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  #21  
Old 10-22-2010
KatieK KatieK is offline
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Default Thanks for the great advice!!!

Quote:
Originally Posted by AWP View Post
*For me "feeling" is what it is all about. Developing that sense while we practice should be what we're after and paying attention to, concentrating on. As you relate, the same should apply while using the infamous TT. Once acclimated to following a beep, become aware at all times of what our bodies are doing/experiencing and how they react while changing tempos; careful not to always get lost in the beep.
How to do it? Big question and one which can be answered in an array of ways (as has been demonstrated).
What I've done: Not changing the range too much at first, spending plenty of concentrated time on 'building' my tempo(s). i.e. .01-.02 @ a time. Painfully minute perhaps but well worth the lesson(s). What has helped me: Practicing a set tempo, say 1.12, holding a spl then squeezing as much as comfortably (sometimes not as comfy) possible out of that before changing to a quicker pace, albiet minutely different. By squeezing I mean gaining more purchase, lengthening my stroke i.e. going from 16-14spl(maybe even 13) on the same tempo, then, descending time! I can kill an hour easy just on this focus alone.*

Some points,"feelings", that helped me recognize I'm holding a quicker pace:

My rotation 'feels' a bit lessened (or better, where it should be), allowing for a very easy, brief and sneaky breath.

My 2bk feels more fluid, less time for added movements (if this happens it's apparent instantly)

My extension feels long, from the lats, sooner and I find myself poised for an instantaneous catch.

And, what I seem to notice most, my recovery feels more compact, my "marionette arms" swinging a bit quicker (but my overall recovery remains relaxed and unhurried) my fingers just skimming the surface of the water.
Alan, thanks so much for this excellent response. This is *exactly* the kind of specific advice I was looking for.

I'm going to re-read this part every day before I swim for the next couple of weeks.

Quote:
Originally Posted by AWP View Post
How to do this? Practice, practicing minute movements in minute steps. Very 'painful' for many but beneficial for most. Especially if your PFI (Plan For Improvement) is continual and open ended. It's a bugger of a thing to nail down consistently but fun to try!
Not painful for me! I'm really OCD about this stuff. ;-)

Quote:
Originally Posted by AWP View Post
I'll try and keep you up on any insights as I prep for the too quick approaching end to my OW season and plan on more concentrated pace work in the pool (Terry, keep those practice sets coming!) BTW, KK et al, I highly highly recommend Terry's blog posts, in particular to this discussion, his post titled "Exact Pace Awareness without the pace clock" and his accompanying practice examples.
I really look forward to hearing anything else you have to say on this subject.

For anyone else who's interested, this is the URL to the blog post Alan mentioned. http://www.swimwellblog.com/archives/348
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  #22  
Old 10-26-2010
terry terry is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by KatieK View Post
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.
Katie
This is one of the most important topics ever introduced on this Forum for swimmers who are oriented to improving their pace-holding ability: (a) to hold a given pace for longer duration, and (b) to hold a faster pace. Always work on (a) before (b).

I didn't have time this morning to read the entire thread, but will do so later in expectation that further opportunities for insight will abound.

But for now I'll mention that I practice several forms of swimming measured by time. I feel that all have contributed to the goal I seek to achieve via practice - the ability to pace effectively in races.

1) TT and SPL - I work combinations of these and generally pay little attention to the pace clock. Most common goal is faster frequency on same SPL.
2) TT and Pace Clock - I work through ranges/sequences of TT and measure their effect via the clock. Goals are (a) faster times on same tempo; (b) faster times on faster tempo - with times increasing by at least the same % as tempo, and (c) same times on slower tempo.
3) SPL and Pace Clock - I don't wear TT but try to achieve similar effects to above, substituting SPL for tempo.
4) "Feel" and Pace Clock - Sustained pace over gradually-longer swims. And sometimes improved pace over gradually-longer swims - a very high-skilled activity. Improved pace over series of constant-distance repeats. Very improved pace over series of reducing-distance repeats.

I feel all four forms of pacing practice are essential to achieving Pace Mastery.

PS: Please convey my congratulations to your coach for her innovative thinking and open-ness to your training methods. Also feel free to share this post with her as it may suggest some new possibilities for set design.
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My TI Story
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  #23  
Old 10-26-2010
haschu33 haschu33 is offline
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Hi Rosita,

You tend to put the nasty bits in your edit commentary. Like this one:

Quote:
Originally Posted by CoachRosita View Post
Not sure of this but my recollection is that this body length should be attainable at 1 stroke per second.
That means that taller swimmers are faster and that from 10 strokes down which is roughly the 100% efficiency of a 2m (6'6'') person you start to hit the worldrecord...
Not to talk about 134 per cent. Means appr. 8 stroke in a 25m pool in my case, taking push-offs into account. At 1.0 ... would give me a 44 sec time on 100m ... ... that's not ambitious, that is mean.
Quote:
Originally Posted by CoachRosita View Post
Good luck to all in their quest for improved swimming.

CoachRosita
Thanks darling ;-)

Quote:
Originally Posted by boken View Post
...Set your TT to twice the time that you would normally. So instead of it beeping every stroke, it beeps on only one hand. Don't stay here long ... ...
That sounds like a good advice. I will try that at times.


AWP, I appreciate your post. I think that approach of staying and advancing one timing is also worth giving it a try.
I was a bit surprised, though, with some statements. Not with the 'what', but with the 'that'.

Quote:
Originally Posted by AWP View Post
*For me "feeling" is what it is all about. Developing that sense while we practice should be what we're after and paying attention to, concentrating on. ...
I never had the idea that there is another way. But there must be, if you mention this?


Quote:
Originally Posted by AWP View Post
... My rotation 'feels' a bit lessened (or better, where it should be), allowing for a very easy, brief and sneaky breath. ...
Can you elaborate this a little bit? Except that you are faster - because you stroke faster - is there something else that changes in the rotation?
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  #24  
Old 10-26-2010
AWP AWP is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by KatieK View Post
But for now I'll mention that I practice several forms of swimming measured by time. I feel that all have contributed to the goal I seek to achieve via practice - the ability to pace effectively in races.

1) TT and SPL
2) TT and Pace Clock
3) SPL and Pace Clock
4) "Feel" and Pace Clock
I feel all four forms of pacing practice are essential to achieving Pace Mastery.
Thanks for this Terry, as usual very succinct and a great reminder as I continue my pace work in the pool. Cut and copied.

KK - worked @ 1.0 yesterday for the first time in quite a while and also found myself averaging 15-16spl (perhaps 17 on a few ;) ) and found this not so easy ... yet. My average time was 1:24 on 100yd repeats so I lost seconds somewhere, but I'll find them. My 50s held @ :40. Working on those feeelings.

So why 1.0 you may ask? My TT is still crapped out, failed to get a new one. The TT stays only on 1.0 when I can get it to work. Sometimes I'll hear the darn thing beeping away in my bag and it takes all I've got to shut it off. Yesterday, a loving whack on the pool deck got it started, and it held! @ 1.0 that is.

How did I manage? I began my practice (sans TT) 'systematically' trying to dial in to those feelings we've talked about. I did longer repeats of 500yds down to 300yds and then began to time my shorter lengths while trying to hold my spl. Then "WHACK" and the fun began. 1.0 at this point felt pretty maintainable.

When my 100 times hit 1:25 I stopped with the TT and began building my rhythm again with recovery 50s back to 100s sneaking in some drill/swim lengths and finishing with 100 - 150s breathing left then right then two lft two rt then every 3; working on those feelings. I don't believe I took more than 17spl overall and averaged 16 on the 'quicker' lengths and the timed 100s.

Btw, not quite done with OW yet, today was irresistible with mostly sunny sky and a delicious 62F. Admittedly the air temps help, cooler air temps make it harder to get in. The only comfort is knowing the water is still warmer than the air (today was an exception).
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  #25  
Old 10-27-2010
terry terry is offline
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I did sets from two of these categories yesterday here in Singapore. I'll give examples that illustrate how I work them.

Quote:
Originally Posted by terry View Post
1) TT and SPL - I work combinations of these and generally pay little attention to the pace clock. Most common goal is faster frequency on same SPL.
Swim 4 x 25 + 3 x 50 + 2 x 75 + 1 x 100 (500m total)
Tempo @ 1.10. Goal: As Duration (repeat distance) increases, hold SPL at no more than +1 to SPL on 25s.
Outcome:
25s: 15SPL
50s: 15+16
75s: 15+16+16
100: 15+16+16+16
Effect: Pace stays consistent as duration increases.

Tempo Pyramid
Swim 6 x 50 with decreasing tempo. Increase SPL. I regressed tempo from 1.10 to 1.20 in .02 increments. Total Strokes for 50 decreased from 33 to 30.
Swim 6 x 50 with increasing tempo, back to 1.10. Strokes for 50 increased, but only to 31.
Effect: Efficiency improves as a result of slowing, then increasing, tempo.

Quote:
Originally Posted by terry View Post
3) SPL and Pace Clock - I don't wear TT but try to achieve similar effects to above, substituting SPL for tempo.
Swim 3 x 100m IM. Count SPL. Goal is to maintain SL while improving speed.
Results
52 total strokes @ 2:00
51 total strokes @ 1:55
50 total strokes @ 1:50
Effect: Duration remains consistent, but both Speed and SL improved.

In all of these sets, what I have in common is measuring at least two variables. The outcomes can reflect three possible levels of skill
1) Maintain both variables constant throughout the set.
2) Improve one variable while maintaining the other. The two TT sets are examples of this. In the first I maintained SL and Tempo while increasing duration. In the 2nd I improved SL at initial tempo, while duration remained constant.
3) Improve two variables The IM set is an example of this. Duration remained constant, while both SL and Pace (i.e. Tempo or Time) improved.

I consider the ability to do such sets a skill, just as the movement skills of efficient strokes are a skill. It takes a relatively high degree of skill to master the first skill level above, and a pretty rare degree to master the 3rd.

I think of TI Practice as designed to offer systematic and step-by-step ways to develop three distinct kinds of skill, which build upon one another.
Level One - Develop the Stroke.
Level Two - Develop the Swimmer
Level Three - Interact with Other Swimmers - Racing and particularly OW racing.

When I felt my learning curve in Level One was beginning to flatten, I immediately began to seek new challenges. The various forms of pacing skill - requiring me to optimize SL, SR and Duration - offered that opportunity.
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Last edited by terry : 10-27-2010 at 03:29 AM.
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  #26  
Old 10-27-2010
haschu33 haschu33 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by terry View Post
... here in Singapore. ...
I am envious. Particularly as the weather here in Northern Germany becomes more and more nasty... . I found it nicely warm in Singapore, although the humidity is quite demanding. And the difference between air-conditioned rooms and the outside is shocking sometimes.

I always loved Singapore, it has all the nice aspects of Asia, and it is so extremely clean (don't look at Manhatten after having been to Singapore). That combination is kind of rare in Asia (except Japan maybe). I loved the food in S'pore, especially in those hawker centers. My favourite was Maxwell hawker center. If you don't mind the somewhat rustic atmosphere you can eat delicious food for a few Singapore Dollars and have a nice Tiger Beer with it (which costs more than the food).

I first thought that you are swimming in a 50 m pool, I though they are rare or don't exist in Singapore. I always swam in the hotel pool which was a very nice 25m pool, outside in the garden (which in fact was on the 5th floor of a shoping mall) overlooking the sea. Just breaststroke at that time, and not especially efficient.

Quote:
Originally Posted by terry View Post
...
Level One - Develop the Stroke.
Level Two - Develop the Swimmer
...
I assume you mean with Level One just stroke details, and with Level Two developing pace etc. Otherwise I find it difficult to see how you can develop the stroke without developing the swimmer and vice versa.

Enjoy your visit!
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  #27  
Old 10-27-2010
KatieK KatieK is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by boken View Post
I was reading on a running forum a while ago where they were discussing this issue about reliance on metronomes for keeping their strides. This advice was offered which might help you learn to keep your tempo:

Set your TT to twice the time that you would normally. So instead of it beeping every stroke, it beeps on only one hand. Don't stay here long because you may get lob-sided by emphasizing the side the beep is on. But it's a first step. When you can complete a cycle (decently) and land on target with the beep, set the TT to 3 times your stroke. That way you will go *beep*-silent_stroke-silent_stroke-*beep*; the beeps will alternate sides. Once you can do three and land on time at the beep, increase to 4, 5, and continue until it only beeps every once in a while. Then the beep will only be there as a occasional reminder/reinforcer of your tempo.

This will gradually teach you how to be responsible for your own rhythm more and more over time; while allowing you to keep some sort of feedback on how well you are actually doing so.
Boken--I somehow overlooked this post before. It's a good idea. I definitely need a weaning technique that I could use for a shorter distance than a pool length. I'd be pretty thrilled right now to make progress on pacing myself correctly for just a few strokes.

Quote:
Originally Posted by terry View Post
But for now I'll mention that I practice several forms of swimming measured by time. I feel that all have contributed to the goal I seek to achieve via practice - the ability to pace effectively in races.

1) TT and SPL - I work combinations of these and generally pay little attention to the pace clock. Most common goal is faster frequency on same SPL.
2) TT and Pace Clock - I work through ranges/sequences of TT and measure their effect via the clock. Goals are (a) faster times on same tempo; (b) faster times on faster tempo - with times increasing by at least the same % as tempo, and (c) same times on slower tempo.
3) SPL and Pace Clock - I don't wear TT but try to achieve similar effects to above, substituting SPL for tempo.
4) "Feel" and Pace Clock - Sustained pace over gradually-longer swims. And sometimes improved pace over gradually-longer swims - a very high-skilled activity. Improved pace over series of constant-distance repeats. Very improved pace over series of reducing-distance repeats.

I feel all four forms of pacing practice are essential to achieving Pace Mastery.
Terry, thanks for the feedback. I've worked quite a bit on #1 and #2, but I haven't made much progress with #3 or #4. Mainly because I don't know how to start.

I had a similar problem when I started working on #1. I read thru a lot of posts and practice sets designed to improve SPL/tempo combinations. At that time, I didn't know how to lengthen my stroke simply by practicing more or trying harder. I tried to improve by following those practice sets, but I got frustrated.

I started making breakthroughs when I re-read the section in Total Immersion Swimming about the improved hydrodynamics of a longer vessel. When I focused on "lengthening my vessel", I started to drop strokes. That practical "how-to" for reducing my SPL made the practice sets much more fruitful. I began to focus on using whatever time I had between beeps to stretch out my lead arm. That gave me a concrete focal point-- much more helpful than "try to improve my SPL".

Since then, I've learned other focal points for reducing my SPL. With each one of them, I've made improvements. But the most important factor was to have at least *one* concrete focal point. In other words, I needed a place to start.

Right now, I'm in the same situation with #3 and #4 as I originally was with #1: struggling to get a a grip on the bottom rung of the ladder so I can start climbing. I understand the goal, and the method seems like a sound one. But, I don't have a concrete idea for how to do it. "Trying harder" isn't working. I end up feeling exhausted and frustrated.

I simply don't know how to achieve a high stroke rate without the TT. It sounds like this should be easy, but it is proving difficult for me. I can maintain my SPL pretty well, but I get fatigued *trying* to maintain my stroke rate while *actually* decreasing it.

I've been taking Alan's suggestion of paying attention to how I feel at each moment of my stroke while using the TT. For example, I notice exactly what position I'm in when it's time to start a new stroke. I also pay attention to whether I'm tending to fall slightly ahead or behind. I'm hoping to learn something that will stay with me when I turn off the beep.

Quote:
Originally Posted by AWP View Post
KK - worked @ 1.0 yesterday for the first time in quite a while and also found myself averaging 15-16spl (perhaps 17 on a few ;) ) and found this not so easy ... yet. My average time was 1:24 on 100yd repeats so I lost seconds somewhere, but I'll find them. My 50s held @ :40. Working on those feeelings.

So why 1.0 you may ask? My TT is still crapped out, failed to get a new one. The TT stays only on 1.0 when I can get it to work. Sometimes I'll hear the darn thing beeping away in my bag and it takes all I've got to shut it off. Yesterday, a loving whack on the pool deck got it started, and it held! @ 1.0 that is.

How did I manage? I began my practice (sans TT) 'systematically' trying to dial in to those feelings we've talked about. I did longer repeats of 500yds down to 300yds and then began to time my shorter lengths while trying to hold my spl. Then "WHACK" and the fun began. 1.0 at this point felt pretty maintainable.

When my 100 times hit 1:25 I stopped with the TT and began building my rhythm again with recovery 50s back to 100s sneaking in some drill/swim lengths and finishing with 100 - 150s breathing left then right then two lft two rt then every 3; working on those feelings. I don't believe I took more than 17spl overall and averaged 16 on the 'quicker' lengths and the timed 100s.

Btw, not quite done with OW yet, today was irresistible with mostly sunny sky and a delicious 62F. Admittedly the air temps help, cooler air temps make it harder to get in. The only comfort is knowing the water is still warmer than the air (today was an exception).
Alan, thanks for posting. Please keep the updates coming. LOL, on the TT problems. I've had the same issue. (BTW, I've found that a loving yet accidental whack of the TT on the pool deck can shorten its life considerably).

I'm hoping to keep swimming in OW most of the winter, but acclimating to the cold is a challenge for me. The air temps here are in the mid-70s, and the lakes are about the same. I know that sounds balmy to all you hearty people, but it takes everything I have to force myself to get in. (No wetsuit, though. I have faith that if I follow you guys' advice, I'll get the hang of it eventually.)
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  #28  
Old 10-27-2010
AWP AWP is offline
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Well, right away, after reading your last paragraph I can pretty much guarantee that after a cold water (-70F) immersion your stroke rate would become considerably quicker! If you can stay in long enough (coherently) to remember that feeling you're all set : ) . Seriously, I'll do my best to keep you up.
I'd suggest another focus/stroke/drill to perhaps clear your mental slate. When you resume, begin by swimming (slowly) deliberately highlighting some gentle positioning and movements. Then take it from there. Luck!
Btw, IMO, I feel you've got it with the streamlining focus. This helped me greatly. The bugger is making it all feel 'au natural'.
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  #29  
Old 10-27-2010
haschu33 haschu33 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by KatieK View Post
...
I've been taking Alan's suggestion of paying attention to how I feel at each moment of my stroke while using the TT. For example, I notice exactly what position I'm in when it's time to start a new stroke. I also pay attention to whether I'm tending to fall slightly ahead or behind. I'm hoping to learn something that will stay with me when I turn off the beep.
...
No real advice, maybe, but I noticed something when I use a faster stroke rate: rhythm. From some TT timing downwards - it's for me around 1.2 or a little faster than that - rhythm becomes prominent and changes from deliberate recovery, deliberate catch, deliberate pull, deliberate kick to an overall rhythm that does not consist so much of single parts but actually of a whole stroke, it really is a full stroke. So it is not so much the feel of each single movement but more like music - a rhythm. I cannot remember how and how fast to move parts of my body at a certain pace, but I can remember a rhythm without TT.
I don't know if this is understandable, I just can't put it in better words.

BTW rhythm in swimming I noticed is when it gets really fun.
Which speaks in favour of faster rates - once balance and stroke is established at slow rates.

Quote:
Originally Posted by KatieK View Post
...
LOL, on the TT problems. I've had the same issue. (BTW, I've found that a loving yet accidental whack of the TT on the pool deck can shorten its life considerably).
Yeah, that thing has a short life anyway, I am at my third TT now. One always tried to escape, one turned pale and got too shy to display anything, and my last one shows strange settings after it sat in my bag for a while. I guess it also needs a special case or it gets unhappy...
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  #30  
Old 10-27-2010
AWP AWP is offline
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[quote=haschu33;14280]So it is not so much the feel of each single movement but more like music - a rhythm. I cannot remember how and how fast to move parts of my body at a certain pace, but I can remember a rhythm without TT.
I don't know if this is understandable, I just can't put it in better words.





Exactly! I didn't even finish reading the rest of your post.
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