First, remember that a non-TI swimmer might be using 24-26 strokes for a 25 yard repeat, so you're doing well already. Then:
Depending on your height, I'd prioritize getting my SPL (strokes per length) down to somewhere under 20, maybe as far as 12-14 if you're tall-ish. Speed will follow that; I'm guessing there may be balance issues getting in your way right now.
You might try doing short repeats (25 yds) for most (or all) of your workout, focusing on extreme slow motion to stretch out as much as you can, and let your legs trail without kicking at all. This will challenge you to pay attention to subtle balance issues: how deep is your head? What direction are you looking as you swim? How deep are you spearing you arms? How close to the surface are you holding your feet? How far onto your side are you rolling? Can I let my hand enter the water without a single bubble? How relaxed is your recovering arm? You'll find certain subtle changes will result in lower SPL, then target those.
When I started to really prioritize my SPL, I would do 10 x 25 with fist gloves to start. Then I'd take the fist gloves off and do another 10 x 25 (much easier). Repeat, repeat, repeat--but always with a keen awareness of a consciously chosen focal point so you can start to notice the effects of subtle changes of motion and balance.
I'd really push this until I was at a decent SPL for my height before doing any longer repeats, even 50 yds. Then you'll want to gradually increase the distance you can manage at that same SPL. A great workout for that is Terry's:
4 x 25 at your target SPL
3 x 50 at the same SPL
2 x 75 at the same SPL
1 x 100 at the same SPL
Anytime you find yourself taking more strokes to finish a length, go back to shorter repeats. Remember, practice makes PERMANENT. That's why I'm a big believer in getting a good SPL for short repeats and gradually adding distance. That way I never practice bad form, only good.
Later you can CHOOSE to give yourself more SPL and it will seem ridiculously easy, AND you'll be going faster without effort. I'm at a good part of my own training now where this is starting to happen, and I'm convinced it's all because I focused on SPL for short repeats for so long.
Last edited by tpamperin : 04-22-2013 at 06:25 PM.