency - i.e. be very stingy about giving back the strokes i've saved -- as I increase tempo again.

To quickly summarize: My first 200 at a tempo of 1.10 took 173 strokes (Some might wonder "How do you keep track of a stroke count that high?" The answer: Lots of practice.) I then slowed tempo by .05 each 200, intending to keep slowing it until I could cover the length of the cable in 150 strokes. That happened at 1.30. Then I began increasing tempo with a goal of keeping stroke count under 160 all the way back to a 1.10 tempo. When I got back to 1.10 I was at 159 strokes.
Here's the math:
173 strokes @ 1.10 sec/stroke = 3 min 10 sec.
150 strokes @ 1.30 sec/stroke = 3 min 15 sec (and massively easier than the 3:10 I started with)
159 strokes @ 1.10 sec/stroke = 2 min 55 sec.

So I swam 15 sec faster for 200 at the same tempo after my Asymmetric Tempo Pyramid.
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  #34  
Old 08-19-2011
ynotcat ynotcat is offline
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"Then I began increasing tempo with a goal of keeping stroke count under 160 all the way back to a 1.10 tempo."

What were the TT tempo increments you used while you were increasing the tempo?
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  #35  
Old 08-19-2011
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I'll have to give this a try in OW, been a while and I sense the use of the TT may be 'extra' beneficial in the OW.

I'll share my practice from the other day.(Yet another coincidence?)

Wednesday 30 yard outdoor pool @ Creek
'5' x 400 (480) so really 6x400 as
2x 400 (2x 480)
2x 200 (2x 240)
4x 100 (4x 120)
8x 50 (8x 60)

TT settings:
1.08/ 1.10
1.09/ 1.08
1.07/ 1.06/ 1.05/ 1.04
On 60s 2 @ 1.03 down to 1.00

As with Terry's example, I sought to stay intuned with the tempos and feel as if time was slowing between strokes while trying to gain more ground and capture some 'effortless' speed. Successful to a point, and although my marked times stopped improving my overall pace. did
This is a tough nut to crack yet sense with enough consistency can be accomplished with greater ease.

Last edited by AWP : 08-19-2011 at 07:57 PM.
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  #36  
Old 08-21-2011
terry terry is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ynotcat View Post
"Then I began increasing tempo with a goal of keeping stroke count under 160 all the way back to a 1.10 tempo."

What were the TT tempo increments you used while you were increasing the tempo?
.03 per 200 from 1.30 to 1.18, then .02 increments thru 1.16, 1.14, 1.12, 1.10.

How do I decide how large a change to make. Mostly experience, but during the set I adjust by feel. In this case, when I got to 1.18, I felt I'd have better control of SL. I also wanted to do nother 4 x 200 in the set.
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  #37  
Old 08-21-2011
terry terry is offline
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Default Back to the Pool w/ Longer Repeats

My remaining open water races are longer than those I've swum so far this season. They're also somewhat less intense. In the last 5 weeks I've swum two 1-mile races and two National Masters championships at 2 miles and 5k. Next weekend I'll swim two races, 90 minutes apart at Lake George, a 2.5k followed by a 5k.
On Sept 11 I'll swim the 5k Gatorman at LaJolla Cove. On Sept 24 I'll swim the 10k Little Red Lighthouse in the Hudson (we'll pass under the GW Bridge.) Because these four races will average over 90 minutes duration I'll the next couple of weeks, I'll emphasize longer repeats at lower tempos and greater efficiency -- specifically trying to reduce my average SPL in the 50m pool from 41 to 39. Here's what I did this morning:

Sunday Aug 21 3600 LCM at Ulster County Pool
Tuneup
6 x 100 @ 1.10 tempo. Try to reduce SPL progressively.
I started at 85 strokes for 100m and finished at 80.

An interesting insight I've gotten from tuneup swims this summer is how much easier it is to subtract substantial time while maintaining constant SPL, than while maintaining constant Tempo.
I've done several sets this year in which I subtracted (or descended by) 15 or 16 seconds on 100 yd or meter repeats without increasing stroke count. To swim faster on the same SPL means I must increase tempo. (Even though I'm not trying to. I'm simply trying to 'find' more speed as artfully--not physically--as possible.) But when I keep Tempo constant instead, I can only get faster by increasing Stroke Length (I.E. subtracting strokes.) In today's set, I felt exceptionally pleased to be able to subtract 5 strokes. Yet that improved my 100m pace by only 5.5 seconds -- about a third of the change I can effect by increasing Stroke Rate or Tempo.

What does this mean? That Stroke Rate is far more 'plastic' than Stroke Length. Which is more of a useful moment of clarity than a startling insight.

Worthwhile Experiment: Try both. Do a series of 50y/m or 100y/m repeats, maintaining stroke count. How much can you descend without adding strokes?
Another day, repeat the same series, but keeping Tempo constant instead. How much can you descend now? I'll post this in its own thread, inviting people to post their findings. I also suggest you do this thread at different tempos. I did it today at 1.10. I'll try again at 1.15, 1.20 and perhaps 1.25 and see whether a slower tempo allows a larger improvement in time.

Set #2 4 x 150 @1.15 Try to average fewer than 40SPL.
My goal here was to swim farther yet increase stroke efficiency. To do so I felt I needed a slower tempo. How much slower? I guessed .05 sec would be sufficient. I averaged 39 SPL so my guess was good.

Set #3 4 x 500 Goal: Try to keep SPL average below 39 while gradually increasing tempo.
I started at 1.18 and increased tempo by .01 each 500, so tempo profile was 1.18-1.17-1.16-1.15. And I did keep SPL average below 40, though it took really intense focus @ 1.16 and 1.15. At 1.15 I also needed to increase forearm pressure and put a bit more 'oomph' in my weight shift to keep crossing the pool in fewer than 40 strokes.

The primary value of the last 500 was in forcing me to add hip power and forearm pressure with great care because it's so easy to increase turbulence instead of propulsion. Counting strokes keeps me numerically aware (i.e. if SPL goes from 39 to 41 I'm moving water, instead of myself), but the more critical awareness is what I feel -- being able to distinguish by sensation when I'm disturbing water molecules, rather than propelling myself forward. I know this awareness will be extremely valuable in races (and of course future sets.)
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Last edited by terry : 08-21-2011 at 10:58 PM.
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  #38  
Old 08-22-2011
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Default 'Test Run' for a longer go

In lieu of OW, I'm starting to acclimate to longer pool repeat sessions; so long as my heels can manage.
I'm after maintaining/managing and improving pace/energy as distance stays long or increases, eventually hoping to improve my "DiSCO", gradually and ideally at will. My "Different Swim-Combination Optimums" ( spl as distance holds/changes, tempos as distance holds/changes, sr as... etc.) clearly work well at shorter distance repeats, even if the entire practice set is consistent with longer yardage, but I'd like to increase the distances or duration during my experiments even if the entire practice set holds less yardage.
I sense this may help carry me to a 'new' level if repeated with more frequency and of course consistency. Effort levels I'm thinking would need to vary and the use of the TT even more important in the process, perhaps used more subtly or with smaller increments maybe requiring even more patience (?) Likewise should the distance increases be as subtle?
What do you think?

In today's practice I slowed tempo while trying to hold or improve on stroke length and pace, noted time changes.

Monday August 22 30 yard Outdoor pool @ Creek
5x 600 freestyle with TT (Yards @ tempo (time))
600 tune-up
600 @ 1.10 (10:15)
600 @ 1.12 (9:57)
600 @ 1.13 (9:57)
600 @ 1.14 (9:59)

I chose 'slower' tempos so as to better hone my sense of leisure yet tried to maintain a long feeling while developing a good grip on the water.
I'll choose even slower tempos next and lessen the distance until I can use DiSCO to improve my metrics further then continue the 'climb'.
Although a pretty pedestrian pace I did manage to maintain pace without increasing spl as tempo slowed, even bettering the count as I went. I can say repeats #4 and #5 were done quite easily. My hope of course was that I'd at least descend my times the easier it felt. I'll have to work on smoother turns as well which I believe play an integral part; I missed several clean ones.

I will try Terry's suggested "test" set (posted on his latest blog) to find where I am and "what is", join me!

Best,
Alan
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  #39  
Old 08-23-2011
terry terry is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AWP View Post
"DiSCO", "Different Swim-Combination Optimums" ( spl as distance holds/changes, tempos as distance holds/changes, sr as... etc.)
Love - and will use -- that acronym.

Quote:
Monday August 22 30 yard Outdoor pool @ Creek
5x 600 freestyle with TT (Yards @ tempo (time))
600 tune-up
600 @ 1.10 (10:15)
600 @ 1.12 (9:57)
600 @ 1.13 (9:57)
600 @ 1.14 (9:59)
Any time you can slow tempo and see time remain consistent or improve you're doing great. The 18 second improvement as you slowed from 1.10 to 1.12 is especially impressive.

I've been thinking of a bunch of virtual contests we can have on the TI web site after we upgrade it to facilitate things like that. Speed Up While 'Slowing Down' will definitely be one.
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  #40  
Old 09-05-2011
terry terry is offline
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Default Best Practice of Summer 2011

I hadn't done a practice in the 50m Ulster County Pool in a couple of weeks, swimming in Lake Awosting and Minnewaska in the interim. On Tues, Thurs and Sat I swam with Willie Miller and we did some real intensive racing-type swims with each other. Having done that much intensive work in the past week I wasn't expecting much when I joined Willie for a practice at the UCP this morning. But I felt good and swam well from the beginning. Here's the practice
400 Tuneup Average 37 SPL. No tempo.
Main Set 6 x 400 Pyramid Style
I swam most of this at a tempo of 1.05 (see below where I took off the Tempo Trainer) striving to hold SPL as close as possible to my counts on short repeats, as they got longer.
8 x 50 - Held 41 SPL on 1-4 and 40 SPL on 5-9
4 x 100 - average 41 SPL and 1:34
2 x 200 - average 42 SPL 3:11 and 3:10
2 x 400 (sometimes you only do the longest repeat in the pyramid once then start back down; we decided to repeat it before starting back down because we felt we could swim better) #1 average 42+ SPL 6:27; #2 average 41+ SPL 6:18
2 x 200 #1 3:08 @ 41+ SPL; #2 (I removed Tempo Trainer here) 3:03 @ 40+ SPL.
4 x 100 1:29-1:29-1:20-1:28 Average 41+ SPL but best count on #4.
8 x 50. Willie and I just raced. No times, SPL was 43. I was right on the edge of becoming ragged, but never crossed the line.
400 Cooldown @ 37-38 SPL
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