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Old 03-03-2012
terry terry is offline
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Join Date: Apr 2008
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Default Exciting Long Course Practice

I've noted on a couple of threads that I'm recovering from a couple of 'middle age athlete syndrome' injuries - torn meniscus right knee and frayed supraspinatus left shoulder - that had kept me out of lap pools since before Christmas. I've continued swimming in the Endless Pool at home, but that was gentle stroke tuning, not what you'd describe as training.
I gave my fitness level what is usually a stern test yesterday (Fri Mar 2) by swimming a Long Course practice in St Petersburg FL. I swam with the St Pete Masters, because their Mon and Fri am workouts are the only opportunity during the week to swim Long Course there.

So it was a pretty standard Masters workout, generic repeats of various distances. However I was able to use SPL and Tempo to create exacting tasks with a sense of personal purpose. Here's what I did

800 @ 38SPL
They'd already been swimming for 30 min when I got in at 0600. They were starting a set of 4 x 200 with fins on 3:30. I let the other four swimmers go ahead then started 30 seconds behind the last so I could swim a continuous 800 while they did 4 x 200. My only goal was to discover what SPL I could sustain. After swimming the first length in 37 SPL I was able to hold at 38SPL for the next 15 lengths. Considering I'd not swum in a 50m pool in six months, I was very pleased.

12 x 50 on 1:00 Advance Tempo while trying to maintain SPL.
Their assignment was 12 x 50 with Buoy and Paddles. I set my TT @ 1.30 to start and swam the 1st 50 in 34 SPL. I advanced tempo by .01 each 50, trying to minimize change in SPL. I finished the set at 36SPL and 1.20. These compare quite favorably to last summer when I was much fitter (and 10 lbs lighter) and swimming LCM regularly.

Swim 2 x 300 on 5:30.
This was the assignment as written on the workout sheet at the end of the lane. It contained no further instructions. I opted to back off tempo to 1.25 (because I would swim 300m, rather than 50) and to learn what SPL I could manage. It turned out to be 35-36 SPL. Since I was very pleased with this I set tempo for the 2nd 300 @ 1.23 and kept SPL virtually the same - I think I had one length at 37 SPL.

[4 x 50 + 3 x 100 + 2 x 150 + 1 x 200]
At this point the rest of the Masters began doing their swim down. I wanted one more set, adding up to perhaps 1000m. This ladder series is one of my favorites, for testing my ability to maintain a constant SPL and/or SPL-Tempo combination as distance increases. I set TT @ 1.20, held 35SPL on the 50s then was able to complete the rest of the set without exceeding 36SPL.

I was exceptionally pleased with how favorably this practice compared to those I did last summer when I was swimming Long Course regularly, was doing at least twice the weekly volume I've done since getting injured. It suggests that the tuning practices I've done since being diagnosed with the two injuries have materially improved my efficiency.
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Terry Laughlin
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May your laps be as happy as mine.

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Last edited by terry : 03-03-2012 at 01:20 PM.
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