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  #1  
Old 02-14-2016
jenson1a jenson1a is offline
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Default Planning a Practice Session

I have been following Coach Suzanne's practice sessions with a lot of interest. I admire all the thought that goes into these sessions. I do have some questions on how one goes about planning these practices.

Most of the posts in this forum are from more accomplished swimmers. For instance the tune up may consist of 5 rounds of 100 meters. For me that may mean a whole lot more than just the warm up. I guess it means a trial and error on how much to plan. Also the cool down does nothing for lowering my heart rate. It just raises it up.

Would be interested in how others plan their sessions. Coach Dave Shen told me a long time ago to get a water proof notebook and pen and plan and record what I have done. I am doing this, but not sure if I am getting the most bang for the buck on how I am doing this.

Although I am the same height, weight, and gender as Suzanne, (but a lot older), her practices are way out of my league. Just can't do the distances that most others do.

I think I'm not being too specific in what my problems are, I would appreciate some comments, especially from those that are less than at a coach status, how they go about planning a practice session

Sherry
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Old 02-14-2016
jenson1a jenson1a is offline
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In addition to my introductory post, I would like to add the following to it. My main questions don't involve the main set of a practice, but more of the tune up and cool down.

How long to do the tune up?
Do you use whole stroke and/or drills to bring you to the main set?
What about focal points at this time?
How much effort s/b exerted--relaxed most of the time or do you increase effort?



Cool down--I am assuming that the cool down is to bring the heart rate down (like when you are on a tread mil and when the time is up, it automatically reduces speed/incline).
After I am through with the main set, I usually have to take a few minutes rest. So when I begin the cool down, there is some effort so there goes the heart rate.

Based on a video posted last May, the general consensus was that I needed to be able to do the 2bk timing and also to try to introduce core control. I have been working on that. Hopefully if I succeed, I will be able to make the 2nd length feel as good as the first-and then the third as good as the second and so on. The optimal goal is to be able to swim longer distances with lower heart rate and also lower spl. With this in mind, I have been doing several drills of 2bk, breathing--swim and nod and breathing patterns along with the breath exchange. Hard to figure out how to work all of this in a practice plan.

Sherry
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  #3  
Old 02-15-2016
CoachSuzanne CoachSuzanne is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jenson1a View Post

Would be interested in how others plan their sessions. Coach Dave Shen told me a long time ago to get a water proof notebook and pen and plan and record what I have done. I am doing this, but not sure if I am getting the most bang for the buck on how I am doing this.
Can you share exactly what you've been doing and what your medium & long term goals are? Nearly all TI coaches have practice sessions that we have given to our own swimmers whi are still working on skills, but knowing what you're currently doign can help.

have you looked at Brian's practice plans for sale on the TI website for ideas?
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USA Paralympic Triathlon Coach
Coach of 5 time USA Triathlon Triathlete of the Year, Kirsten Sass
Steel City Endurance, LTD
Fresh Freestyle

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  #4  
Old 02-15-2016
CoachMatHudson CoachMatHudson is offline
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Hi Sherry,

Like a good doctor or coach, Suzanne is asking what the context of your training is before giving advice.

I love this quote from Alice In Wonderland...

“Alice: Would you tell me, please, which way I ought to go from here?
The Cheshire Cat: That depends a good deal on where you want to get to.
Alice: I don't much care where.
The Cheshire Cat: Then it doesn't much matter which way you go.
Alice: ...So long as I get somewhere.
The Cheshire Cat: Oh, you're sure to do that, if only you walk long enough.”

For the length of tune-up time - there is certain to be some personal variation, but I give a rule-of-thumb of 10-15 minutes to swimmers. I feel a big shift in my body after about 11 minutes and again at about 24 - then I am really ready to work.

Grant Molenuex's book 'Effortless Exercise' (pdf download available in the TI Store) will offer a lot more insight and motivation for doing a thorough warm-up. He urges us to never skimp on the warm-up, and to do the full warm-up even if we don't end up doing the rest of the intended practice. Some very good insights in that book.

As for the content of the warm-up: If a musician were to 'warm up' before her main practice, it makes sense that the warm-up (which you know we call a 'tune-up' in TI) would be something that will support what is going to happen during the main practice set.

There's a lot that could be said on this - swimming gently, swimming with mixed strokes, swimming with mixed tempo (but still low intensity) - just to get the whole body and mind online, unified and ready to work more intensely during the main sets.

The cool-down (or 'wrap-up' as Terry calls it) also is related to what just happened in the main sets and what you need to do to return your body to a relaxed state to get on with the rest of the day, and minimize recovery time until the next practice. There may also be some general principles to apply and a good deal of personalization, depending on what your particular body needs.

Heart rate doesn't need to return to minimum in the final set, but you do want to give a chance for waste products to flush from the extremities and 'pumped up' muscles to relax before changing (or worse, restricting) motion patterns for the rest of the day. If we're going to be sedentary after practice then all the more important it is to flush the system at the end of practice. So, if you finish with high heart rate that may mean the waste has had no time to be moved and the muscles no time to relax - the heart rate is only an indirect indicator of what may be happening throughout the body. We look for lower heart rate, but also scan the body to see that lower heart rate also corresponds to some level of flushing and relaxation.

RE: 2BK and Core Control - keep in mind that your legs cannot be easily trained for the role of rotational assistance (2BK) until they've been freed of the responsibility to keep your body stable. If you are still having significant core instability and core strength weaknesses, it is likely you will have a hard time getting the feet to obey 2BK commands and stick with it when you turn off attention. The brain will force the legs to serve balance until that is secure, then they will be freed to contribute to something else.

So, (as you and I were discussing in the comment section on my blog) here is an example of an advanced skill (2BK) which is dependent on a foundation skill (core stability), which urges those skills to be developed in a certain sequence.

Yes, Brian Van Der Krol has three good practice guides in the TI Store.
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Mediterra International Swimming
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My blog with over 400 posts on TI technique and mindful training: Smooth Strokes Blog

Email: mat@mediterraswim.com

Last edited by CoachMatHudson : 02-15-2016 at 09:46 PM.
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  #5  
Old 02-15-2016
WFEGb WFEGb is offline
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Hello Sherry,

Quote:
...have you looked at Brian's practice plans for sale on the TI website for ideas?...
And did you have look at Suzanne's Fast Forward course?

Should be possible to adapt it to your needs. For example half advised lengths and time settings with constant factor 1.3... Included are advises for warm up and cool down.

And FWIW: Personal warm ups are almost the same sheme: 2 laps stretching to maximal body length and optimal reach. 2 laps for each of the two/three FPs in slow motion. 2-4 laps with slightly faster tempo changing FP every lap. Not too fast and relativly long rests (30-45sec), because I don't like to start the main set exhausted. (400-600m)

Same with cool downs: Especially when exhausted from main set, 4 laps BR very slow and long strokes. then 6-10 laps slow FS with breathing patterns nearer to every three... (2-2-3-3-3-2...), sometimes every three. Revising the day's FPs in combination. And very last two single laps with fewest possible strokes...

Best regards,
Werner

PS: A "real" problem for me when in a course is reading the forum, because I find so many extremely interesting things to try out, that this can conflict the program. Will try to find a fourth pooltime just to Play with all that....

PPS: Forget the post... Just saw Mat was faster.... and will fit better.
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  #6  
Old 02-16-2016
jenson1a jenson1a is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CoachSuzanne View Post
Can you share exactly what you've been doing and what your medium & long term goals are? Nearly all TI coaches have practice sessions that we have given to our own swimmers whi are still working on skills, but knowing what you're currently doign can help.

have you looked at Brian's practice plans for sale on the TI website for ideas?
Yes about Brian's practice plans, but a long time ago. Had done a lot of his plans and was thinking about going back to some of them.

As far as goals go, I would like to break the 2 minute barrier on four lengths. Current time is 2 min 8 seconds and huffing and puffing like a steam engine at the wall. So breathing better is also a goal.
In addition I would like to be able to swim longer distances.My spl is fairly consistent, but my dps must be a lot shorter than yours (I am the same height as you). Swimming two lengths spl range 35 to 37 at tempo around 1:50 and spl of 38 to 40 with tt @1:30 to 1:35. So I am trying to become more streamlined to lengthen my dps. I also need to mention that the pool I swim in is only 70 feet long or 1 and 1/3 less than a 25 yard pool. So I have similar spls as you but in a shorter pool.

As far as what I am working on, this is from my opening post.

"Based on a video posted last May, the general consensus was that I needed to be able to do the 2bk timing and also to try to introduce core control. I have been working on that. Hopefully if I succeed, I will be able to make the 2nd length feel as good as the first-and then the third as good as the second and so on. The optimal goal is to be able to swim longer distances with lower heart rate and also lower spl. With this in mind, I have been doing several drills of 2bk, breathing--swim and nod and breathing patterns along with the breath exchange. Hard to figure out how to work all of this in a practice plan."


Does this help?

Sherry
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  #7  
Old 02-16-2016
CoachSuzanne CoachSuzanne is offline
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Are you saying you can current swim ONE length that feels good without huffing and puffing?

How often are you breathing? I feel like I've seen a video fo you from a few years ago, but not recently.

With your description of how challenging swimming 100yd/m feels, I think your practices should focus around skills & integration, and not worry too much about HR, pace, warmup, main set, cooldown, etc. Spend 5-15 minutes on 3 different focuses during a swim. First focus might be easy relaxed head position...do SG, do some skate or sweet spot, do some swimming. THen a 2nd 15 minute sectoin focusing on 2BK. Start in Superman, do SG to Skate, Do 3 strokes, swim a little. Then choose a 3rd focus...maybe use the tmepo trainer and swim 10 x 25 at a range of tempos and see what feels good.

or have you progressed beyond sets like this?
__________________
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Level 3 USAT Coach
USA Paralympic Triathlon Coach
Coach of 5 time USA Triathlon Triathlete of the Year, Kirsten Sass
Steel City Endurance, LTD
Fresh Freestyle

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  #8  
Old 02-17-2016
jenson1a jenson1a is offline
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Coach Mat

Regarding your statement:

RE: 2BK and Core Control - keep in mind that your legs cannot be easily trained for the role of rotational assistance (2BK) until they've been freed of the responsibility to keep your body stable. If you are still having significant core instability and core strength weaknesses, it is likely you will have a hard time getting the feet to obey 2BK commands and stick with it when you turn off attention. The brain will force the legs to serve balance until that is secure, then they will be freed to contribute to something else.

So, (as you and I were discussing in the comment section on my blog) here is an example of an advanced skill (2BK) which is dependent on a foundation skill (core stability), which urges those skills to be developed in a certain sequence.


Two questions
1. core instability and/or weaknesses, what drills are available to correct this problem? I have been doing planks on an everyday basis, 3 sets for 50 seconds and also doing Coach Dave Shen's suggestions about breathing from diaphragm. Would be interested what I could do in the water.

2.You said here is an example of an advanced skill 2bk that was discussed in your comment section of your blog. Not exactly sure which blog you were talking about (Stepping Stones perhaps?)

Sherry
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  #9  
Old 02-17-2016
jenson1a jenson1a is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CoachSuzanne View Post
Are you saying you can current swim ONE length that feels good without huffing and puffing?

How often are you breathing? I feel like I've seen a video fo you from a few years ago, but not recently.

With your description of how challenging swimming 100yd/m feels, I think your practices should focus around skills & integration, and not worry too much about HR, pace, warmup, main set, cooldown, etc. Spend 5-15 minutes on 3 different focuses during a swim. First focus might be easy relaxed head position...do SG, do some skate or sweet spot, do some swimming. THen a 2nd 15 minute sectoin focusing on 2BK. Start in Superman, do SG to Skate, Do 3 strokes, swim a little. Then choose a 3rd focus...maybe use the tmepo trainer and swim 10 x 25 at a range of tempos and see what feels good.

or have you progressed beyond sets like this?
This swimming 1 good length was based on one of Mat Hudon's blog, The Perfect 25. Perfect meaning (my interpretation) as good as I can make it. I have done several of these and I do admit that doing 2 lengths is getting easier and starting to feel more like the first length. I can do 4 to 6 lengths, but my RPE is a solid 4. So not sure if this is good to practice this way. spl does stay the same, so maybe that isn't all bad.

One major problem I have is that as the practice gets longer, I feel a lot of tension in my neck and back of head. Once this happens, I go back to SG or skate to relax head position.

As far as breathing goes, at slower tempos, I breathe every other stroke. On faster tempos, I feel really comfortable doing 3 on one side and then 2 on the other. Left sided breathing requires more work to do, but feels fairly comfortable.

Your suggestions are appreciated and I feel that it my technique is the focus I should be concentrating on. Like Werner, I get caught up in this forum with all the interesting things that people suggest!

Sherry
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  #10  
Old 02-17-2016
jenson1a jenson1a is offline
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Coach Suzanne

You had asked about a video. here is the last one I posted, but not sure if you have the time to comment. I did receive several comments from Coach Stuart and also Zenturtle that seemed to agree with each other.

https://youtu.be/TlR3nJnM2HE

I have been working on rotation, 2bk, and better breathing--early breath and returning head before recovering arm enters water.

Probably should get a more current video Anyway, I think I am straying from the original topic.

Sherry
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