A Stroke In Time - Part 3
By now you are comfortable using the Tempo Trainer in mode 1 and have made some headway in exploring (and perhaps pushing) the limits of your tempo capabilities. Now it is time to gain or expand control over the tempo vs. DPS tradeoffs you make in swimming.
Increasing tempo @ SPL
One of the secrets to making the leap from “swimmer” to “really good swimmer” may be discovered by developing a range of tempos for each of the SPLs you use in training and competition.
To work on increasing your tempo range at a specific stroke count, swim a set similar to the “Increasing tempo range” exercise described in part 2 of this series, but your focus now is to maintain the same stroke count throughout the set.
Start with a comfortable SPL and find your base tempo for that count. Swim a set of 10 repeats of a short distance (say, 50 or 100).
When you first try this set, you’ll likely only need to use the minimum .01 second increment for each tempo increase. As you gain skill you may later be able to use larger increments.
Once you’ve done this set a few times with your most comfortable or habitual SPL, do it with each of the other SPLs you use in training or competition.
Strokes for distance @ tempo
This is a great exercise to help you work on lengthening your distance per stroke at any specific tempo.
Strive to keep your walls (turns, pushoffs, breakouts) consistent throughout the set.
A number of variations on this general theme are useful:
Strokes for distance @ increasingly faster tempos
This is a variation on the preceding exercise that will help you learn precisely how you are letting changes in tempo affect your distance per stroke.
Keep your walls (turns, pushoffs, breakouts) consistent throughout the set.
Once you reach failure, try doubling your recovery period and then attempt the failed repeat again.
A number of variations on this set’s general theme are useful:
Knowing what beeper increment directly offsets an increase or decrease of one SPL can be quite helpful when making tempo and DPS trade-off choices.
Definition: TOBI – Trade-off Beeper Increment – the approximate beeper setting change needed to maintain the same swimming speed – feet per second – when you increase or decrease your strokes per length count (SPL) by 1.
In order to find your TOBI in the vicinity of any given tempo/SPL combination, do the following:
The difference between your starting and ending Bpr1 settings is your TOBI in the vicinity of these tempo/SPL combinations.
Whenever you are swimming in this SPL range, letting your SPL increase by 1 requires you to increase your tempo (decrease the Bpr1 setting) by the TOBI amount in order to be swimming at the same speed. Similarly, if you decrease your SPL by 1, you would slow your tempo (increase the Bpr1 setting) by the TOBI amount in order to be swimming at the same speed.
All of this presumes you keep your walls (turns, pushoffs, breakouts) consistent throughout the set.
If you have a wide variety of SPLs that you use, you should do this TOBI search exercise at several different points in your SPL range. In general, the longer your strokes are the greater your TOBI will be.
If you have a wide variety of tempos that you use, you should do this TOBI search exercise at several different points in your tempo range.
Keep expanding your toolbox
Regardless of which swimming job you have in mind, a fully stocked toolbox improves your chances of success. Using a beeper and the exercises I’ve laid out will help you get control of the tradeoffs inherent to navigation of the tempo vs. DPS gauntlet. And every new DPS&Tempo combo you get comfortable with becomes a shiny new tool in your swimming toolbox. Fully stocking your swimming toolbox will require time and patience. In fact, this should be a never-ending adventure. One of your goals each season should be the thoughtful expansion of your swimming tool collection. v
© H2Ouston Swims, Inc. 1999-2010Fitness Swimming (Human Kinetics, publishers) and the second edition was released mid-2008. Fitness Swimming has been published in French (entitled Natation, pub. by Vigot), Spanish (entitled Natacion, pub. by Hispano Europea), Chinese (entitled Jianshenyouyong), Portuguese (Natacao Para Condicionamento Fisico, pub. by Manole) and, soon, in Turkish and Italian. Currently Coach Hines coaches the H2Ouston Swims Masters group in Houston, TX and works privately with many clients. He can be reached for questions or comments at 713-748-SWIM or via email.
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