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  #1  
Old 10-18-2010
KatieK KatieK is offline
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Default Pacing without the Tempo Trainer

Hi All,
I've been working with the Tempo Trainer for about 5 months. I've made a lot of progress using that tool. If I could, I'd use it all the time. But, since it is not legal for USMS-sanctioned events, I'm trying to learn to do without it.

Based on my height, my SPL range should be 16-19 according to this guideline http://www.totalimmersion.net/forum/...6&postcount=12

On a good day, while using the Tempo Trainer, I can hold an SPL of 16 at 1.0 seconds per stroke. I can hold 18 SPL down to a stroke rate of about 0.8. If I'm feeling relaxed, pretty much any stroke rate above .85 feels leisurely. I get a sense of time slowing down. When my coach watches me swimming at 0.8-0.95, she comments on how smooth I look. She says it looks like I'm swimming slowly even though I'm swimming fast.

Without the Tempo Trainer, it's another story. At slow speeds, I'm fine. I can get down to 12-14 SPL at "very slow" gear (maybe 1.8?). I think I may be able to hold 16 SPL at about 1.2.

When I speed up, though, I feel rushed. And, it turns out, I'm not actually speeding up. My coach did an experiment with me today at Masters. She had me swim 50 yds at .95 and then take off the TT and try to maintain that pace for 150 yds without it.

The .95 with the TT felt like a recovery lap. When I turned it off, I felt rushed, nervous, and fatigued. My coach timed my stroke rate at 1.15 during that part. This happened on multiple repeats.

I've tried using words to go with different tempos, but that hasn't worked very well. They don't give me an objective measure like the TT does because I can't tell if I'm saying them faster or slower. I end up feeling rushed when I do that.

I've had better luck going with a feeling of stroke length. Even in open water, I think my sense of what 16 SPL feels like is pretty accurate.

I'd be grateful for any suggestions.

Last edited by KatieK : 10-18-2010 at 11:34 PM.
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  #2  
Old 10-18-2010
westyswoods westyswoods is offline
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KatieK,
No suggestions, just words of encouragement. You are obviously much farther along and more accomplished at the TT. In fact some time back when I first started and was struggling, which I still am, your suggestion was not to worry about SPL's until I got used to the timing and coordination. Thanks so much, as it is getting better but I have a long ways to go. You will figure it out with help from members.

Be Well and Swim Silent
Westy
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  #3  
Old 10-19-2010
KatieK KatieK is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by westyswoods View Post
KatieK,
No suggestions, just words of encouragement. You are obviously much farther along and more accomplished at the TT. In fact some time back when I first started and was struggling, which I still am, your suggestion was not to worry about SPL's until I got used to the timing and coordination. Thanks so much, as it is getting better but I have a long ways to go. You will figure it out with help from members.
Westy, as always, thanks for the kind words of encouragement. I really am hoping to get some help figuring this one out! Right now, my race strategy is to swim as slow as I can until the last few hundred meters. That ends up being *much* faster (and more enjoyable) than trying to swim fast without the tempo trainer, but still pretty slow.

A few ideas for your journey with the tempo trainer:
1. Have you tried experimenting with which part of the stroke you are timing it to? I started out timing it to the spearing arm. When I switched to timing it to the kick, everything started coming together for me. (Sorry if I'm repeating myself on that one.)
2.) You could try timing yourself on one length where you are swimming at your most comfortable cruise pace. Don't push off from the wall. Divide the time in seconds by the number of strokes. Theoretically, that should give you a comfortable pace for setting the TT.
3.) The mental aspect of it changed for me when I started thinking about the thread "Ommmm - or - Tick...tick...tick...?". Something clicked to make me start being more aware of the time between beeps than the "deadline" of the beep. http://www.totalimmersion.net/forum/...eferrerid=9700

Good luck!
Katie
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  #4  
Old 10-19-2010
flppr flppr is offline
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"one-thousand one, one-thousand two..."?
off topic: can you tell me how coordinating the ticks of the tt with your kick instead of your spear helped you, Katie?
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  #5  
Old 10-19-2010
KatieK KatieK is offline
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Originally Posted by flppr View Post
"one-thousand one, one-thousand two..."?
off topic: can you tell me how coordinating the ticks of the tt with your kick instead of your spear helped you, Katie?
Hi Flppr,
When I was timing to the spear, I felt like I was rushing to elongate my stroke. When I switched to the kick, the whole process felt simpler. It seems to work like this:
1.) Kick to begin a new stroke
2.) Kick forces rotation, rotation forces the patient lead arm to begin the catch.
3.) While #2 is happening, quickly move the recovery arm thru the air. There's nothing to be lost by "rushing" this part.
4.) Spear the recovery arm and elongate until I feel a stretch in my pecs. Maintain that streamlined position for all those precious fractions of seconds until the beep tells me to move on. I don't have to rush when the beep sounds. I'm already where I should be to start the next stroke. I just go ahead and kick.

I'll try your suggestion about counting and let you know how it goes.
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Old 10-19-2010
flppr flppr is offline
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thanks, Katie. i'm going to try your tip tonight.
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  #7  
Old 10-26-2010
terry terry is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by KatieK View Post
On a good day, while using the Tempo Trainer, I can hold an SPL of 16 at 1.0 seconds per stroke. I can hold 18 SPL down to a stroke rate of about 0.8. If I'm feeling relaxed, pretty much any stroke rate above .85 feels leisurely. I get a sense of time slowing down. When my coach watches me swimming at 0.8-0.95, she comments on how smooth I look. She says it looks like I'm swimming slowly even though I'm swimming fast.

Without the Tempo Trainer, it's another story. At slow speeds, I'm fine. I can get down to 12-14 SPL at "very slow" gear (maybe 1.8?). I think I may be able to hold 16 SPL at about 1.2.

When I speed up, though, I feel rushed. And, it turns out, I'm not actually speeding up. My coach did an experiment with me today at Masters. She had me swim 50 yds at .95 and then take off the TT and try to maintain that pace for 150 yds without it.

The .95 with the TT felt like a recovery lap. When I turned it off, I felt rushed, nervous, and fatigued. My coach timed my stroke rate at 1.15 during that part. This happened on multiple repeats.
Katie
This is one of the most important topics ever introduced on this Forum for swimmers who are oriented to improving their pace-holding ability: (a) to hold a given pace for longer duration, and (b) to hold a faster pace. Always work on (a) before (b).

I didn't have time this morning to read the entire thread, but will do so later in expectation that further opportunities for insight will abound.

But for now I'll mention that I practice several forms of swimming measured by time. I feel that all have contributed to the goal I seek to achieve via practice - the ability to pace effectively in races.

1) TT and SPL - I work combinations of these and generally pay little attention to the pace clock. Most common goal is faster frequency on same SPL.
2) TT and Pace Clock - I work through ranges/sequences of TT and measure their effect via the clock. Goals are (a) faster times on same tempo; (b) faster times on faster tempo - with times increasing by at least the same % as tempo, and (c) same times on slower tempo.
3) SPL and Pace Clock - I don't wear TT but try to achieve similar effects to above, substituting SPL for tempo.
4) "Feel" and Pace Clock - Sustained pace over gradually-longer swims. And sometimes improved pace over gradually-longer swims - a very high-skilled activity. Improved pace over series of constant-distance repeats. Very improved pace over series of reducing-distance repeats.

I feel all four forms of pacing practice are essential to achieving Pace Mastery.

PS: Please convey my congratulations to your coach for her innovative thinking and open-ness to your training methods. Also feel free to share this post with her as it may suggest some new possibilities for set design.
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  #8  
Old 10-26-2010
AWP AWP is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by KatieK View Post
But for now I'll mention that I practice several forms of swimming measured by time. I feel that all have contributed to the goal I seek to achieve via practice - the ability to pace effectively in races.

1) TT and SPL
2) TT and Pace Clock
3) SPL and Pace Clock
4) "Feel" and Pace Clock
I feel all four forms of pacing practice are essential to achieving Pace Mastery.
Thanks for this Terry, as usual very succinct and a great reminder as I continue my pace work in the pool. Cut and copied.

KK - worked @ 1.0 yesterday for the first time in quite a while and also found myself averaging 15-16spl (perhaps 17 on a few ;) ) and found this not so easy ... yet. My average time was 1:24 on 100yd repeats so I lost seconds somewhere, but I'll find them. My 50s held @ :40. Working on those feeelings.

So why 1.0 you may ask? My TT is still crapped out, failed to get a new one. The TT stays only on 1.0 when I can get it to work. Sometimes I'll hear the darn thing beeping away in my bag and it takes all I've got to shut it off. Yesterday, a loving whack on the pool deck got it started, and it held! @ 1.0 that is.

How did I manage? I began my practice (sans TT) 'systematically' trying to dial in to those feelings we've talked about. I did longer repeats of 500yds down to 300yds and then began to time my shorter lengths while trying to hold my spl. Then "WHACK" and the fun began. 1.0 at this point felt pretty maintainable.

When my 100 times hit 1:25 I stopped with the TT and began building my rhythm again with recovery 50s back to 100s sneaking in some drill/swim lengths and finishing with 100 - 150s breathing left then right then two lft two rt then every 3; working on those feelings. I don't believe I took more than 17spl overall and averaged 16 on the 'quicker' lengths and the timed 100s.

Btw, not quite done with OW yet, today was irresistible with mostly sunny sky and a delicious 62F. Admittedly the air temps help, cooler air temps make it harder to get in. The only comfort is knowing the water is still warmer than the air (today was an exception).
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  #9  
Old 10-27-2010
terry terry is offline
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I did sets from two of these categories yesterday here in Singapore. I'll give examples that illustrate how I work them.

Quote:
Originally Posted by terry View Post
1) TT and SPL - I work combinations of these and generally pay little attention to the pace clock. Most common goal is faster frequency on same SPL.
Swim 4 x 25 + 3 x 50 + 2 x 75 + 1 x 100 (500m total)
Tempo @ 1.10. Goal: As Duration (repeat distance) increases, hold SPL at no more than +1 to SPL on 25s.
Outcome:
25s: 15SPL
50s: 15+16
75s: 15+16+16
100: 15+16+16+16
Effect: Pace stays consistent as duration increases.

Tempo Pyramid
Swim 6 x 50 with decreasing tempo. Increase SPL. I regressed tempo from 1.10 to 1.20 in .02 increments. Total Strokes for 50 decreased from 33 to 30.
Swim 6 x 50 with increasing tempo, back to 1.10. Strokes for 50 increased, but only to 31.
Effect: Efficiency improves as a result of slowing, then increasing, tempo.

Quote:
Originally Posted by terry View Post
3) SPL and Pace Clock - I don't wear TT but try to achieve similar effects to above, substituting SPL for tempo.
Swim 3 x 100m IM. Count SPL. Goal is to maintain SL while improving speed.
Results
52 total strokes @ 2:00
51 total strokes @ 1:55
50 total strokes @ 1:50
Effect: Duration remains consistent, but both Speed and SL improved.

In all of these sets, what I have in common is measuring at least two variables. The outcomes can reflect three possible levels of skill
1) Maintain both variables constant throughout the set.
2) Improve one variable while maintaining the other. The two TT sets are examples of this. In the first I maintained SL and Tempo while increasing duration. In the 2nd I improved SL at initial tempo, while duration remained constant.
3) Improve two variables The IM set is an example of this. Duration remained constant, while both SL and Pace (i.e. Tempo or Time) improved.

I consider the ability to do such sets a skill, just as the movement skills of efficient strokes are a skill. It takes a relatively high degree of skill to master the first skill level above, and a pretty rare degree to master the 3rd.

I think of TI Practice as designed to offer systematic and step-by-step ways to develop three distinct kinds of skill, which build upon one another.
Level One - Develop the Stroke.
Level Two - Develop the Swimmer
Level Three - Interact with Other Swimmers - Racing and particularly OW racing.

When I felt my learning curve in Level One was beginning to flatten, I immediately began to seek new challenges. The various forms of pacing skill - requiring me to optimize SL, SR and Duration - offered that opportunity.
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May your laps be as happy as mine.

My TI Story

Last edited by terry : 10-27-2010 at 02:29 AM.
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  #10  
Old 10-27-2010
haschu33 haschu33 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by terry View Post
... here in Singapore. ...
I am envious. Particularly as the weather here in Northern Germany becomes more and more nasty... . I found it nicely warm in Singapore, although the humidity is quite demanding. And the difference between air-conditioned rooms and the outside is shocking sometimes.

I always loved Singapore, it has all the nice aspects of Asia, and it is so extremely clean (don't look at Manhatten after having been to Singapore). That combination is kind of rare in Asia (except Japan maybe). I loved the food in S'pore, especially in those hawker centers. My favourite was Maxwell hawker center. If you don't mind the somewhat rustic atmosphere you can eat delicious food for a few Singapore Dollars and have a nice Tiger Beer with it (which costs more than the food).

I first thought that you are swimming in a 50 m pool, I though they are rare or don't exist in Singapore. I always swam in the hotel pool which was a very nice 25m pool, outside in the garden (which in fact was on the 5th floor of a shoping mall) overlooking the sea. Just breaststroke at that time, and not especially efficient.

Quote:
Originally Posted by terry View Post
...
Level One - Develop the Stroke.
Level Two - Develop the Swimmer
...
I assume you mean with Level One just stroke details, and with Level Two developing pace etc. Otherwise I find it difficult to see how you can develop the stroke without developing the swimmer and vice versa.

Enjoy your visit!
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