Originally Posted by WFEGb
Also very interesting that you as an IronMan are putting some time in to improve your swimming. Just talked with a coach-colleague who is coaching triathletes and he said there's no interest in swimming, because improvement needs too much time to pay off and it's better been put in cycling and running... Your's is an other story...
From a purely time-management competition-improvement point of view, there may be some logic in that mathematical model. After all, for the mainstream type of swimmer who is slowish, and swims the 3.8km open water leg in 1:45, to improve to 1:15 would take a huge
increase in effort and training hardening, all for a 30 minute reduction in a 15 hour race, at a tremendous energy and effort cost, which might well cause a penalty in the form of slowness in bike or running leg because of the exhaustion of the extra swim effort.
But firstly, I'm not a mainstream swimmer. As a TI swimmer, I recognize that I'm still on the steep end of the inefficiency curve. Therefore there is relatively easy tapping of further potential gains in efficiency, i.e. I believe this is low-lying fruit ready to be harvested from the energy viewpoint. That it may be difficult mentally does not bother me -- the difficulty will only be upfront and once the skill puzzles are gradually solved I will be rejoicing in new-found co-ordination and "easy speed" (haha, does it seem like I'm dreaming in technicolor?).
But seriously, I really believe this. And even if improvement in swimming speed is slow, improvement of my Ironman time is not the only driving motivation in my life. I find any intrinsic improvement in my swimming smoothness and efficiency very satisfying, no matter how long it takes me to acquire each further step, because each improvement in efficiency, once acquired through better balance and timing, is permanent. That is why I find listening in to conversations and discussion on threads like this so fascinating. Even if I don't always understand at the time all the subtleties that are being discussed, I make a mental note of a feeling or a timing distinction that is mentioned but which I have not yet grasped or felt, so that if in the future I experience it, I will know what it is.