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  #1  
Old 09-28-2015
Talvi Talvi is offline
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Default Terry's blog: "Swim like Ledecky"

Tery's blog post inspired by Ledecky's performance in Russia suggests a 3 step process for increasing stroke

When I compare my first session back in the pool, I find that I am within the three strokes he recommends (16-19spl). If Green zone is between 50% and 70% of wingspan or height, then mine is between 16 and 23 spl.

I wasn't following Terry's recommended set (4x50, 3x100, 2x150, 1x200 = 1000) but ended up with something less organised but comparable: 6x50, 3x75, 2x100, 1x150, 2x200 = 1275, with the following SPLs:

6x50 17, 17, 14, 16, 17, 19 (I've ignored the 14)
3x75 16, 16, 17
2x100 17, 17
1x150 17
2x200 19, 19
also:
1x750 19 and
11x25 16, 16, 14, 14, 12, 14, 14, 14, 14, 16, 16

It all seems there or thereabouts, not rocksteady, but as I think I'm getting the hang of it, I think I really should focus on tempo now (back to an old refrain but with more confidence!)

My queries then arise from Terry's advice for doing this:

Quote:
Choose a tempo at which you can easily complete 25 yards in 16 strokes. Swim a series of 25's, increasing tempo by .01 on each successive repeat. For how many repeats can you maintain 16 spl? Four is good. Eight is great. Repeat this exercise at any count in your green zone.

At higher counts, your tempo range should be faster. E.G. If you can hold 16 SPL between 1.30 and 1.24 seconds/stroke you might be able to hold 17 SPL between 1.23 and 1.16 seconds/stroke.
The advice in his first paragraph seems unaffected by the tempo range which varies by less than 0.1 second per stoke overall, but is success to be gauges as ZERO variance over the 4-8 repeats? My 25m is probably my most variable distance and I would be at it until doomsday. Is there any reason not to use 50m and have some tolerance?

If my understanding of Green Zone is correct then I've been shooting too high i.e off the bottom end of mine. With occasional lengths being at 14 or even lower I figured I should be able to routinely do that. Should I have focused on swimming in the middle to low point of my green zone boundaries say at about 18spl instead?

My goal is still to find the feel of the stroke and then eventually/hopefully to groove that. But how does this relate to swapping around between the SPL's in my Green Zone?

What occurs to me is to select an SPL or SPL range and then increase tempo until I fall outside of this, but that seems too crude as it doesn't account for interval distance.

My numbers show a decay as distance increases and as I get to the end of the session. The 25's were swum at the beginning and although highly enjoyable were very tiring. The 750 was swumn at the end to relax a bit. My pace for the 25's was about 1:50 and ther 750 was 2:14.
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A psychological disorder is: "Any personal construction which is used repeatedly in spite of consistent invalidation."
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"The water is your friend.....you don't have to fight with water, just share the same spirit as the water, and it will help you move."
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  #2  
Old 09-28-2015
andyinnorway andyinnorway is offline
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Hi Robin,

Length 1 will nearly always have one less stroke than the rest so allow for that.

I think picking an SPL in the middle of your range and trying to hold that also a good idea.

Also we need at least 1 stroke per length extra to compare 25 metres with 25 yards.

The value for me is finding a rhythm and stroke length that you can hold for lengths 3-8 in a 200m repeat, and then try to improve it through a series of stroke rates.

Then take off one stroke per length, reset the tempo and start again.

Anything that let's you improve by small percentages whilst maintaining very consistent metrics.
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  #3  
Old 09-28-2015
Talvi Talvi is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by andyinnorway View Post
... The value for me is finding a rhythm and stroke length that you can hold for lengths 3-8 in a 200m repeat, and then try to improve it through a series of stroke rates.

Then take off one stroke per length, reset the tempo and start again. ...
I've just come from singing your praises on 2 other threads! :D Great idea re focusing on the middle part of intervals.

I was thinking of keeping the SPL and reducing the time rather than continuing to work on SPL. It sounds too complicated trying to do both at once... I think there is something I'm missing in what you wrote?

I reckon that SPL or DPS is, assuming no cheating, still the best indicator of stroke effectiveness. But coming at improvement from the direction of tempo now seems more attractive again now that I've matched the green zone and consistency requirements better than I had realized.

Maybe now is the time to come in from the Outer Limits, as you once called it :)
__________________
A psychological disorder is: "Any personal construction which is used repeatedly in spite of consistent invalidation."
~ George Kelly

"The water is your friend.....you don't have to fight with water, just share the same spirit as the water, and it will help you move."
~ Aleksandr Popov
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  #4  
Old 09-28-2015
Zenturtle Zenturtle is offline
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200m.
Femke Heemskerk ( also 1m80) took 34-35 strokes per lenght, so who has the longest stroke? Not Ledecky.
Heemskerk is often complaining that she tends to fall into a long stroke, but doesnt have the strenght to keep this stroke together untill the end.
She is now training to keep it comsistent at a slightly shorter stroke lenght.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tbppHl_FIws

Dont try to stroke longer than you can pull off. Keeping strokelength consistant is good, explaining Ledeckys succes in simple strokelenght numbers is a disappointing simplification of swimming.

Last edited by Zenturtle : 09-28-2015 at 05:09 PM.
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  #5  
Old 09-28-2015
Talvi Talvi is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Zenturtle View Post
200m.
Femke Heemskerk ( also 1m80) took 34-35 strokes per lenght, so who has the longest stroke? Not Ledecky....
Terry was referring to DPS as a % of height rather than an absolute. The question would be whether Heemskerk's DPS is in her green zone.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Zenturtle View Post
.. Dont try to stroke longer than you can pull off...
Thinking out loud .. there is a fixed relationship between tempo, DPS, and speed, so for a given speed the choice is between altering the efficiency of traction or altering tempo. The more efficient the traction the greater the DPS.

So it's an issue of "gearing". If you get a lower DPS you need a higher tempo for the same speed. The question is why would a higher tempo be preferable to higher DPS.

On a bike you use low gears to overcome inertia and cope with high resistance, and higher gears to get maximum final speed. Terry's blog could be understood as suggesting higher gears give maximum speed i.e the same as with a bike or car. Is what lies behind saying lower gears deliver faster speeds that the water's viscocity requires lower gearing to overcome constant "inertia"?

Then again there is no actual gearing involved so no mechanical advantage and for a given speed the rate of power being applied is also the same irrespective of tempo or DPS as it's the identical resistive forces being overcome.

???!
__________________
A psychological disorder is: "Any personal construction which is used repeatedly in spite of consistent invalidation."
~ George Kelly

"The water is your friend.....you don't have to fight with water, just share the same spirit as the water, and it will help you move."
~ Aleksandr Popov
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  #6  
Old 09-28-2015
Danny Danny is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Talvi View Post
Terry was referring to DPS as a % of height rather than an absolute. The question would be whether Heemskerk's DPS is in her green zone.



Thinking out loud .. there is a fixed relationship between tempo, DPS, and speed, so for a given speed the choice is between altering the efficiency of traction or altering tempo. The more efficient the traction the greater the DPS.

So it's an issue of "gearing". If you get a lower DPS you need a higher tempo for the same speed. The question is why would a higher tempo be preferable to higher DPS.

On a bike you use low gears to overcome inertia and cope with high resistance, and higher gears to get maximum final speed. Terry's blog could be understood as suggesting higher gears give maximum speed i.e the same as with a bike or car. Is what lies behind saying lower gears deliver faster speeds that the water's viscocity requires lower gearing to overcome constant "inertia"?

Then again there is no actual gearing involved so no mechanical advantage and for a given speed the rate of power being applied is also the same irrespective of tempo or DPS as it's the identical resistive forces being overcome.

???!
Hi Talvi,

I think that at lower SPL your acceleration/deceleration in each stroke cycle is greater. At higher stroke rates you tend to get a more uniform speed. So all of this is a balance between getting a good grip on the water and moving at a uniform speed.
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  #7  
Old 09-28-2015
Zenturtle Zenturtle is offline
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Terrys first statement±

Here’s a summary of how Ledecky outswam her competition:

She took significantly fewer strokes

Pretty clear isnt it?
It seens to me Heemskerk has pretty long arms, so her wingspan might be greater than Ledeckys. She is probably in the high DPS of the green zone.
Anyway, taking fewer strokes didnt make her faster than Ledecky.
You could say that she was faster when she could hold the higher DPS, and went slower when the DPS collapsed, but thats a chicken and egg problem.
The stroke collapsed because the high DPS was unsustainable endurance wise.

Quote:
The question is why would a higher tempo be preferable to higher DPS.
Swimming cant be totally compared with bicycling.
In the bike powerconversion the efficiency is always the same for different gears. In swimming its not.
A paddle with a big surface area has a higher propulsion efficiency as a smaller paddle.
The paddle has the best effective area in the middle meaty part of the stroke and less at the very start and finish.
So, if you are able to move the paddle like Sun Yang, yes, get a long stroke. You can take advantage of a long movement with good propulsive efficiency.
If you are stiff and unable to make good use of the first part of the stroke you are facing a different optimal drag propulsion compomise.
A shorter stroke could get you longer in a more efficient propulsion efficiency with less speed variations.
It could means you spent a little shorter in the most streamlined position also, so there is the tradeoff.
TI puts all its money on the streanline part, others balance more toward the propulsion side.
Is not so cristal clear what is best for a certain individual.

Last edited by Zenturtle : 09-28-2015 at 10:16 PM.
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  #8  
Old 09-28-2015
Danny Danny is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Zenturtle View Post
Terrys first statement±

Here’s a summary of how Ledecky outswam her competition:

She took significantly fewer strokes

Pretty clear isnt it?
It seens to me Heemskerk has pretty long arms, so her wingspan might be greater than Ledeckys. She is probably in the high DPS of the green zone.
Anyway, taking fewer strokes didnt make her faster than Ledecky.
You could say that she was faster when she could hold the higher DPS, and went slower when the DPS collapsed, but thats a chicken and egg problem.
The stroke collapsed because the high DPS was unsustainable endurance wise.
I'm going to go out on a limb here and try to rephrase what I think Terry is saying (probably a bad idea, but I can't resist). As we all know, speed is the product of stroke rate times stroke length. The precise choice of optimal stroke length and rate is a very personal thing that takes experimentation, training and lots of experience. The trade-offs, as I mentioned in the post above are the acceleration/deceleration that is occurring at large stroke length and slower rates vs. the more uniform speed but possibly poorer grip on the water at high stroke rates, because poor grip means inefficiency. I think that what TI is claiming is that we all tend to favor higher stroke rates, but the really great swimmers tend to find the optimum at fewer strokes and more dps. The advice here is not meant to be absolute (although it sometimes loses its nuances because a nuanced message can be hard to understand). It seems to me that I read something from Terry a while back where he said that in recent years he has found it beneficial to back off somewhat on dps and increase stroke rate in his own swimming, but that is because he spent so many years increasing dps that he was in a position to do this. Learning how to get a good grip on the water is a very difficult skill and I think Terry is simply trying to say that most of us would benefit from devoting more time to developing this skill. When we have it, it is then up to us to look for our own optimum, but the wider our range, the more choices we have, and we may well find that we favor dps more and more as we develop the capability to swim this way.
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  #9  
Old 09-28-2015
Zenturtle Zenturtle is offline
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Quote:
the more uniform speed but possibly poorer grip on the water at high stroke rates, because poor grip means inefficiency
Strongly disasgree with this often used idea that shorter stroke means poorer grip on the water.
I would say the opposite for the intermediate swimmer who can have a decent catch at average flexibility level.
As stated above, the middle part of the stroke is the most efficient, in other words, has the least slippage.
A short stroke is not the same as a slipping stroke. An average stroke count could be caused by a fast catch and early finish with little slippage or a slow catch and extended elbow at the end, but with a horrible slipping dropped elbow and pushing water down at the front.
Both could have the same stroke count, but are completely different efficiency wise.
The short stroke with good grip is just like using a low gear high rpm in muddy terrain to hold good traction, while the long slipping stroke is spinning the wheels in a high gear.
Same strokecount, completely different swimmer.

Off course, the image of the wildly splashing nonswimmer who looks to be drowning and takes 30 strokes while creeping forward isnt what we are talking about. Everybody agrees that thats not ideal.

A long stroke with good grip is the best, but in my view this is a very high level skill during fast swimming.
Even Phelps took more time than any adult swimmer has available to lenghten out his stroke after he had learned to swim efficiently with a shorter stroke.
Can we shortcut Phelps development steps and jump directly to the end of his development path as adult learners?

With enough catlike flexibilty the long stroke can also be combined with constant propulsion. Start and end can smoothly blend if traction can be maintained. For the beginner adult, youtube gives enough examples that trying to mimic this results mostly in jerky inefficient in between movements in the movement path.

All the talk about strokelength and strokerate can get a little boring.
Tell me about your new girlfriend.
Well, she is 5ft 8 tall and weighs 110 pounds. Went from 113 to 110 pounds last month.
Wow, pretty interesting.

Sorry guys, like to tease a bit. ;-)

Last edited by Zenturtle : 09-28-2015 at 11:19 PM.
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  #10  
Old 09-29-2015
s.sciame s.sciame is offline
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s.sciame
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Talvi View Post
Is what lies behind saying lower gears deliver faster speeds that the water's viscocity requires lower gearing to overcome constant "inertia"?
Hi Talvi, one funny way to experience it is drafting. For me it was an eye opener the first time at the pool: having the water "opened" by someone else in front made a huge difference in terms of both speed and ease. And this is the place where I get the most from a longer and slowish stroke, less "inertia" to overcome.
In open water, if I move out of a draft I have to revert to a shorter and faster stroke in order to keep the same pace.

Regards,
Salvo
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