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  #21  
Old 12-17-2011
andyinnorway andyinnorway is offline
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Terry thanks for continuing to post these training insights, its exactly where i am focused at the moment in preparation for 1-2 mile races next summer.

My current target pace is to reach the 26.40 mile standard.

The last few months I have done a lot of work on maintaining efficiency by working through various combinations of SPL holding at different SR.

I can now swim 1.20-1.25/100 at any SR between 0.9 and 1.3, but do not have confidence to swim 400m at 6.20

Today I will attempt that with the following.

4 x

100m SR 1.31 = need to hold 15 SPL or under for time target
200m SR 1.19 = need to hold 17 SPL or under for time target
300m SR 1.08 = need to hold 19 SPL or under for time target

(these figures allow 4 strokes for push off and turn)

1 minute rest between and 3 minutes rest between each set. My target time will be under 1.40/100

My last 300 I will make 400m to see if I can come in under 6.20

Is this a suitable set for improving my 1600m time over 6 months?
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  #22  
Old 12-17-2011
terry terry is offline
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Andy
I wonder why you're increasing tempo as repeat distance gets longer. And how did you choose tempo for these sets?

Where you plan to swim 100s @1.31, 200s @1.19 and 300s @1.08, I would be more likely to swim the same series in one of the following ways (these are all theoretical examples in a 25y pool):
Example 1
100s-200s-300s @1.10-1.13-1.16
with a goal of holding SPL constant - or something similar. I'd use a set like this to test the smallest increase in tempo it takes to keep SPL consistent.
I might need to swim at tempos of 1.10-1.20-1.30 initially to keep SPL consistent. After several hours of practice focused on this capability, I might be able to do it at 1.10-1.15-1.20. Great performance on this set would mean being able to hold 1.10 the whole way. Ninja-performance would mean keeping SPL consistent while swimming
100s@1.10, 200s@1.09, 300s@1.08.

Example 2
100s-200s-300s all @15SPL to test my ability to hold the same pace at same SPL as distance increases.

Example 3
100s-200s-300s all @1m22sec per 100 (1:22-2:44-4:06) to learn how many added strokes it takes to maintain consistent pace as distance increases.

In all three instances, the less I have to change the variable metric, the better my pace-holding ability becomes.
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  #23  
Old 12-17-2011
andyinnorway andyinnorway is offline
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Originally Posted by terry View Post
Andy
I wonder why you're increasing tempo as repeat distance gets longer. And how did you choose tempo for these sets?

Where you plan to swim 100s @1.31, 200s @1.19 and 300s @1.08, I would be more likely to swim the same series in one of the following ways (these are all theoretical examples in a 25y pool):
Example 1
100s-200s-300s @1.10-1.13-1.16
with a goal of holding SPL constant - or something similar. I'd use a set like this to test the smallest increase in tempo it takes to keep SPL consistent.
I might need to swim at tempos of 1.10-1.20-1.30 initially to keep SPL consistent. After several hours of practice focused on this capability, I might be able to do it at 1.10-1.15-1.20. Great performance on this set would mean being able to hold 1.10 the whole way. Ninja-performance would mean keeping SPL consistent while swimming
100s@1.10, 200s@1.09, 300s@1.08.


In all three instances, the less I have to change the variable metric, the better my pace-holding ability becomes.
I like the look of your suggestion as I understand the goal of the set (maintain spl over longer repeats whilst giving away minimum SR), which mine didn't have.

Statistically my attempt at these sets today was dismal, but my learnings were substantial.

I did two repeats of the 100,200,300 at increasing SR with the following results.

1.38, 3.22,5.10
1.37, 3.30,5.15

horrible numbers which initially baffled me as I held my SPL on target or under the whole set and yet missed my target times considerably.

Taking my last 300 as the worst result, 5.15 equals 25.3SPL at SR 1.08, I Actually swam SPL 16 on length 1, and SPL17 on the other 11.

With my turns and push off this should have given me a time of 4.11, so how did I lose 1.04 or a whopping 59 strokes?

extended push offs 3 strokes instead of 2 (12 strokes maybe, and possible)
soggy turns (10 strokes maybe but I don't think so)


That still leaves 37 strokes that have vanished.

I then realised these had to be dropped beats on breathing side (I think caused by over rotation, over relaxation and probably pausing to breathe).

Since I have my TT on double time, I was effectively swimming 2 beats on my left side and 3 beats on my right without knowing it!!!

It seems I have developed a bad habit by not checking the clock data with my TT data. e.g. SPL*ttSR=time. Not if you drop beats during the stroke cycle it doesn't. Will aim to do some corrective timing practises next week.

On the up side, this seems to be a relatively simple fix to acquire considerable time savings of up to 4 SPL per lap.

It actually feels more natural for me to take 3 strokes push off so I will allow that to stay whilst I fix the dropped beats , so I will work
next week on performing the same sets with tighter rhythm and less breathing side rotation).

3 strokes push off, 17 SPL, 2 strokes turn time at stroke rate of 1.1 will give me a very respectable 4.50 for 300m and if I do it will have solved a big piece of my SPL time mismatch that had been puzzling me.
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  #24  
Old 12-17-2011
terry terry is offline
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Default How to Improve a Circuit while Recovering

Saturday Dec 17 3000y at SUNY
Set #1

Swim rounds of [50-100-150-200] on interval of :50/50y. Strive to hold SPL at or under 16 while increasing tempo from 1.10 - 1.08 - 1.06 . . .

This was a highly encouraging set. I intended today as a restoration day -- aiming to swim easily enough to recover from yesterday's intensive effort. But I still strive to 'improve the circuit' I'll need to swim 1000y in 12:50 or faster.

Increasing tempo by .02 after each round, I still felt controlled and relaxed holding 16SPL @ 1.04. I managed to complete the next round at 1.02 with only one length (of 20) at 17 SPL, but had to dig a bit too deep to hold 16SPL on the 200. I hit the wall on the 100 @ 1.00. It's best not to over-exert on a recovery day, so I took a pass and finished with some work on Breaststroke. That was good too.

Set #2
16 x 25 BR
1-8 @7SPL on :30 sec interval
9-16 @8SPL on :35 sec interval

This turned out to be a great set too. I held a very relaxed constant pace of :25 sec @ 7SPL. With the interval of :30 sec, I was getting only 5 sec rest between repeats, yet never felt any fatigue or loss of efficiency.
On 9-16 I allowed myself one more stroke per length and an additional 5 seconds rest. Without working any harder, just adjusting stroke timing, I held 24 sec for 9-14 and 23 sec for #s 15 & 16.

Last year I didn't swim too many 25y repeats in Breast. This year I believe I'll do this much more frequently because the combination of strong pace, efficient stroke and solid ease/control can only benefit me.
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  #25  
Old 12-19-2011
terry terry is offline
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Default How to Hardwire a Faster Pace

I'm sharing an email exchange from this morning with Nick Ryan a 20 y.o. (a serious, mature and respectful Army Reservist) who I met earlier this month at a Tempo Trainer clinic I did for TI Coach Joe Petrush's TI Practice Group on Long Island. Nick swims at Suffolk County Community College and wishes to become a TI Coach - he already helps Joe coach the group.
Nick only began swimming when he got to college, but with Joe's help and his own determination has developed a beautiful stroke and can swim very low SPLs (the numbers referenced are in a 25y pool.) I was so impressed by him I offered to mentor him through the rest of the season.
When I saw Nick swim and asked his current times, he told me he'd swum 2:01 for 200 Free in a college meet the day before. I replied that his stroke made a goal of swimming sub-1:50 in Feb realistic . . . if he spent the next two months hardwiring that pace into his nervous system.

While this thread - and likely your goals are focused on 1500 rather than 200, I think you'll see how the principles of 'practicing the math of speed' and hardwiring a desired pace can apply to any goal.

From Nick
Hey Terry,
I played with stroke counts a bit with 50s around 29-30 seconds this past week. The meet on Dec 10th beat me up a bit and I needed to recover. I was able to stay around that pace with SPLs of 7-8, 8-9, 9-10 and 10-11, also a couple higher, though the higher ones were with a single fly kick on push off.

The lower stroke counts were all with the same # of fly kicks off the wall, the main difference was how strongly I used my flutter kick once I started stroking. This week I will be adding several practice sessions per week to get extra time with those SPL and higher speeds.

How would you recommend I structure my practices that aren't with the team? I plan on starting with Asymmetric Tempo Pyramid warmup to get my mind in the right spot.

From Me
Nick
You're definitely on the right track with your thinking. The key idea is to commit to the principle that the purpose of practice is not to 'get in shape' for a particular performance. It's to 'hardwire' your brain with the combination of SL and Tempo that translates into the race-pace you wish to swim.
The process is
1) Set the race goal
2) Break the goal into optimal splits -- and optimal SPL/Tempo combination -- for each segment.
3) Practice your projected combinations with the explicit goal of making it both easier -- and increasingly 'automatic' -- to swim them.

The fact that you will use the UW dolphin as part of your race strategy - but may not be yet be sure how that may change as you proceed through the race will require some experimentation. Since you are still very much in a learning mode as a racer and TI swimmer -- as contrasted with people like Phelps or Lochte who make only tiny adjustments each year in well-honed racing patterns -- you should practice a relatively wide range of patterns and combinations.

So I suggest two sets a week that are laser-focused on developing a 200 Free Circuit. Do plenty of relaxed high-efficiency swimming in between for restoration since these sets should be physically--and neurally--demanding.

To swim 1:50 or faster, you'll need to average 28 sec or slightly faster on the final 3 x 50 of your 200 to swim . Design sets that test how much effort it takes to swim that pace at each count combo in your range - always allowing yourself to take +1 stroke on the 2nd lap.
Can you swim 28 sec at 7+8? How much effort does that require? Repeat that experiment at 8+9, 9+10 and 10+11.

You'll discover that the effort is least at 10+11. The most exacting task will be swimming 28 sec at 7+8 will do two things. The most forgiving task will be swimming 28 sec at 10+11.

Repeats at 7+8 will accomplish
(i) Train your nervous system to recruit more motor units (muscle cells). This is like incredibly specific weight lifting or resistance training. Motor units that have been recruited to help you reach that pace at a very low count will be more responsive when you swim at any higher count. This--rather than swimming with big paddles--is how you develop swim power.
(ii) Teach your sensory system (i.e. 'feel' of the water in hands and forearms) how to apply more pressure to the water while keeping water molecules quiet - so that pressure moves you forward faster, rather than moving the water around.

Repeats at 10+11 will
(i) adapt you to swimming at faster tempos while staying silkly smooth (i.e. keeping water molecules quiet)
(ii) also teach you the 'easy speed' way to achieve your race pace.

Repeats at counts in the middle will synthesize the two objectives.

When you swim 7+8 you'll probably be limited to fewer repeats and require more rest. When you swim higher counts, you'll be able to do more repeats on less rest. Experiment to get learn what you're capable of at each count. Over time, your capability at each count -- more speed, less exertion, feeling more integrated -- should increase. This demonstrate that your nervous system learns each of those tasks. As it learns it
(i) performs the task with greater automaticity; and
(ii) finds just the right pattern of muscle recruitment for the task.

Perhaps the most useful sets will be those where you swim 4 x 50 as [7+8 - 8+9 - 9+10 - 10+11]. This is like a direct rehearsal for the race itself.

Let me know how it goes and what you learn by doing it. Questions welcome.
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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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  #26  
Old 12-19-2011
andyinnorway andyinnorway is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by terry View Post
. Design sets that test how much effort it takes to swim that pace at each count combo in your range - always allowing yourself to take +1 stroke on the 2nd lap.
Is this based on a pool start or a dive?

Should this be applied to most sets as I felt in my practice on Saturday that the first push off in any set was a full stroke better than ones following a turn.?
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  #27  
Old 12-20-2011
AWP AWP is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by terry View Post
TI Coach Joe Petrush's TI Practice Group on Long Island. Nick swims at Suffolk County Community College and wishes to become a TI Coach - he already helps Joe coach the group.


There's a TI Practice Group on L.I. And I don't know about it?! Sheesh! Is it a team? I'd love making that 'short' drive periodically if I could practice these skills and more with others.
Any input would be greatly appreciated.

Thanks
Alan
Betchya Nick reminds you of 'another' 20 yo rookie coach, eh?
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  #28  
Old 12-21-2011
terry terry is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by andyinnorway View Post
Is this based on a pool start or a dive?
It's from an in-pool pushoff. Yes the first pushoff in a repeat is always about a stroke farther than those that follow subsequent turns. So N strokes on the 2nd, 3rd or any subsequent lap is the same as N-1 on the first length. And I often allow myself a 2nd added stroke (N+1) on the last length. That brings my average for the repeat to N.
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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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  #29  
Old 12-21-2011
terry terry is offline
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Default A 'Buddhist' Test Set

The last few days I've been exchanging Facebook messages with Kwin Krisaphadong, a TI enthusiast from Bangkok (he took a workshop in Singapore). Kwin wrote, and I edited a great guest blog comparing TI mindful swimming practice with the meditation techniques he learned under the guidance of Buddhist monks, then practiced as a monk himself.
He wrote something wonderful in reference to my blog about being grateful for swimming my slowest 1000 ever. I'll post Kwin's guest blog in a day or two.

Kwin wrote: After I read your blog “Why I’m Grateful for Swimming My Slowest Time Ever” I felt fortunate I’m not a competitive swimmer. I never need to be concerned with speed or time. My focus is how long I can concentrate on my present movement while swimming without letting my consciousness diverge to any feeling or thought that is not about swimming.

The central element in my practice today was a 'Broken' 1000 designed to test the strength of neural circuits I've been trying to build to hold a combination of 16 SPL and :20 seconds per 25 yards, as several of the sets I've posted here indicate.
My plan today was to swim 4 x 250, to see if I could hold that combination all the way - a much more challenging task than the 50y to 125y repeats I've done since the meet.
As I proceeded through my tuneup swims I started to feel a sense of building pressure -- or perhaps expectation -- over whether I could hold 16SPL @ :20sec the whole way. But then I recalled what Kwin wrote and I decided I would simply seek to stay present with each stroke, repeat that mindfulness exercise 16x a length and let the chips fall where they might. I also started with an image in mind - a picture of a meditation room Kwin has in his photo album which just radiates peace and calm. So here's the practice:
Tues Dec 20 2500yds @ SUNY
Tuneup

Swim 5 x 50 + 4 x 75 + 3 x 100
My goal here was to reach a pace of :20 per 25 while taking fewer than 16SPL and feeling gradually increasing ease and integration. I started with a 43 sec 50, but by the last 50, and throughout the 75s and 100s I did hit the combination I was seeking.
Main Set
'Broken' 1000 as 4 x 250
As I said my goal was to average 16SPL and swim each 250 no slower than 3:20. Adding the times would give a total 1000 time of 13:20 - significant progress from my 13:42 averaging nearly 18SPL on Dec. 10.
My times were 3:20-3:20-3:20-3:19 and I did maintain my average of 16SPL.

One thing I should clarify. This was HARD. At the end of the 2nd, 3rd and 4th 250's I was breathing heavily and feeling quite fatigued. An important principles of TI Practice is that it's not a goal to avoid exertion at all costs. If you're aiming to swim faster, it's often necessary to do some heavy lifting. But that should occur in the course of executing an exacting task.
It was HARD to stay at 16SPL and keep my pace at :20 sec, but today's set will make it easier to do so next time I swim the 1000 in a race.

Does it seem odd to refer to this as a Buddhist test set, and at the same time talk about going HARD? I guess it does, but my mindset as I began the set was to 'stay present with each stroke' not to go hard. Hard simply happened. Which is Buddhist in its own way I think.

Final Set
4 rounds of [4 x 25] Medley Order
I did one round each on intervals of :30 - :35 - :40 and :30 seconds.
I held the same SPL throughout, 8 for Fly and Breast, 16 for BK, 14 for FR.
I increased speed slightly as rest increased on the first 3 rounds, then held my speed as I returned to shortest rest interval of 4th round.
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Terry Laughlin
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May your laps be as happy as mine.

My TI Story

Last edited by terry : 12-21-2011 at 02:00 AM.
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  #30  
Old 12-21-2011
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Originally Posted by terry View Post
One thing I should clarify. This was HARD. At the end of the 2nd, 3rd and 4th 250's I was breathing heavily and feeling quite fatigued. An important principles of TI Practice is that it's not a goal to avoid exertion at all costs. If you're aiming to swim faster, it's often necessary to do some heavy lifting. But that should occur in the course of executing an exacting task.
It was HARD to stay at 16SPL and keep my pace at :20 sec, but today's set will make it easier to do so next time I swim the 1000 in a race.

I'm glad you've 'revealed' this because indeed these skill seeking practices are difficult... but exhilarating and promising when accomplished; at any level.

I experienced a bit of this myself today doing rounds of 50-100-150-200 (on a minute per 50) @ tempos beginning with 1.16>1.10 then 1.08>1.04 (down every .02 sec.).
My task was to stay at or under 16spl as long as possible, as 'comfortably' as possible. I succeeded in averaging 15 spl on each repeat in each round until tempo 1.14, then hitting 16 spl on the last length of the 100, the last 50 of the 150 and the last 100 of the 200 (touching 17 spl on the last 25s) from tempo 1.12>1.10.
I then broke it down to 50s from 1.08>, as 50-2x50-3x50-4x50 and maintained the 16 spl average (much shorter rest between repeats).
I'm not confident yet to feel 17 spl will yield me significant gains, so will strive to work in my range here for the moment. When this feels 'natural' almost 'easy' I'll introduce 17 and perhaps 18 spl when looking to improve on an overall marked pace for a marked distance. That should suffice this 5'9" frame, no?

Incidentally, "staying present", I've found, is the only way I can manage this sort of practice and can almost sense being pulled in at times toward a deeper realm, if it were, of ability. If I could only reach out and take hold...
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