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  #1  
Old 05-19-2010
suelevin suelevin is offline
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suelevin
Default 2BK Vacation

Hi All,

I adopted a two beat kick several months ago and really love it. So much smoother, I can feel my hips engaging and I've got relatively fresh legs after swimming a lot of yardage. Yay!

However, I am feeling especially frustrated with my 50's--they seem to have suffered the most relative to speed. So today in my workout I was wondering if I could take a vaca from the 2BK and do a fast flutter like I used to.

Anyone change up between 2BK and fast flutter w/out repurcussions? I know the long term approach is to work on stroke length etc. but I'm just curious.

Thanks!

Sue
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  #2  
Old 05-19-2010
terry terry is offline
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Sue - A little more info would help
1) How much difference in speed between a briskly-paced 2BK 50 and a similarly-paced 6BK 50?
2) And how much difference in effort?

I used to think similarly - that I could only swim at moderate speed with 2BK and needed to kick more to swim faster. But I never felt comfortable with 6BK and always felt the speed I gained fell short of the effort/energy cost.

Consequently I decided I'd commit to 2BK and develop a wider range of gears. For that the Tempo Trainer has been invaluable. In particularly synching the beep to toe-flicks. Yet I can also create some kick-tuning effect when synching to hands or hips.
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May your laps be as happy as mine.

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  #3  
Old 05-19-2010
suelevin suelevin is offline
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suelevin
Default For Fear Of Sounding Like A Turtle...

Hi Terry,

My brisk 50 yarders are now like about 46-47ish when they used to be like 43ish. The effort exerted doing the 2BK ones is about ten thousand times (okay I exaggerate) but we'll say a *lot* less. My two mile swims are now 1:02 vs. 1:01 which seems like a small price to pay. But those 50 yarders are somehow always so disappointing to me.

Note: I did read your post a while back about losing a tiny bit of speed for big efficiency gains which I really found inspirational. But I wanna look at that clock and feel that it was easy *and* faster! ;)

Anyway, I've been on the fence about the Tempo Trainer due to a lot of feedback on them breaking down but it sounds like that's the next step.

Thanks for the response!

Sue
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  #4  
Old 05-20-2010
terry terry is offline
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Sue
I think your post makes a revealing statement about the psychology of swimmers. Your 2-mile time - which I think highly respectable - has fallen off by less than 2 percent, while your 50 time may have fallen off by 10%. The loss of speed in your 50 looms very large. This is natural since we will far more regularly measure our performance by 50 or 100 times than by 2-mile times.

Also because the element of "speed" seems more prominent in a shorter swim. Doing well in longer swims seems more an element of endurance.

I believe that adopting a more expansive way of evaluating your swimming will be helpful:

Measuring your swim performance is always good. "What gets measured gets improved",as the saying goes. But a fair question is what to measure. These are the 4 key metrics:
Stroke Length or SPL - a measurement of how well you combine streamlining and propulsion
Tempo - as measured by the Tempo Trainer
Effort - Land exercisers use a HR monitor but I've found them unreliable in the water and have been well-served with my subjective, but well-honed, internal gauge of effort. I like a 5-point scale in which 1 = almost literally effortless and 5 = maximum. I train 85% of the time at 3 or below.
Time - what the pace clock or sports watch tell you.

It has been nearly 20 years since I only used Time as a measure of my swim performance. I now use at least two at all times. Every week, I'm likely to do sets that include all of the combinations below:
  • Time and SPL
  • Time and Tempo
  • Tempo and SPL
And in fact I always use 3 measures at all times since I never fail to consider how easy or effortful the swim was. Indeed if I can do a particular combination of Time and SPL or Tempo and SPL at a 3 effort, on my next repeat, I'm more likely to try to repeat the same combo at a 2.5 effort, rather than try immediately to improve the combo.

Measuring more aspects of swimming, and relating one metric to one or more others will:
(1) Give you more information about your swimming,
(2) Give you more things to focus on improving - and the psychic rewards of doing so; and
(3) Give you a more balanced perspective.

Last point: In no way am I suggesting you can not reclaim those lost 3 or 4 seconds in your brisk 50s. I'm fairly certain that when you begin measuring the things that matter, you'll see an improvement at the 2-mile AND in your 50 repeats in practice. Why don't you set a goal for a sub-60 minute 2-mile. I'll be swimming this race in August.

For a highly detailed guide to training the TI Way, our best resources are

Triathlon Swimming Made Easy Part 4, Chapters 11 to 17
Extraordinary Swimming for Every Body Part 3
The e-book, Outside the Box: A Program for Success in Open Water Part 3 Chapters 8 to 12
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Terry Laughlin
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May your laps be as happy as mine.

My TI Story
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  #5  
Old 05-20-2010
suelevin suelevin is offline
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suelevin
Default Thank You-I'm Inspired!

Hi Terry,

Thanks so much. I'm totally inspired. Of course I went to the pool yesterday and it didn't hurt to have it be one of those days where everything just felt right and I shaved a couple of seconds off those pesky 50's too. I'm going to begin incorporating different measurements into my workouts as you state and see how she goes. I would really *love* to break an hour on a two-miler--wowie!

That Adirondak swim looks lovelyl. I'm located in Northern California so if I can get my butt into some cold water soon, I will (try to) do Bridge to Bridge (Bay Bridge to Golden Gate) and then a month later, Alcatraz. Brrr!!

The ESFEB vid and Tempo Trainer are both on my to-buy lists. I'm excited!

Oh, one realllly off-the-cuff kind of thing that I noticed with my running recently: I changed my diet back in September due to slightly elevated cholesterol. I traded Cheetos for more fruits and vegetables (easier than I thought.) I was *amazed* at how that improved my performance. I found that this one workout I could never do without stopping two to three times, I could do without stopping at all. I was floored! So I wonder if nutrition ever also factors into swimming too. Long ago I used to call a massive burrito the night before swimming, Pool Fuel. Just a thought for yet *another* angle on swimming improvement.

Thanks again!

Sue
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  #6  
Old 05-21-2010
terry terry is offline
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Sue
I've been improving my diet lately too. One reason is that I'm doing more yoga than swimming right now - about 8 hrs of yoga per week, about twice as much as I'm swimming. The difficulty I experience mastering even simple aspects of yoga makes me think much more about what I put in my body. I want to be clean and healthy like a yogi. I have no doubt that will be good for my swimming too.
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May your laps be as happy as mine.

My TI Story
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  #7  
Old 05-21-2010
haschu33 haschu33 is offline
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haschu33
Default How to swim and how to eat

I am practicing a 6BK once in a while in between - just for the fun of it. It doesn't affect my 2BK but I think it is important to do a well co-ordinated 6bk and not an un-coordinated flutter kick.

Quote:
Originally Posted by terry View Post
...I've been improving my diet lately too... I want to be clean and healthy like a yogi. I have no doubt that will be good for my swimming too.
Funny - 'I've been improving my diet lately too'. More than half of my food is fruits and raw vegetables now, little protein, little carbs, no coffee, no black tea, no alcohol, no candies, no meat (I am vegetarian anyway). Always fruit first, then raw veggies, then cooked food. Light meal in the morning and evening, main meal at noon. Also: early to bed, early getting up.
Sounds boring? I guess it does.
But - I have a marvelous low blood pressure now without being tired and in the need of coffee and dropped all my medicine. It also gives me an amazing feeling of airiness - what a joy! I feel more lightweight and move swifter - on land and in the water.
My motivation was not to loose weight (I lost about 8 pounds when I started about two weeks ago) but more that I didn't want to accept the 'fact' that the answer to my high blood pressure (not very high though) is to take medicine for the rest of my life. Actually my blood pressure already dropped quite a bit when I started swimming regularly, now it is the lowest ever.

And Yoga - unfortunately I never found the time to learn it. But I regard it being one of the best ways to stay healthy and 'in shape'. I do suspect that some of the people who teach Yoga do not understand the deep insight and wisdom in Yoga. I think one of the things it does is stretching the physical nervous system and it works on deeper and less growth levels of the body system than 'just' on muscles and joints. It is not a sport.
Something you can grow old with - like swimming ;-)
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  #8  
Old 05-22-2010
suelevin suelevin is offline
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suelevin
Default Yoga, Apples, TwoMilers

Terry, very cool about the yoga. I was more regular with it a while back and found it felt at times like a massage from the inside out. I need to get back to it. It's great that the yoga is making you more tuned to what's going into your body. It'll be interesting to see how it impacts your swimming--undoubtedly it's gonna be positive.

Haschu, congrats on your changes--so great--and so quickly! You must have been very open to and ready to change. I found my dietary changes to be so much easier than I expected. I don't think I'd had an apple in forever. It was like, "Huh...what's this red spherical object? Oh, this is called an a-p-p-l-e." Yes, pitiful. ;)

Broke 1:02 today in my two miler and stuck to the 2BK--*finally!!*
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