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Old 11-25-2015
jenson1a jenson1a is offline
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Tks for your input. Just want to clarify some basic ideas. You said:

Think it's a little easier with the formula: Speed = SL x SR

SL is really SPL and SR is really tempo and speed is time? Where does pace fit in?

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Old 11-25-2015
WFEGb WFEGb is offline
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Hello Sherry,

please excuse producing even more confusion than clearyfying anything...

Next try:

I use Speed as synonym for/to Velocity, measured in units of multiples of 1m per sec or 1[m/s].

StrokeRate is the rate how many strokes you'll take in one second. It's measured in multiple units of strokes per sec or 1[Strokes/s]. (It's the reverse of the TT-setting (if not swimming as Andy sometimes ). If I set my TT to 1.5s my StrokeRate is 0.67[Strokes/s].)

StrokeLength is the distance you cross with one stroke. It's measured in multiple Units of the length you reach with one stroke or of 1[m/Stroke].

StrokesPerLength is the number of strokes you need to swim one lap. it's multiple of unit 1[Stroke]. If you wan't count and know your SL, you can calculate it as

Length of one lap divided by StrokeLength = SPL (units fit)

Pace is in most of our swim context the time you need for 100m. Most times it is given careless in seconds. It would be better given in Seconds per 100m (or any other length). It's similar to the inverse of velocity (how many seconds you'll need for one meter):

Pace = 100m divided by velocity (careless, multiple of unit 1[s])

Not sure, if this is clearyfying anything better than before, but let us hope for the Kaizen way :-)

Best regards,

Last edited by WFEGb : 11-25-2015 at 05:47 PM. Reason: An embarrassing correction
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Old 11-27-2015
terry terry is offline
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Originally Posted by jenson1a View Post
Where does pace fit in?
The equation is usually presented as V = SL x SR, with V representing Velocity.
Pace is a more accurate term for Velocity.
Terry Laughlin
Head Coach & Chief Executive Optimist

May your laps be as happy as mine.

My TI Story
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Old 11-27-2015
terry terry is offline
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Default Blue Friday Practice: I do Gears practice in BK for the first time

Friday 27 Nov -- 3000y in 60 min at Bard College

Retailers call today Black Friday. Some folks are suggesting we spend the Green Friday enjoying nature, instead of battling crowds in malls. I call it Blue Friday since I started it with a swim in semi-blue water.

The SUNY pool has been closed since Tuesday so I hadn't swum in four days. Fortunately I was able to get to Bard College this morning (I'll go again on Sunday morning).

The most consequential thing I did today was 'Gears' practice in backstroke for the first time ever. (Can you imagine swimming for 50+ years and still being able to find a valuable practice exercise I've never done before?) I'll explain more when I get to that part of the practice.

Tuneup 200 continuous as 4x (25FR+25BK) at 15BK/14FR SPL
I did this mainly to have time to think about what I wanted to do. (I get my best practice ideas while swimming--which was also true when I was coaching swim teams.) I'd come to the pool knowing that I wanted to mix backstroke and freestyle. By the end of 200y I'd planned most of the practice.

Task #1
6 x 200 on 3:40. Descend while holding constant stroke count.
I did these as follows:
#1 4x (25FR+25BK)
#2 2x (50FR+50BK)
#3 100FR/100BK
#4 Same as #3
#5 2x (50FR/50BK)
#6 4x (25FR+25BK)
Stroke count = 15SPL for BK and 14SPL for FR.
The interesting challenge in this set is that it's a bit easier to hold a particular pace and stroke count, when alternating strokes every length. As you swim farther in each stroke, it's easier for subtle inefficiencies to creep in--in part because focus may weaken slightly. (Try this and find out.)
It would take fairly keen focus simply to hold hold SPL and pace constant while progressing from 25 of each stroke to 50 of each to 100 of each. Swimming faster while doing so would be a step up.
Conversely, in the 2nd half of the set should be a little easier as continous distance for each stroke reduces.
My times were 3:26-3:25-3:24-3:22-3:20-3:18.
[Note I set the interval of 3:40 after 1st repeat, calculating that 15 to 20 seconds rest between reps would be sufficient.]

Task #2 4 rounds of (3 x 25) 'Gears' Practice
1st and 3rd Rounds BK @ 15-16-17 SPL
2nd and 4th Rounds FR @ 14-15-16 SPL
I didn't time these; I just focused on trying to get stroke timing right and feel that each stroke was smooth and effective while changing SPL.
I rested for 2 'cleansing' breaths between 25s.
Why do Gears practice?
1. Because calibrating and adjusting to each new stroke count is enjoyable. It's an exacting skill that requires great focus and self-awareness.
2. Gears are just as valuable to attaining your fastest pace in swimming as on a bicycle. A simple way to gain great command of Swim Gears is with sets like this.

5 x 50 BK Descend on 1:10
#1 15+15 SPL :51
#2 15+16 SPL :50
#3 16+16 SPL :49
#4 16+17 SPL :48
#5 17+17 SPL :49
Because I hadn't practice 17 SPL so far, it's an unfamiliar stroke timing for me.
That was reflected in swimming a slower time for the final 50.

7 x 50 FR Descend on 1:00
#1 13+14 SPL :42
#2 14+14 SPL :41
#3 14+15 SPL 'glimpse' of :40 (on digital pace clock)
#4 15+15 SPL :40
#5 15+16 SPL 'glimpse' of :39
#3 16+16 SPL :39

Because I've done lots of Gears practice in freestyle, my calibration was much better on the 25s and 50s and I did a better job of descending.

Task #3 4 rounds of 3 x 25 BK Gears Practice. Round 1 3 x 25 @ 15 SPL. Round 2 @ 16 SPL; Round 3 @ 17 SPL; Round 4 1 x 25 each @ 15-16-17 SPL
I'd already completed 2300yd, which is as much as I'm swimming now, but my calf muscles weren't cramping and I wanted to have one more go at backstroke gears, and repeat the timed 50 BK @ 17+17 SPL.
Doing 3 consecutive lengths at each SPL improved my timing, but I still have considerable upside on this exercise.
I repeated the timed 50 at 17+17 SPL and improved two seconds from earlier--from :49 to :47.
A good payoff for the extra gears practice.
Terry Laughlin
Head Coach & Chief Executive Optimist

May your laps be as happy as mine.

My TI Story

Last edited by terry : 11-27-2015 at 10:28 PM.
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Old 11-28-2015
andyinnorway andyinnorway is offline
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I like your idea of specific gears training sets.

As a newcomer to regular flip turns I can see the practical advantage of adjusting the stroke length (by changing the gear) between 20-24 metres to reach the ideal position to start the flip turn.
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Old 11-29-2015
terry terry is offline
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Default Long Set of 100s BK Descending + Revisit IM Baseline Test Set

Sun 29 Nov --- 3000y in 60 min at Bard College

Task #1
16 x 100 BK on 2:10. Maintain stroke count and descend until it's impossible to swim faster without adding strokes.
This is a set I do very commonly in freestyle, but had never done as a backstroke set until today. I do it like this:
1) Swim first repeat as easily and perfectly as possible--applying featherlight pressure to the water.
2) Get data: Take time and count strokes. (I don't really know prior to starting what each will be--the first repeat is a 'discovery exercise.')
3) Try to improve one or another metric for as many repeats as possible--until you reach your 'failure point'-- time doesn't improve or stroke count goes up.
I took 60 strokes and finished in 2:00 on #1.
improved my time by at least 1 second, without adding strokes, on the next 14 repeats.
I maxed on #16 when I recorded a time 1:39, but increased to 61 strokes.

Task #2 Baseline Test Set: Swim 100+200+300+400 IM
As I finished the set of 16 x 100 BK, I noticed that one of the lanes was empty--what I need to swim Butterfly.
I'd been waiting all week to have another go at my Individual Medley baseline test set. Between pool closures and crowded lanes, this was my first good opportunity.
Normally I would do a very easy tuneup/warmup--not a long set of 100y repeats with the last few fairly close to max--prior to tackling my baseline test. But I couldn't pass up the opportunity--and thought the fact that I was a bit fatigued as I started would reveal something valuable: Could I swim really well, even when not completely fresh?
This is valuable because in most Masters meets I may attend I'll swim 3 to 4 events in a two to three hours. It requires great focus and executing the small details well in order to record strong results in multiple races during one session.
On Nov 10, when I did this set the first time my times were:
100 IM 1:48
200 IM 3:34 (1:47/100)
300 IM 5:19 (1:46/100)
400 IM 6:58 (1:44/100)

Today, at the same stroke counts (8-9 for FL, 16 for BK, 8 for BR, 14-15 for FR) my times were
100 IM 1:46
200 IM 3:30 (1:45/100)
300 IM 5:14 (1:44.7/100)
400 IM 6:48 (1:42/100)

Both times I swam the 400 IM as
4 x 75 Fly-Back-Breast + 100 FR -- continuous.

Task #3
8 x 50 FR on 1:00. Hold 13+15 SPL and descend.
I started super-easy for recovery, then tried to swim slightly faster on each, while staying below max.
I descended one second each on the first 7, from :46 to :40, then repeated 40 sec on #8.
Terry Laughlin
Head Coach & Chief Executive Optimist

May your laps be as happy as mine.

My TI Story
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Old 12-01-2015
terry terry is offline
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Default Main Set of 6 x 200 IM + 2 Backstroke Sets with Tempo

Tues 1 December 2600y in 55 minutes


5 x 100 on 1:55 Hold Stroke Count and do 'effortless' descend.
I swim 50 FR @ 13+14 SPL and 50 BK @ 15SPL f
I started with featherlight pressure and slightly increased the firmness in my stroke each 100.
My times improved from 1:46 to 1:38.
I felt very relaxed and super-smooth on #5

Task #2 10 x 50 FR-BK as Tempo Pyramid
I've done little Tempo work since early October in Lake Awosting. And I hadn't used a Tempo Trainer in backstroke in several years.
Tempo is my main weak point in backstroke. Over the next several months I'll work patiently at feeling comfortable and staying efficient at faster tempos.
I started at 1.15 Tempo, slowed by .04 sec each 50 until I was at 1.27, then came by to 1.15 in .02 sec increments.
My stroke count was 14FR+17BK on first 50, dropped to 13+16 at 1.27, then was 13+17 when I returned to 1.15.
I know I'll get much better with practice.

Task #3 Main Set 2 rounds of (3 x 200 IM) Descend each round. Remain close to original stroke count.
Round 1: I swam regular 200 IM order (50 FL, 50 BK, 50 BR, 50 FR) and held 8SPL for FL and BR, 16SPL for BK, and 14SPL for FR
Times: 3:29-3:26-3:23
Round 2: I swam modified 200 IM (2 x 75 FL-BK-BR+50 Fr continuous) and let stroke count increase by 1SPL at the end
Times: 3:31-3:25-3:19

I was very pleased with this set. The last time I did it, Nov 12, I allowed 30 sec more rest between repeats and did the following times
Round 1: 3:24-3:25-3:23
Round 2: 3:26-3:25-3:23
Today my average was a bit slower, but I finished the set much faster.

Task #4
12 x 25 BK Tempo Pyramid
My goal right now is to use Tempo Pyramids to find the fastest tempo at which I can swim 25y of backstroke in 16 strokes.
I began with tempo at 1.2 and 17 strokes, slowed tempo to 1.26 and reached 16 strokes, then increased tempo by .01 to 1.19 and still held 16 strokes.
Next time I do this I'll increase tempo by .01 or .02 from today and see if I can still hold 16 strokes.
Terry Laughlin
Head Coach & Chief Executive Optimist

May your laps be as happy as mine.

My TI Story
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Old 12-02-2015
terry terry is offline
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Default A 'Sprint' Set--Formerly Rare, but no longer

Wed 2 Dec --- 1600y in 40 minutes

Tuneup Series

5 x 100 FR on 1:45. Hold constant stroke count (13+14+14+15) and descend.
Starting with featherlight pressure and gradually increasing the firmness of my stroke I descended from 1:36 to 1:27. Felt fantastic.

5 x 50 BK on 1:10 Hold constant stroke count (15+16) and descend.
My times improved from :51 to :47. Felt great--not quite fantastic.

5 x 50 FR-BK on 1:00 Recovery pace but even so I held stroke count (13+16) and descended slightly -- from :50 to :48

Today I swam with my friend Jim Bacon (not a TI swimmer). Though he does long course triathlons, in the pool considers himself a sprinter. So our main set was something I hadn't done in quite a few years--25y repeats as fast as possible. Here's the set

Main Set
4 rounds of (4 x 25 on :10 rest). Swim an EZ 50 BK for recovery between rounds.
By subtracting the 30 seconds of rest in each round, I could find my time for a 'broken' 100 yards.

I won't sacrifice efficiency while training for speed--but I will use my highest Green Zone stroke counts on this set.
I held 16 to 17 strokes
My broken 100 times were 1:12-1:10-1:12-1:09.

My times were atypically erratic on this.That reflects how seldom I practice 'sprinting.' My nervous system is unfamiliar with the challenge of attaining max speed while staying efficient. Doing my fastest time on the 4th round shows how quickly my brain adapted though.

Because one of my goals for the next six months is to swim faster for 100y free than I have in many years, I'll repeat this set, or a similar one, weekly.
Terry Laughlin
Head Coach & Chief Executive Optimist

May your laps be as happy as mine.

My TI Story
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Old 12-03-2015
AWP AWP is offline
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Posts: 575

Finally back at it despite interruptions ( pool closure, work etc.) and was able to utilize what I'll call an extended tune up I've been wanting to try.
Just working with stroke counts and rhythm at the moment heading toward finding my optimal cruising pace for other strokes.
Extended tune up:
2x500 long axis groovin' (BK- FR) continuous 500s as...
25BK 75FR
50BK 50FR
75BK 25FR
20 sec rest then...
25FR 75BK
50FR 50BK
75FR 25BK
My task was to hold stroke counts for each discipline especially as distance increased and better it as distances decreased in each set with the hope of developing a productive rhythm. No chance for my mind to wander!
I felt that it was a productive exercise and helped to set me up for the sets to follow; single 25y lengths BK and 50y repeats in each BK/FR, trying to improve pace. I managed :25- :20 on the BK lengths and managed :55- :50 on the 50y repeats; my focus to develop a cruising pace, speed later.
I also found, on the extended tune up, that on my BK lengths that it was easy to loose timing and so took some playing around; when right I felt myself slide through the water, when not, well, not.
Going forward I'll try and add with a more complete layout of the practice.

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Old 12-05-2015
terry terry is offline
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Default Tempo Set of 100y BK repeats

Thurs 3 Dec 1500y in 35 min
I'm posting this a day after I did it so I don't recall everything I did.
I do recall this: I went to the pool planning to swim a main set of 3 rounds of 4 x 100 IM (i.e. 25 each FL-BK-BR-FR). But I strained the adductor muscle in my right leg in the first few lengths then couldn't swim Fly or Breast. Even freestyle hurt initially, but I found I could swim backstroke as long as I did flutter kicks--not a dolphin--on pushoff. So that's what I did

I swam 6 x 50 BK, slowing Tempo until I could complete 50y in 32 strokes. That happened at 1.26 Tempo.

Then I swam 5 x 100 BK @ 1.26 Tempo on 2:00
I wanted to test whether I could double the repeat distance and still maintain an average 16SPL -- which I did.
I also timed them. My times were 1:41 and 1:40.

Then I swam 3 x 100 BK @ 1.25 Tempo on 2:00
Could I still maintain 16SPL at slightly faster tempo.
I did, but just barely. I went 1:39 to 1:40.
Swimming faster tempo is good if you swim faster. Not so good if you only swim the same time.

I swam an easy 50 BK, then repeated the same set, but with a bit more rest.
3 x 100 BK @ 1.25 Tempo on 2:10
Increasing rest by only 10 sec allowed me to feel noticeably stronger. As a result I improved my times, swimming 1:39 to 1:37.
Terry Laughlin
Head Coach & Chief Executive Optimist

May your laps be as happy as mine.

My TI Story
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