I took off in the middle of the day to do my swim today. I wanted to play around with some Tempo Trainer sets in this practice and see how I would do. If you are interested, you can see the detail on the practice on our website. For those not in the know, a Tempo Trainer is a metronome for the pool and it provides the swimmer with a cadence to follow exactly in the swim. It not only makes the practice more challenging, it also provides me instantaneous feedback on how I’m doing as I swim.
I used the base tempo, 1.31 sec/stroke, from my performance set and worked with the Tempo Trainer in 3 different ways:
- Practicing holding a consistent feeling of rhythm and flow on my swims to maintain a feel for the swim — that’s what I was concentrating on for the first 4 x 100
- Taking the additional challenge of holding the same stroke count as well as holding beat. This is a higher level of neuromuscular challenge. Just to make it even more fun, I went “Old School Total Immersion” and wore FistGloves for the ladder. I was happy that I was holding 16 strokes per length (S/L) on the whole set.
- On the last 4 x 100, I played around with dropping the tempo by :03 on every swim. In other words, I picked up the beat. My goal was to hold a consistent stroke count throughout the set to also for a descend (Note: Same stroke length with faster tempo means I go faster — the ol’ V = SL x SR thing I talked about in an earlier post). I wound up going 1:37, 1:35, 1:33, and 1:29 on the set while holding 15 S/L on all 25s
In addition to this set, I continued to do some drilling on the 6-beat kick with a snorkel. This time I didn’t wear the fins and Tempo Trainer but I counted off in my head. My right foot is still a little lazy on getting the rotational kick down. When I get it, the stroke feels good.
My big concern is that my stroke count is consistently at least 1 or 2 strokes higher than what it normally has been in the past at these tempos. I would normally be in a 13-14 S/L range with 15 reserved for faster speeds. There are a couple of factors that I think are at play here:
- I’m out of shape and I haven’t quite gotten my feel for the water back. I need to maintain a level of consistency so I can get my swimming strength back
- More interestingly, I’ve been committing to bilateral breathing to make sure that I don’t trash my shoulders while doing the training. In the past, I’ve always trained my sets with a predominantly right-side breathing form. I’m probably just not as efficient and strong breathing to my left side and that’s affecting my stroke length
It’s probably some combination of the two. Or maybe we have a full moon coming up.
Either way, I left the practice more refreshed physically and psychologically. Feeling a little sore is a nice thing now.