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Guppy Challenge Begins! Q&A Thread
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The workouts for Week-1 of the Guppy Challenge as posted. You may write your questions, concerns, struggles, victories, failures here or at the bottom of the article as a Facebook post. In my opinion here is better, because Facebook is great but this forum's architecture is a little easier for me to respond to (if you want my response).

I think this is going to be a good edition of the Guppy Challenge. We have a fair number of participants, and there are some tools and helps we have now that we didn't have a year ago.


Dan Empfield
aka Slowman
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Re: Guppy Challenge Begins! Q&A Thread [Slowman] [ In reply to ]
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My first time to do this challenge. I reviewed last year's articles, will you be adding tuna and tarpon workouts this year too?

Any suggestions on waterproof pouches or cases to do underwater filming with?
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Re: Guppy Challenge Begins! Q&A Thread [kbd] [ In reply to ]
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kbd wrote:
My first time to do this challenge. I reviewed last year's articles, will you be adding tuna and tarpon workouts this year too?

Any suggestions on waterproof pouches or cases to do underwater filming with?

yes, Tuna and Tarpon are on the first week's workouts, if you click the link. we'll begin to host underwater videos soon, by week-2, and i'll have a post, or perhaps a front page article, on the best methods to make those videos.


Dan Empfield
aka Slowman
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Re: Guppy Challenge Begins! Q&A Thread [Slowman] [ In reply to ]
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I going to be a little late to the party...some family commitments have me tied up until the new year!
so second week of January I will be starting!! looking forward to it!
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Re: Guppy Challenge Begins! Q&A Thread [Slowman] [ In reply to ]
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Perfect timing. Had surgery 5 weeks ago (Nov 2) to put a plate and 8 screws in to repair a crushed collar bone. Started back swimming after 2 weeks and am up to 2k a day now 5x a week. I’ll give the Tuna a chase.

Mike Plumb, TriPower MultiSports
Professional Running, Cycling and Multisport Coaching
http://www.tripower.org
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Re: Guppy Challenge Begins! Q&A Thread [Slowman] [ In reply to ]
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Who will be using a Snorkel and why. If you are using a Snorkel, what brand? I haven't used one before and I am considering...
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Re: Guppy Challenge Begins! Q&A Thread [Slowman] [ In reply to ]
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Are you and Monty swimming? I want to come over the hill and join you for a day!
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Re: Guppy Challenge Begins! Q&A Thread [Gee] [ In reply to ]
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i am in bermuda. i'll be swimming every day i'm here (5 days). this is my swimming vacation. and THEN i'll be swimming back home, and i'll come down and join you for a swim. do you swim masters there? or at occidental or caltech or somewhere?


Dan Empfield
aka Slowman
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Re: Guppy Challenge Begins! Q&A Thread [Slowman] [ In reply to ]
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No, I found swim nirvana with the ultimate coaching triumvirate and quit swimming masters, except when I am traveling. I am simply too old and too obstinate to hear so many conflicting opinions on the "best" way to swim and decided that since I had the best individual coaching ever and a training plan that works well for triathlon, I didn't need the others on a regular basis. Bring your camera and your adventurous spirit, and I'll bring the WoD.
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Re: Guppy Challenge Begins! Q&A Thread [Slowman] [ In reply to ]
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How do i sign up for this thing... Let's do this!
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Re: Guppy Challenge Begins! Q&A Thread [rodchaves31] [ In reply to ]
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rodchaves31 wrote:
How do i sign up for this thing... Let's do this!

go to the training log. choose challenges. click enter.


Dan Empfield
aka Slowman
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Re: Guppy Challenge Begins! Q&A Thread [Slowman] [ In reply to ]
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Thanks for hosting this experiment.

I just finished the first workout and I have some comments/questions. Note that I am one of the worst "swimmers" on ST and an very frustrated with any lack of progress so take my issues/comments with a grain of salt.



"Some of the better coaches I know put a premium on knowing how to swimming slow. "
How does one define "slowly". I'm a 2:15-2:200 100scy swimmer. If I swim any slower, I'll sink to the bottom of the lane. OK, this is a rhetorical question.



"Rather than overthinking this, I just want you to concentrate on not contorting your torso, not bending at the waist, when you breathe. "
The issue I have with any drills is how do I know I am doing it correctly. I can (and did) concentrate but I have no idea is I was doing what you want me to do. If I am not doing the drills properly, what benefit do I derive from them?



I tried the one armed drill. I am a right-side breather who breaths every two strokes (i.e. coincidental with my right arm entering the water) and who really like to breath every 1.5 seconds (or more frequently). With this drill, I found myself focusing on breathing not focusing on the intent of the drill. I had to lift my head to breath, thus causing my legs to sink even more than normal. I even tried fins to make up for 50% of the propulsion I lost. No help. I gave up out of exhaustion and frustration after the third interval.

A generic question on swimming intervals. I am exhausted by the time I hit 1200 yards. So much so that I can feel my form degrade even more than normal. How does swimming 100-150 yards and then stopping to rest help me swim 1500y in a race? I am relatively strong runner for a 55 year old guy and I rarely run intervals. Instead, I run longer (i.e. race) distance, occasionally mixing up the tempo. This regiment worked well enough to have the 5th fastest 10K (M55-59) in Omaha after coming out of the water last in the AG. I am trying to reconcile these two situations.







DeSoto Sports Ambassador
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Re: Guppy Challenge Begins! Q&A Thread [HandHeartCrown] [ In reply to ]
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HandHeartCrown wrote:

Thanks for hosting this experiment.

"Some of the better coaches I know put a premium on knowing how to swimming slow.
"
How does one define "slowly". I'm a 2:15-2:200 100scy swimmer. If I swim any slower, I'll sink to the bottom of the lane. OK, this is a rhetorical question.


"Rather than overthinking this, I just want you to concentrate on not contorting your torso, not bending at the waist, when you breathe. "
The issue I have with any drills is how do I know I am doing it correctly. I can (and did) concentrate but I have no idea is I was doing what you want me to do. If I am not doing the drills properly, what benefit do I derive from them?



I tried the one armed drill. I am a right-side breather who breaths every two strokes (i.e. coincidental with my right arm entering the water) and who really like to breath every 1.5 seconds (or more frequently). With this drill, I found myself focusing on breathing not focusing on the intent of the drill. I had to lift my head to breath, thus causing my legs to sink even more than normal. I even tried fins to make up for 50% of the propulsion I lost. No help. I gave up out of exhaustion and frustration after the third interval.

A generic question on swimming intervals. I am exhausted by the time I hit 1200 yards. So much so that I can feel my form degrade even more than normal. How does swimming 100-150 yards and then stopping to rest help me swim 1500y in a race? I am relatively strong runner for a 55 year old guy and I rarely run intervals. Instead, I run longer (i.e. race) distance, occasionally mixing up the tempo. This regiment worked well enough to have the 5th fastest 10K (M55-59) in Omaha after coming out of the water last in the AG. I am trying to reconcile these two situations.

you are so in luck! by week-4 you're going to be a new man. in specific answer:

slowly: what i mean is, slowly relative to your normal speed. if you slow things way down, form issues are amplified. i WANT form issues amplified, so we can expose and correct them.

one-armed drill: perfect! what depresses me is to hear that you CAN do it, and do it well. when i hear that you CAN'T do it, i'm jazzed! now i know we can make progress. what i recommend you do is continue to use fins, for now, and break this up into 50s, and break up the set into quarters, and do a fourth of the set interspersed between other elements. warm-up, then a fourth of the 1-arm pull set. more warm-up, another 4th of this set. main set, another 4th; warm-down, another 4th. each 50 should be right arm down, left arm back.

i promise you, you WILL get this. and it won't take more than a week or so. once you get it down, so that you can do it, then we'll take off 1 fin. then, the other. and then we'll work on the off hand (no sculling). then more on the off hand (keeping it close to the surface). by week-4 you'll be a champ at this.

you're exhausted because how you swim is exhausting. by week-8 you'll breeze through 2000 yards easily.


Dan Empfield
aka Slowman
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Re: Guppy Challenge Begins! Q&A Thread [Mike J] [ In reply to ]
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Mike J wrote:
Who will be using a Snorkel and why. If you are using a Snorkel, what brand? I haven't used one before and I am considering...

I picked up the Finis Swimmer's Snorkel last year, and that worked well for me. Admittedly I haven't used it since last year's Guppy challenge, but I'm back for another helping.

Hopefully this year, there won't be any unexpected pool closures. A couple of those hit me last year, and I completely fell out at around week 8.
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Re: Guppy Challenge Begins! Q&A Thread [Slowman] [ In reply to ]
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Slowman wrote:
i am in bermuda. i'll be swimming every day i'm here (5 days). this is my swimming vacation. and THEN i'll be swimming back home, and i'll come down and join you for a swim. do you swim masters there? or at occidental or caltech or somewhere?

Can you start telling us about Swim vacation options. As I am no longer biking for now, there is no pressing reason for cycliing vacations. Last year I only had 1 day of vacation on account of working for a company about to go out of biz and then starting my own tech startup (meaning I am on 24x7 work aside from my swim workouts). So where do you recommend for swim vacations? I have always been a bike vacation guy. I'll go register for the Guppy Challenge, but I think I no longer qualify as a guppy as on Friday I will hit 1200 km of swimming for the year (basically a bit over 100K per month).

Dev
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Re: Guppy Challenge Begins! Q&A Thread [Slowman] [ In reply to ]
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Oh, my-- I need a tadpole challenge! I think I've swum (swam?) about a dozen times total in the last 3 years (and 3 of those were in sprint tris). Between my shoulders going into shock when I got in the pool, and the creepy guy on the pool deck staring and talking on his phone, I didn't quite get through workout 1. :( Does that disqualify me right off the bat?
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Re: Guppy Challenge Begins! Q&A Thread [bt] [ In reply to ]
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bt wrote:
Oh, my-- I need a tadpole challenge! I think I've swum (swam?) about a dozen times total in the last 3 years (and 3 of those were in sprint tris). Between my shoulders going into shock when I got in the pool, and the creepy guy on the pool deck staring and talking on his phone, I didn't quite get through workout 1. :( Does that disqualify me right off the bat?

you are not disqualified! you are just warming up. you're fine.


Dan Empfield
aka Slowman
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Re: Guppy Challenge Begins! Q&A Thread [devashish_paul] [ In reply to ]
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devashish_paul wrote:
Slowman wrote:
i am in bermuda. i'll be swimming every day i'm here (5 days). this is my swimming vacation. and THEN i'll be swimming back home, and i'll come down and join you for a swim. do you swim masters there? or at occidental or caltech or somewhere?


Can you start telling us about Swim vacation options. As I am no longer biking for now, there is no pressing reason for cycliing vacations. Last year I only had 1 day of vacation on account of working for a company about to go out of biz and then starting my own tech startup (meaning I am on 24x7 work aside from my swim workouts). So where do you recommend for swim vacations? I have always been a bike vacation guy. I'll go register for the Guppy Challenge, but I think I no longer qualify as a guppy as on Friday I will hit 1200 km of swimming for the year (basically a bit over 100K per month). Dev

i'm beginning my bermuda swim vacation tomorrow. tried to get it going today, but it got off the rails. i'll tell you how it went when i'm done.

i'm going to do another one near the bottom of baja i think. but not for awhile.


Dan Empfield
aka Slowman
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Re: Guppy Challenge Begins! Q&A Thread [Slowman] [ In reply to ]
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I have swum with a Garmin the entire time that I've been training for tris but it died recently (being sent back for free replacement as I type) and on top of that I keep reading recommendations to just use the pace clock and establish "leave intervals". I have been doing this so far in the Challenge, but have a few questions:
1. What is the best method for establishing my personal leave intervals in order to "improve"? I guess more simply, how do I set a goal pace (+ prescribed rest interval) based on my current fitness? I don't want to set something unrealistic and then try to stick to it and watch my RIs go out the window.
2. How do you log your workouts when using the pace clock, total time or "moving" time? Or is this not something that the fishies care about?

(btw, links to previous answers are appreciated as well, I just haven't found QUITE what I'm looking for in a few searches)
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Re: Guppy Challenge Begins! Q&A Thread [Slowman] [ In reply to ]
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Slowman wrote:
HandHeartCrown wrote:


I tried the one armed drill. I am a right-side breather who breaths every two strokes (i.e. coincidental with my right arm entering the water) and who really like to breath every 1.5 seconds (or more frequently). With this drill, I found myself focusing on breathing not focusing on the intent of the drill. I had to lift my head to breath, thus causing my legs to sink even more than normal. I even tried fins to make up for 50% of the propulsion I lost. No help. I gave up out of exhaustion and frustration after the third interval.



you are so in luck! by week-4 you're going to be a new man. in specific answer:

slowly: what i mean is, slowly relative to your normal speed. if you slow things way down, form issues are amplified. i WANT form issues amplified, so we can expose and correct them.

one-armed drill: perfect! what depresses me is to hear that you CAN do it, and do it well. when i hear that you CAN'T do it, i'm jazzed! now i know we can make progress. what i recommend you do is continue to use fins, for now, and break this up into 50s, and break up the set into quarters, and do a fourth of the set interspersed between other elements. warm-up, then a fourth of the 1-arm pull set. more warm-up, another 4th of this set. main set, another 4th; warm-down, another 4th. each 50 should be right arm down, left arm back.

i promise you, you WILL get this. and it won't take more than a week or so. once you get it down, so that you can do it, then we'll take off 1 fin. then, the other. and then we'll work on the off hand (no sculling). then more on the off hand (keeping it close to the surface). by week-4 you'll be a champ at this.

you're exhausted because how you swim is exhausting. by week-8 you'll breeze through 2000 yards easily.

You are so in luck! by week-4 you're going to be a new man.
Will I feel 20 years younger? Will my hair return to it's original brown and the hair that has mysteriously disappear magically reappear? :-)

Thanks for responding.

Today I repeated the first workout tweaking the warmup a bit. I didn't quite understand your intent so I did six repeating intervals of 100 focusing on not contorting (whether I was successful is up for discussion) and 50 doing right arm down, left arm back. This was much less exhausting. According to Strava, I've swum 182K yards this year and all of it has been right side breathing. I was not looking forward to doing left side breathing. Strangely, I felt the left side breathing was less difficult (I didn't saw easier) than the right side breathing. Perplexing.

One question on workout 3: Can the kick drills be done with fins? It takes me over 1:15 and an extreme amount of effort to kick a 25y length.

Enjoy Bermuda. If it gets boring, you can fly north a bit and visit my neck of the woods where it's snowing/sleeting/raining and Boston Harbor is a balmy 48 degrees.

DeSoto Sports Ambassador
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Re: Guppy Challenge Begins! Q&A Thread [Slowman] [ In reply to ]
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Is part of warm up missing for workout 3? Total is 1800 not 2000 and that seems like a 4x50 set rather than missing 300. Have fun in Bermuda on your swimcation
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Re: Guppy Challenge Begins! Q&A Thread [Slowman] [ In reply to ]
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Thanks Dan for putting this together. Add me to the list of those who are frustrated with not making progress after swimming for years, I'm ready to put in some work to figure this out.
After the first workout I have a dumb question that I thought I knew the answer to but don't...to avoid contorting at the waist, do I only turn my head to breathe? Or should my whole body rotate?
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Re: Guppy Challenge Begins! Q&A Thread [bt] [ In reply to ]
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I didn't get through workout 1 either. It had been 522 days since my last swim so that was to be expected. I'm all for a tadpoles group.
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Re: Guppy Challenge Begins! Q&A Thread [Slowman] [ In reply to ]
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Great to be back involved this year - Graduating to Tarpon Yardage (based on 1:10 IM swim - not possible without Guppy Challenge)

Did W/O 1 today.

Question on body position in the 1arm drill:

I feel my body being 'rotated' towards the side I am breathing throughout - the arm in the way kinda prevents me being flat. Is that how it should be? Or do I need to focus on rotating down and then rotating back to breathe every time.
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Re: Guppy Challenge Begins! Q&A Thread [sammie] [ In reply to ]
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Your body should rotate for the breath...ideally, you should rotate just enough to have one goggle in and one goggle out of the water when you breathe.
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