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Caped Crusader
December 29th, 2006, 10:22 PM
What's more important: striving for maximal health/fitness and a long life or setting WRs or national records or team records in swimming?

I think the latter is overrated. I'm all for improving one's stroke and striving for PBs. Who isn't? PBs produce euphoria and pride and keep you on the path to improvement. But I wonder if restorative, technique based workouts that might help you improve in swimming and/or achieve world or local fame really help make one extremely fit or improve one's health? I think someone referred to Gary Hall as doing "sprinter" type high intensity training and doing his aerobic/strength training outside the pool, which seems perfectly sound. He's getting it all in. I think you need to get it all in and work hard. You gotta break a sweat. A lot. Frequently.

So will TI-ing your life away and looking pretty make you as fit as you can be? Isn't there something to be said for hard training? Not necessarily because it will improve your 50 free (everyone seems to agree it won't), but just to improve health, mental outlook, physical well being and keep the bod hot and the spouse interested? Plus, if you're a distance swimmer you gotta have some endurance. Talent and technique only get you so far, at least IMHO.

I just thought we were supposed to exercise more, and more intensely for optimal health.

chaos
December 30th, 2006, 12:01 AM
So will TI-ing your life away and looking pretty make you as fit as you can be? Isn't there something to be said for hard training? Not necessarily because it will improve your 50 free (everyone seems to agree it won't), but just to improve health, mental outlook, physical well being and keep the bod hot and the spouse interested? Plus, if you're a distance swimmer you gotta have some endurance. Talent and technique only get you so far, at least IMHO.
Scott, you are truly mistaken if you think the kind of TI practices we do are designed to make one look pretty (check the avatar...pretty is not an option)
You are equally mistaken (but you are not alone) if you think that a technique loaded practice is not physically taxing and does nothing to promote health, mental outlook, and physical well being. As for mental outlook, how does striving for a more perfect stroke conflict with your concept of this?? Enlighten me.

Caped Crusader
December 30th, 2006, 11:00 AM
Dave:

What're you doing here? Stalking me from thread to thread?

I believe that if you do endurance workouts while concentrating on technique, you will become fit. I said that in the "Vessel" thread. I clearly stated that you need to do both. I said both several times.

If you're fit, which I have no doubt you are, then I believe the "TI" workouts you do must have a serious endurance component. I believe you are a distance/open water ace from what I've read. So I have to believe your heartrate is elevated for sustained periods of time. If you're doing technique work on top of that, you're obviously devoting a lot of time to training and I applaud that. I see that you're using a monofin and I bet you're doing weights too.

The point of this thread, as opposed to the vessel thread, was to question whether focusing primarily on technique as opposed to focusing on training hard would make you healthier. And whether, in training, one should focus on maximum health or record breaking. Theoretically, one could focus only on technique and break some 50 records and not be very fit. I questioned whether that was a good thing. These points were the starting premise of this thread. So you have done the same thing you accused others of doing on the "vessel" thread. You attacked the premise rather than answering the question. So feel free to pony up on that topic.

chaos
December 30th, 2006, 11:23 AM
Dave:


So I have to believe your heartrate is elevated for sustained periods of time. If you're doing technique work on top of that, you're obviously devoting a lot of time to training and I applaud that.


Here is my point and I think Terry's too (though I would never claim to speak for him). The elevated heart rate that endurance athletes and long distance swimmers desire is easily achieved during a practice thats main focus is "stroke efficiency improvement" or vessel shaping.Wheras when the focus is on heartrate, lactose etc. technique is more often than not neglected.
Noone ever said anything about trying to look pretty.

Redbird Alum
December 30th, 2006, 11:34 AM
Gents -

All good discussion, and appreciated. But back to the original thread topic... For me, being older and returning to the water after a several year lapse, the health benefits were my first objective. Once I get those stabilized, I might fantasize about records and such, but the fact is that from the many excel the few.

Best regards, and Happy New Year!

tomtopo
December 30th, 2006, 12:10 PM
TI was not an invention, it was a very successful re-creation of a long accepted concept called "Streamlining". I understand that swimmers who are new, may not understand that, but trust me, TI was built upon the well accepted notion that a person moves more efficiently through the water when they can reduce resistance (frontal, eddies, vortecies, turbulance, air, etc.,). I admire Terry's improvements and some creative drills ( some I haven't seen and I use now with my team, and others have been around for decades invented long before TI was a mere notion). I'm not trying to lessen the brilliant marketing of TI and how important streamling is to great swimming but this arguing makes no sense and I'll try to help us avoid anymore arguing by adding the following;
I love TI but the crusaders who cannot accept the fact that any vessel streamline or otherwise, requires an engine, are not on the same page as most swimmers. Even a sailboat requires some wind to get going and an Olympic sprinter, championship triathlete, and record setting Master swimmer, needs the best engine possible to win. Speed is directly proportional to the efficiency and horsepower of the engine. A winning swimmer is also very cognisant of the fact that efficient streamlining (just like aerodynamics used in race car driving) helps them improve their speed.
Cars are a great example of how various qualities differentiate models and what those models are intended to do. For instance, a hybrid Toyota Prius, is not designed to win a Daytona 500 but for efficiency it's tough to beat. There are cars built for tough terrain and long distances (six mile open water triathlons), there are cars that simply reliable and give great gas milage (recreational swims), there are cars sleek / fast and meant to break speed records (Olympic 50m sprinters), -- All have engines, all are built different, and all have different streamlining capabilities.
Swimmers need to know how to improve their: streamlining, kick, strength,
endurance, flexibility, turns, psyche, and other components important to improved swimming performance.
I'm not "just" an engine guy though I invented a product that helps improve your engine. I've been swimming and coaching for over 40 years and know that TI is very big in this forum (almost a religion). But come'on TI isn't 95% or 50% or any percent of helping swimmers swim faster, it's merely a component that has been marketed very successfully and yes - an important component but I hope people will stop making it "the thing" because it's not. Instead of saying TI, let's refer it to the name the swimming researchers gave it in the late 60's and early 70's - Streamlining.
So, swim for fun, swim for fitness, swim to go fast, swim for the heck of it, but swim because it's an awesome way to stay in shape and meet great folk.

Good Luck, Coach T.

dorothyrde
December 30th, 2006, 12:18 PM
What's more important?

I think you need BOTH! I watch this guy swim at the pool who is lean, muscular and fit and he is in his 60's. When he swims, he expends tons of energy, he has to be burning calories galore, but he does not GO anywhere. He twists and turns and his freestyle makes you look at him and go ug, and he comes in and swims freestyle everyday for an hour like that.

Now if he straightened himself out and learned to fix his stroke, he probably would not burn as many calories in the same distance, BUT, he would go farther in the same time, so probably could be as fit.

For me, I try to intermix technique and training and get the best of both, and I am a long way from either.

The Fortress
December 30th, 2006, 12:27 PM
What's more important: striving for maximal health/fitness and a long life or setting WRs or national records or team records in swimming?

This is an interesting topic, and one I'm a bit conflicted on.

I want to be the best swimmer I can be, enjoy improving my times and aiming for national rankings. I've diligently read all Ande's tips. But I seem to do things that may be inconsistent with my swimming goals. I like to run a lot, which I don't think helps my swimming a lot. Plus, I'm an endurance runner and I worry that endurance kills speed as well as building leg fatigue. I do a lot of technique training and speed work when I'm in the pool, but secretly wish I could do more endurance training even though I know it wouldn't necessarily help my sprinting. Endurance training, running and weight lifting make me feel healthier. (I guess the weights help my sprints.) If I had loads of time, I'd probably exercise like crazy and suffer from overtraining. (My obsessiveness led to my past running injury.) So I guess health and fitness may trump records. But I'm hoping that my general fitness level and some sprinting will still help me beat my secret nemesis in the pool and crank out some decent ranked sprints. So far, it seems to have worked out OK, even though I know there are many things I can improve on in my swim training. I'm going to attempt to cut back on running and swim more this year (vessell and engine) -- once I get healthy and recover from sinus infections and the holidays.

Paul Smith
December 30th, 2006, 12:52 PM
Mr. Grinch......I guess my thinking is simply differant than yours (and others)....I'm one of those people that rarely sees things in either/or, black/white.....so your question of what is most important for me would really be more of a "sliding scale".

From that perspective I've been able to achieve my main goal; health/fitness, enjoy the social aspect of the multiple sports I participate in (#2) and along the way snag a few records (personal & team).....#3. This process also directs my training.....it doesn't have to be technique vs. power.

And Ms. Fortress.....I'm with you on the endurance vs. sprint internal debate....I love to ride (cycle)...I can't run to the bathroom, but do run stadiums once a week, lift 2x a week, yoga 1-2x a week.....so again I'm getting a bit of it all....and as for competing I cycle every few seasons from sprint to mid-distance....next year its back to mid-D.

I guess its all about achieving balance in life.....

SwimStud
December 30th, 2006, 12:54 PM
What's more important: striving for maximal health/fitness and a long life or setting WRs or national records or team records in swimming?

Swimming for health is more important than anything else.
After health is achieved, some will pursue more vigorous challenges PB's, WR, etc etc. Others will pehaps just focus on that last 5lbs or impressing their doctors on their next physical. They are just as important as any award.

If nobody started/returned to swimming for health I think the sport would lose a % of those who go on to compete, and perhaps break a record or nick time off their PB's each season.
Sure a WR for an ex-college level swimmer is awesome and a reflection of hard work, but a certain amount of programming is already within that individual. With that in mind, I believe someone getting off the couch and making themselves feel physically and mentally healthier through exercise is perhaps a less superficial goal.

CreamPuff
December 30th, 2006, 01:31 PM
Since I don't hold any WR or National Records, I say, without a doubt, striving for maximum health/ fitness. That's a no brainer.

:rofl:

scyfreestyler
December 30th, 2006, 02:06 PM
Swimming 5K workouts on tight intervals will not make you any healthier than swimming 1500 yd. workouts. There is a section in a book by Dr. Oz about this very subject. Exercise is great but pushing yourself to new heights is not going to make you any "healthier". I would argue that quite often, it might make one less healthy. If I recall correctly, all you really need is about 20 minutes per day of a sweat inducing exercise.

To me, health is of primary importance...there are no WR's in my future and I'm okay with that!

gull
December 30th, 2006, 02:08 PM
Matt is correct. The health benefits you refer to are achieved with moderate levels of exercise. I don't think it's clear that the more strenuous workouts many of us do (see the Blow Chow thread) translate into greater health benefits. Indeed, in patients with heart disease there is an increased risk of cardiac events with very strenuous exercise. Consequently, if you have symptoms, or a significant number of risk factors, consult your physician.

Caped Crusader
December 30th, 2006, 02:08 PM
If I recall correctly, all you really need is about 20 minutes per day of a sweat inducing exercise.

I'm fine with the lack of WRs too. But I thought the new recommendation was for 60 minutes of cardio a day, could be intense if you're fit or moderate if you're trying to get fit.

islandsox
December 30th, 2006, 02:09 PM
When I was 15, records were more important. When I was 20, swimming in the Olympics was more important. When I was 30, fitness became more important. I'll be 59 in a couple of weeks, and now what's most important is staying alive, and swimming for fitness and health may give me a couple of extra years. Thank goodness I have great swim technique, but now it is becoming differently hard to swim long distances. And I am the fool who is going to try the 18 mile Roatan to Utila swim. So, as you can see, a part of me still is very competitive but only with myself. However, training for a swim of this great distance over the next year and a half, I know will improve my physical fitness in the process. How could it not?

Bottom line: cardiovascular fitness.

Donna

Allen Stark
December 30th, 2006, 02:42 PM
I think this is one of those either/or questions that separate without nesserarily giving information. For me striving for excellence is part of fitness. If I didn't want to do well at Nationals I wouldn't exercise as hard. I need it to motivate me. When ever I don't want to work-out I think"I bet Bob Strand is working out,if i'm ever going to close the gap between us I'd better get out of bed." As far as I can tell,the medical studies of how much exercise is good for us are focusing at the low end of the scale. No one is really studying what is too much. Clearly if you have heart problems or an injury there is a "too much" ,but otherwise the data are not in. We in Masters Swimming are "Boldly going where no one has gone before." As I have said before my current long term goal is to set WRs in the 3 breaststrokes at Nationals in the 100-104 age group.

Sam Perry
December 30th, 2006, 03:16 PM
I haven't swam in a meet in over 3 years and honestly speaking, I don't miss it. Sure I would like to test myself and see how fast I can go, but my weekend are too precious with my family. I love to workout hard, and I understand it might not make me any more healthy than 20 minutes of exercise. Mentally, it makes me feel great. Swimming outside at 5:30 am for 1 1/2 hours and going 5,000 yards just helps my mental state more than anything. When I don't workout, I feel sluggish all day.

After swimming with Ande this week (see his blog), he did inspire me to try some racing at least in practice. But if I had to pick one or the other (no reason why we should) I have to say hands down the exercise factor far outweighs the records factor in my book.

I hate to beat a dead horse (insert goofy emoticon), but with my health issues I have had the past few years, being able to complete workouts like I am able to do now is so much more rewarding.

nkfrench
December 30th, 2006, 03:30 PM
Swimming 5K workouts on tight intervals will not make you any healthier than swimming 1500 yd. workouts. There is a section in a book by Dr. Oz about this very subject. Exercise is great but pushing yourself to new heights is not going to make you any "healthier". I would argue that quite often, it might make one less healthy. If I recall correctly, all you really need is about 20 minutes per day of a sweat inducing exercise.


If you are exercising more than about 20 minutes a day you have goals other than cardiovascular fitness. If you are swimming to help lose weight (rather than just maintain) that is another goal, and a longer workout would be more effective.

Timed Finals
December 30th, 2006, 05:28 PM
I agree with many of you that that fitness is not dependant upon the amount of yardage you do each day. It is dependant upon each person. Everyone is different and will get something unique out of each workout. Each of us will do our workouts for different reasons and for different goals, but as I said, if we are having fun, does it really matter? Focus on what is important to you and you can never lose.

The Fortress
December 31st, 2006, 12:17 AM
I agree with many of you that that fitness is not dependant upon the amount of yardage you do each day. It is dependant upon each person. Everyone is different and will get something unique out of each workout. Each of us will do our workouts for different reasons and for different goals, but as I said, if we are having fun, does it really matter? Focus on what is important to you and you can never lose.

None of it matters if you're not having fun and feeling fit.

NKFrench: Do we really have to train only 20 minutes for cardiovascular fitness? That seems so little to me. I'm not training to lose weight, but if I only did 20 minutes a day, I wouldn't feel supremely healthy.

Allen Stark
December 31st, 2006, 12:27 AM
As I understand it 20 min 3 times per week is where aerobic fitness effects are definitely evident relative to sedentary controls. I don't believe there is evidence that it is more than that,and there is evidence that 60 min 4Xper week is more advantagous. There is emerging evidence that intense exercise may be better for you than long/slow in terms of overall fitness.

Peter Cruise
December 31st, 2006, 01:04 PM
Possibly 20 minutes a day of cardio could be a maintenance level if done in a focused, intense manner (after properly warming up; then warming down & flexibility stretching, supplemented by weight training as well- oh, whoops, that is a lot more time isn't it?). Certainly wouldn't work for one wanting to work all energy systems & make technique improvements. Now if you're already a super-elite swimmer like Goodsmith, striving only to swim the quickest and shortest distance to the beer, it may well be enough.

Timed Finals
December 31st, 2006, 01:27 PM
And 20 minutes is better than no minutes.

Redbird Alum
December 31st, 2006, 02:37 PM
Possibly 20 minutes a day of cardio could be a maintenance level if done in a focused, intense manner (after properly warming up; then warming down & flexibility stretching, supplemented by weight training as well- oh, whoops, that is a lot more time isn't it?).

I have also read that the 20 minute cardio target is based on first warming up and/or stretching and then including some form of warm-down after. I believe for those of you that are familiar with the METS measurement, the idea is to maintain an exertion level of 80 METS over the 20 minute period involved.

nkfrench
December 31st, 2006, 02:41 PM
Most definitions of "fitness" that are accomplished in 20 minutes a few times a week doing moderate activity are that you can get through the normal daily activities of today's AVERAGE lifestyle with a good energy level, no undue shortness of breath, and be able to cope with an emergency. I interpret that to mean that you can climb a few flights of stairs, run a couple of blocks if somebody is chasing you, shovel snow off your driveway. It doesn't mean that you will be sporting flat abs, be able to run a 10K under 60 minutes, swim a mile under 30 minutes. That is probably a lower threshhold than most members of this forum consider "fit". I knew a 40-ish person who was extremely unfit (candidate for heart transplant) who could still crank out a fast 50m sprint against advice without any training.

"Fitness" is a moving target. Mine is the shape that I was in 15 years ago ... and at that time I thought being "in shape" was the shape that I had been in 15 years earlier. :)