Thirsty (for knowledge) Thursday: Swim Tips

>> Thursday, May 22, 2014

I've starting posting more articles that I find interesting/helpful, so I might as well turn it into a bit of a regular thing. So here' my first "Thirsty (for knowledge) Thursday." I'll be sharing articles on training, racing, conditioning, etc. along with some of my thoughts.

Last month, the Life Time Fitness Triathlon had good ole' Coach Troy write an article called 7 SIMPLE TRUTHS FOR A FASTER TRIATHLON SWIM. Here they are:

1. Practice consistently and be dedicated to continual improvement.
If there’s one area where most triathletes struggle, it’s with consistency and getting adequate pool time. Triathletes learning the fundamentals of swimming should get into the water at least three days per week, if not four days. Only by putting in the time and energy will you improve and get more comfortable in the water.

3-4 days / week? I'm lucky when I get 2! Ain't nobody got time for that! (But I'll try harder Coach, I really will.) No, no... I probably won't.

2. Focus on the fundamentals of good stroke mechanics.
Swimming, by nature, is unnatural to people. We’re not built to ‘glide’ through the water effortlessly and must work to maximize our efficiency in the water as much as possible. This means focusing on developing proper swim mechanics by breaking down our stroke and practicing drills designed to improve our body position and various components of the freestyle stroke. And this focus never ends... even elite swimmers train and reinforce proper stroke mechanics with a steady diet of drills.

We're not built to glide?!? Pfffh. I'm totally meant to glide... right out of my pants and onto the sofa. I don't know what you're talking about.

3. Get another set of eyes... use a coach.
As the saying goes, “seeing is believing.” The way you think you look when you swim is often far from how you actually look. Working with a coach who can provide feedback and keep you on track and progressing is important. Frequent video analysis of your stroke will also help you gain a better understanding of what you’re doing correctly and where you can improve.

This helped my breathing a TON when I was starting out.

And these final 4 are just good ideas... I don't have much to add to these:

4. Develop your kick.
Although most triathletes will swim with a buoyant wetsuit on race day, somewhat negating the effectiveness of the kick, the development in training of a strong kick is still essential. Not only will kicking enhance your overall conditioning, it will also help to provide some propulsion, as well as help to stabilize your body position in the water.

5. Join a swim program.
Most areas will have a local masters or triathlon-focused swim program led by a qualified coach. Join the program and use it regularly as the coaching, structured swim training and competition will help drive your performance to the next level.

6. Practice swimming in the open water.
While pool swimming is great for working on the fundamentals of proper stroke mechanics and for conditioning, practicing in open water helps develop specific skills needed on race day. These include sighting, navigating current, swimming in close quarters to other athletes, drafting on fellow competitors and more. And if you intend to wear a wetsuit on race day, be sure to practice with it first in the open water! There’s nothing more uncomfortable than getting to your race, starting the swim and realizing that your wetsuit doesn’t fit properly.

7. Incorporate strength training into your routine.
A stronger athlete is a faster athlete, and get’s injured less often. Adding a strength routine to your swim program in the form of traditional ‘dry land’ modalities using elastic tubing, bodyweight exercises and other tools like medicine balls is a great way to boost your performance.

So check back all most some Thursdays for more info on things like this. Here are a few good links from the last few weeks:

- Study about the benefits of working out
- 6 swimming tips for triathletes
- My 5 favorite exercises for rehabbing my butt
- 2 studies: weight training for running and cycling workouts for run speed


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