In order to be successful in Triathlon, it’s a given that you must train during the off-season. Running outside or on a treadmill, and riding on a stationary bike, a trainer or on the road. For swimming, you don’t have many options to get your training in. You may think swimming countless laps is the only way to go, but, in my experience, it takes more variation and excitement in order to not only enjoy your training, but to make it worth doing.
In this post, I’ll be explaining a few ways how I make swim training more effective, such as speed variation, using training equipment, and practicing overlooked techniques. Let’s get started!
1. Speed Variation
In a typical triathlon, you will have to swim lengthy distances, which means swimming at a slower pace for a long time. Endurance practice is incredibly important, so swimming “race pace” with no breaks is the best way to imitate a race, and is a good method for improving your time. Doing this at for a set distance (possibly the length of your upcoming race, give or take) and timing allows you to monitor your improvement and motivates you to go faster. As important as endurance training is, doing occasional sprints not only makes practice more interesting, but is very beneficial. interlacing a few sprints between steady, slower sets will improve your cardiovascular health and get your adrenaline pumping.
2. Drills with equipment
Do you ever feel like you rely on your arms too much when you swim, and your legs lag behind, or the opposite? Doing a few laps with a kickboard allows you to strengthen your legs in the pool, and helps you improve your kicking with therefore means a smoother, faster time swimming. Personally, I feel like my arms were lacking. My strokes were not propelling me forward and I relied on my legs to do much of the work. Using a pool buoy really improved my stroke and when you do, you feel the burn! You can definitely feel your arms getting stronger, and it is very rewarding. There are many more options such as flippers or swim paddles, so find and use the equipment that fits your goal and works for you!
Like I said, Distance is very important to triathlon. A typical sprint triathlon is about 750 meters. Of course, you should train toward that distance, whether that means slowly training and improving in order to achieve it or to train that distance and beyond. Timing helps to keep track, and counting laps. Mindlessly swimming for an hour doesn’t mentally prepare yourself for the distance you must complete, though physically.
Lastly, a little bonus tip is to practice sighting, if you are training for an open-water race. This basically means that every few strokes popping your head out of the water and looking forward toward a reference point such as a marker or a buoy. This allows you to be able to navigate better in the chaotic waters with your wave. I find it to be a very important, yet overlooked skill to have in Triathlon.
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