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  #1  
Old 04-09-2014
terry terry is offline
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Default Terry's Training Log for 2014 OW Season

As I noted in another thread, since November I've swum only about 10,000 yds per month, with the exception of a week each of OW swimming in Dec and Feb. Difficulty getting to the pool was the main reason.
However I do plan on racing a fair bit in open water this season and--as always--will strive to be competitive. So I"ll begin making time to get to Bard College (35-40 min drive) at least twice a week until the lakes warm enough to begin swimming outdoors--hopefully within a month.

I'll log my springtime 25y practice in this thread. I'll start a new thread for 50m practices when the outdoor pool opens. And probably another for my lake swims.

In my blog Change Your Swimming in Three Minutes, and in this Forum thread I suggested doing a 3-minute exercise in nose breathing and mind clearing prior to entering the pool for practice.

I wrote that post after several days of doing that exercise as I prepared to start a session of writing. It did help center me for somewhat less distracted writing.

I must however confess that I neglected to take my own advice before swimming this morning at Bard College. Even so, I got into a pleasantly focused and relaxed state as soon as I began swimming.

In part I credit that to conditioning. I start every practice with at least five minutes of super relaxed swimming. But, as today’s practice showed, maintaining peak focus is always a work in progress.

For my tuneup, I swam this Pyramid set:
50+100+150+200+150+100+50.
My goal was to feel silky smooth while holding 13SPL; and maintaining my 50 pace as distance increased to 200 . . . then slightly quicken my pace—without sacrificing my consummate ease—as distances decreased again. I did just that, but felt a slight bit of strain holding 13SPL on the 200 and the 2nd 150. The extra effort was as much mental as physical—as it should be.

For my main task I did:
5 rounds of [3 x 50 + 1 x 200]
My goal was to swim quite relaxed on the 50s at 14-15 SPL, then swim ‘quick but quiet’ on the 200s at 15-16SPL and try to match the pace I swam on the 50s. The 50s were 42 sec, so I’d be aiming for 2:48.

I was sharing the lane with someone using a hurried, splashy stroke. Nothing unusual in that. But, besides the distraction, it created extra turbulence. On my first 200, I just missed the wall on a couple of my flip turns and my stroke count was a bit erratic. I could feel myself starting to struggle just a bit. My time on the first 200 was 2:55.

Though the time was 7 seconds slower than I’d been aiming for, I recalled exercise scientist Dr. Mike Joyner’s advice to focus on making a current time feel easier, rather than trying to swim faster.

I was aware of many small errors in that first 200 and knew I could correc them with better focus. As each round passed, the strength and consistency of my focus increased . . . and my times came down, even as I focused on swimming easier. On the final round I swam the 200 in 2:47 and left the pool feeling Mission Accomplished.

Friday I’ll swim again at Bard. I’ll spend 3 minutes nose-breathing and mind-clearing before I start.
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  #2  
Old 04-16-2014
terry terry is offline
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Default Short Repeats @ Controlled SPL Striving for Speed

Wed 16 April 2400 scy at Bard College

My objective today was to swim the fastest possible pace on the fewest strokes. In other words to test my ability to maintain the greatest Stroke Length possible while pushing Stroke Rate as high as I could. I felt I could do that best on 50-yd repeats.

Tuneup 2 x 300 #1 FR; #2 25FR-25BK
I held 13SPL for all FR lengths. On #2, I used the backstroke lengths (at 14SPL) as recovery to allow me to swim a bit faster at 13SPL on FR. I did this to be prepared to swim with some pace at 13SPL on the next set.

Main Task
4 rounds of 7 x 50 #1-4 and 6 Fast. # 5 & 7 recovery.
1st round @ 12+13 SPL. These were mostly at 40 sec, with a 'glimpse' of 39 sec on #6. Estimated Tempo: 1.32
2nd round @ 13+14 SPL - Descended from 40 to 39s, with a glimpse of 38 on #6. Estimated Tempo: 1.15
3rd round @ 14+15 SPL - Descended 40-39-38s with glimpse of 37 on #6. Estimated Tempo: 1.03
4th round @ 15+16 SPL - Started a bit easier. Descended 39-37. I didn't feel I had it in me today to descend to 36 sec at this stroke count. Instead I swam 4 extra 50s, alternating with a recovery 25, to see if I could maintain them all at a solid 37 sec pace with a minimum of strain and maximum of control. Estimated Tempo: 0.94

The interesting insight of this practice was the feeling I needed to 'learn' or become acquainted with my stroke each time I changed SPL/Stroke Length. I.E. When I did my first 50 at 13+14 SPL my timing was a bit off and I worked a bit too hard as a result.

Estimated Tempo came from dividing stroking time (time for 50 minus 8 sec) by # of strokes.

My times improved only when I moderated my effort and had an increased sense of control and precision as a result.
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Terry Laughlin
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My TI Story

Last edited by terry : 04-22-2014 at 09:05 PM.
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  #3  
Old 04-22-2014
terry terry is offline
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Default My Endless Pool Practice Plan

The last couple of weeks I've been practicing 4 to 5 mornings a week in the Endless Pool -- as against once per week in a lap pool.

I turn on the current. It runs for 30 minutes then stops. I get out.
Some days I alternate FR-BK-BR, rotating thru 30 cycles of each. Other days I swim only freestyle.

This is my plan for when I practice only Freestyle
1st 5 minutes superslow current. My sole focus is on superslow recovery, core stability, feet pointed and close together.

Then I swim 4 rounds of 6 minutes or so, increasing current each time, working through this cycle of focal points
1. Anchor lead hand. Feel that hand holding my place against the pressure of current pushing me back.
2. Spear other hand past anchored hand--aiming for target. I strive to feel my spearing hand and arm pull the high (same) hip in same direction -- i.e. toward the target. [Note: This is a new focal point, I've begun using only in the last two weeks. It feels very promising.]
3. Reverse the above: Feel high hip drive the hand to the target.
4. Use smoothly applied leverage from opposite foot to help.
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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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  #4  
Old 04-22-2014
CoachSuzanne CoachSuzanne is offline
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Borrowing the first set of ths swim for tonight's masters. Teaching "silky smooth" is tricky to those that havn't felt it.
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Old 04-23-2014
CoachSuzanne CoachSuzanne is offline
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Wow this worked better than I could have imagined. I'll post my practice set here for my swimmers, but first let me describe the magic that went on.

in my coaches mind, the goal was for them to swim easier as the set went on, while also swimming faster. This is a tough challenge depending on their level of swimming ability.

The overall theme for my swimmers was developing awareness of where pressure was being created on their body as they swam. with a perfectly streamlined stroke, they should feel even pressure on various surfaces as they swim, for example, slipping the hand in through teh mail slot on a wide track...the fingers, wrist, forearm and elbow should all slip in through a hole in the water, and if that happens, pressure from all sides of the arm will be the same.

Instead of giving people instructions like "enter wider", "be more patient with the stroking arm", I gave them instructions to look for areas of uneven pressure from teh water. Look for any water pressure that doesn't feel silky or even. Anything that feels bubbly, pokey, sharp or slow indicates some kind of an issue.

This is the type of feedback I got:
I feel pressure on:
-the outside of my forearms
-my midback
-my calves
-my right shoulder...and it sounds loud there
-I don't feel relaxed
-my left hand makes a splash

All of these indicated increased awareness of the swimmers body positions and movemetns and the interaction with the water. When they gave me this feedback...what they FELT, then I was able to tell them what I SAW that enabled them to make much quicker corrections than me simply TELLING them what correction to make.

"The coach sees, the athlete feels"

You really need both pieces to make progress...and if you're self coached, you need some external feedback.
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Suzanne Atkinson, MD
Coach of 4 time USA Triathlon Triathlete of the Year, Kirsten Sass
Steel City Endurance, LTD
Fresh Freestyle

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  #6  
Old 04-25-2014
terry terry is offline
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I'm delighted my little practice led to such valuable insights--for you and them. They are learning something that's of huge value, yet too-little appreciated -- self perception skills.
Elite athletes have self-awareness the average person can barely conceive of. While it's difficult to impossible for us to adapt to be like them physically, any of us can learn to be like them cognitively.
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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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  #7  
Old 04-28-2014
terry terry is offline
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Default Main Set of 5 rounds of 5 x 100 descend, each round faster

Monday 28 April -- 3400scy at Bard College
It's been 12 days between lap-pool practices for me, but as of this week I will begin practice 2x per week in a lap pool, plus my usual 3-4x in the Endless Pool. My first open water race will be May 31, a 2.5k in the Hudson River, so it's time to ramp up the race-specific aspect of my training.

Because I've swum so infrequently in regular pools, I've concentrated on high quality training during them. This is pretty demanding stuff--both technically and metabolically. But I do them so infrequently there's little danger of overdoing it. Even at twice per week, I'll have ample time to recover between.

This morning I was pleasantly surprised to be able to swim for over an hour with no foot or calf cramps--a rare thing lately. So I took advantage and kept going for as long as I had time. My total of 3400y is the longest practice I've swum in almost six months.

Main Set
5 rounds of 5 x 100, with easy 50 between rounds.
I mixed two tasks in each round
1) Swim a specific stroke count, increasing SPL in subsequent rounds
2) I also used the Focal Point sequence I've been practicing in the Endless Pool.
Stroke Counts:
1st round 12+13+13+14 (52 strokes) Descend 1:41-1:31
2nd round 13+14+14+15 (56 strokes) Descend 1:31-1:27
3rd round 14+15+15+16 (60 strokes) Descend 1:26-1:23
4th and 5th rounds: 15+16+16+17 (64 strokes) Descend 1:23-1:21 (rd 4)
Focal Points (Add 1 point of focus in each successive 100 each round)
1st 100: HOLD with lead hand. Resist the instinct to pull back.
2nd 100: Spear other hand past anchored hand--aiming for target.
3rd 100: Feel the spearing hand/arm/ shoulder PULL that hip in same direction -- i.e. toward the target. [I've begun using this focal point only in the last two weeks. I like it a lot!]
4th 100: Reverse the above: Feel high hip DRIVE the hand to the target.
5th 100: Use smoothly applied leverage from opposite foot to help.
In essence I gradually engage more of the body in the stroke as I progress through the set. E.G. I try to minimize the kick until the 5th 100, so I can really feel the addition of that power source.
In each round, as I 'added' another part of my body to the stroke, I swam faster automatically. I didn't try to swim faster. It just happened.
Repeating this sequence five times also helped 'hardwire' stroke integration into my brain.

In Round 5 (repeating the same SPL range as Round 4) I swam all 5 x 100 with full integration. I could feel myself reaching a 'failure threshold' -- struggling to hold form as muscles fatigued. It was an excellent test of focus.
I did 1:21-1:21-1:21 - 'glimpse of 1:20, then 'glimpse' of 1:19. Though I struggled a bit more against fatigue as the set went on I compensated with stronger visualization (during the 20 sec between 100s) and focus (while swimming.)

Tempo Task
I swam 24 x 25 at gradually increasing tempo, doing 2 x 25 at each of these tempos.
I started the set at 1.30 and finished at .94. I did 3 each, advancing tempo by .05, .04, .03, .02, .01
1.30-1.27-1.24
1.20-1.16-1.12
1.09-1.06-1.03
1.01-0.99-0.97
.96-.95-.94
I swam the entire set with the complete integration focus with which I finished the set of 100s. SPL increased from 13 to 16 during the set, but my stroke felt great at every tempo and SPL.

Then I repeated one more 100 at 15-16-16-17 and this time went a solid (not glimpse of) 1:19 despite feeling like I had relatively little left physically. I have to credit this last 1:19 entire to muscle memory.
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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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  #8  
Old 04-28-2014
terry terry is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CoachSuzanne View Post
The theme for my swimmers was developing awareness of where pressure was being created on their body as they swam. with a perfectly streamlined stroke, they should feel even pressure on various surfaces as they swim, for example, slipping the hand in through teh mail slot on a wide track...the fingers, wrist, forearm and elbow should all slip in through a hole in the water, and if that happens, pressure from all sides of the arm will be the same.
I gave this to Jeanne Safer at our regular weekly lesson last Friday. She totally got it and LOVED it.

Thanks Suzanne. I've known the value of feeling this in my own stroke intuitively, but had not articulated it. I think this can be a breakthrough Focal Point.
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Terry Laughlin
Head Coach & Chief Executive Optimist

May your laps be as happy as mine.

My TI Story
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  #9  
Old 04-29-2014
CoachSuzanne CoachSuzanne is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by terry View Post
I gave this to Jeanne Safer at our regular weekly lesson last Friday. She totally got it and LOVED it.

Thanks Suzanne. I've known the value of feeling this in my own stroke intuitively, but had not articulated it. I think this can be a breakthrough Focal Point.
Curious what her sensations were. In 2 of my swimmers they articulated sensations I never would have guessed but as soon as they told me I could connect it to a mechanical flaw I had tried to correct in the past. Until the felt this unique sensation that ONLY they would know, they were at a disadvantage to fixing it. (one was pressure on the outer aspect of forearms, the other sensation was pressure & noise on the right shoulder).
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Suzanne Atkinson, MD
Coach of 4 time USA Triathlon Triathlete of the Year, Kirsten Sass
Steel City Endurance, LTD
Fresh Freestyle

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  #10  
Old 04-29-2014
terry terry is offline
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Jeanne felt an evenness and consistency of water pressure on all immersed parts of her body in freestyle. Trying to transfer that to breaststroke.
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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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