Wednesday, November 21, 2012

making the most of your swim time.

When it comes to Winter and swim training there are as many schools of thought as there are on lifting weights for endurance athletes.  we won't go there... yet. 
I get asked a lot how I and many of my triathlon athletes are so good in the water on such minimal training time.  At the same time I find myself wondering and asking athletes who we only put a few minutes on in the swim that only started swim training in the last 3-4 months if its really worth it?

How Do We make the Most of Our Swim Training Time
Swimming does cost us allot of time. most of us are swimming at a gym so there is getting there and home, changing, saying hi to overly friendly trainer, etc...

Make the most of your time:
EK Endurance Coaching athletes have seen big gains with minimal time in the pool. why? remember in school when you discovered that when you had a ton of work to do yet it somehow got done faster? And you maybe even got better grades? I do. when you’re working on something as complex and dynamic as swimming and you do it a mere 1 hour a week, total focus and concentration are required!  For many Masters or your club swim is at way-to-early:30. if your gona get up that early and swim, put your game face on! work hard, get tech tips from the coach, work drills for your problems areas and keep swimming!! you will be surprised how much extra an easy 50 every time you’re waiting for the coach to give you the next set will add up to.
~And what about going to the gym. get your core work in, spinn class after swim, what else can you do to "Get Faster" and make the most of your trip?
~Make it part of your commute to work, miss traffic in the am or pm.
~Ask the coach, "what do I need work on?" my goal is XYZ, what are your thoughts? if I come alone what workout should I do? The Coaches are there for a reason use them! most will be happy you asked.

The Magic Workout:
when I lived in the Boston area some friends and I signed up for a 1/2 ironman. some of us were seasoned triathletes, some not and out of shape, some (me) had a whopping 4 weeks to prepare after the cycling season ended? I hadn't run in 3 years. it was my main worry but I had to swim some? right?
while training late in the summer we discovered what was referred to as the magic workout and still is by some old friends there.
~30' ride to Walden pond (local popular swimming area)
~30' swim. (across the pond and back)
~and a ride home. (sometimes the long way if time allowed)
my training partner quickly noted, "that is a kick a** workout!".  It was but I was more impressed by its functionality and great use of time.
We got a ride in. A 30' swim (similar to the distance and time for our 1/2 ironman swim. he also finished a 1 minute or so before me on each end of the swim allowing him to see my stroke and give a few pointers for the return trip). Swim cap and goggles fit nicely into our pocket and we got a the very key swim bike brick (more on that later)
2 sports, great workout, a brick effect, in 90 minutes!!  you can't beat that with a kick board!
bottom line here, look for and explore all your resources, and use them!
What we like to see from a master swim class:
~Instructor that can give you tech tips all the time.
~You should be focusing on tech always. esp. as you get tired near the end of the session.
~Minimal chatting at the wall.
~Long sets, minimal rest.
~Lots of threshold work and longer steady sets.
~With the above being said MIX IT UP. doing some sessions with some harder, all out work will make you a better overall swimmer!
~A fun group to swim with!! 
If you set up any pace training zones after a test they will likely not be used in many masters classes. However being aware of how hard you’re swimming, pacing yourself well during the class and during long sets is KEY!  This will make you a more aware athlete. you will get more out of each class and be a faster triathlete! 

Final thoughts:
  Swimming is a large time commitment for little real time gains in the race but realize it's a tough, full body, very tech. sensitive sport which is first in the race. Meaning a "Better" swim might not mean time gained in the swim but later in the race as well!!

Talk to your mentors, training partners, coach and swim coach. Make a well educated decision regarding your swimming needs and sch. accordingly.
Remember everyone is different. everyone's situation, resources, goals, fitness level, goal race.
"Train YOU before you train the race." 

1 comment:

Nadia said...

I've noticed my running is better when I'm getting more core work done in swimming. Just another reason triathlon is so nice- three sports complement each other!