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Old 01-24-2011 is offline
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Join Date: Jan 2011
Posts: 1
Default Returning from Maho – back to the pool

Returning from Maho – back to the pool

I agree with all the rave reviews previously posted about the Maho camp. It was a fantastic experience swimming with the fish, turtles, rays, etc. During the evenings we talked about our return to the pool at home with some apprehension. Well here’s how it went for me:

Tuesday – The coach did not buy into my plan to convert the pool to salt water and put a coral reef in the deep end. He laughed at my tempo trainer and called it a “pace-maker.” I was swimming a slower than before but my tempo trainer was set at 1.4, about half the stroke rate of the swimmers around me. The main set was 5 x 200 and I was a little frustrated with the slow times so I dropped down .1 sec for each 200 until I got to 1.0. Guess what? I didn’t get any faster at 1.0 than at 1.4. So I went back to 1.4 and did 3 more 200s. Because I was swimming more efficiently I didn’t need as much rest. When I got home I realized I had covered the same distance I usually do but used much less energy. Instead of feeling “the burn” I felt like I had been to yoga class.

Sunday – I decided to keep the tempo at 1.4 and figure out how to swim efficiently. For this workout I focused on the timing, not pulling until my other hand was in the water. My regular lane mate was there for added pressure. This time I was swimming at my regular speed but still only taking half as many strokes! I was not tired and I drove my lane mate nuts!

Thanks to Terry, Celeste and the other TI coaches for getting me started on the right path. I can hardly wait to do a triathlon swimming like this and coming out of the water with energy to burn on the bike and run!

Just keep swimming!
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Old 01-25-2011
terry terry is offline
Head Coach
Join Date: Apr 2008
Posts: 2,305
terry has disabled reputation

What excites me most about reading your account is to see how you are acquiring a degree of wisdom and insight that eludes virtually all swimmers.

Your poolmates are trapped by custom and habit on a "treadmill of pulling faster and harder." In virtually every instance -- the rare 'gifted' swimmer being the exception - the only guarantee it comes with is that it will make you tired faster. It seldom makes you faster, faster.

Just by adding a device that gives you perfect knowledge and precise adjustability of your stroke rate, you have a means to experiment with and compare different approaches to swimming. Doing this:
1) liberates you from the 'neural rut' that nearly all swimmers are stuck in. I.E. They do virtually all their practice in narrow range of Length and Rate and therefore their nervous system lacks the ability to adapt.
2) Gives you organized feedback and the ability to compare and measure the effect of different combinations of Length and Rate
3) Puts you in a highly engaged state - in contrast to the numbing sameness, and inability to find a clear focus, that causes so many triathletes on the BeginnerTriathlete forum (for just a single instance) to complain "Swimming is boring!"

So, to summarize the invaluable insight you have gained already
You swim the same speed, with far less effort, at a tempo of 1.4, as at 1.0. This tells you that, at this moment in time, your neural system is better adapted to that tempo.
As a result you finish practice feeling like you've just done a yoga class, instead of the Bataan Death March. Which is precisely how you'd like to feel when you reach T1 in an actual triathlon.

Your first TT experiment focused on three metrics Duration or Distance, Tempo and Time
Next experiment with another combination Duration, Tempo and Stroke Count

What SPL do you hold for 200m @1.4? Then compare this with:
What SPL do you hold for 2 x 100 or 4 x 50 or 8 x 25 @ 1.4

Or compare it with what SPL you hold @ 1.38, 1.36, 1.34, 1.32 for 200m
200 @ 1.4
2 x 100 @ 1.38
4 x 50 @ 1.36
8 x 25 @ 1.34

You get the idea.
Terry Laughlin
Head Coach & Chief Executive Optimist

May your laps be as happy as mine.

My TI Story
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