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  #11  
Old 02-05-2012
CoachDavidShen CoachDavidShen is offline
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Originally Posted by CoachRyan View Post

One more thing I will say though as a caveat as I alluded to at the beginning. This only really applies to swimmers that are ready to handle T30s (i.e. they are at least close both in fitness level and stroke mechanics to swim 30 minutes straight without gross drops in pace and form). For instance, I have swimmers training for sprint triathlons that currently have a hard time making more than 5 laps in a row without having to stop. They have stroke issues and fitness level issues that would make a T30 useless. I have other swimmers training for longer races or just with more experience that can come close to maintaining form and speed over 30 minutes without a problem...I think a T30 is an appropriate tool for them. During the rest of the month we work at shorter distances, we work with the tempo trainer, we work with swim golf, we work with some sprints or even "cheetah sets", and then we might test with a T30.
i think this paragraph is the key point.

to say the T30 has no value would be false. to say that it could be better used as a training tool, yes definitely.

as we TIers say, form is golden and reinforcing bad habits is just dumb. fatigue is the enemy of reinforcing bad habits and long sets for swimmers who do not have the skill and fitness to hold form for long times substantially increases the risk they will break form to maximize the lengths they swim, which is what a masters coach will typically tell their swimmers.

swim intervals and variables need to be adjusted to a swimmer's skill level. telling a swimmer with not so good swim habits to go swim T30 probably means they will continue reinforcing their bad habits more firmly. the same swimmer MIGHT be able to hold form if their tempo was lower. here you could use the T30 in a different way; don't tell the swimmer to maximize the distance they swim, tell them to find a tempo where they can hold form the whole 30 minutes.

still better would be to recognize that many swimmers should first be brought up the "form curve" first with shorter intervals before tackling a T30 type workout.
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  #12  
Old 02-05-2012
ian mac ian mac is offline
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Default Perfect practice

There is an axiom that "practice doesn't make perfect -PERFECT PRACTICE MAKES PERFECT". There is a lot of thoughtful thinking in the posts below. As a big believer in gradual adaptation, I agree that an occasional T30 swim for swimmers training toward longer swims can be a good reality check. Psychologically it also makes the longer distances perhaps seem less daunting.

Regarding the TT, I firmly agree with Ryan it shouldn't become a crutch for longer sets. Nonetheless, it is an enormously valuable tool for developing a sense of pace. When one is testing oneself though, one's best swimming should be without tools(other than goggles), as that is the whole point of testing.

With two months before my 1500 & 800m swims at our Ontario Masters Provincial Championships, as I feel that I am getting into the neural max effort for swims up to 300m during practices, I will start adding longer swims, using the TT so that I can gauge my efficiency for longer distances.

Vince Lombardi once commented that "Fatique makes cowards of us all." For the well trained swimmer, intermittent longer distance swims can be a positive barometer for where one is on their given goal path.

Thanks again for making me think.
Ian
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  #13  
Old 02-05-2012
terry terry is offline
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Please be clear, I'm not saying I object unconditionally to doing 30 minutes of swimming. My criticisms of the T-30 include:
1) The Energy System Training formulae for which it is supposed to have predictive value have (i) been declared by one of the leading exercise physiologists in the world to be 'pseudo-science' and (ii) have never demonstrated a correlation with swimming performance.
2) To the athlete performing the set, Energy Systems are theoretical and unmeasurable abstractions. It's utterly impossible to sense your anaerobic threshold adapting and immeasurable during the set. Neuroscientists are in strong agreement that the human brain performs best when given tasks for which it grasps a clear purpose or puzzle to solve and can get real-time feedback.
3) I guarantee for the vast majority of age group and Masters swimmers performing T-30s, it's Time Spent Not Learning, which I abhor.

Is it possible to structure a 30-minute swim as a learning/problem-solving exercise, with real-time feedback? Of course. Even if it's possible, is it essential to reaching your potential in distance swimming?

Let me answer this way: Here's my record since age 55:
USMS National Long Distance Titles: 6
National Age Group records broken: 3
Marathons swum: 4
30-minute (or longer) pool swims: 0 (in fact, none in the 22 years of TI).
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Last edited by terry : 02-05-2012 at 06:53 PM.
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  #14  
Old 02-05-2012
terry terry is offline
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Default What do I call the set I suggested to Steve

Suzanne asked what I would call that set. If required to put a label on it, I would probably say "Pace Improvement."

I cautioned Steve to allow 72 hrs of recovery before attempting anything that intensive again. This would be a demanding set physiologically. But its more important goal is to be neurally demanding - with the understanding that metabolic cost would initially be high.

In Steve's case, because I've seen him swim quite often, I'm fairly confident in saying he probably doesn't yet know how to swim a 200 with a sustained level of intensity. This set will help him discover what his limits are, and thereby stretch them.

While a 3:50 might feel 'hard' initially, I think it's quite likely it would quickly become markedly less effortful. My intent is for him to discover a 'brisk' but sustainable gear that produces a pace of under 2:00/100. That's why I suggested he should aim to stretch the distances he can hold that pace, before he strives to make it faster.

And by the way, the acquisition of a brisk-but-sustainable gear (one that has the potential to significantly improve his pace for 1500 and longer) will unquestionably be achieved far more rapidly by repeats of 1:00 to 3:00 duration than by longer swims.
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  #15  
Old 02-05-2012
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CoachDave CoachDave is offline
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Default T30

Let me confess- I was the coach who asked Ryan to do the T30.
The difference? David was never told why he should do it or what he would gain. As a result, there was no mindful focus to the set. Ryan had a set of technical points to rotate through and tempo goals to maintain during these sets. He saw rapid and significant improvement as a result. I love taking classic swimming sets that seemingly don't have an intuitive purpose and adding a TI improvement to them.
If you don't know the point to what you're doing, there might not be a point to what you're doing.

I don't pretend to have any kind of physiological background that would qualify me to speak as an expert on energy systems. I'm with Terry on this one- I have to coach my coaches to ignore those book segments that address this. For someone training for a half ironman (nice improvement, Ryan!) swim, the problems will not often appear in a 200 yard swim. Many TI swimmers experience that they can maintain focus and form in shorter swims of 25-200 yards, but those improvements aren't reflected in longer swims. There's nothing wrong with adding rotating focal points and technical management to a swim of 30 minutes.

This same challenge is why many TI and non-TI swimmers have difficult in open water without a tempo trainer. A T30 set can be used to get the mind focused on the kind of priorities that hold the stroke together without dulling over time. If there are significant speed drops during the 30 minutes, it usually means the mind has lost its connection with the needed technical change or the body has tired because the technical change and subsequent demand on different muscles (in an unfamiliar pattern, which is more tiring at first) has created additional problems.
Most swimmers, even smart pool swimmers, may swim with intelligence in the pool, but in open water, they just swim to get there instead of swimming in the moment. I have seen a T30 set to have a very positive impact on the preparation swimmers need for better swims beyond the 500 distance.

I see huge value in the TI Algorhythm. I will use it in addition to, not instead of, intelligent T sets in practice.

Dave Cameron
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  #16  
Old 02-06-2012
swim2Bfree swim2Bfree is offline
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The T-30 is a training tool. Like any training tool, it can be misunderstoood and mis-applied. If you're not capable of swimming continuously for 30 minutes while maintaining good form, then a T-30 is probably not a good use of your time. Likewise, the SAT is not a useful test of kindergartners' intellectual prowess.

That said, the "TI algorithm" strikes me as pretty good advice.

Quote:
Originally Posted by terry View Post
As my friend Mike Joyner, MD, director of exercise research at Mayo Clinic says, the entire Energy System framework is 'pseudo science.' Also none of the physiological measures it’s designed to focus on have ever correlated with swimming performance.
It would help if you could be more precise in your language. Which physiological measures don't correlate with swimming performance? Anaerobic threshold? What is the implied population to which the "correlation" refers? All swimmers, or well-trained swimmers? It's difficult to evaluate Dr. Joyner's comment; as far as I can tell, it was a personal communication rather than a published academic article.

For anyone interested in reading actual research articles on this subject, here are a few good ones:

- Dekerle et al. (2002). Validity and Reliability of Critical Speed, Critical Stroke Rate, and Anaerobic Capacity in Relation to Front Crawl Swimming Performances. International Journal of Sports Medicine. [link]
- Deminice et al. (2007). Validity of 30 minutes test (T-30) in aerobic capacity, stroke parameters and aerobic performance determination of trained swimmers. Brazilian Sports Medicine Review. [link]

And even one by Mike Joyner himself:
- Joyner & Coyle (2008). Endurance exercise performance: the physiology of champions. Journal of Physiology. [link]

Quote:
Originally Posted by terry View Post
TI Coach David Shen had a similar experience: [i]The Masters team I used to work out with always did a 30 min swim the first week of every month. If you missed that day, the coach would make you do it whenever he saw you next.
It's Masters swimming. You don't have to do anything.

Last edited by swim2Bfree : 03-03-2012 at 12:52 AM.
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  #17  
Old 02-07-2012
igorner igorner is offline
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Default Sprint Triathlon

May I impose myself on this thread and ask " how shoulsd I train for an upcomming sprint tri?"

So far I am doing sets in the pool, typically 10x100 meters. I am concentrating on feel and comfort rather than speed (new to TI) while concentrating on elements of storke. I am not very fast....but compared to my time prior to TI..way more at ease in the water.

Should I progressively try to increase tempo, do shorter sets faster etc? My tri will be a 750m event and I'd like to come out of the water in decent time...16/17 min. A wet suit will be mandatory in the climate I live in.
Ian
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  #18  
Old 02-07-2012
andyinnorway andyinnorway is offline
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igorner,

I think from your times that you are aiming for 100m splits of 2:00-2:15

750m is a nice length to train for and I guess you want to get out feeling refreshed and ready for the bike ride rather than spent.

Not sure what time you swim your repeats at currently and whether or not you are counting strokes or using a tempo trainer.

Perhaps you might like to try

6 x 150 with a minute rest between and a different focal point for each.

Swim each 150 at your desired race pace, and keeping the body relaxed and the breathing calm (or controlling your heart rate down) so that each repeat is no harder than the previous one.

Count your strokes each length too to check your form is not deteriorating.

Once you are comfortable with this then you have two choices, reduce the rest time between sets or reduce the number of repeats to reach your 750 or a combination of both.

e.g. 150, 300, 150, 150

then 250 250 250

then 300 300 100

etc etc
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  #19  
Old 02-07-2012
CoachSuzanne CoachSuzanne is offline
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In addition to what Andy in Norway wrote...which is a strategy for the set skelton of your training, I would strongly encourage you to make stroke counting a key feature in your training, as this will tell you both how efficient you are and whether or not you are getting fatigued to the point you should take a rest.

Before trying the 150 set that andy wrote, I'd suggest doing your "standard" 10 x 100 set one more time and counting strokes...strive to keep your stroke count in the same range as your first 1-3 comfortable 100s when rested. If your count climbs, rest longer before trying the next set. In this way you'll be practicing more sound technique and training yoru brain that fatigue isn't something your body can "get away with". In otherwords, don't let the fatigue trick you into swimming with a poor stroke.

Hope that makes sense.

We are here for you.
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  #20  
Old 02-07-2012
AWP AWP is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CoachSuzanne View Post
We are here for you.

With Doc Suz's suggestions in mind I'll offer up another example set to work with in building and maintaining pace with stroke counts and tempo. You can do multiple rounds of such sets, changing the combinations of stroke length and tempo you strive to maintain (or better) within each round.

EXAMPLE
4x50 (200)
3x75 (225)
2x100 (200)
1x125 (125)
Total. 750 m/y

As stated, take the rest needed to complete successfully, teaching your body/mind what is needed to do so. When that becomes 'easy' then challenge yourself!
Try and make your last repeat your 'best' effort.
Incidentally this is a great prep for 1500s.

Have fun,
Alan
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