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  #1  
Old 07-20-2015
TVMan TVMan is offline
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TVMan
Default Speed-new TI student

Hi-

I tried for 12 years to learn to swim well enough to do a triathlon. Every lesson ended with struggling to get across the pool without going into cardiac arrest.

I finally bit the bullet 4 months ago and signed up for lessons with a TI instructor. Within three lessons I was able to swim 500 meters non stop.

Two weeks ago I completed my first Open Water Triathlon and loved it.

Here's my issue now as I move forward. The 500 meter swim during the tri took me 20 minutes. When I'm swimming in the pool 500 meters takes 20 minutes. If I try harder to go faster I seem to lose TI form and start flailing and get out of breath and don't really go much faster.

I'd like to pick up speed so I can compete more in the races.

1-Is part of it that I'm still a new swimmer and it will come with strength and practice?

2-If not what are the common things that new students of TI need to do to pick up the pace.

3-What are the things new TI students do that slow them down.

I've come to the realization that swimming harder is a waste of energy and you don't pick up much speed for the effort.

Thanks.
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  #2  
Old 07-21-2015
terry terry is offline
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TV Man
From 25 meters to 500 meters is fantastic progress. Are you able to finish that 500m feeling fresh?

The goal of gaining speed going forward is very healthy. Swimming faster--in a smart and holistic way--is a great problem-solving exercise with several solutions, the first of which is continued gains in efficiency and 'encoding' those gains in brain and nervous system to resist breakdown as you swim farther, with higher stroke rates and higher heart and respiration rates.

But--particularly as a triathlete--swimming harder should be your last resort.
To continue the gains you began in your lessons and understanding of how to encode them, I recommend our Self-Coaching Toolkit

The other part is to focus on incrementally improving the combination of stroke count per pool length and Tempo you can maintain during interval repeats--which at this point should seldom be longer than 100m. I just checked the Free Stuff area of the website (under the Store tab) and see the documents I've prepared on that are not there. I'll get them up, but if you email me at terryswim at gmail dot com I can send them.

First questions are (1) what is your height and (2) what average SPL do you maintain during that 500m timed pool swim? Is this a 25m course?
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  #3  
Old 07-21-2015
TVMan TVMan is offline
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TVMan
Default Thanks

Hi Terry-Thanks for the response.

Yes I'm over joyed at the progress. At that slow pace I could swim forever. My breathing is great ,I don't seem to get tired, and I feel refreshed. In open water after I calm down a bit the feeling is the same.

To answer your questions:

1-5'11"

2-I don't know my average SPL. I've just begun reading about that and parts of seemed a bit complicated.

3- I usually do my pool workouts in a 25m pool. I try to hit open water once a week too.

Question about stroke count in the pool. How do you factor in pushing off the side?

Thanks again.
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  #4  
Old 07-21-2015
terry terry is offline
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We allot 5 yds approx for the pushoff.
Your efficient range of stroke counts in 25m pool should be about 17 to 20, but you can get maximum precision with certain exercises using Tempo Trainer.
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May your laps be as happy as mine.

My TI Story
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  #5  
Old 07-21-2015
TVMan TVMan is offline
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Stupid question. Do you count the stroke as both hands completing the stroke or one at a time. Also how do you factor in pushing off the wall?

I've listened to you explain the tempo trainer on the Triathlon Research Podcast so I'll give that a try.

Thanks.
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  #6  
Old 07-21-2015
terry terry is offline
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Count each hand entry.
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  #7  
Old 07-21-2015
TVMan TVMan is offline
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Will do! Thanks for the reply and the advice! As I've said its so awesome that I can actually swim now and have fun!
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  #8  
Old 07-24-2015
TVMan TVMan is offline
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Terry,

Got around to counting strokes today and was astounded. At my comfortable pace it took 30-31 strokes to do a 25.

After doing 300 I decided to push to see what 17-20 was like

I was able to do a 25 hitting 18, but was very winded, much like doing a 100 meter sprint. It did cut :35 off the 25 though.

Doing the 18 strokes was faster but didn't feel relaxed. Will this be something I will eventually get in better shape to do?

I run 30 miles a week and do a weekly track work or so I shouldn't be winded.

Thanks.
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  #9  
Old 07-25-2015
Tom Pamperin Tom Pamperin is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TVMan View Post
I was able to do a 25 hitting 18, but was very winded, much like doing a 100 meter sprint. It did cut :35 off the 25 though.

Doing the 18 strokes was faster but didn't feel relaxed. Will this be something I will eventually get in better shape to do?

I run 30 miles a week and do a weekly track work or so I shouldn't be winded.
Congrats on starting your TI journey. Keep in mind, swimming is not limited by fitness or aerobic capacity (especially for fit athletes new to swimming). It is limited by technique (maintaining proper balance and streamline and core activation, and complex movement patterns).

In practical terms, this means (to me) that your first priority should be developing your stroke so that you are swimming at an efficient stroke length (see Coach Mat on this here: https://smoothstrokes.wordpress.com/...stroke-length/ )

The various TI drills and sequences in the books, videos, and on this forum will help you find and develop subtle physical cues to help you work toward that goal. Remember, water is MANY times denser than air, so minimizing drag through proper technique and body position is the top priority. It will probably ALWAYS be your top priority overall.

After that, I think the next step is to work toward maintaining that efficient stroke (same strokes per lenght, or SPL) at faster tempos (which involves your brain re-wiring itself to work efficiently (and with good technique and body position) at faster tempo far more than it involves improving aerobic fitness, although that happens, too). A tempo trainer (TT) is helpful here, as is working without one to swim comfortably at a range of different SPLs (e.g. I can swim at 13 SPL, 14, 15, or 16--by choice--and consciously choose how many strokes I'll need for almost every single length I swim before I swim).

Mainly, it's all about paying attention to every little thing as you swim, shifting between different focal points with an open-minded, non-judgmental curiosity that does not aim at results, but at the process itself. Results and improvements happen as you practice awareness, but don't get caught up chasing them. Chase the awareness and the experience instead.

(If you're feeling winded, it probably has more to do with mental comfort and/or breathing technique than it does fitness.)

Enjoy!
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  #10  
Old 07-25-2015
Tom Pamperin Tom Pamperin is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TVMan View Post
Got around to counting strokes today and was astounded. At my comfortable pace it took 30-31 strokes to do a 25.

After doing 300 I decided to push to see what 17-20 was like

I was able to do a 25 hitting 18, but was very winded
First, cutting off :35 is a HUGE speed gain--that's great. But swimming with a longer stroke (and lower SPL) should not come from "pushing" or swimming harder. That may be why you felt so winded.

Your goal should be to swim smooth and easy, and lower SPL and highers speeds will follow. Trying to muscle your way to lower SPLs by swimming harder is ultimately counterproductive. Balance and streamline and body position--and above all, AWARENESS, are the ticket to sustained progress.

So, other than "winded," how did it feel to swim at 18 SPL compared to 31? That's a HUGE gain in SPL. What were you doing differently? What variables of body position and motion did you notice or feel as you swam? How was your head position? How deeply were you spearing? How much of that low SPL feeling can you keep doing WITHOUT working hard enough to get so winded?

Start asking yourself all kinds of questions about "How did I do that? And how can I do that next time with even less effort?" and your swim practices will become endlessly fascinating, and you'll make progress and get faster and fitter, too.
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