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  #1  
Old 11-14-2011
tpamperin tpamperin is offline
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Default A great speed/SPL practice

In case you haven't seen my "Crazy SPL/speed breakthrough" thread in the Freestyle forum, here's a great set Terry showed me.

I started my tune-up with a TT set at 1.2, which is a little too fast for me to be comfortable. I swam 10 x 25, first slowing (1.2, 1.3, 1.4, 1.5) then speeding up (1.45, 1.4, 1.35, 1.3, 1.25, 1.2). The idea here is to decrease SPL as the tempo slows, then hold as much of those gains as you can when you speed up again. I started 1.2 at 15 SPL, and finished at 13 SPL, so that part really works.

Next, speeding up: 4 x 25 with TT at 1.2, 1.1, 1, 0.9.

Then the real fun: without a TT, I swam 4 x 100:

1st 100 at 12 SPL, 2nd at 13, third at 14, and 4th at 15 (obviously other values work for other people; I'm tall, and can usually hold 12 SPL for 100's). This was PURE MAGIC. As I added to my SPL count, it felt like I was cheating, and had to really cut back on my effort to fit the extra strokes in. Yet I was MUCH faster. At 12 SPL, I swam a 1:26. At 14 SPL, I swam a 1:20 and with a GREATLY reduced effort--the kind of effort that would normall give me a 1:35 or so. The 100 at 15 SPL set a new PR for me of 1:16, though it felt like a very uncomfortably fast SR.

Clearly, this workout gave me a new cruising gear: 14 SPL. I then swam a 7:47 500 in my new low gear--easy! And within 8 seconds of my best 500 ever, which was NOT easy.

Then I swam 10 x 50 on 1:00 in my new low gear--easy, yet without even trying I hit :40 seconds every time, which should have been much harder for me.

If you haven't played around with adding strokes on purpose, you should try it. It was the biggest breakthrough I've had in a long time. I think it's particularly good that the session started with TT work to really bring out the relationship between tempo, speed, and SPL--but then moves to increasing SPL on purpose without a TT. The effect is the same--tempo increases--but doing it without the TT highlights the feel rather than the beep.

Let me know how it goes if any of you try this!

Tom
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  #2  
Old 11-15-2011
andyinnorway andyinnorway is offline
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I do a set sometimes for training new TT thresholds.

set a comfortable SPL, probably 14 for you.

Then swim repeat 25s inside that SPL with decreasing TT. You have to swim 3 in a row at a TT before decreasing increment of ,02 or ,03.

Set yourself a time limit and see how far down you can go in that time.

e.g. start TT at 1.2 and try to reach 0.8 in 45 minutes. As the TT speeds get quicker, i find the body naturally gets more focused, my leg kick timing improves, my symmetry is better and my recovery quicker.

I can also keep precise focus because I know I only have to succeed the task over 25m *3

the 3 in a row is great focus training too, as you get really annoyed with yourself if you blow the 3rd length when you are holding 2 successes.

Lots of marathon swimmers seem to have SR in the range 60-80 so,

As stroke length conscious swimmers we may be in that lower range but I do not think the demands on the body of moving from SR 50 to SR 60-65 are as much as we think they are, just getting used to the new rhythm.

Thats going to be my goal for the next couple of weeks, SR 61 and hold SPL under 18 in perpetual motion.
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  #3  
Old 11-15-2011
tpamperin tpamperin is offline
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Andy,

thanks--that sounds like a great TT set. Yesterday's success has definitely showed me I'm ready to try some higher tempos, so I'll try it later this week and see what happens.

One interesting thing: after doing the TT pyramid slower and faster back to tempo 1.2, I dropped from 15 SPL to 13. When I continued increasing speed to 1.1, 1, 0.9, I held 14, 14, and 15 SPL. So at 0.9, I hit 15 SPL, which is where I started at a TT setting of 1.2.

So, my SPL doesn't increase with faster tempos as much as I expected. As my neurons get used to faster tempos, I'm betting I'll hold SPL even better at these fast tempos. Which is all very exciting!

Tom
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  #4  
Old 11-15-2011
andyinnorway andyinnorway is offline
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and addictive :)
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  #5  
Old 11-16-2011
rbs24h rbs24h is offline
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[quote=tpamperin;23356]Andy,


One interesting thing: after doing the TT pyramid slower and faster back to tempo 1.2, I dropped from 15 SPL to 13. When I continued increasing speed to 1.1, 1, 0.9, I held 14, 14, and 15 SPL. So at 0.9, I hit 15 SPL, which is where I started at a TT setting of 1.2.

So, my SPL doesn't increase with faster tempos as much as I expected. As my neurons get used to faster tempos, I'm betting I'll hold SPL even better at these fast tempos. Which is all very exciting!


Tom,

I have been following your posts since I am about the same height as you. I will give the pyramid workout a try, I think. I feel stuck at 16-17 SPL for 25yd and about 1:55/100. If I push, I can swim a 1:45 or two.
I just started swimming in May and was thrilled that I could swim the
1500m in an Olympic distance Tri within a couple of months after starting TI (at 2:02/100 pace). When I started Tri's this year, I had to stop swimming after 75 yds, I was so tired and I struggled to finish my first couple of Sprint Tri swims. So I am at a crossroad now that TI has provided me with an "all day pace" that I enjoy swimming at in races. Do I do swim "workouts" to try and get faster? My speed "bang for buck" improvements for overall time will come in bike and run so I am tempted to keep swimming just for enjoyment and "flow". Ahh, but I want to be faster too......I'm human. Anyone have thoughts?
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  #6  
Old 11-16-2011
andyinnorway andyinnorway is offline
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One of my big motivations is that I know there are a lot of swimmers, many of them in senior age groups that can swim 25km at pace splits of 1.25/100m or under.

I do not believe they are either mega human beings or infinitely fitter than me, they have just taught themselves to swim easier and more efficiently.

I would set your goals as high as you dare. Personally, I think a sub 24 minute mile is within most peoples ability, even though I am not there yet myself (28.08)

Its also encouraging to look at the 1500m masters world records and see just how fast the 70+ age group swimmers are still going.

Once you accept how effortlessly some people swim it becomes a question of solving the easy swim puzzle rather than a challenge of physical endurance or fitness.

If you are already at a 2.02 pace since starting in May then you will make the speeds mentioned above no problem, 1% of efficiency at a time.

enjoy the water.
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  #7  
Old 11-16-2011
terry terry is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rbs24h View Post
So, my SPL doesn't increase with faster tempos as much as I expected. As my neurons get used to faster tempos, I'm betting I'll hold SPL even better at these fast tempos. Which is all very exciting!
The benefit of adapting to faster tempos can be both in the ability to sacrifice less SL as SR increases and in discovering the least-effort combination of SL and SR (or SPL and Tempo) that allows you to maintain a particular pace.

I.E. To swim 24 min for 1500m, you need to maintain a pace of 1m 40s per 100m. (Approx 1m 30s per 100 yds).

If I allow 15 sec for the initial pushoff and three turns (25m pool), you could achieve that 100m pace in all the following ways:
14SPL at a tempo of 1.5 sec/stroke (85 sec divided by 56 strokes)
15SPL @1.4
16SPL @1.3
17SPL @1.25
Etc.

Whichever of those combinations you can maintain with the least effort is the one you're most likely to be able to maintain for the entire distance. There is no single 'right' combination. That combination will vary from one individual to another -- even between two swimmers of the same height. It can also vary for one swimmer as they proceed through the 1500. Holding 15SPL @1.4 might feel best for the first 500m, but 16SPL @1.3 may feel better in the middle to latter stages.

You can only discover that via organized experimentation. A large percentage of your practice should be devoted to sets designed to:
1) Explore different combinations to find those that feel easiest.
2) Teach your brain and nervous system the adaptability to be able to change both SL and SR at will and do so effectively.
3) Imprint and incrementally improve your current optimal combinations.
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  #8  
Old 11-16-2011
terry terry is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by andyinnorway View Post
One of my big motivations is that I know there are a lot of swimmers, many of them in senior age groups that can swim 25km at pace splits of 1.25/100m or under.
Andy
This could discourage people who find their pace is much slower. There are indeed many people in younger age groups - at least those swimming at a fairly high competitive level -- who can swim 25km at a pace of 1:25 per 100m, but there are almost none in 'senior' age groups who can maintain that pace for even 1.5km. At least if by 'senior' you mean 40+

In 2006 when I broke the USMS 55-59 record for the 2-mile (3.2km) cable swim, my time was 47:00 which is 1:28+/100m. In 2007 I swam that event in 46:20 or 1:26+/100m. At 60 I'd be delighted to do it at a pace of 1:30/100m. For 25km I'd likely hold 1:45 or slower.
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  #9  
Old 11-16-2011
ian mac ian mac is offline
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I agree with Terry that incremental adaptation is the key to faster swimming. I have the good fortune to have a 55 year old training partner who earlier this year swam a 18:38 for the 1500 metre short course at the Canadian Masters championships. At every practice, we are mindful of doing different sets to experiment with varying SPL and SR. I have sent Andy examples in another forum. I am 53 and we have set our sights on doing a sub 18:30 for the 1500m.
Yesterday we did the following main set:
7 x [3 x 100m] starting the first set @ 2:00 and removing 5 sec of rest on each successive set, so the last 3 x 100 were @ 1:30. In order to me mindful, I completed the sets in the following manner:
1. @ 2:00 - concentrate on an SPL of 12/13, avg. time 1:23
2. @ 1:55 - concentrate on an SPL of 14, avg. time 1:21
3. @1:50 - using a TT, set SR at 1.08, avg. time 1:21
4. @1:45 - using TT, set SR at 1.04, avg time 1:18
5. @1:40 - using TT, set SR at 1.0, avg time 1:16
6. @1:35 - no TT, avg. work 2 strokes into and 3 strokes out of each turn, then look for "easy speed" - avg. time 1:15
1 min rest
7. @ 1:30 repeat above, avg time 1:14
We feel it important to never use a TT on the final sets in order to concentrate on the adaptive "feel" - the TT is a great tool, but the fastest swimming should also be the most concentraing and mindful.
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  #10  
Old 11-16-2011
tpamperin tpamperin is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rbs24h View Post

I just started swimming in May and was thrilled that I could swim the
1500m in an Olympic distance Tri within a couple of months after starting TI (at 2:02/100 pace).

so I am tempted to keep swimming just for enjoyment and "flow". Ahh, but I want to be faster too......I'm human. Anyone have thoughts?
First off, to complete 1500m at 2:02 per 100 is a big achievement; most people with so little swimming background couldn't finish a 1500--well done.

I've practiced TI for several years (though I took a 5-year break until 3 months ago), so keep that in mind--it didn't come quickly for me, but steadily. And that slow steady practice sets you up for periods of seemingly sudden advancement, which is where I'm finding myself right now. I just started TT work and I'm finding that it's really important. At the same time, you want to start from a nice long SL as you start trading stroke length for speed so you never have to leave your efficient range as you increase tempo. I spent 3 months without a TT doing this set (one of Terry's) every day (often twice):

4 x 25, 3 x 50, 2 x 75, 1 x 100--the idea is to try and hold the same SPL throughout the entire progression; I rest as much as I need to to swim a high quality repeat. This is some of the hardest swimming I've done (concentration-wise), but it got easier, and though I started at 14-15, now I can hold 12 SPL on the whole set (though I'll often slip to a 13 in the final 2 lengths). Before doing this set, I'd typically swim 300-500 yds with fistgloves--usually when my fistglove 25's hit near (1-2 above) the target SPL I knew I was ready for the set.

Maybe it's best to concentrate first on increasing SL until you are deep into your efficient range (which for my height, I think, is 12-16 SPL). That way when TT work begins, you have more room to trade SL for speed. To do that, I highly recommend sets like the one I described above. Anyone have thoughts on that?

Tom
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