Day One of Marathon Season – Training Log Begins
by Terry Laughlin

Posted on February 2nd, 2010

Tues Feb 2 3200 LCM (Long Course Meters) at Coronado Municipal Pool, Coronado CA

Today marks the “official” start of training for three swim marathons: Tampa Bay Apr 17, Catalina Channel June 7 and English Channel week of Aug 17. I swam sporadically Oct through Jan, averaging about 6000 yds/week, but I’m not concerned with my level of fitness. I’ve swum enough to keep my neural conditioning well tuned and have ample time (it’s still 10 week to Tampa) to get my aerobic fitness to marathon levels. I consider quality neural programs more critical to marathon success and so my training will focus more on practice tasks that require keen attention and strategy to complete successfully. This will  create new connections in my brain, and even new neurons.

I will record my training here regularly.

Warmup: Swim 100 Relaxed and Easy

Set # 1 Swim 100 – 200 – 300 – 400 – 300 – 200 – 100 on interval of 2:00/100

Times (w/pace-per-100m): 1:46 – 3:28 (1:44/100) – 5:05 (1:42) – 6:38 (1:39) – 4:50 (1:37) – 3:09 (1:34) – 1:33

Notes: After taking 36+38 strokes on my warmup 100 I decided to swim a “pyramid” from 100 to 400 then back down to see how close I could stay to that  SPL (Strokes Per Length) as distance increased. I also kept track of my times, hoping to keep both SPL and pace consistent as repeat distance increased and perhaps improve pace as distances decreased. I did hold SPL reasonably well, going to 39 SPL only on the final 50 of the 300 and 400 on the way up. However on the way down I was taking 37 SPL on the first length of each repeat, 39 through the middle and 40 on the last lap. In part this was due to lack of fitness, I could feel both streamline and stroke effectiveness was slightly affected by a creeping edge of fatigue that accumulated slowly throughout the set. However, though I didn’t measure or control it with Tempo Trainer on this set, my Stroke Rate must have increased a fair bit throughout the set as my pace/100 got faster on each successive swim – even as distance was increasing.  I attribute this to the warmup effect at the beginning and relatively consistent stroke efficiency throughout. As my fitness improves my goal will be to avoid the increase in SPL I saw here. If I succeed, my pace/100 should improve even more.

Set #2 “Tempo Pyramid” set of [2 x 12 x 50] with Tempo Trainer and Stroke Count

1-12  — 2 each at 1.11, 1.12, 1.13, 1.14, 1.15, 1.16 sec/stroke          SPL began at 38, improved to 37 at 1.14 and improved again to 36 at 1.16.

13-24  – 2 each at 1.16, 1.15, 1.14, 1.13, 1.12, 1.11 sec/stroke        SPL began at 36 and remained steady until 1.12 when it increased to 37 at 1.14 where it remained til the end of the set.

Notes: This is another “pyramid” set of sorts. Rather than increasing/decreasing repeat distance, I decreased, then increased tempo with the aid of the Tempo  Trainer. I decided to do this set after seeing my SPL increase to 40, because of accumulating fatigue in Set #1. I guesstimated that an initial tempo of 1.1 sec/stroke would result in an SPL of 38. I would slow the tempo incrementally until my SPL decreased to 36. I then repeated that set in reverse. As I increased tempo my goal was to avoid adding strokes, trying to maintain 36 SPL for as long as possible. I allowed 3 beeps on pushoff to keep breakout time consistent. As has happened previously when I did a “tempo pyramid” set I was more efficient when I returned to the 1.11 tempo than I had been at the start of the set. Here’s the “math of speed” for this set. My time at the beginning of the set was 45.5 sec. (38 strokes [41 beeps including pushoff] at 1.11 sec.). My time at the end of the set was 44.4 sec. My fastest 50s were the combination of 36 strokes and a tempo of 1.13  or 44.0 sec. This lets me know that a tempo of 1.13 is, for the moment a “sweet spot” for combining stroke length and stroke rate effectively. Over time I’ll try to move my sweet spot to gradually faster tempos.

Cooldown: 300m as 2 x [50 Back (41 SPL), 50 Breast (21 SPL), 50 Free (37 SPL)]

4 Responses to “Day One of Marathon Season – Training Log Begins”

  1. Alan says:

    Love it! Have been applying a ‘tempo pyramid’ of sorts myself. Will perhaps post it on the Forum. Much luck!

  2. Ron Collins says:

    We’re honored that you have chosen Tampa Bay as your first event of the season! See you on April 17th.

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  4. […] In February I relocated to San Diego for three months of training, in preparation for a planned series of four marathon-distance swims – Maui Channel, Tampa Bay, Catalina Channel and culminating in English Channel. I chronicled the training in a series of posts that started with this entry. […]

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