A Non-Vindication of the Rights of Yards Whores
by, May 26th, 2009 at 11:51 PM (2824 Views)
We all know them.
In fact, many of us are them.
The "more is more" philosophers of swimming known as either yards whores or, in polite company, triathletes.
The very wise Britisher, Mr. Richard Skerrett, a swimmer from Wales whose USMS discussion forum name I should know but don't, who is nevertheless as capital a chap as can be found in the blessed realm, sent me a fascinating link this morning that I strongly urge you to read.
Look at Mr. Skerrett and ask yourself this: Can you imagine any Dylan Thomas/Richard Burton-esque Welschman with so handsome a weathered face ever steering you wrong? My god, man! He appears to have learned about the sea and the ways of water from Admiral Nelson himself!
Take to heart the wisdom in his link, which I shall reproduce here:
Alas, we live in hurried times, rushed times, times when there is very little time whatsover to stop and smell the pixilated roses depicted on your computer screen.
Smell this, you Type A bastards, you!
For those of you too busy to read the link, let me excerpt a key passage:
Research into the effects of high-volume swim training on performance suggests there is no advantage to piling on the kilometres. The legendary US physiologist Dave Costill has undertaken a great deal of research on swim training over the last three decades. In one study, his team of scientists followed two groups of swimmers over a 25 week training period. Both groups began with once daily training, but one group moved to twice daily training in weeks 10 to 15, reverting to once daily for the rest of the study period. At no stage of the 25 week training period did this group show enhanced performance or increased aerobic capacity as a result of their extra training. It was a waste of time.
In another study, Costill tracked the performance of competitive swimmers over a four-year period, comparing a group averaging 10 kilometre per day with a group averaging 5 kilometre per day in relation to changes in competitive performance time over 100, 200, 500 and 1600 yards.
Improvements in swim times were identical for both groups at around 0.8% per year for all events. Again, even though one group did twice as much training, both groups benefited to the same extent in the long term.
To quote Costill directly: 'Most competitive swimming events last less than two minutes. How can training for 3 to 4 hours per day at speeds that are markedly slower than competitive pace prepare the swimmer for the maximal efforts of competition?' Research from France supports Costill's conclusions. A team of scientists analysed the training and performance of competitive 100 metres and 200 metre swimmers over a 44 week period. Their findings were as follows:
- Most swimmers completed two training sessions per day
- Swimmers trained at five specific intensities. These were swim speeds equivalent to 2, 4, 6 and a high 10 mmol/L blood lactate concentration pace and, finally, maximal sprint swimming
- Over the whole season, the swimmers who made the biggest improvements were those who performed more of their training at higher paces. The volume of training had no influence on swim performance.
--with thanks to Rapheal Brandon
So, the next time you are tempted to swim nonstop at a plodding pace in the hopes of doing your competitive swimming some benefit, think twice. Even if you kick it into somewhat elevated gear, but don't give yourself too much rest, chances are that once you've trained your aerobic fibers to the max, you're not adding much.
Dare to make yourself uncomfortable, in fact, very uncomfortable with more race pace practice than you want to do, even if this drastically reduces your overall yardage.
I am not sure exactly what i think of the famous feminist work, A Vindication of the Rights of Whores [ame]http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/A_Vindication_of_The_Rights_of_Whores[/ame]
However, I am increasingly critical of all who would vindicate the rights of yardage whores, particularly our plodding freestyle lane hogging brethren who only swim in order to be able to finish the first leg of triathlons.
On this note, let me segue to my growing acceptance that weight lifting, if not necessarily the source of swimming speed, may be--in my case, at least--a possible mild protector against swimming injuries, which in turn is allowing me to do more race pace sets in practice without long bivouacs on the couch under bags of ice.
Today, my 21st day of consecutive exercise, I managed 66,000 lb. of Nautilus weight--a meaninglesss amount, I know, given that it depends on the number of sets, etc. However, it does show that I am improving quickly from my first session three weeks ago, when my total weight lifted was 18,000.
Today's film, which boasts perhaps the poorest quality of anything yet posted to YouTube, shows a weekend day in the life of exercising Jim.
It took place on Saturday, when I lifted 53,000 lb. in preparation for Sunday's tennis match (alas, not shown), which lasted for 3 hours and 15 minutes and was the first time this season that Bill and I actually won not just the Women's Championship (2 sets Bill/Jim to 1 set John/Rick) but went onto claim the Men's Championship, as well (Us 3 sets; them 1 set.)
I looked into my Nike shorts after successfully driving the final shot of the match down the unprotected alley, noted what now so handsomely resided there inside my underwear after weeks of punishing losses, and proclaimed, oh so happily, "It's a boy!" Or maybe it was a geoduck.
Either way, it was cause for celebration.
Herewith today's vlog: 53,000 Pounds. (In case you can't figure out the initial action, I am riding a Honda Metropolitan Scooter down a closed road while simultaneously trying to film.)
[ame="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=I5hS-MGlMzY"]YouTube - 53,000 Pounds[/ame]