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  #1  
Old 03-03-2010
weinzwei weinzwei is offline
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Join Date: Nov 2008
Posts: 54
weinzwei
Default Working Hard For Speed

Hi everyone, i have a question regarding work and speed. I have been practcing TI for almost 2 years. TI is great. I have overcome many swimming issues, however i never seem to get any faster. I am starting to think that i am not swimming hard enough. What i mean is that if i practice cycling or running i train hard on some days and easy on others. In swimming i always seem to pull just as hard everyday. I never seem to work any harder. I see some good swimmers swim about 16-17 min 1500m and can't figure out if they are swimming hard(effort) or are swimming like i do very calmly and easy). If i try to swim hard i take a lot of strokes and don't seem to get much faster because i usually get tired before i have swam very far. I Understand streamlining , etc . but should i pull harder and have greater turnover. Right now i am slow and easy and have swam for up to an 1 hour and 1/2 non stop in open water. Never tiring. Should'nt i get tired? I get tired after a 3 hour moderate pace ride. or a 2 hour run. I recently observed Jodie Swallow swim. She swims an avg of 1:15 100 meters and avg 20+ strokes per 25M she can swim at this pace all day??? Thoughts on how to get faster.

Thanks,

Jon
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  #2  
Old 03-03-2010
CoachEricDeSanto CoachEricDeSanto is offline
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CoachEricDeSanto
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Jon,
I would not put your focus on harder. That causes inefficiencies to creep into your stroke. You will likely put more force on the water, but not by trying to.

Instead, get a tempo trainer. Do sets like:
25s descending 0.02 per 25 as far as you can without adding a stroke.
10x50 descend 0.02 per 50 again hold tempo when you have to increase stroke count.
3x200 descending
The set is less important than the mentality. Always work at the intensity that requires 100% mental focus to hold.

Then, in the portion of the set where you have to stop descending, turn your focus to holding that tempo and stroke count with as little effort as possible. For me, I often double my perceived effort during the descent, then reduce that effort to a 50% increase while holding tempo. I do work harder to go faster, but I also find ways to eliminate as much of that extra effort as possible.

Finally pay attention to your goals. If you are swimming just for a swim, then you can push a bit more because you don't have to function after the swim. If you are swimming for a triathlon, the ease takes a higher priority because the other events depend on it.
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  #3  
Old 03-04-2010
ewa.swimmer ewa.swimmer is offline
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Location: Ewa Beach or Kona Hawaii
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ewa.swimmer
Default

Running and Biking = 80% power + 20% technique
Swimming = 20% + 80% technique

For swimming most of your effort should go into technique You will get faster that way. Just ask all the young triathletes this pudgy 54 year old passes in ow races.
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  #4  
Old 03-04-2010
Edd78 Edd78 is offline
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Join Date: Jan 2010
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Edd78
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Just like you I have the desire to increase my swimming speed, so I recently purchased a Tempo Trainer (TT) and started on working on :
1) finding my comfort tempo
2) trying to reduce the tempo while maintaining my count stroke per 25s (requires a lot of focus as you move further away from your comfort tempo).

Check out Terry's blog he's got a lot of recent articles about TT pool sessions.

I had a breakthrough the other day doing unrelated sets with my TT. I was just trying to swim with a faster tempo than usual to see how I'd do and how long I would be able to sustain it.

As I started the 1.1 set (my comfort tempo is around 1.28) I was getting tired really fast and I thought I wouldn't last over 75m. I relaxed a little bit which helped me figure out I was using a lot of energy pushing away water with my arms (one of my hold habits, pre-TI training)
I thought it was stupid to try to increase speed with my arms when one of the first thing we learn in TI swimming is that propulsion comes from hip thrust and arm spearing.

So I tried to focus on just "holding onto" the water with my lead hand instead of pushing it back, and on snapping the wrist as my hand moved past my wasteline (something I had seen on the TI japan youtube movies). Instantly the level of energy I was using (rather wasting) dropped significantly. The snap was just terrific, because it felt like it was effortless and it increased momentum on my recovery arm. So while working on a "stamina drill" I had just learned how to increase my stroke speed without wasting away my energy through unefficient arm mouvement. I was able to swim over 200m pause less than a minute and follow with another 100m @ 1.0.

I'm just taking this example to say that when you swim harder you should try "feel" what is wrong when you waste more energy with no improvement in your speed (or worse your speed decreasing). Check everything out, is you head correctly aligned and underwater, how's your hand entry in the water, which part of your body is getting tired etc.
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  #5  
Old 03-04-2010
suelevin suelevin is offline
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Join Date: Dec 2009
Posts: 29
suelevin
Default Me Too! But Tempo Trainer Gets So-So Reviews??

Thanks for posting this--I've got the same issue. Since I've been TI'ing I feel smoother but **so** much slower. So frustrating. It's been maybe four weeks.

I want to get that tempo trainer but I've read repeatedy the thing breaks down really quickly and it's not cheap. Can anyone comment on that?

Thanks!

Sue
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  #6  
Old 03-04-2010
don h don h is offline
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Posts: 64
don h
Default finis tempo trainer breakdown

mine broke down yesterday, after over a year. it may only need a battery, but i'm not sure how to open it up. anyway, i ordered another one for about $35. it is very creative to work with, and well worth the money.

don h
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  #7  
Old 03-04-2010
weinzwei weinzwei is offline
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Posts: 54
weinzwei
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Thanks coach Eric, i have a tempo trainer i will try working withit some more. I found with the tempo trainer i could hold a faster tempo but my stroke rate increased significantly. And your right i did not seem to stay as patient with my lead arm because i was turning my arms over quicker. This leads me to the question about reducing dead spots in my stroke. I keep hearing that the more i glide the slower i will go because i am constantly deccelarating. Do you glide less to increase your speed? Thanks
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  #8  
Old 03-04-2010
weinzwei weinzwei is offline
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weinzwei
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Thanks i would agree to a point, when you are trying to win a race and you are 15 minutes behind the leader getting out of the water it is tough to make up that kind of time. I could run 6:30 min miles all day and never catch them. Same with the bike. Usually the leaders are just as good in the bike and run. So consequently i get beat pretty easily. It is very fustrating :)
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  #9  
Old 03-04-2010
weinzwei weinzwei is offline
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weinzwei
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Great advice, i will reveiw Terry's blog, and rethink some of your key points. Thanks
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  #10  
Old 03-05-2010
CoachEricDeSanto CoachEricDeSanto is offline
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Posts: 384
CoachEricDeSanto
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As for the durability of the tempo trainer, you have to be a bit careful. It comes with a goggle strap. I feel that is useless. I always tuck the trainer under my cap and don't use the google clip. I had a problem for a while with the trainers cracking. I realized that I had figured out how to click the buttons while under my cap. But I missed often enough that I would press on the face and crack it. As long as I take it out of my cap for the adjustments, I get over a year out of one.

As for the pause and speeding up tempo, it depends on a few things. I would argue that ideal would be to maintain the same ratio of glide, switch and recover at all tempos. In reality, almost everyone I have worked with speed up tempo by shortening the glide and speeding up the recovery more than the switch.

As I speed up tempo, I try to keep the lead elbow in place as long as possible. So my hand can slowly start settling into the catch, but my upper arms stays in skate. This is probably more intention than reality, but it allows me to hold a bit of a pause at tempos up to 0.7 or faster.
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