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  #1  
Old 05-11-2012
terry terry is offline
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Default Developing the Clock in Your Head

In the enormously popular thread "A 'Formula' for a Faster 1500" andyinnorway posed a question about a skill I think of as central for any Black Belt swimmer. I.E. Invaluable not only for racing, but as a vehicle for pursuing Kaizen or Personal Mastery. How can we hone the 'Clock in Your Head' as coaches call pacing skill?

Andy wrote: My concerns are that my stroke is becoming a little shorter each time I do a distance session and as my last two repeats showed I am not yet able to judge the difference between 1.43/100 pace and 1.47/100 pace when I turn my TT off, but the parameters are narrowing.

As we know, Pace is a problem of exceedingly simple math - Stroke Length times Stroke Rate. If you set a Tempo Trainer at any tempo - say 1.30 - so long as you hold a consistent stroke count -- say 18SPL in a 25m pool - you know your pace is unvarying. If you add a stroke, your pace will slow by 1.3 seconds per 25m. Over 800m that would add 42 seconds (1.3 sec times 32 lengths).

What process would you follow to hone--then hardwire-- an acute sense of pace? Not only in the pool without the TT (say for a Masters pool race) but also in open water?
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Last edited by terry : 05-11-2012 at 12:41 PM.
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Old 05-11-2012
andyinnorway andyinnorway is offline
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My immediate thoughts on this following my post earlier in the week is that this is a dryland training opportunity.

Since I know my Pace is determined by my SR/SPL combo, under race conditions I need to have prewired my desired tempo into my brain.

Personally, I would attempt this by thinking of a song I know well that has a tempo that matches my desired stroke rate, start a stopwatch on my laptop, close my eyes and try to count a minute of strokes.

Repeat with different tempos until accuracy improves, then take to the pool and test with 100 repeats at different SR/SPL combos.
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  #3  
Old 05-13-2012
andyinnorway andyinnorway is offline
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Default In built TT comes quickly

I have given this some thought over the weekend.

I have chosen to focus on a SR of 1.2 as my most efficient race pace for this season.

SR of 1.2 is 50 strokes a minute and in BPM (beats per minute) terms I find it easier to pick a tempo of 100BPM, as its quite hard to hold a strict beat in your head under 60 per minute.

I researched some famous songs with a BPM of 100 and the one I felt was easiest to 'feel' accurately every time was shackles by mary mary.

Now I practise hitting 100BPM in my head with the help of a free iphone metronome app that has a tap function. I close my eyes, think of the groove of the song and tap the beat on my phone. I can then check how near I am to 100, and the great thing about having the phone app is you can do it at random times throughout the day.

I am starting to get within 2 beats each time now so tomorrow I will attempt to transfer this to the pool and try to swim precise time repeats of 200m without the TT.
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Old 05-14-2012
CoachSuzanne CoachSuzanne is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by andyinnorway View Post
I have given this some thought over the weekend.

I have chosen to focus on a SR of 1.2 as my most efficient race pace for this season.

SR of 1.2 is 50 strokes a minute and in BPM (beats per minute) terms I find it easier to pick a tempo of 100BPM, as its quite hard to hold a strict beat in your head under 60 per minute.

I researched some famous songs with a BPM of 100 and the one I felt was easiest to 'feel' accurately every time was shackles by mary mary.

Now I practise hitting 100BPM in my head with the help of a free iphone metronome app that has a tap function. I close my eyes, think of the groove of the song and tap the beat on my phone. I can then check how near I am to 100, and the great thing about having the phone app is you can do it at random times throughout the day.

I am starting to get within 2 beats each time now so tomorrow I will attempt to transfer this to the pool and try to swim precise time repeats of 200m without the TT.
Andy, I knew you'd have an interesting approach! This is pretty cool. Diana Nyad sings to herself on her long distance swims.
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  #5  
Old 05-14-2012
ian mac ian mac is offline
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Default Many ways to solve the puzzle

Terry likes the term hardwire, while I prefer the term "mastery". In studies on mastery a common thread is that it takes about 10,000 hours of diligent practice to become a master of anything. Consequently hardwiring takes time. More often than not, we spend much time on a particular plateau followed by bursts of progress followed by a slight decline to a higher plateau. Generally the hard wire comes from the time spent practicing at a certain plateau.

The great akido master George Leonard in his book "Mastery" writes, "To take the master’s journey, you have to practice diligently, striving to hone your skills, to attain new levels of competence. But while doing so–and this is the inexorable–fact of the journey–you also have to be willing to spend most of your time on a plateau, to keep practicing even when you seem to be getting nowhere. (Mastery, p. 14-15)."

In my own progress on pacing I first try to work on the 1st part of the equation: SPL. Given my height of 6'1" (184 cm) my optimal range currently is between 14 -16 SPL. During my recent win in the 800metre free at the Ontario provincial championships, I averaged a SPL of 15. My time of 10:10 averages to a race pace to 1:16.25/100metres. In order to improve, I shall spend several months working on a variety of different combinations of swims of repeats between 25 - 800 metres trying different combinations of tempo while focusing on never swimming more than 16SPL and trying to find ways through improving my technique at consistently more demanding tempos to decrease my SPL to 14 whenever possible. As well, I will go back to the same set several times and try to decrease my interval of rest while maintaining the same results as previously. As well I will do many sets where the goal is to swim below my current race pace for durations greater than 800 metres (eg: 2 x ( 10 x 100 @ 1:45 - hold SPL of 15, 1st 10 try to hold 1:15, 2nd 10 hold 1:14).

Ultimately, there is no absolute magic formula as there are a myriad of ways to gradually decrease SPL or increase tempo. Conditioning is a key factor to progress while on a particular plateau. It is important to challenge one's self in small ways beyond your current achievements, knowing that this incremental development will eventually create a spurt of significant progress that takes us to a new plateau.
Enjoy the journey.

I shall start posting more sets soon on Formula for a faster 1500/1650 and look forward to everyone's comments and advice.
ian mac
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  #6  
Old 05-15-2012
terry terry is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ian mac View Post
During my recent win in the 800metre free at the Ontario provincial championships, I averaged a SPL of 15. My time of 10:10 averages to a race pace to 1:16.25/100metres. In order to improve, I shall spend several months working on a variety of different combinations of swims of repeats between 25 - 800 metres trying different combinations of tempo while focusing on never swimming more than 16SPL and trying to find ways through improving my technique at consistently more demanding tempos to decrease my SPL to 14 whenever possible.
We both love the concept of Mastery. Mastery is an attitude or state of being, a commitment and a path. Hardwire describes a physiological process that changes the structure of the brain. The actions, habits, behaviors and thought processes that lead to Mastery change the wiring of the brain in ways that improve its function -- and bring greater fulfillment. So, as usual, we're in agreement.
]
Speaking of thought processes, the analytical approach to improving on your current time of 10:10 for 800 scm is on the mark. I usually try to swim two-thirds to three-quarters of my total training below the SPL I anticipate using in a race. However my tapered SPL is usually a bit below my mid-season SPL, so your plan to maximize practice performance at 14 SPL -- to swim your best race at 15SPL -- is what I'd do in your shoes.
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  #7  
Old 05-16-2012
andyinnorway andyinnorway is offline
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Today I was able to test my mental clock development in the water.

I wanted to target a pace split of 1.45 without TT using a strict mental rhythm in my head of what I thought was a stroke rate of 50.

My set was 2 x (4x100,2x200,1x400) all off 100 interval of 2.15

These were my results.

repeat 1
100's 1.46 - 1.42 - 1.42 - 1.43
200's 3.28 - 3.24
400 7.00

repeat 2
100's 1.40 - 1.42 - 1.41 - 1.43
200's 3.32 - 3.31
400 7.09

repeat 1 I tried to keep the brain TT ticking off strictly, repeat 2 I tried to allow the body to 'feel' the rhythm.

I am quite pleased with the results (albeit the last 400), although I think with practice I can get within a second on the shorter repeats and within a couple on the 400's. I found it hardest to hold a strict tempo on the turn and push off which is where the TT is great. But that also gives me encouragement that in open water I will be more consistent. My SPL was consistent (85%+) throughout at 17.

A nice interesting swim for the brain and body though.

Tomorrow is Norway day and I plan to celebrate with a 10deg dip in the lake as that is jellyfish free.
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  #8  
Old 05-17-2012
grandall grandall is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ian mac View Post
Terry likes the term hardwire, while I prefer the term "mastery". In studies on mastery a common thread is that it takes about 10,000 hours of diligent practice to become a master of anything. Consequently hardwiring takes time. More often than not, we spend much time on a particular plateau followed by bursts of progress followed by a slight decline to a higher plateau. Generally the hard wire comes from the time spent practicing at a certain plateau.

The great akido master George Leonard in his book "Mastery" writes, "To take the master’s journey, you have to practice diligently, striving to hone your skills, to attain new levels of competence. But while doing so–and this is the inexorable–fact of the journey–you also have to be willing to spend most of your time on a plateau, to keep practicing even when you seem to be getting nowhere. (Mastery, p. 14-15)."

In my own progress on pacing I first try to work on the 1st part of the equation: SPL. Given my height of 6'1" (184 cm) my optimal range currently is between 14 -16 SPL. During my recent win in the 800metre free at the Ontario provincial championships, I averaged a SPL of 15. My time of 10:10 averages to a race pace to 1:16.25/100metres. In order to improve, I shall spend several months working on a variety of different combinations of swims of repeats between 25 - 800 metres trying different combinations of tempo while focusing on never swimming more than 16SPL and trying to find ways through improving my technique at consistently more demanding tempos to decrease my SPL to 14 whenever possible. As well, I will go back to the same set several times and try to decrease my interval of rest while maintaining the same results as previously. As well I will do many sets where the goal is to swim below my current race pace for durations greater than 800 metres (eg: 2 x ( 10 x 100 @ 1:45 - hold SPL of 15, 1st 10 try to hold 1:15, 2nd 10 hold 1:14).

Ultimately, there is no absolute magic formula as there are a myriad of ways to gradually decrease SPL or increase tempo. Conditioning is a key factor to progress while on a particular plateau. It is important to challenge one's self in small ways beyond your current achievements, knowing that this incremental development will eventually create a spurt of significant progress that takes us to a new plateau.
Enjoy the journey.

I shall start posting more sets soon on Formula for a faster 1500/1650 and look forward to everyone's comments and advice.
ian mac
Hi Ian,

It’s always a pleasure reading your articles. Appreciate you sharing your insight.
We are on similar wavelengths regarding finding the right (as there are many) practice/strategy formula to achieve the desired goal which is to swim faster without sacrificing stroke efficiency.

Coming up I have 5 - 1 - 1.2 mile swims scheduled within 4 months my average SPL is 15-17 realistically my plan in my first race is to swim the entire distance at a consistent 16 SPL. I haven’t determined the rate yet but I’m striving for a range of 1.20 1.25 (TT). Like you I mix my practices up some with longer distances at constant /slower rates and some with faster rates with shorter distance sets while striving to maintain a constant SPL. Pool swimming / racing is a training tool but like my practices I need to diversify my training. With the warm winter water temperatures are already in the 60’s its time to compliment my pool practice with some training in the OW. I’m hoping through awareness and experience that each race I finish I will improve and learn for the next.

Soon I to will share my practice sets for my 1500/1650 swims.
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