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  #1  
Old 02-08-2016
CoachSuzanne CoachSuzanne is offline
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Default Suzanne's Performance Improvement Project (starting @ 800)

Some of you may know that I was involved in a car accident last March that left me unable to swim due to neck injury for 5-6 months, and swimming for rehab at total distances of anywhere from 300-800 depending on the day. Prior to last week I had done one swim of 1200 or so total and 1 practice totaling 1650 that took me a good hour to do.

Needless to say swimming for "improvement" has a new meaning for me. It's been over a year since I have used a tempo trainer for swimming or cared what my stroke counts are.

However last week I coached at our women's open water swim camp and while the week started rough I was thrilled with how well I improved over the week as far as resiliency from day to day and the high quality of my swim from a totally subjective perspective. By that I am referring to things like balance, core control, clean breathing all without neck pain.

So I felt ready to tackle an improvement project and am contemplating entering the spring USMS age group nationals in the 1000 or the mile or both.

I'll update tomorrow with what i chose for my first assessment set and ideas for upcoming practices.
__________________
Suzanne Atkinson, MD
Coach of 4 time USA Triathlon Triathlete of the Year, Kirsten Sass
Steel City Endurance, LTD
Fresh Freestyle

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  #2  
Old 02-08-2016
jenson1a jenson1a is offline
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CoachSuzanne

Was not aware of your accident and was wondering why there were so few posts from you. Hoping the best for you and your swimming. Also looking forward to your ideas on your upcoming practices. Most importantly, I wish you a speedy return to your swimming activities and hope for the best.

Sherry
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  #3  
Old 02-08-2016
WFEGb WFEGb is offline
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Hello Suzanne,

Sherry has been a little bit faster. Wish you a faster than expected and painless recovery in your swimming and in your forum work for us....

All the best,
Werner

Last edited by WFEGb : 02-08-2016 at 12:33 PM.
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  #4  
Old 02-08-2016
CoachSuzanne CoachSuzanne is offline
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Thanks for the encouragement folks!

My initial plan was to do a 1 mile improvement project. However Terry's sets of 3 x 550yd (or 3x 3 x 200) just sounded too intimidating to me right now.

I decided first on an 800yd improvement project of 4 x 200 as an assessment set, then decided I needed just a little push and opted for 5 x 200. In additiion, the spring SCY AG Nats meet does not have an 800yd event, only 500, 1000, 1650 for longer distances.

So it became a 1000yd improvement project.

This swim was based on entirely focal point assessment & collecting initial information. In reviewing Terry's recent projects he is starting out wiht an already good idea of his SPLs & Tempos but I had no clue what they might be. I didn't want to arbitrarily start with a tempo trainer setting since it would lock me in to a cadence and could cause strain as I got fatigued and I wanted to keep it as neck & shoulder friendly as possible. (strained shoulder muscles pull on my neck causing more symptoms related to the cervical injury).

I used a recent focal point progression from our coach 1.0 training: hand to the bumper, slide the hip forward along tracks, and shoulder just clears the water on rotation. My plan was a 10 minute freestyle warmup, but I started at a pace I couldn't sustain for 10 minutes so it became a 5 x 100 tuneup set. Notes below.

After that, main set was 5 x 200 with 20" rest. I needed to start at a gentle pace to be sure I could complete it, as I was not entirely sure that I could. Here is the set & my results. Notes follow.

5 x 200 Assessment Set, 25 SCY Olympic Swim & Health Club 02/07/16

Tuneup:
5 x 100 rotate through focal points above

Main Assessment:
5 x 200 (20") Focus: pacing to even or negative split the entire set. Choosing FP from tuneup to help awareness & attention.

Cooldown:
100 as BR, BK, BR, FR all easy.

Practice Notes
Tuneup Focal points by 100s:
1) bumper
2) low hip sends hand (opposite connection)
3) high hip slides along track (same side& felt best)
4) just enough shoulder out in rotation (led to increased Rate)
5) head stays stable in q3 breathing

Re #5 lost all connection to other FP, but entire set descended from 2:00 to 1:43

Main Set:
Negative split!
1) FP included tracks, head alt by 50s;
2) breathing patterns by 50s-q4, q3, q3, 2;
3) by 25s -eyes lead head rotation, tracks ;
4) progresses by50s bumper, low hip, high hip, head;
5) finally by 25s "light" (faster turnover) then 25 "long"

Last Interval 3:31

Time Dist Pace Stroke Cycles
3:36.3 200 1:48 80
3:35.3 200 1:48 84
3:36.3 200 1:48 81
3:35.3 200 1:48 85
3:31.1 200 1:46 92

Commentary
I was not counting strokes during this, just focusing on effort & focal points. I used my Garmin which is close, but not precise when tracking stroke count and tempo. It counts cycles since hte watch is only worn on 1 arm. But comaring to my tuneup set where I intermittently counted, an SPL range of 18-20 seems correct.

Likewise the Garmin's Tempo is not accurate as it does not account for pushoff distance/duration. I estimated my tempo as varying from 1.15 to 1.25 sec/stroke for the main set.

Next steps:
I plan to rotate through 3 approaches for my next 3 practices. This first was pace exploration with focal points. The next will be tempo exploration, and the 3rd type will be SPL exploration. I'll repeat the entire cycle once more for a total of 6 sessions, then repeat my assessment.

My next sessions will be:
#2 10 x 100 Tempo trainer pyramid starting at 1.15 up to 1.25 and back down
#3 5 x 4 x 50 SPL exploration by rounds of 5 (eg. 18s, 19s, 20s, possibly trying 17s and 21s). I may do these as 17+18, 18+19, 19+20, 20+21 & repeat. Bonus would be to negative split the whole set, but I'll be happy to descend each 50 within and repeat that 5 times.

#4 5 x 200
#5 2 x 5 x 100
#6 4 x 5 x 50

Each set will use progressively shorter distances with the goal by practices 4-6, to adapt to faster times/tempos while holding SPL.

I plan to allow 1-2 days between sessions, trying never to go more than 2 days off between swimming. This will allow for good recovery, other physical activities & doctors appointments as needed for followup. (Oh...and work...that kind of stuff).

Stay tuned!
__________________
Suzanne Atkinson, MD
Coach of 4 time USA Triathlon Triathlete of the Year, Kirsten Sass
Steel City Endurance, LTD
Fresh Freestyle


Last edited by CoachSuzanne : 02-08-2016 at 02:52 PM.
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  #5  
Old 02-08-2016
Grant Grant is offline
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Hi Suzanne: Just a quick ditto of the previous emails. Wonderful to have you back and happy healing.
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May we swim with ease at the speeds we choose.
Grant
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  #6  
Old 02-08-2016
CoachSuzanne CoachSuzanne is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Grant View Post
Hi Suzanne: Just a quick ditto of the previous emails. Wonderful to have you back and happy healing.
Thank you Grant, happy to be playing the game again and not sitting on the sidelines.
__________________
Suzanne Atkinson, MD
Coach of 4 time USA Triathlon Triathlete of the Year, Kirsten Sass
Steel City Endurance, LTD
Fresh Freestyle

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  #7  
Old 02-09-2016
jenson1a jenson1a is offline
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Coach Suzanne

Just a few questions regarding your practice (quoted here)

Practice Notes
Tuneup Focal points by 100s:
1) bumper
2) low hip sends hand (opposite connection)
3) high hip slides along track (same side& felt best)
4) just enough shoulder out in rotation (led to increased Rate)
5) head stays stable in q3 breathing

What is the bumper? Also in note 5 what do you mean q3 breathing?

Sherry
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  #8  
Old 02-09-2016
CoachSuzanne CoachSuzanne is offline
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Hi, bumper is the Bumper of the VW Beetle hood...have you heard that analogy before?
__________________
Suzanne Atkinson, MD
Coach of 4 time USA Triathlon Triathlete of the Year, Kirsten Sass
Steel City Endurance, LTD
Fresh Freestyle

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  #9  
Old 02-09-2016
Grant Grant is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jenson1a View Post
Coach Suzanne

Just a few questions regarding your practice
5) head stays stable in q3 breathing
Also in note 5 what do you mean q3 breathing?

Sherry
Hi Sherry
I think Suzanne slipped into Dr mode. My guess is that she means "breathing every third stroke" or "alternate breathing".
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May we swim with ease at the speeds we choose.
Grant
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  #10  
Old 02-09-2016
CoachSuzanne CoachSuzanne is offline
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Default Swim #2 - Tempo based data collectoin

Today was swim #2 in my my mini project, I still feel like I am collecting and triangulating data, especially as this set was not "fun", and felt stressful...I have eliminated a group of tempos that are not working for me right now.

Amazing how the body is always changing. 5 years ago these tempos would have felt fast, although times would not be much different and maybe a hair faster. it's interesting to me to see how strength vs finesse & flow play into the metrics.

10x100 Assessement Set using a tempo, 25SCY, JCC Squirrel Hill 02/09/2016

Tuneup 5 x 100 of breathing focuses & breathing drills

Main: 10 x 100 using tempo & collecting SPL (bonus for 11x 100)
1.15-1.17-1.19-1.21-1.23-1.20-1.17-1.14-1.11-1.08-1.05

CD: 25BR, 25elementary BK + 100 Easy free @ loose tempo (20spl)

Practice Notes:
tuneup focuses included
-nodding followed by breathing
-skate + nod drills (25SK, 25FR nod/breath right, 25FR nod/breath left, 25 FR breath q3)
-swing switch to nod/breath drills (same & opposite side), similar progression as above
-100FR with breathing focus by 25s: breath towards right arm, breath towards left arm, breath away from left arm, breath away from right arm
-Breathing by 25 q4, q3, q3, q2

This final one prepped me with a snappier tempo for the main set. In the future if starting with a faster tempo for the main set I'd do a mini task prior to continue the tuneup & warmup the faster twitch recovery muscles, but I'm still not confident i've got the fitness for more than a mile session ata time.

Main Set:
Nearly identical times throughout entire set of 1:42-1:43
Tempo did not fee fast to start with like I expected and quickly felt very slow. Effort quickly climbed as tempo dropped. I never quite got down to 16 spl although many of the 17s at the slower tempos were 16.5 strokes. I did all open turns, so counted +1 strokes if I glided into the turn.

Rest intervals ended up being about 1 minute including time to make notes & change the tempo trainer and get ready to go again.

the whole set until the final 2 @ 1.08 & 1.05 I felt stressed physically...not necessarily tired, but strained. I wasn't artifically trying to keep SPL down, just trying to not lose core control or alignment coming off the walls.

I did note that my left sided breathing, which is the trouble side now seems to be tied to my rotation to that side. I think I am under-rotating, which accounts for it being significantly more strain than the right side. I tried underrotating to the right side and sure enough, I felt similar strain there.

So...still learning, still gaining fitness, still collecting data.

My next practice will be SPL based in groups of 50s. After this swim, I think I'll try doing rounds of 4x50s of 17SPL, 18SPL, 19SPL & 20SPL for 5 sets total. maybe the middle set I'll try 17-18, 18-19, 19-20, 20-21. With that practice I will still just be swimming for one metric (not two) and paying attention to the focal points i've identified so far. And mostly trying not to hurt myself. My neck is a little tender after this swim.

So many intersting things to learn!

Last thing...total swim time for this minus rest is about 17:10
Total swim time for the initial 5 x 200 was about 17:56

I think I can even better on rounds of 50s without the tempo trainer "restriction" and further narrow down my swim.


Tempos SPLs/25 Effort
1.15 17-17-18-18 5/10
1.17 17-17-17-18 6/10
1.19 17-17-18-18 6/10
1.21 17-17-17-18 7/10
1.23 17-17-17-17 7/10
1.20 17-17-18-18 8/10
1.17 17-17-18-18 8/10 <--getting very tired and looking forward to faster tempos/less strain
1.14 18-18-18-18 7/10
1.11 18-18-18-19 7/10
1.08 19-19-19-20 7/10
1.05 20-20-20-20 6-7/10
__________________
Suzanne Atkinson, MD
Coach of 4 time USA Triathlon Triathlete of the Year, Kirsten Sass
Steel City Endurance, LTD
Fresh Freestyle


Last edited by CoachSuzanne : 02-09-2016 at 10:58 PM.
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