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  #1  
Old 10-18-2010
KatieK KatieK is offline
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KatieK
Default Pacing without the Tempo Trainer

Hi All,
I've been working with the Tempo Trainer for about 5 months. I've made a lot of progress using that tool. If I could, I'd use it all the time. But, since it is not legal for USMS-sanctioned events, I'm trying to learn to do without it.

Based on my height, my SPL range should be 16-19 according to this guideline http://www.totalimmersion.net/forum/...6&postcount=12

On a good day, while using the Tempo Trainer, I can hold an SPL of 16 at 1.0 seconds per stroke. I can hold 18 SPL down to a stroke rate of about 0.8. If I'm feeling relaxed, pretty much any stroke rate above .85 feels leisurely. I get a sense of time slowing down. When my coach watches me swimming at 0.8-0.95, she comments on how smooth I look. She says it looks like I'm swimming slowly even though I'm swimming fast.

Without the Tempo Trainer, it's another story. At slow speeds, I'm fine. I can get down to 12-14 SPL at "very slow" gear (maybe 1.8?). I think I may be able to hold 16 SPL at about 1.2.

When I speed up, though, I feel rushed. And, it turns out, I'm not actually speeding up. My coach did an experiment with me today at Masters. She had me swim 50 yds at .95 and then take off the TT and try to maintain that pace for 150 yds without it.

The .95 with the TT felt like a recovery lap. When I turned it off, I felt rushed, nervous, and fatigued. My coach timed my stroke rate at 1.15 during that part. This happened on multiple repeats.

I've tried using words to go with different tempos, but that hasn't worked very well. They don't give me an objective measure like the TT does because I can't tell if I'm saying them faster or slower. I end up feeling rushed when I do that.

I've had better luck going with a feeling of stroke length. Even in open water, I think my sense of what 16 SPL feels like is pretty accurate.

I'd be grateful for any suggestions.

Last edited by KatieK : 10-19-2010 at 12:34 AM.
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  #2  
Old 10-19-2010
westyswoods westyswoods is offline
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KatieK,
No suggestions, just words of encouragement. You are obviously much farther along and more accomplished at the TT. In fact some time back when I first started and was struggling, which I still am, your suggestion was not to worry about SPL's until I got used to the timing and coordination. Thanks so much, as it is getting better but I have a long ways to go. You will figure it out with help from members.

Be Well and Swim Silent
Westy
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  #3  
Old 10-19-2010
KatieK KatieK is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by westyswoods View Post
KatieK,
No suggestions, just words of encouragement. You are obviously much farther along and more accomplished at the TT. In fact some time back when I first started and was struggling, which I still am, your suggestion was not to worry about SPL's until I got used to the timing and coordination. Thanks so much, as it is getting better but I have a long ways to go. You will figure it out with help from members.
Westy, as always, thanks for the kind words of encouragement. I really am hoping to get some help figuring this one out! Right now, my race strategy is to swim as slow as I can until the last few hundred meters. That ends up being *much* faster (and more enjoyable) than trying to swim fast without the tempo trainer, but still pretty slow.

A few ideas for your journey with the tempo trainer:
1. Have you tried experimenting with which part of the stroke you are timing it to? I started out timing it to the spearing arm. When I switched to timing it to the kick, everything started coming together for me. (Sorry if I'm repeating myself on that one.)
2.) You could try timing yourself on one length where you are swimming at your most comfortable cruise pace. Don't push off from the wall. Divide the time in seconds by the number of strokes. Theoretically, that should give you a comfortable pace for setting the TT.
3.) The mental aspect of it changed for me when I started thinking about the thread "Ommmm - or - Tick...tick...tick...?". Something clicked to make me start being more aware of the time between beeps than the "deadline" of the beep. http://www.totalimmersion.net/forum/...eferrerid=9700

Good luck!
Katie
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  #4  
Old 10-19-2010
flppr flppr is offline
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"one-thousand one, one-thousand two..."?
off topic: can you tell me how coordinating the ticks of the tt with your kick instead of your spear helped you, Katie?
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  #5  
Old 10-19-2010
KatieK KatieK is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by flppr View Post
"one-thousand one, one-thousand two..."?
off topic: can you tell me how coordinating the ticks of the tt with your kick instead of your spear helped you, Katie?
Hi Flppr,
When I was timing to the spear, I felt like I was rushing to elongate my stroke. When I switched to the kick, the whole process felt simpler. It seems to work like this:
1.) Kick to begin a new stroke
2.) Kick forces rotation, rotation forces the patient lead arm to begin the catch.
3.) While #2 is happening, quickly move the recovery arm thru the air. There's nothing to be lost by "rushing" this part.
4.) Spear the recovery arm and elongate until I feel a stretch in my pecs. Maintain that streamlined position for all those precious fractions of seconds until the beep tells me to move on. I don't have to rush when the beep sounds. I'm already where I should be to start the next stroke. I just go ahead and kick.

I'll try your suggestion about counting and let you know how it goes.
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  #6  
Old 10-19-2010
flppr flppr is offline
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thanks, Katie. i'm going to try your tip tonight.
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  #7  
Old 10-19-2010
CoachRosita CoachRosita is offline
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Default Pacing Without Tempo Trainer

Katie K,

I could have made a post similar to yours. I have grown very dependent on my tempo trainer. Now that I have used the tool and made improvements, I intend to declare days or atleast portions of swim practices where I do not use it. My assumption is that with time and thoughtful practice without it, my own internal sense of pacing will become more developed. I can always put it back on to help remind me of what a given stroke rate feels like plus I do intend to use the tempo trainer on an on-going basis just not all the time. It is great you have a coach helping you take some data on your swims.

I don't know if this is possible for you but synchronizing with a swimmer who can pace you is also helpful. It is still a crutch but not as obvious to your body as the tempo trainer. I am fortunate to have a swim buddy who can dial in his swim speeds. Since he is male, 7 inches taller than me, 10 years younger, and an excellent swimmer, I have the luxury of just being able to ask him to swim a 100 yards or whatever with me to better understand pace. I seldom request he do this since I want him to get a good workout in but he has helped me set a number of personal best in order to keep up with him and the pace I requested.

Hope this helps.

CoachRosita
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  #8  
Old 10-19-2010
AWP AWP is offline
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KK

Just a thought. Since ladder sets are 'quintessential' and very helpful in pacing practice, have you tried taking this approach? By that I mean with both the TT and without, also by increasing tempo on the way 'up' and decreasing tempo on the way 'down'; and perhaps vice versa. I've found exploring this way 'kept' me better dialed in to my inner TT. A good dose of OW helps me greatly too!
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  #9  
Old 10-19-2010
KatieK KatieK is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CoachRosita View Post
I don't know if this is possible for you but synchronizing with a swimmer who can pace you is also helpful. It is still a crutch but not as obvious to your body as the tempo trainer.
CoachRosita
Coach Rosita, thanks for the suggestion. I noticed this in practice yesterday as well. Pacing against another swimmer doesn't have the calming affect of the TT, but it helps by giving a more objective measure. It seems like a worthwhile avenue to pursue.

Quote:
Originally Posted by KatieK View Post
Hi Flppr,
When I was timing to the spear, I felt like I was rushing to elongate my stroke. When I switched to the kick, the whole process felt simpler. It seems to work like this:
1.) Kick to begin a new stroke
2.) Kick forces rotation, rotation forces the patient lead arm to begin the catch.
3.) While #2 is happening, quickly move the recovery arm thru the air. There's nothing to be lost by "rushing" this part.
4.) Spear the recovery arm and elongate until I feel a stretch in my pecs. Maintain that streamlined position for all those precious fractions of seconds until the beep tells me to move on. I don't have to rush when the beep sounds. I'm already where I should be to start the next stroke. I just go ahead and kick.
Yet another example of my perception being wrong! I paid more attention to this sequence during my swim today, and it felt more like the kick driving the spearing arm into place.

Quote:
Originally Posted by AWP View Post
Just a thought. Since ladder sets are 'quintessential' and very helpful in pacing practice, have you tried taking this approach? By that I mean with both the TT and without, also by increasing tempo on the way 'up' and decreasing tempo on the way 'down'; and perhaps vice versa. I've found exploring this way 'kept' me better dialed in to my inner TT. A good dose of OW helps me greatly too!
AWP, this is a good suggestion, and it makes perfect sense. I have done some of this, but I didn't realize until yesterday that it wasn't working. Without the tempo trainer, I feel like I'm speeding up my stroke rate, but I'm actually slowing it down.

I made this spreadsheet to take to the pool this morning to give me a better gauge of my stroke rate. https://spreadsheets.google.com/ccc?...cI&hl=en#gid=0

I timed myself on one-length repeats without pushing off and counted strokes. Then I checked the spreadsheet to see if my stroke rate was what I thought it was. I didn't make any progress today, but I think it will help to have a more accurate measurement than perception. I'll try combining this method with ascending/descending ladders.

Since you seem to have a good command of pace, maybe you could give me some tips about how you regulate your stroke rate for the non-TT sets. Are there different sensations you can use to gauge how fast you're stroking? On those sets, I try to increase my stroke rate by telling myself to rush. I guess I'm aiming for (and finding) a sensation of fatigue.

Also, how does practicing in open water help you with this? I am finding nearly the opposite. If I don't get in enough pool practice, I get slower because I don't have any objective measurement. I don't realize I'm slowing down as I get tired. I would love to try whatever is working for you on that.

Thanks so much everyone for your comments.
Katie
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  #10  
Old 10-19-2010
CoachRosita CoachRosita is offline
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Default Pacing Without the Tempo Trainer

KatieK,

I am very much a numbers person so I took a look at your chart. If you would like to do flip turns and or push off the wall (during your ladder) but want to make the same type of chart make some assumptions such as:

1. I begin stroking at the flags in a 25 yard pool thus "swim" 20 yards.
2. Each time I come off the wall I use 3 seconds before beginning to swim

Thus, if I take 1:37 to swim a 100 yards in 80 strokes my true swim time is 1:25 seconds (subtracting 4*3=12 for four pushoffs). I take 85 seconds for my 80 strokes thus my stroke rate is 1.0625 seconds per stroke.

CoachRosita

Last edited by CoachRosita : 10-19-2010 at 10:10 PM. Reason: "swam" 80 yards thus stroke length is 1 yard at a height of 61.5 inches I am 59% efficient (i.e. 36 inches / 61.5 inches).
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