Today's Focus Points
I hope people don't mind my sharing thoughts on today's swim. It's my first time breaking 30 min for a 'mile', for me, defined by 64 lengths (32 laps) of a 25Y pool. I've been hacking away at it most of this year, often coming close, but never quite getting there. What do people do for goal-achieved rewards? Pinkberry? Islands Teriyaki burger? Sushi?
Most of this (calendar) year, I've been working with a tempo trainer, picking up its lessons, bringing myself down from my slow 1.4s to a feasible 1.2s, and probably averaging somewhere around 1.35 SPL 16-17.
Most of my stabs at the mile with the TT had me poking along at 57s per 50Y which usually left me 20-40s over 30 min. I could start out hitting 53-55s laps, only to peter out and have to catch my breath at around 20 laps. 1.3s on the TT and I petered out sooner. 1.37s and I could make the mile, but slower than my goal.
Today's primary focus point was timing of spearing and core-rotation. Not a new one for me, but today I went without the TT. This was the first time I really felt the detriment of the TT. It has the ability to force your timing out of wack. Ironically.
Liberating myself from the TT allowed me to focus on what it felt like to nail the timing. I noticed it when I either missed my spear target, or over-rotated on breathing. With the TT, I would start the 'engine' for the snap - flick/catch/rotate/spear (I'm not really sure what order) - when I heard the beep, but due to the previous error, it would be too soon, so I'd lose some of the coordinated benefit of all the muscles firing at the right time. I'd start the engine just to catch up with the TT.
Swimming without the TT, I found that if I over-rotated, I could feel when my recovery arm was truly ready, when my core was rotating and when my other bits had leverage, and delay the engine snap just a split moment. And it felt like I nailed it more of the time. That with the time of 29:40 and clearly I averaged 1-2s per lap faster than ever before.
To use the auto analogy, it felt like I could feel the gears, and the engine RPMs varying with the reality of my progress through the swim. With the TT, I was stuck at a certain RPM. I think that limits flexibility on how you fire your muscles. Doing a high RPM run for 50-100Y while not pulling very hard can relax some muscles, and utilize others - maybe different ones than doing a low SPL longer glide but harder pull run.
Anyway, just thought I'd think out loud here. It's probably not that big a revelation, but to me it helped me over my goal for the year, and it's only September. Now I'll shoot for 29min by the end of the year.
Thanks to everyone here - this community has really helped fuel my continued obsession with improving in the water.
Congrats to you for breaking 30 minutes for a mile.
I have been doing open water races every sunday on this summer and couldn't get less than 30 minutes per mile.
I started TI 8 months ago, did a weekend workshop , kept doing the drills, swimming, using the TT and improved quite a lot.
But this summer I find myself in a "plareau" I don't avance anymore. Wasn't able to break the 30 minutes per mile, 35, 32, 33...but not less than that during the whole summer time.
So Im confused about to keep with TI or change to conventional swimming trainning...
In any case congratulations again for achieving this.
I will check it Azamy, thank you ;)
if you want to swim faster - swim faster ?
Sounds stupid but i was discussing my elementary running training with a friend yesterday during lunch as he was a sub 40min 10K runner.
His suggestion to me which I pass on to you and your swimming is if you want to swim faster then swim faster.
That is if you want to swim a 28 minute mile, that's 1.45 per 100m s
so start doing some 100m interval repeats of 1.40 with a 20s rest. Swimming faster than your mile pace will help bring up your mile pace, swimming lots of repeat miles probably wont.
I also think 5x300m sets holding a pace of 5 minutes would really help with 1-2 minutes rest inbetween. Teach your muscles to maintain performance even whilst starting to fatigue. You need to do the 300m sets as this type of endurance building needs a 5 minute set to be effective.
This is something I will be focusing on in the next few weeks.
For Josefish: Not sure what you mean by traditional swim training. If you mean doing more of the old formula for swimming than using your brain to help you swim better than faster, then I say NO. Andyinnorway has some good advice for you and I also urge you to go and read the thread For a Faster 1500. Anyone can adapt these sets to your personal TT settings and SPLs. You first have to know exactly what your current capabilities are before you start.
Congrats on your successes.
Looks like improvement at this point requires discipline! Lot's of good info in that Ninja thread (formula for a faster mile).
CoachTodd - thanks for pointing out the math. This week's swim tells me I'm tacking on 3-4 seconds in every turn (25Y pool). So while I might think I'm doing 17 SPL, if it takes me 3 beeps to turn, I'm basically swimming at 20 SPL rate. I seem to recall Andy talking about this - and not taking such a big pushoff, so just tacking on 2 beeps per turn maybe and adding one SPL.
Spent my whole session Tuesday doing just 200's. TT: 1.38s, 1:35, 1:35, 1:35, 1:32, 1:32, 1:32, 1:25, 1:20, 1:35, 1:35.
SPL's went from 15 to 16 as I progressed down to 1:32s. When I hit 1:25s I took 17 strokes. 1:20s took 18. Didn't get any faster in those last two (3'25"). Then cooled off.
So tonight and moving forward, I think I'll work in the TT 1:32s to 1:25s range, trying to keep my SPL at 16.
How much priority should I place on flip-turns? I do an 'efficient' open turn based on the TI DVD, and a medium strong push-off. It seems like a flip-turn would save half a body length on every turn, but it's never been worth suffering one nice inhale per lap, so I stick with the open turn.
P.S. JoseFish - considering all my turns in a 25Y pool, I'm pretty sure you're quite a bit faster than me!
From all I've read this week, it sounds like the key is in drilling, learning, and locking in form at higher speed but using shorter-distance workouts.
As opposed to constantly swimming the mile and hoping/trying to hit shorter/faster times by pushing myself harder each time.
I can assure you, as can many others on this forum, that the 'secret' to getting faster is within everyone's grasp using TI and the training methods we teach...it's fundamental and based in solid science (physics, fluid dynamics, anatomy) as well as being a philosophy
Here's how I'd do the math based on 1760 yards in 1 mile:
1760 yards = 70.5 lengths in a 25 yard pool;
To complete 70.5 lengths in 1800 seconds (30 minutes) you need to swim each length in 25.5 seconds;
On each of those lengths you will probably use 3.5 seconds for pushing off and turning (1/2 of turn time is what I would factor into each length);
25.5 - 3.5 = 22.0 seconds of actual swim time per length to break 30 minutes.
To do that holding 17 strokes per length you need to swim at just under a 1:30 TT setting. At 18 strokes the tempo would be 1.22; at 19 the tempo is 1:15. If you want to hit 30 minutes at a 1.35 tempo you pretty much have to do it at 16 SPL. Of course, your push-off and turn time my actually consume more than 3.5 seconds. That means an even faster tempo is required to achieve your goal pace for each of these stroke counts.
If your push off/turn time is 4.5 seconds, that means your actual swim portion of each length goes down to 21.0 seconds. The new tempo goals per SPL:
16 SPL / 1:31
17 SPL / 1:23
18 SPL / 1:16
19 SPL / 1:10
The short answer, as AndyinNorway pointed out, is "if you want to swim faster swim faster." The trick is to manage it in a progressive way. Do you currently have a combination of SPL and TT that allows you to swim at 25.5 seconds per length? Let's say that right now you can do that at 18 SPL and 1.22 TT (using our 3.5 second push-off/turn number.) How long can you sustain that combination? For 50 yards? 200? 500? This will at least give you some insight to where you are now versus your goal. Do you have a combination that allows you to swim faster than your mile goal pace? You will need to do some of our training at that combination. Over time I would like to see two things happen: 1) You are able to sustain your desired combination for longer distances 2) Your combination becomes more efficient, so you can manage 17 SPL at 1:22 TT (one stroke less at the same tempo), or 18 SPL at 1:16 TT (the same stroke count at a higher tempo.)
Stroke mechanics obviously play a role in achieving your goal. To abandon low intensity drill and technique work completely would be a mistake. You can learn to eliminate a little more drag, or develop a more effective catch, or iron out small errors that occur when you breathe.
One other point: I'm a bit concerned that you "peter out" at a 1:30 tempo, which is pretty light. How do you manage your breathing? One breath every two strokes? Every 3rd? Less frequently than that? Here's why:
At a 1.3 tempo breathing every two strokes you get to breathe 23 times per minute (one breath every 2.6 seconds.) At a 1.3 tempo breathing every three strokes you get to breathe about 15 times per minute (one breath every 3.9 seconds.) That's not a lot of air. CPR used to call for 12 breaths per minute just to make sure the guy on the floor doesn't turn into a corpse. 15 breaths/minute is not enough air to sustain aerobic activity. Unless you count eating breakfast as an aerobic activity (I give myself 10 minutes of daily aerobic training credit for eating breakfast--haha!)
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