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  #11  
Old 02-23-2015
Tom Pamperin Tom Pamperin is offline
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Originally Posted by sclim View Post
I should go over some biometrics first. I am 5' 3" height = 63 inches, (and weigh 51-52kg if that matters) and I was going by the graph values that indicate my green zone is between 23 and 18 SPL in a 25 m pool. Well, at TT =1.40 seconds I seem to remember I could do 22+ when fresh, but only 23-24 consistently. I have inched the TT up to 1.18 seconds, and it's a struggle to get 24 SPL over 50 and 75 metres, although every now and then I manage to pull off a 23+ when swimming regularly, and get the timing and relaxation just right.

Well, I just measured my wingspan, and to my dismay, it is 65 inches, which means my green zone is actually between 22 and 17-1/2 SPL, so I'm actually falling quite far out of the green zone.

...My numbers are what they are, and I guess it won't really change my slow and steady, plugging away at the drills and repeats, unless there is no further change for a few more months.
In the past few years (before a 2-year break from swimming) I gradually developed an attitude that I see now as an over-emphasis on low SPL numbers. My main priority was to have low stroke counts. I accomplished this (down to 10 SPL and even 9 SPL sometimes) by a few months of lots of 25m repeats (and almost nothing longer than 50m), and lots of repeats with Fistgloves. I also swam in extreme slow motion at low SPL numbers, and really worked on streamline position and aggressive push-off (often more than 5m). For some reason I found all this fascinating, so it was no hardship to spend so much time on it.

I continued by swimming this set a lot to train myself to hold my lowest SPL numbers:

4 x 25, 3 x 50, 2 x 75, 1 x 100 all at my lowest SPL, restarting the set if I failed to hold it.

Eventually I got to where I could hold 11 SPL through that set routinely.

But... That's not really the point. I now choose to work at a variety of SPL numbers ON PURPOSE. Nothing new here--Terry was the first to suggest it to me on this forum--but it was (and is) pure magic. By experimenting with different SPL numbers, different SR numbers, and different effort levels, I feel like I have many opportunities to find the most sustainable effort level for a particular distance and particular speed. I don't really worry much about doing everything at low SPL numbers like I used to. Lately I've been experimenting with 16 spl as a new cruising speed for long repeats--that would have seemed WAY too high a number when I was obsessed with SPL numbers, but now I'm enjoying the ease it brings.

That said... I really think my over-emphasis on achieving low SPL has given me a really solid foundation to build on. I don't think I'd be having the success I'm having now if I hadn't "misguidedly" spent so much time obsessing over SPL.

All of which is a really long way to say:

I believe strongly that until you can maintain SPL numbers in your individual green zone (based on height/wingspan), then you'll get the most bang for your buck by training for low SPL more than anything else.

I'd suggest that you might want to try setting aside your TT (for now), getting some Fistgloves, and working for a few weeks on very short repeats (25m to 50m) to reduce your SPL. In the process you'll be forced to build good balance and excellent streamlining, as well as splashless hand entry, patient catch, all that good stuff. Then build up to that 4 x 25, 3 x 50, 2 x 75, 1 x 100 set at your best SPL until you can hold it. Then train every SPL number in your green zone the same way (it'll feel like you're cheating as you add strokes and it gets easier and easier).

Then, when you're able to sustain SPL numbers throughout your personal green zone, you'll get much more return from training with a TT to start holding those SPL numbers at faster tempos. But I think the SPL numbers need to come first--that's the foundation.

The end goal, of course, is not low SPL numbers. Later on you'll "allow" yourself extra strokes and find that in return, you'll get MORE speed with LESS effort. That's well worth the patience needed to focus on SPL for now.

I'd be curious to hear what other experienced people and/or coaches think of my conclusions. It certainly seems to be working for me.
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Last edited by Tom Pamperin : 02-24-2015 at 12:50 AM.
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  #12  
Old 02-24-2015
Tom Pamperin Tom Pamperin is offline
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Originally Posted by s.sciame View Post
Hi Tom, I sometimes experience, during a challenging set (eg 10x200m at even pace), that the toughest rep in my perception is not the last one, but one in the middle of the set. In the last rep I'm mentally eager and satisfied, so I don't feel physically more challenged then I was in the first half of the set. Not sure what you mean by "perception", does it make sense?

That aside, I guess your routine 400 is more about getting physically used to do it. In a few weeks (swimming around 12km/week if I remember well) aerobic fitness can improve to a good extent.

Regards,
Salvo
Thanks--I know what you mean. I often find the second half of a set (or a repeat) is easier because I know the end will be there soon. It seems to me there is lots of opportunity to train my mind to feel that same "second-half" ease throughout a set, which I find very exciting.

What I mean is, the second half of a set is logically HARDER than the first half--muscles are tired, focus becomes more difficult, etc. Yet the mental/psychological aspect is so important that it seems to over-rule the tiredness.

I'm really interested to hear how people have approached this kind of mental training to maintain ease and relaxation--something I'll REALLY need in my upcoming 10-mile swim this July! I think the mental/psychological practice, if I can figure out how to train for it, may make all the difference between just finishing, and finishing at my best sustainable speed for the entire distance.

Any thoughts?
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  #13  
Old 02-24-2015
Tom Pamperin Tom Pamperin is offline
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Originally Posted by sclim View Post
I have some questions about the Green Zone and how you measure the parameters etc.

I should go over some biometrics first. I am 5' 3" height = 63 inches...

Well, I just measured my wingspan, and to my dismay, it is 65 inches, which means my green zone is actually between 22 and 17-1/2 SPL, so I'm actually falling quite far out of the green zone.
Have you seen Coach Mat's blog on stroke length? It's here:

https://smoothstrokes.wordpress.com/...stroke-length/

Based on your wingspan to height ratio of 1.03, his blog suggests that your "sweet spot" (the most ideal SPL numbers within your green zone) might be at the lower end of your green zone (18-19 spl) rather than the upper end--I have a positive ratio (1.03) too, which may be why I tend to do most of my swimming at the lower end of my own green zone.

Could be another argument for focusing on low SPL numbers for a while for your practice, then worrying about tempo later.

Edit to add: Coach Mat's blog suggests the same thing about setting aside the TT and prioritizing your green zone SPL first: https://smoothstrokes.wordpress.com/...pment-process/

Makes me feel like my self-coaching and attempts at mindfulness is actually teaching me some of the right things!
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Last edited by Tom Pamperin : 02-24-2015 at 12:24 AM.
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  #14  
Old 02-24-2015
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What may help reduce the math confusion, I put together a spreadsheet for students that include both 25y and 25m distances calculating SL, pace, Effective Wingspan (Coach Mat calls this Wingspan Conversion) based on SPL, tempo (seconds per stroke), and height. Pace (without walls) is calculated for 100y, 1, 1.2, and 2.4 mile distance and 100m, 2k, 3k, 5k distances.

I don't have variable of DG (distance glide) or wall push yet, but this spreadsheet assumes swimmers' stroke begins at the 5y or 5m flags. So in 25y pool, actual stroked yards =20y (25-5), 25m pool, actual yards stroked = 20m. I may add a 50m option later too.

Select this link for spreadsheet: PaceTempo_EffWS.xlsx

Stuart
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  #15  
Old 02-25-2015
sclim sclim is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tom Pamperin View Post
In the past few years (before a 2-year break from swimming) I gradually developed an attitude that I see now as an over-emphasis on low SPL numbers. My main priority was to have low stroke counts. I accomplished this (down to 10 SPL and even 9 SPL sometimes) by a few months of lots of 25m repeats (and almost nothing longer than 50m), and lots of repeats with Fistgloves. I also swam in extreme slow motion at low SPL numbers, and really worked on streamline position and aggressive push-off (often more than 5m). For some reason I found all this fascinating, so it was no hardship to spend so much time on it.

I continued by swimming this set a lot to train myself to hold my lowest SPL numbers:

4 x 25, 3 x 50, 2 x 75, 1 x 100 all at my lowest SPL, restarting the set if I failed to hold it.

Eventually I got to where I could hold 11 SPL through that set routinely.

But... That's not really the point. I now choose to work at a variety of SPL numbers ON PURPOSE. Nothing new here--Terry was the first to suggest it to me on this forum--but it was (and is) pure magic. By experimenting with different SPL numbers, different SR numbers, and different effort levels, I feel like I have many opportunities to find the most sustainable effort level for a particular distance and particular speed. I don't really worry much about doing everything at low SPL numbers like I used to. Lately I've been experimenting with 16 spl as a new cruising speed for long repeats--that would have seemed WAY too high a number when I was obsessed with SPL numbers, but now I'm enjoying the ease it brings.

That said... I really think my over-emphasis on achieving low SPL has given me a really solid foundation to build on. I don't think I'd be having the success I'm having now if I hadn't "misguidedly" spent so much time obsessing over SPL.

All of which is a really long way to say:

I believe strongly that until you can maintain SPL numbers in your individual green zone (based on height/wingspan), then you'll get the most bang for your buck by training for low SPL more than anything else.

I'd suggest that you might want to try setting aside your TT (for now), getting some Fistgloves, and working for a few weeks on very short repeats (25m to 50m) to reduce your SPL. In the process you'll be forced to build good balance and excellent streamlining, as well as splashless hand entry, patient catch, all that good stuff. Then build up to that 4 x 25, 3 x 50, 2 x 75, 1 x 100 set at your best SPL until you can hold it. Then train every SPL number in your green zone the same way (it'll feel like you're cheating as you add strokes and it gets easier and easier).

Then, when you're able to sustain SPL numbers throughout your personal green zone, you'll get much more return from training with a TT to start holding those SPL numbers at faster tempos. But I think the SPL numbers need to come first--that's the foundation.

The end goal, of course, is not low SPL numbers. Later on you'll "allow" yourself extra strokes and find that in return, you'll get MORE speed with LESS effort. That's well worth the patience needed to focus on SPL for now.

I'd be curious to hear what other experienced people and/or coaches think of my conclusions. It certainly seems to be working for me.
My intuitive feeling is in agreement with this.

I was getting afraid that I would not be able to sustain merely swimming for the 1.9k distance that I will race in June, so I was a little impatient to test myself for continuous distances.

Yesterday and today I thought I had lost my TT (I found it again today) and swam 100 x 10 yesterday, and 500 x 2 today. No problem with endurance, so I'll go back to stroke improvement tomorrow.

Before I started inching up the TT tempo, when TT was set at 1.40 I think I could do SPL of 21 if I really tried and if everything went right. So maybe going back to those conditions, and try to improve on SPL further?

Regarding fistgloves, starting January 6th I had a month and a half of 50% of all distance swum with hands in fists. Would this be adequate practice in your opinion? I stopped last week because I got so that I felt really comfortable fist swimming and got merely 1.5 to 2 strokes of slippage fists compared to no fists.

I think I will get one on one hands on advice in this (SPL) regard from a TI coach, which basically means attention all over again to all the balance basics, I would think.
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  #16  
Old 02-25-2015
Tom Pamperin Tom Pamperin is offline
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FYI, when I started using a TT (right after working extensively on SPL without one), I think I was quite a bit slower--maybe 1.65-1.7 was my natural comfort zone. So maybe forcing yourself to slow down even more is what you need to do (at first) to lower your SPL?

I found it was easier to get faster tempos after a solid SPL base than it would have been to work on tempo and SPL at the same time. Once your stroke is solid, all it takes is time and mindful practice to move to faster tempos. But it may be impossible to get to low SPL numbers without slowing down much more?

Anyone have thoughts on that?
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  #17  
Old 02-25-2015
Tom Pamperin Tom Pamperin is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sclim View Post
Regarding fistgloves, starting January 6th I had a month and a half of 50% of all distance swum with hands in fists. Would this be adequate practice in your opinion? I stopped last week because I got so that I felt really comfortable fist swimming and got merely 1.5 to 2 strokes of slippage fists compared to no fists.

I think I will get one on one hands on advice in this (SPL) regard from a TI coach, which basically means attention all over again to all the balance basics, I would think.
I like the Fistgloves because they desensitize the hand much more than just holding them in a fist--I felt MUCH more sensitive and aware of my catch after taking the gloves off. For the amount, I think I probably did about 25% of my practice with gloves and 75% without when I was working that way. I think I got my SPL to one extra with gloves compared to without.

I, too, will be seeking a coaching session--I finally will be filming some video tomorrow, which (I assume) will reveal a lot for me to work on (I think my recovery has been sloppy/hand first lately for one thing).
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  #18  
Old 02-25-2015
Tom Pamperin Tom Pamperin is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CoachStuartMcDougal View Post
What may help reduce the math confusion, I put together a spreadsheet for students that include both 25y and 25m distances calculating SL, pace, Effective Wingspan (Coach Mat calls this Wingspan Conversion) based on SPL, tempo (seconds per stroke), and height. Pace (without walls) is calculated for 100y, 1, 1.2, and 2.4 mile distance and 100m, 2k, 3k, 5k distances.

I don't have variable of DG (distance glide) or wall push yet, but this spreadsheet assumes swimmers' stroke begins at the 5y or 5m flags. So in 25y pool, actual stroked yards =20y (25-5), 25m pool, actual yards stroked = 20m. I may add a 50m option later too.

Select this link for spreadsheet: PaceTempo_EffWS.xlsx

Stuart
Thanks for this, Stuart--I appreciate your willingness to share your work and knowledge.
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  #19  
Old 02-25-2015
sclim sclim is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tom Pamperin View Post
FYI, when I started using a TT (right after working extensively on SPL without one), I think I was quite a bit slower--maybe 1.65-1.7 was my natural comfort zone. So maybe forcing yourself to slow down even more is what you need to do (at first) to lower your SPL?

I found it was easier to get faster tempos after a solid SPL base than it would have been to work on tempo and SPL at the same time. Once your stroke is solid, all it takes is time and mindful practice to move to faster tempos. But it may be impossible to get to low SPL numbers without slowing down much more?

Anyone have thoughts on that?
I had not thought of going at a slower tempo than 1.4-1.5 which is the slowest I have ever seriously tried. In principle I see the potential, but one problem is that I am an overall serious sinker, and particularly it is difficult to keep my legs up, even at the speed I'm going. At 1.40 seconds, so far, I have been unable to keep my hips and legs up. (with a wetsuit on, the difference is ridiculous -- I could swim at whatever tempo I want no problem). I'll think about this some more and see how to improve my balance at slow tempos.
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  #20  
Old 02-25-2015
jenson1a jenson1a is offline
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Tom

RE: fist gloves, you said I like the Fistgloves because they desensitize the hand much more than just holding them in a fist--I felt MUCH more sensitive and aware of my catch after taking the gloves off

Just wondering, are the fist gloves any different than the gloves that Finis sells. They have spots for your fingers and when on the hand, your hand looks like a duck's foot. Mine are so old, that the name is worn off. I guess fist gloves are a misnomer in the fact they are more like mittens? Anyway, just wondering about the use of actual gloves

Sherry
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