Blog Comments

  1. jim thornton's Avatar
    Ah, you are probably correct, Leslie!

    I see no one has yet posted their TAMFAM. Perhaps it has the illusion of being embarrassing.

    Still, a person who weighs 300 lb, and has, say, a BMI of 35, can have a resting heart rate of 60 and score a 58.3 TAMFAM, identical to what I am striving for!

    No need to post either numerator nor denominator--just the ratio!
  2. The Fortress's Avatar
    Declining thyroid and testosterone hormones are the culprit. You know I'm right. :-)

    I have a tendency to eat a lot of calories at night as well, as I running about in the day so much. Not the best thing.
  3. jim thornton's Avatar
    How is life on the couch treating you, sick one?

    You are in a perfect position now to post your TAMFAM!!!

    PS thanks. But I am pretty sure you mean 61 in dog years.
  4. swimshark's Avatar
    Oh Jim, you don't look a day over 61
  5. jim thornton's Avatar
    PS I wish I had the splits!

    Wait! I found them!

    Here they are!

    Leg Cumulative Subtractive 1 26.55 26.55 2 55.39 28.84 3 1:25.44 30.05 4 1:54.89 29.45
    If I'd stuck to the Sean formula, the last 3 50s would have required some order shifting. For me, a wee bit of easing up on the 3rd 50, however, keeps me from total expiration on the 4th 50.
  6. jim thornton's Avatar
    I probably should have updated this before now, nearly three years after first posting it!

    But thanks to the B70, I managed to get my lifetime best 200 SCY freestyle at Colony Zones that year, the only time I have ever gone under 1:55 in the 200, including high school and college.

    2010 Short Course Yards
    Place Event Name Age Club LMSC Time 10 M55-59 200 Free James Thornton 57 TPIT Allegheny Mountain 1:54.89
  7. jim thornton's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by ViveBene
    Mindful swimming is where it's at. Does not matter whether fast or slow.
    Back to important things: physical decay pt. 1. A detached retina! I seem to remember that episode from your blog. I now have a liquefying vitreous (same symptoms), which I get to watch dissolve in its entirety over next several years.
    Physical decay pt. 2: Keep on with Garabaggio de profundus and you will be eligible for a gold froggy pin from Tualatin Hills Barracudas for the February (Froggy) Fitness Challenge! 27 of 29 days! No minimum yardage per day. I'm looking at the aquajogging vests on deck and beginning to form an idea, hitherto anathema. (<--hint of physical and moral decay both)
    --I agree with Bobinator.
    Your reference to de profundus makes me smile, my wise friend, Vine! When I was an undergraduate at the University of Michigan, I wrote an evolutionary biology tract of sorts on the impact contraception was having on the sexual behavior of our species.

    Keep in mind that the "sexual behavior of our species" was, for me, a largely theoretical matter. I had experienced a handful of experiences of such myself, however, if you were to add up the entire amount of time said encounters collectively consumed, I would be shocked to find that it was much more time than I can still swim the 100 yards free style.

    My title for this tract: De Profundus Contraceptionque.

    Lordy!

    Anyhow, thanks for the kind words; enjoy the makeshift aurora borealis that your liquefying vitreous will surely create; and keep on swimming with or without a midriff flotation assist device!
  8. Chris Stevenson's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by jim thornton
    Name Age Club Miles
    Don Tatzin M60 OAK 234.80
    Timothy J Martin M47 CTM 183.47
    Cheryl M Reinke F48 SMRT 179.48
    Gordon R Gridley M40 SALT 155.87
    Shirley A Loftus-Charley F61 VMST 152.66
    John Kuzmkowski M58 ALMT 143.47
    I see my teammate Shirley Loftus-Charley in here. She is an interesting case study, and since I am in charge of keeping up the LMSC records I am quite aware of her great swimming performances.

    As you might expect, Shirley excels at distance and is an accomplished open water swimmer. 1-2 years ago she decided to do more pool competitions and I think I recall her telling me she increased her training yardage. I haven't talked to her about specifics, but it is probably a safe bet that a large portion of her training is aerobic.

    The results: improvements across the board, in all strokes AND ALL DISTANCES. She recently even held a WR for a brief amount of time, not an easy thing to do in Laura Val's age group. In the preliminary Top Ten just posted for SCM, she has a TT time in all the events in her age group.

    I am a big believer in race-pace training and "hitting all the training/HR zones" or whatever you want to call it. I think that short, high-intensity swimming also improves aerobic capacity to an extent. In many ways, it is the more time-efficient way to train.

    But there is a reason that there was also success with the older, "garbage-yardage" method as well.
  9. qbrain's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by jim thornton
    I did the hour swim about 10 days ago, and I swam 4665 yards, which works out to a 1:17.17 per 100 "AT" time.

    So when you say during long slow distance swims to swim below the aerobic threshhold, what you really mean is to swim above this 1:17.17 pace, right?
    I mean 1:18 pace or slower. Heart rate is commonly used to determine easy rather than pace. I want to say 60% of your max heart rate is the target, but I didn't double check that number.

    Swim with good technique at an easy pace and as you practice easy swimming, the pace that you consider easy gets faster.
  10. Jaskeg's Avatar
    seems you hit on a popular topic!
  11. jcornman's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by jim thornton
    I am having a bit of trouble with the over/under here.

    I did the hour swim about 10 days ago, and I swam 4665 yards, which works out to a 1:17.17 per 100 "AT" time.

    So when you say during long slow distance swims to swim below the aerobic threshhold, what you really mean is to swim above this 1:17.17 pace, right?

    Example: today, I went over determined (after having read your posts yesterday on Leslie's blog re: those tireless barefoot running Indians in desiccated Mexico) to swim long, smooth, and not worry about speed.

    I ended up doing 6500 in about 1.5 hours, give or take a few minutes here or there. So my pace was somewhere around 1:25 per hundred, i.e., quite a lot slower than my AT threshhold.

    So is it your contention that this will contribute, at least in some small way, to helping my AT pace time actually improve?

    I may have overstated the percentage of garbage yards I have been swimming. During our regular practices, I do try reasonably hard, but it just doesn't seem to net the same results as it did in the not terribly distant past.

    Anyhow, I guess I would like to think that:


    1. I can improve my swimming by adding more yards, not all of which have to be done at high puke-inducing velocity
    2. That I am not suffering from primary rot as a result of geriatric conditions over which I have no control and for which the rate of deterioration is accelerating.
    3. That some of the slowness I spy this season can be written off as a delayed reaction to the loss of the body suit.
    4. That items 1-3 are not, in fact, wishful thinking on my part.


    What say ye to this, my thoughtful friend?

    By the way, I think that a better crime than "manslaughter" to compare my recent swimming to is "abuse of a corpse."

    You are correct that manslaughter has an unintentional, thoughtless component to it, which bolsters your analogy.

    I would argue, however, that abuse of a corpse has an ugliness to it that more closely approximates my swimming. Plus, ultimately, no one really gets hurt with my crime. Other, that is, than society.
    Jimbo, the use of the term 'Aerobic Threshold' for the intensity or metabolic set-point that I think you have in mind is not correct, you probably have what has been called the 'Anaerobic Threshold' or 'Lactate Threshold' in mind. These terms, and the "metabolic points-of-no-return" that most people liken them to and envision, have been around for a long time, but are widely misunderstood. You can find a great description of different 'thresholds' at the following link. It is definitely written for the triathlon crowd, but the concepts apply equally well to swimmers. http://physfarm.com/new/?page_id=511
    Historically, it seems most people equate AT/LT with OBLA, and think of this as the fat to carb fueling ratio of 1:1; however the traditional notion of 'threshold' is probably more aptly defined as MLSS, or even better, CS (critical speed). At these intensities, the accumulation of lactate as a limiter to physical output has been discredited and is not relevant. The fuel ratio doesn't really matter from this standpoint, and doesn't cause the cramps and your limbs burning and shutting down as anecdotal or popular wisdom suggests. This is due more to crossing over the CP/CS threshold, resulting muscle acidosis (not a result of lactate) and also perhaps your brain beginning to get involved and limiting motor unit recruitment due to afferent feedback mechanisms. http://www.sportsscientists.com/2011...clock.html?m=1
    The 'Aerobic Threshold' (AeT) is a newer concept, and would occur at a lower intensity than each of LT, OBLA, MLSS, and CP/CS. Training at or below this level of output would bring the relevance of fat:carb ratios (now more like 2:1 or even 3:1) back into the discussion as this is the best intensity to use for endurance training or acquiring optimal body composition. Your 1:17 pace average for the hour swim is probably a good proxy for your current critical speed, and the 1:25 pace that you did your long easy swim at could very well be close to your AeT pace.
  12. jcornman's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by The Fortress
    Agree with Kirk to a point. Not sure about Jeremy's points though. All yardage is not good. When you get tired from a short rest or other set where you are not necessarily going "slow", technique usually falls apart and you revert to sloppy swimming bad turns etc. So you're often just imprinting bad technique rather than improving mechanical efficiency. In addition, there are other ways to improve the aerobic energy system besides aerobic work. See Tabata. More anaerobic work may be better for you mid D types. And the comments about sprinting are flat out wrong.
    My statement that all yardage is good comes with the assumption that you are ALWAYS mindful of your technique, and are always trying to swim as technically proficient as your skill and experience allow. I think we all know better at this stage of our respective swimming careers than to blindly thrash down a lane just to get the yards in, regardless of type of set we are doing with the associated rest interval(s). Interestingly, it has been my experience that of all different types of workouts that I have tried personally, my form might break down quickest during a Tabata set than during any other type. While Tabata's have definitely been shown to increase anaerobic power and VO2 max numbers (500 yds and below), their utility for more middle distance or long distance events is peripheral at best to the demands of those events. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/8897392
  13. ViveBene's Avatar
    Mindful swimming is where it's at. Does not matter whether fast or slow.
    Back to important things: physical decay pt. 1. A detached retina! I seem to remember that episode from your blog. I now have a liquefying vitreous (same symptoms), which I get to watch dissolve in its entirety over next several years.
    Physical decay pt. 2: Keep on with Garabaggio de profundus and you will be eligible for a gold froggy pin from Tualatin Hills Barracudas for the February (Froggy) Fitness Challenge! 27 of 29 days! No minimum yardage per day. I'm looking at the aquajogging vests on deck and beginning to form an idea, hitherto anathema. (<--hint of physical and moral decay both)
    --I agree with Bobinator.
  14. jim thornton's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by Jaskeg
    Jim, Looking at all the above remarks it seems people mostly agree that possibly its a misnomer to call them garbage yards, though even Doc Counsilman would sometimes give us a workout he called "El Garbagio" when he felt we needed a recovery day. Again from the above remarks, El Garbagio might be considered recovery yards,,,a form of aquatic pilates where you focus more on the feel for the water than the clock. As I get older I seem to have lost both endurance, what little speed I have, any semblance of feel for the water and last but not any kind of drive or focus to do well. Still I think there is a great place for El Garbagio to help with the feel for the water, time to let ones mind wander. Sometimes just the relaxation that comes with the idea of swimming for garbage might allow us to swim more relaxed and if we do glance at the clock we might be astounded how close your 100 pace is to one where you are turning red with effort...or maybe thats just me. And maybe thats the lesson...nd I agree with the above commentators who mention you are still getting aerobic benefit. That said I slept in again this AM so maybe I am no longer qualified to comment as I seem to be swimming as slow as molasses, even on that rare occasion where I push anything....hmmmm, what was the question again?
    James, you are not only a legend, but legend-worthy! It is an important distinction in today's culture, but one you define!

    Wonderful comment.

    The other day, I heard an NPR segment on Charles Dickens (in celebration of his anniversary or something) that made the point that he took the huge walks, lasting hours on end, pretty much every day.

    They said it was likely a way for him to simultaneously handle the stress of his deadline pressures while ruminating about the plot and characters he was working on for his periodical postings.

    Anyhow, I think this is a clear advantage of long swims, too.

    I furthermore propose that the phrase El Garbagio (rhymes with Caravaggio?) should forever replace Garbage Yards on these forums.

    Brilliant!

    Thanks.
  15. knelson's Avatar
    Variety is the spice of life, right? I think mixing things up is the best way to go. Keep your body guessing what's coming next
  16. jim thornton's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by knelson
    Oops, double post.
    Your wisdom needs no oops ever appended to its repetition!

    In fact, feel free to triple post! As Winston Churchill put it:

    If you have an important point to make, don't try to be subtle or clever. Use a pile driver. Hit the point once. Then come back and hit it again. Then hit it a third time - a tremendous whack.
    Seriously, thanks for the advice. I am getting the idea that once a week, a long clock-free swim can be advantageous, especially if it's part of an overall mix.
  17. Jaskeg's Avatar
    Jim, Looking at all the above remarks it seems people mostly agree that possibly its a misnomer to call them garbage yards, though even Doc Counsilman would sometimes give us a workout he called "El Garbagio" when he felt we needed a recovery day. Again from the above remarks, El Garbagio might be considered recovery yards,,,a form of aquatic pilates where you focus more on the feel for the water than the clock. As I get older I seem to have lost both endurance, what little speed I have, any semblance of feel for the water and last but not any kind of drive or focus to do well. Still I think there is a great place for El Garbagio to help with the feel for the water, time to let ones mind wander. Sometimes just the relaxation that comes with the idea of swimming for garbage might allow us to swim more relaxed and if we do glance at the clock we might be astounded how close your 100 pace is to one where you are turning red with effort...or maybe thats just me. And maybe thats the lesson...nd I agree with the above commentators who mention you are still getting aerobic benefit. That said I slept in again this AM so maybe I am no longer qualified to comment as I seem to be swimming as slow as molasses, even on that rare occasion where I push anything....hmmmm, what was the question again?
  18. knelson's Avatar
    Oops, double post.
  19. knelson's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by jim thornton
    Kirk (or Kurt?), I checked out your recent blogs and noted with some raising of the eyebrows that you do sets of 100s on 1:10 for warm up!
    Kirk. OK, yesterday I did 100s on 1:10 after only warming up about 250 yards, but that's because I got in late! I definitely don't encourage this. I find I swim better after a nice long warmup.


    • my goals, therefore, are to swim these mid distance events as fast as possible, while trying to keep from totally pathetic-ness in the bookending 50 and 1650/hour swim.
    • How would you think that garbage yards should factor into this, if at all? Basically, we have three main practices a week, Monday being distance, Wednesday being stroke/IM (though I do freestyle because of shoulder issues), and Friday being sprints.
    I think this is a good start. Mid-distance swimmers need speed and endurance, and you're getting a day a week for each of these. I think to swim fast, though, you need at least one additional practice per week...
    • What I have been trying to do is come on the non official practice days and swim distancey stuff to get my baseline back up. But is this just a waste of time?
    • Do you ever do long, continuous, relatively relaxed swims for, say, 90 minutes or so, when you don't worry about the clock at all but rather just concentrate of staying smooth and relaxing? If so, what, if anything, does this do for you? I swam 6500 yards yesterday via this approach, and though my muscles and shoulders got sore, they didn't get tired in the same way as a regular practice leaves them. Is this a waste of time for my goals to swim middle distance freestyle fast? Will it have any positive impact on my upcoming 1650 at the end of the month? Or would I be better off resting?
    • I, for one, think it will help. But I guess I shall just have to see...
    I think it will, too. It might not show dividends in your 200 immediately, but it should help your 1650. Maybe use your extra day for long easy distance now and start adding in more quality work later in the season. If you swim a fifth day each week I'd use that for recovery. And, no, I never do long continuous swims of that length, but I do long swims of maybe 1,500 yards fairly frequently. I don't think there's anything wrong with long swims like this if you've got the mental makeup to get through them!

    On Wednesdays my team often does sets something like this:
    4x (1000, rest :10, 6x50 with :10 rest, hold 500 pace) [take one or two minutes between rounds]
    Where the 1000 should be something like 500 pace +:10 seconds per 100. At least for me it's not easy to immediately transition from the slower pace to the fast pace on the 50s. I can't really say how much this ultimately helps, but it does help to mix things up.
    Updated February 10th, 2012 at 01:38 PM by knelson
  20. The Fortress's Avatar
    I approve of slow aerobic swimming. I did two slow workouts this week already.

    You probably need to do some of your anaerobic work with more rest. Sprinting is better in a non fatigued state.

    Google tabata. Science, not speculation. Rich A. Refers to him as a god.