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  #1  
Old 12-19-2011
grandall grandall is offline
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Default Stroke focus on longer distant OW swims

All,

One of my goals is to practice being mindful of my stroke during longer swims. As I increase my swim distance in increments I try to keep focus of my stroke once I feel my mind wondering I stop then try refocus my thoughts on my swimming technique. It takes alot of patience and discipline but I feel this sharpens my senses in the water.

I would like to hear from you on how you prepare mentally and keep focused while your on a OW distant swim.

Terry- It would great to get your input as an example you could explain how you stayed focused during your 5 mile swim in NY this past year if I recall you came in first for your age group. Does it just come naturally to you to stroke well on long distance or do you need to stay focused at all times as well?

Appreciate your input
George
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Old 12-19-2011
andyinnorway andyinnorway is offline
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I think as a novice racer you can pre plan your focus points.

e.g. one mile race with lots of people

first 200m, focus on staying calm and not overdoing stroke rate

next 400m, Stroke length, balance, and rudiments of good technique

next 400m, pick up pace and Stroke rate

next 400m, run through check list of pitfalls. dropping feet, arm crossover, lifting head, over rotation.

last 200m, youve done it, enjoy the sprint in. feel the burn and adrenalin, try to gain some more places.


for longer distances e.g. 10K I havent tried myself but I would probably still have a segment plan, know when I was going to eat and drink, count a set number of strokes on each focus point, set number of strokes of breathing each side and also estimate how many repetitions of my focus cycles I expected to make so that I knew how far I was into the race and when to change SR etc.

Personally I would also make some of my repetitions in odd cycles to keep my brain active. e.g. swap focus point every 50 strokes and breathing every 70 just to give me some mental arithmetic to stay on top of.
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Old 12-21-2011
grandall grandall is offline
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Thanks Andy for your input..always good to hear different points of veiw.
Hopefully there will be more replies
George
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Old 01-02-2012
The Parrot The Parrot is offline
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Default Racing segments

Not many responses so may I give you my experience as a marathon runner and ultra-marathon runner in case it is of any interest and to see if that has any relevance? (I did represent my country a couple of times). I think my experiences are much in accord with Andy's.

I used to break my projected race time down into three segments. After pre-race warm-up of a mile or two, in the first third of the race I would stick religiously to my scheduled pace, ignoring those running quicker than me who I didn't recognize by using the philosophy 'I know what I can maintain, if they can go faster, ok, they are faster than me, if they are not, I will enjoy running past them when they disintegrate.' It is easy to get sucked into running too fast when feeling fresh but even 5 seconds a mile gained at this stage will cost perhaps 20 seconds a mile later in the race. In this segment I concentrated only on relaxed running using only the muscles needed to move me efficiently and for rhythmic breathing, unwinding everything else and flowing along the road with feet stroking the tarmac. I would also exchange some conversation and jokes with those running beside me.

The second segment was serious business, working past those who had misjudged their pace, trying to stay relaxed and in contact with the leading group without responding to bursts. Monitoring my physical condition, feet, breathing rate, hydration, pulse meter and so on. To help with this I would often focus on a particular piece of music which I had used to keep my breathing rhythm in long training runs and which I had 'engrained' on my mind. I sometimes thought this had a similar effect as the Om sound for Buddhists; not much talking now and not many jokes.


For the last third there is nothing for it but to gut it out. You are now running on the training you have done over the past weeks, months and years. In the last 4 miles the lights are going out as the legs make the primary demand for what oxygen is still available to metabolize fat as glycogen stores are emptied. Fingers are tingling, lips going blue with cardiac insufficiency and vision becomes tunnel-like as peripheral vision shuts down. But you can still hear perfectly well what is going on around you and in the crowd. At this point one is running with the mind and taking the body with you.

Although these segments give completely different experiences, if run right split times are usually remarkably consistent - sometimes even with a faster last third than first. Just forget the thought that tomorrow morning you will have to slide downstairs on your backside because you won't be able to bend your legs much for a couple of days.
Now I realize how useful it would have been to be able to swim TI which I couldn't then. It would have been a first class way to get the metabolic junk out of the legs more rapidly!

On re-reading this it sounds a bit like a chest-beating exercise but that was not the intention. Swimming seems to be very different at least at my level and I think Andy understands this sort of schedule pretty well. And because I have not been able to push myself as hard in swimming at least it means fewer injuries!

Martin T.
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Old 01-05-2012
CoachSuzanne CoachSuzanne is offline
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Martin's approach sounds similar to what Terry has written about in Outside the Box. George if you don't already have it, it's an excellent, excellent discussion of exactly what you are asking.
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  #6  
Old 01-05-2012
grandall grandall is offline
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Coach Suzanne,
Thanks I will check it out.
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