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Re: QFT: Paulo Sousa on Swimming [JRenfro] [ In reply to ]
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How do you separate swim fitness improvement from bike and run fitness improvement?

Benchmarks in training and then the ultimate test - what happens in races!

I always find it interesting how many dance around and around the issue - the ultimate test is a race. The stopwatch and the results sheet don't lie.



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Re: QFT: Paulo Sousa on Swimming [Fleck] [ In reply to ]
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+1
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Re: QFT: Paulo Sousa on Swimming [Fleck] [ In reply to ]
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I would think that the ultimate test of swim fitness is in the pool. Race length discrepancies are too common.
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Re: QFT: Paulo Sousa on Swimming [Fleck] [ In reply to ]
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Fleck wrote:
How do you separate swim fitness improvement from bike and run fitness improvement?

Benchmarks in training and then the ultimate test - what happens in races!

I always find it interesting how many dance around and around the issue - the ultimate test is a race. The stopwatch and the results sheet don't lie.


I had a lot of second places this year, and every loss was in the swim.... my bike and run splits are always top 5, usually 1st/2nd. I have admitted to myself that swimming needs to improve, and thats the first step. every second place this year could have been won in the swim.

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Re: QFT: Paulo Sousa on Swimming [Fleck] [ In reply to ]
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That doesn't separate the components out. Obviously, the ultimate benchmark is fastest overall time. However, can you separate the components out to determine the cost benefit of training in one discipline and how that affects overall time.
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Re: QFT: Paulo Sousa on Swimming [JRenfro] [ In reply to ]
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JRenfro wrote:
How do you separate swim fitness improvement from bike and run fitness improvement. I assume that his athletes have changed their training wrt all 3 disciplines.

You don't. It's speculation.
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Re: QFT: Paulo Sousa on Swimming [James Haycraft] [ In reply to ]
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James Haycraft wrote:
I would think that the ultimate test of swim fitness is in the pool. Race length discrepancies are too common.

By who you consistently come out of the water in proximity to. I.e., if you were 3min behind a bunch of guys that you are now exiting the water with, you have gotten faster. The times for swims do not matter. But who you come out of the water does. Of all the disciplines, it's easiest to pinpoint swim improvements because triathlon swims pack up. It is a bit difficult to spot improvements from something like "barely making the second pack" to "leading the second pack," but it's easy to spot when athletes "move up" a pack.


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Re: QFT: Paulo Sousa on Swimming [Rappstar] [ In reply to ]
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That makes sense, but it makes a lot more sense among the pro field. Among amateur and local races it can be difficult to use those parameters. Although at the "local scene" level it's good enough for the most part. No packs, just buddies to compare yourself to.
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Re: QFT: Paulo Sousa on Swimming [Rappstar] [ In reply to ]
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i've been thinking about this thread as I struggle to improve my swimming. My experience as an adult onset swimmer has been that there have been three distinct phases for me.


1. technique is everything phase. getting up and down the pool and generating a reasonable amount of velocity is all that matters.Unless there is some 'rough, repeatable approximation' of swimming stroke then there is no point in having fitness.

2. fitness becomes important phase. The swimmer takes the rough stroke and creates fitness and some velocity. Can swim all day and in a race situation often has to!

3. things even out phase. With fitness and a repeatable stroke the swimmer can now focus on fine tuning to become more efficient also can work on speed training and interval work to improve fitness.

My biggest revelation came when I realized that technique improves with speed and the ability to work on technique improves greatly with speed also. I then realized that at the early stages all the drills in the world were doing me no good whatsover because I wasn't going fast enough. I spent a season as paolo recommends in his tweet...only really concerned about being able to swim 1900 meters without drowning. I didn't much care about how it looked or how efficient.
I now want to go from 40 to 35 minutes and am improving everyday working on technique and fitness.

At the end of the day though it really does become all about fitness. no matter what form you have you need to swim the distance and the worst form you have the better fitness you better have to make it.

richard
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Re: QFT: Paulo Sousa on Swimming [rhayden] [ In reply to ]
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i didnt read the long thread..... but i try to kept it simple....

Chris McCormack told me ''15 years ago, swim 40km/week for 6 months and you will be front pack for the rest of your life''

That was pretty much true....for triathlon level, if you can find a way to survive 6 months of that and not get injured and find the time for it, you will be set for life... i would say i pretty much agree with him on that

.

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Jonnyo Coaching
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Re: QFT: Paulo Sousa on Swimming [rhayden] [ In reply to ]
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rhayden wrote:
My biggest revelation came when I realized that technique improves with speed and the ability to work on technique improves greatly with speed also. I then realized that at the early stages all the drills in the world were doing me no good whatsoever because I wasn't going fast enough.

In general your post makes sense. Yes, as you get faster, the higher speed provides further easy opportunities to improve your technique. But the quandry is, to get faster, you need to have decent technique in the first place.

But the biggest error is what you write about drills. Because "drills" are not equivalent to good technique. And just doing drills very likely won't get you better technique. Good technique comes from having expert observers and teachers watch your swimming and give you direct feedback on what needs changing and exactly how to change it. Good technique is learning exactly how to swim differently.

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Re: QFT: Paulo Sousa on Swimming [jonnyo] [ In reply to ]
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jonnyo wrote:

Chris McCormack told me ''15 years ago, swim 40km/week for 6 months and you will be front pack for the rest of your life''

That was pretty much true....for triathlon level, if you can find a way to survive 6 months of that and not get injured and find the time for it, you will be set for life... i would say i pretty much agree with him on that

.

Here's the thing - and I say this with due respect Johnny, knowing full well that you are not an "easy road" kind of guy. This kind of encapsulates a spirit of this thread, or at least of the pro-Paulo posts: the notion that there is a quick fix to ones swimming problems. Just survive 6 months at 40k per week? For a handful of people this might work, but for the overwhelming majority I think that it's a seductive sirens song.

Really, I think that if we dig a little deeper, it is an easy-road mentality. Put on some paddles, your stroke will HAVE to get better. Just survive 6 months of 12 hours per week in the pool you will be as fast as Macca.

To me, one of the big struggles in the pursuit of better swimming is that people want it to be like a bike fit. They go in, some dude sells them a new stem, and seat height, then gets them an aero helmet and Boom! they're Kona bound. Now, admittedly 6 months of hard work is not as instantly gratifying an experience as buying a new Shiv, but in the context of a triathlon passion that may extend 10-20 years through a persons life, it's pretty damn quick.

Of course, I have not done this as a research project, and I base some of my professional work on an evolutionary approach to technical improvement, so of course my biases are implicit. That said, I would like to know what is the per 100 yard threshold pace that would reach this front pack for 1/2 to full Ironman swims? Perhaps then we could design an experiment to see if 6 months of "total immersion" into swim training would suffice.

Regards,
r.b.

Bringing you Tweets @ http://twitter.com/findfreestyle and Not just a bunch of drills - A Process.
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Re: QFT: Paulo Sousa on Swimming [robertwb] [ In reply to ]
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Just survive 6 months at 40k per week? For a handful of people this might work, but for the overwhelming majority I think that it's a seductive sirens song.

I think doing drills is the seductive siren's song. I've fallen victim to it for years, convinced that form was everything and that there's some secret drill that's going to magically fix my form and have me swimming 1:15s effortlessly. The result has been several years of disappointing swim times so this year I'm more or less ditching the drill/form approach (still working on form but it's not a focus) and putting in a lot of effort on fitness. I'm about 5 weeks in doing 20-30K per week and one thing I've learned quickly is that I've obviously never built a swimming base.

For years I've scoured the internet reading about swim form and constantly found conflicting information. This has led me to believe that either no one really knows how we move through the water and/or there is more than one correct way to swim well (or in this case, good enough). I've taken one-on-one lessons and been told my form is good and that I just need to swim a lot. I finally believe them.

I've been like a lot of triathletes trying to avoid 6 months of hard work in the pool by using excuses like it's all about form, swim fitness comes back the quickest, the swim is the shortest event so it makes more sense to focus on the bike and run, etc. To me, the months of hard work in the pool isn't the siren's song. It's what I (and others) have been avoiding, but I'm tired of losing valuable time in the water and paying for my lack of swim fitness on the bike and run.

Plus, if you're going to follow Macca's advice and do 40K per week for 6 months, you have plenty of opportunities to work on your form. I work on it every time I swim (just not with drills) and I'm finding that the fitter I get the better I "feel" the water and am better able to make adjustments to my stroke. Plus, I'm getting stronger which means my stroke isn't falling apart as quickly and my pull is stronger. 40K per week also gives you plenty of opportunities to work in some drills if you want.


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Re: QFT: Paulo Sousa on Swimming [Supersquid] [ In reply to ]
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Supersquid wrote:
I think doing drills is the seductive siren's song.
...
I'm about 5 weeks in doing 20-30K per week and one thing I've learned quickly is that I've obviously never built a swimming base.

THe point is, that BOTH "just doing drills" and "just swim 40k for 6 mos" are siren songs - neither of them is sufficient in my experience. And the problem is that so many want there to be a simple, short term solution to being FOP. The reality is that you have to build some skills, and build some fitness.

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For years I've scoured the internet reading about swim form and constantly found conflicting information. This has led me to believe that either no one really knows how we move through the water and/or there is more than one correct way to swim well (or in this case, good enough). I've taken one-on-one lessons and been told my form is good and that I just need to swim a lot. I finally believe them.

If you want to understand what constitutes the varying range of "proper" or "successful" form, read Ernest Maglischo's book Swimming Fastest. It is all there, and once you understand what he is getting at, you will be able to go to any pool and see what is making the successful better than their lesser peers. If you want to learn how to do it, then you need appropriate guidance. Successful coaches use a range of activities, drilling kicking and swimming, and all manner of combinations. And dedication to the process is important.



Regards,
r.b.

Bringing you Tweets @ http://twitter.com/findfreestyle and Not just a bunch of drills - A Process.
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Re: QFT: Paulo Sousa on Swimming [robertwb] [ In reply to ]
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bonjour Robert

I would be willing to wager a huge amount of money that if you get the 6 months at 40km/week in, you will be in a elite front pack swimmer, say 17-18min 1500meter swimmer.

Why, because no one can survive 40km. week without MANY years of preparation and slowly building up there swimming. But in your progression, by the time you get there...you will be already fast. 40km week is almost 15h of swimming. Beleive me, in 15h, you will get all the drills in the world, all the form, all the fitness...... what you get is 15h weekly of expose time to the water.

I m very aware that it s not a practical recommendation to age grouper with limited time. But the advise still stand that when you get to the level of been able to surivive that kind of load...you will be able to swim at the front of the race.


And, to be honest, that level isnt anything specatcular in swimming therm....

I took me 6 years to survive the 6 months of swimming...... when from a 1:02 ironman swimmer to a sub 50

and for the record, life sucks big time when swimming 40km.week as a triathlete.... there is no life...

.

Jonathan Caron

Jonnyo Coaching
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Re: QFT: Paulo Sousa on Swimming [jonnyo] [ In reply to ]
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jonnyo wrote:

And, to be honest, that level isnt anything specatcular in swimming therm....

.

No doubt
One of the local 11 year old girls USA-Swimming teams did 3 days of 6K in the morning and 6K in the afternoon during the Christmas break...
They were somewhere near 60K for the week
Though yards... so that is way different.

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Re: QFT: Paulo Sousa on Swimming [jonnyo] [ In reply to ]
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Guys, I think people are reading all this all wrong.

What most AG athletes, definitely including me, is that when we get to the point of a little pain or a little tired, we conclude our workout and chalk up the day as done. What I think is important for AGers to understand is to push just past that hurt or fatigue and your body will adapt to the challenge, one way or another. Meaning, yes, you could in fact injure yourself and your body forces you to the sideline because you don't have enough base or technique to keep up the fight.

I find that when I have hit my threshold in a masters class, for whatever the reason (too fast a pace, too many meters, bad sleep the day before, whatever), I NEED to put on the paddles to force my arms into the proper stroke or else I start to sink and stop going forward. When my shoulders are taxed, my stroke and pull get weak and sloppy. I'm in a lane with 2 or 3 other people still holding pace, I better fix my stroke to stay with them or get lapped. THe paddles force my technique or else the fatigue just ramps up too quickly and my body starts to hurt. With proper technique, I might be fatigued, but my shoulders and lats won't actualy "hurt" with real pain.

Same is true for running and cycling. How many people quit when it gets "too hard" or "too tired". When I bonk running and I still have another 5 miles to get home, I better figure out a way to keep the stride going. If my run technique is off, then the hips, ankles, quads, upper body start to hurt. I need to quiet the body and focus on technique at that point or else I don't make it home without serious injury or at least pain the next day.

The point is, when the body reaches it's fatigue level, to be able to push past it without major injury will force proper technique.

Robert, you know I learned a lot from Finding Freestyle, and it really helped me get to the next level. However, I agree with Jonny, Jordan, and Paulo on this one. Although, not to say that if you fatigue your body to 5k swim and then throw in another 2k worth of FF drills on top of that wouldn't produce the same result. But I think forcing one to keep the same pace after fatigue sets in will be instant feedback.

None of this is an instant quick fix to the FOP for the new fish.
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Re: QFT: Paulo Sousa on Swimming [jonnyo] [ In reply to ]
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jonnyo wrote:
bonjour Robert

I would be willing to wager a huge amount of money that if you get the 6 months at 40km/week in, you will be in a elite front pack swimmer, say 17-18min 1500meter swimmer.

Why, because no one can survive 40km. week without MANY years of preparation and slowly building up there swimming. But in your progression, by the time you get there...you will be already fast. 40km week is almost 15h of swimming. Beleive me, in 15h, you will get all the drills in the world, all the form, all the fitness...... what you get is 15h weekly of expose time to the water.

I m very aware that it s not a practical recommendation to age grouper with limited time. But the advise still stand that when you get to the level of been able to surivive that kind of load...you will be able to swim at the front of the race.


And, to be honest, that level isnt anything specatcular in swimming therm....

I took me 6 years to survive the 6 months of swimming...... when from a 1:02 ironman swimmer to a sub 50

and for the record, life sucks big time when swimming 40km.week as a triathlete.... there is no life...

.

Well said, I can find very little to disagree with you. I think that you made some really important qualifications in terms of the fact that it will take quite a bit of time, indeed years, to work up to that level of training in a safe and effective manner. That notion has been nearly absent from this dialog (I think, of course, I have not read every single post on this bloody thread).

And as you and supersquid said, with that kind of time in the water, there is plenty of time for drilling. And that is the other part of this dialog, the notion of what constitutes "drilling" or "technique work" tends to be quite outmoded in my opinion. Coaches have developed a hell of a lot beyond finger-tip drag, catch-up free, and the TI canon. Things that in my way of thinking can only be regarded as "activities".

So, absolutely, spend years working up to where you have the wherewithal to nail 40k per week for 6 months (while still biking and running some). Shit dude, you should coach professionally.

Regards,
r.b.

Bringing you Tweets @ http://twitter.com/findfreestyle and Not just a bunch of drills - A Process.
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Re: QFT: Paulo Sousa on Swimming [robertwb] [ In reply to ]
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Just survive 6 months at 40k per week? For a handful of people this might work, but for the overwhelming majority I think that it's a seductive sirens song.

The orginal quote that started this thread needs to be read in the context of the fact that 40K per week is right about at the low end of normal for real swimmers. Pretty much every kid over the age of 14 who swims year round is doing at least that much yardage and the serious folks are doing nearly twice that.

Almost all tri related swim questions can be answered by analogizing to what you would say to a runner wondering how he can improve his 10K time after you find out that he is only running 5 miles per week.
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Re: QFT: Paulo Sousa on Swimming [Supersquid] [ In reply to ]
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You'll be happy you did.

And also remember...there is nothing wrong with drills when used properly.

For me, the proper time for a drill is immediatly after a brutal set as warm down and prep for the next set.

Your tired, so a focus on good form helps. And taking 15min out to do that when you're swimming a LOT isn't going to harm fitness. It creates a nice transition between tough sets. Plus it keeps you loose and helps dissipate some of the lactic acid burn in your arms.

Just wait until you start swimmig twice per day 2hrs each time!!

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Re: QFT: Paulo Sousa on Swimming [jonnyo] [ In reply to ]
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and for the record, life sucks big time when swimming 40km.week as a triathlete.... there is no life...

puhlease - I was able to graduate college, and drink A LOT while swimming that much or more


Than again I was 20 years old, I can't imagine trying to do that again.
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Re: QFT: Paulo Sousa on Swimming [alanhawse] [ In reply to ]
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yards, meters it's not *that* much different.

54km vs. 60k yards

still a LOT.
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Re: QFT: Paulo Sousa on Swimming [Supersquid] [ In reply to ]
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Supersquid wrote:
I think doing drills is the seductive siren's song. I've fallen victim to it for years, convinced that form was everything and that there's some secret drill that's going to magically fix my form and have me swimming 1:15s effortlessly.


Well, you're right and you're wrong at the same time.

Let's try it again: "doing drills" or "searching for some secret drill that will magically fix your form" are NOT technique. No, for swimmers that didn't learn it as kids, good technique comes from having expert observers and teachers watch your swimming and give you direct feedback on exactly what needs changing and exactly how to change it. Good technique is learning exactly how to swim differently, and faster (i.e. more distance per watt). But just like doing random or secret drills will do nearly nothing for you, so will swimming massive yardage with poor technique. You'll do little except go slow and heat up the water.

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Re: QFT: Paulo Sousa on Swimming [prattzc] [ In reply to ]
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Zach,

Great post.

I chalk a lot of this up to a lack of experience. People get into the sport and with in 2 years, they are entered in a 1/2 or full IM - there is not a right or wrong with this, but if you are really trying to optimize performance, then this is not the best approach.

A lot of the problems fitness related and otherwise stem from a lack of fitness base and experience. You sited some good examples in your post. Probably one of the key things for athletes to do, in each sport, is to find that edge of their fitness that they can surf along pushing themselves. But too many worry about this or are told, "don't go there" Why not? This is where the fitness gains are really found! This is where you race! This is where you gain experience figuring out how to get through it - not chasing or following some number!

Paulo is loving this!


Steve Fleck @stevefleck | Blog
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Re: QFT: Paulo Sousa on Swimming [STP] [ In reply to ]
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STP wrote:
Almost all tri related swim questions can be answered by analogizing to what you would say to a runner wondering how he can improve his 10K time after you find out that he is only running 5 miles per week.

Except for one thing: if we weigh a normal amount, due to evolution, we are actually "wired" with proper and efficient running technique. Barring injury, yes, run more miles, and you will get more efficient. Unfortunately, no such wiring exists for swimming. You can swim tons and your technique and efficiency can still be very bad. I know, I have seen it. A lot.

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