Improving ‘Endurance-Of-Focus”

I swam 3750m at the Akdeniz University pool. The water was 30 C. Started at 9:00.

10x 50m gentle, ‘check-in’ warm-up

2x this set:

  • 100 fist, 16x 25m FR
  • 100 fist, 8x 50m FR
  • 100 fist, 4x 100m FR

Objective was to hold best SPL with fullest catch. Take 4 to 5 deep breaths for rest interval between. Open-turns (to reduce exertion in hot water).

I held 15+ SPL on all 2400m of the FR work. Generally 17-18 SPL on fist.

 

COMMENTARY

I tried an even more gentle warm-up today, inspired by Grant Molyneux’s book “Effortless Exercise”. I can look back in my own 23 year history to see the positive effects on my performance when I started slowly and let my self be ‘pulled’ into the practice, but I’ve never turned that into a habit. But now I want to enjoy some wisdom and give my body a better opportunity to be pulled into practice since I didn’t know what the water temperature would be like nor did I know where my body needed to go today. I had poor sleep for the previous nights, then a sleep-aid assisted sleep last night which was much better. And I’ve been out in this cold weather a lot which further taxed my system and tightens up the joints.

As I finished the warm-up I decided on continuing my SL lengthening work with a longer set. I would control rest intervals by breath count, and increase distance per set while holding SPL- 25s then 50s then 100s- with fist swimming between. It was a well-matched set for me today. It challenged my endurance of focus and it further imprinted all these elements of the stroke I have been refining lately: high-elbow/full-catch, long-reach-forward, relaxed recovery, head-down. I had to do each of these at my best for every single lap or I would not make my stroke count.

My push-offs weren’t as strong as last week- I wasn’t pushing quite as hard because I was going on shorter rest intervals. This would account for the “+” on the 15 stroke count. I placed my glass stone markers on the bottom of the pool right where I intended to break the surface on each push-off, and this time I was coming up just before or right at the markers, where as last week I was often coming up just past them. I wasn’t as aggressive with my dolphin kick today.

It took full concentration to keep every catch the fullest I could make it. This was my primary focus point today. I also observed the connection between my foot-flick and the timing of the catch. Often I am connecting the flick to the hip-thrust or spearing hand forward, but this time I experimented to see how this affected my performance. I would alternate the connection

  1. foot-flick to hip-thrust to spear-hand forward, or
  2. foot-flick to hip-thrust to catch-hand-and-hold-water

 

Each had a different effect on my stroke-

#1 really helps me emphasize the SL, narrowing the body on its track, while #2 really helps me get a grip on the water, like a better sense of ‘leverage’ from which to pull my body past. That connection between the foot-flick and the grab feels very similar to the way I do a flip-turn: as I approach the wall I drive a hand down and ‘hold’ the water, then flick with my feet to flip my body crisply over that hold. It feels like the same affect- the catch hand makes its hold, the foot flicks and drives my body forward.

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