Thread: IMing it
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Old 12-01-2010
terry terry is offline
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Join Date: Apr 2008
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Now a few comments on Alan's practice. First, it's a great example of finding a clear Mastery-focused purpose for every set. Nothing in there is about 'getting the yards in' or the kind of artificial 'variety' you see in more conventional training where coaches give items like Reverse IM purely to relieve tedium. By artificial variety I mean a set that's simply Different, yet does nothing to prepare you for racing by honing a skill or helping you figure out a solution to a problem you actually need to solve to race well. Since you never swim an IM race in reverse order, there's nothing to be gained in swimming the strokes in reverse order simply for 'variety.'

In planning this practice, Alan has thought about the actual challenges he would face in swimming an IM race and come up with creative ways to practice solving them.

Easy IM - In setting a clear intention of experiencing ease, Alan recognizes that if you can't swim the 25, 50 or 100 Fly at the start of an IM race with a combination of ease and reasonably good pace, the other three strokes will suffer. To a slightly reduced extent, the same is true of the BK and BR.

Racing strategy in a 400m/500y Free for instance is pretty clear. If you have any racing experience in them, you have a clear idea of how you need to balance effort/pace/freshness at various points. Your need to do so when swimming 4 different strokes is just as great but the challenge of solving that need is far greater.

So you do need to "practice ease" in each stroke and patiently/incrementally find ways to improve the pace you can generate in each stroke even while continuing to practice ease. I place a higher priority on that than I do on training to accustom myself to the discomfort that comes with greater effort.

Virtually the entire mainstream of swimming focuses on getting accustomed to discomfort. Learning to perform better in an effort-less (by which I literally mean less - not no - effort) state requires a much more intense focus. I.E. You're replacing physical energy with mental energy -- which is much more sustainable/renewable.

For quite a few years I thought of, or described, effort levels with language like Easy, Cruise, Brisk etc. In just the last two months I've made those thoughts more concrete.
Easy = Balancing thoughts and sensations. I'm seeking a sense of lightness, weightlessness,support in head, torso and limbs
Cruise = Streamlining thoughts and sensations. I'm seeking as sense of piercing the water with my lead arm, of fitting torso and legs through a smaller space or of lengthening my bodyline.
Brisk = Propelling thoughts and sensations. I'm seeking a sense of having a firm hold on the water, some degree of pressure in hands and forearms and using weight shift and kick to propel me past that firm grip.

Here's my practice from Monday to illustrate:

2600yds @ SUNY
Set #1 Free

3 rounds of 4 x 50 on :50
1-4 Balance Thoughts :45-:44
5-8 Streamline Thoughts :43-:42
9-12 Propel Thoughts :41
4 rounds of 4 x 75 on 1:15
1-4 Balance Thoughts :65
5-8 Streamline Thoughts :63-:62
9-12 Propel Thoughts :61-:59
13-16 25 Balance, 25 Streamline, 25 Propel :62

Set #2 IM
4 rounds of
25 FL on :30 Avg 22+
50 FL-BK on :60 Avg 49
75 FL-BK-BR on 1:30 Avg 1:18
100 IM on 2:00 Descend 1:39-1:35
Goal is to keep 25-50-75 consistent on SPL and time throughout set, but descend the 100s.
Balance and Streamlining thoughts on 25-50-75. Work in Propel Thoughts progressively (starting with last 25) to descend the 100s.
Terry Laughlin
Head Coach & Chief Executive Optimist

May your laps be as happy as mine.

My TI Story

Last edited by terry : 12-01-2010 at 11:50 AM.
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