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Vlog the Inhaler, or The Occasional Video Blog Musings of Jim Thornton

A Non-Vindication of the Rights of Yards Whores

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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:

http://www.brianmac.co.uk/swimming/swimspeed.htm.

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]

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Updated May 27th, 2009 at 08:56 AM by jim thornton

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Comments

  1. jim thornton's Avatar
    Note: Please consider helping our dear friend Amanda, AKA, Chicken of the Sea, who will be swimming around Manhattan soon, presumable SO WE DON'T HAVE TOO!

    She's doing it for an incredibly worth cause. I know times are tough, but if you don't currently have leukemia, or are currently facing the prospect of swimming through a school of Brooklyn whitefish for 15 hours straight, know that times could be tougher.

    From Amanda's Facebook page:

    Amanda Hunt is swimming the Manhattan Island Marathon swim on June 6, and is now offering a free ShamWow to anyone who donates $10 or more to my cause (Leukemia and Lymphoma Society). To donate, go to http://www.nycswim.org/UserBio.aspx?UserID=106414 click on "donate now" and follow the prompts to donate in my name! What an opportunity!!!
  2. Chicken of the Sea's Avatar
    1. I prefer to be known as a "soup slut", not a "yard whore";
    2. My screen has a scratch and sniff feature built in;
    3. What's wrong with swimming non-stop at a plodding pace, (preferably with a pull-buoy clenched firmly betwixt the thise)?;
    4. as above, but replace "pull-buoy" with "pool-boy";
    5. why is your road closed? quarantine? oink
    6. I just laughed so hard at your dainty electric blue water shoes I think I just broke wind (turn off scratch and sniff feature);
    7. Thanks for the tout!! My ShamWow offer is genuine and proving very popular! Be wary of imitations.
    8. What's left unsaid about your gooey duck says more than what would be said if it wasn't unsaid.
  3. EricOrca's Avatar
    I find it fascinating that you would allow "Britisher, Mr. Richard Skerrett" to send you off on such a wild ride, such as which we have not seen since Mr. Toad's misadventures in "The Wind and the Willows."
  4. thewookiee's Avatar
    Ya dang "yard whore" the link don't work.
  5. jim thornton's Avatar
    I don't know why it doesn't work, but you are correct, Uncle Fud!

    Try this one: http://www.brianmac.co.uk/swimming/swimspeed.htm
  6. tjrpatt's Avatar
    I find some truth to this. When I did the 2:28 in the 200 LCM fly several weeks ago, I did it on an average of 25K yards a week before taper. The last time I did a 2:26 back in 1997, I would average maybe 34K meters or yards a week. But, back in 1997, I was maybe 40 lbs lighter than I was several weeks ago.
    Updated May 27th, 2009 at 09:23 AM by tjrpatt
  7. qbrain's Avatar
    Mr. Jimby,

    I have been studying under Dr. Jazz Hands, Dr. Fortress and Dr. Ahelee "A million 25s" Osborn, and I am drawing similar conclusions to your regarding the topic of yardage. I really really really want to do more yardage at a slow plodding pace, but I am trying to experiment with these advanced training methods. The problem is, I am just not as social as the Ahelee's and Leslie's of the world, so I don't know what to do while hanging on the wall panting.

    As for your theory on weight lifting preventing injury. I think it is a sound theory, but it is just a theory.

    Let me prove to you that weight lifting is good for swimmers. Weight lifting stimulates physical changes in the body. Those physcial changes stimulate attention from potentially interesting 3rd parties. Potentially interesting third parties in turn stimulate the recently discovered friends in your shorts. These newly stimulated friends produce testosterone. Since testosterone in an injectable form is banned, then we must want more of it in the natural form. QED Weight lifting is good for swimmers.
  8. jim thornton's Avatar
    The question becomes this:

    Does the increase in t lead to...

    A sufficient increase in muscle mass...

    To equal or (one would hope) overcome the increased drag and weight....

    Of the new enlarged Geoduck in its relaxed state?

    I am assuming that no matter of increased musculature would be sufficient to overcome the increased drag of the Geoduck in its fully functioning "action state"--swimming with which has, I understand, been banned under FINA's Dubai Charter as "unnecessarily frightening/titillating to the female swimmers."
  9. The Fortress's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by qbrain
    The problem is, I am just not as social as the Ahelee's and Leslie's of the world, so I don't know what to do while hanging on the wall panting.

    As for your theory on weight lifting preventing injury. I think it is a sound theory, but it is just a theory.
    Don't hang on the wall -- recovery swimming at a slow plodding pace!

    Jimby, one of the benefits of training solo is one feels no compulsion whatsoever to become a short rest junkie or follow any other swimming "rules." Quality work is where it's at.

    I have been refreshingly injury free wrt my shoulders since commencing this heavy lifting a year ago. (This has also coincided with completion of PRP.) It is a welcome change to virtually never worry about ice. So carry on with your "nautilusing." In any event, it can only contribute to your male pulchritude-iness.
  10. jim thornton's Avatar
    Leslie! Oh, how the heart leaps up at a rare posting comment from the Queen of Bloggery!
    I have several questions for you, which I am hoping you can answer, one by one, in separately posted comments to help get my comment count up:



    1. Do you do high weights and low reps? So far, I have been doing lowish to medium weights (for me, which is to say very low weights for the average nursing home patient) but doing 3 sets of 12 of same.
    2. Some exercises, like military press, I do at extremely low weights because they tend to hurt my shoulders and Jen the coach at Pitt said not to do these at all.
    3. I have been thinking of slowly working my way to higher weights and fewer reps, but it seems that in the past this is always where injury resides.
    4. You mentioned in your blog the other day that your hands are sore from lifting weights. I actually have been waking up with sore hands, too, and it was nice to hear a possible explanation for this that doesn't involve advanced hand cancer.
    5. I wish I could, but SDKs have been causing me so much lower back pain that I have not been able to train much in terms of these in practice. Not sure why exactly, and I am hoping that perhaps after abs-oibliques-lower back strengthening from the Nautilus stuff, I might be able to start. I have come to believe that SDKs have changed the sport of swimming as much as the elimination of the figures changed the sport of the (no longer correctly named) figure skating.
    6. Kudos to your training perspicacity, Leslie. Not only have you been doing the high intensity stuff advocated by Costill, but you have been training for the new sport of swimming, SDK wise, long before it was popular or advisable to do so, back in the days when MF meant something entirely different.
    7. I read once that the sex change surgeons at Johns Hopkins used to joke when doing a male-to-female transgender procedure, "There goes 20 i.q. points!" Obviously, becoming a woman does not make you dumber, if anything the current data would suggest the opposite. However, there was then--and probably remains now--a bias towards discounting female advice in lieu of manly mannish advice. Don't get me wrong: Ande, Chris, Jazz Hands, and all the various other swimming experts/blowhards on this forum offer superb advice. But you, Leslie Livingston, are a true pathblazer with your guillotine like MF and your shooters and your seemingly easy sprint practices (which are actually excruciatingly difficulut.)
    8. Amanda, consider sending Leslie a Shamwow just for sheer greatness!
  11. qbrain's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by jim thornton
    The question becomes this:

    Does the increase in t lead to...

    A sufficient increase in muscle mass...

    To equal or (one would hope) overcome the increased drag and weight....

    Of the new enlarged Geoduck in its relaxed state?

    I am assuming that no matter of increased musculature would be sufficient to overcome the increased drag of the Geoduck in its fully functioning "action state"--swimming with which has, I understand, been banned under FINA's Dubai Charter as "unnecessarily frightening/titillating to the female swimmers."
    The increase in t aids in the decrease in BF%, thus trading buoyancy for more horsepower. So I am decreasing drag, maintaining weight, increasing power and decreasing buoyancy. How is that translating to swimming speed? I have no scientific proof but I am getting faster, so something is helping.

    Have you seen the interview with Genadijus? He says there is a point where time should be spent on stroke instead of strength, because your strength is not translating to the water, so there is no reason to continue.

    http://www.floswimming.org/videos/sp...th-in-swimming

    As for keeping your geoduck under wraps. Don't pull a Shaun Jordan, and forget to tie your speedo before diving in to race.
    Updated May 27th, 2009 at 01:27 PM by qbrain (Jordan, not Johnson)
  12. qbrain's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by jim thornton
    Some exercises, like military press, I do at extremely low weights because they tend to hurt my shoulders and Jen the coach at Pitt said not to do these at all.
    Form is critical on these Jim. Keep your elbows in, and drive your hands straight up in line with your center of gravity. To maintain center, the bar will start out on your chest, but end behind your head.

    Start this video at 2:02. Watch how this guys elbows are up, and do not flare out to the sides. He starts with the bar on his chest and finishes with it behind his head, but in line with his center of gravity. The key to protecting your shoulders is keeping your elbows up and in. The movement of your head and chest are required to keep your body centered without arching your back.
    [ame="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sebbhlKhs2E&feature=player_embedded"]YouTube - Overhead Press coach Mark Rippetoe[/ame]

    How to do it wrong:
    [ame="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vGbCuq5Clss&feature=player_embedded"]YouTube - Olympic Bar Shoulder Press[/ame]