At the moment I am not working my Triathletes too hard in the water as in the UK/Northern Hemisphere for the most part we are now done with OW racing until next Spring. I am hoping to lure them back after the usual break post Kona and the final overseas races are now done. Once snared I hope to keep them coming back with lots of creative sets. We are in a phase I call Technical Endurance which suits the time of year nicely. We are swimming anywhere from 2000m to 4000m with lots of short technical interruptions to longer steadier swimming. We use swim toys creatively to challenge and interrupt the ‘autopilot’ we often are guilty of cruising along on. Ever got to the end of the pool and asked yourself what was I meant to be working on? Too much cruising pace and it is all too easy to stop thinking about what we are doing or what we are attempting to achieve from a particular set or drill. We perform frequent drills while static at the wall between lengths, off the wall for a few meters (the red ‘zone’ of the lane rope is highly useful) even outside of the water on poolside.
Assuming a 25m pool. For all of the following mainsets you might consider structuring your session with-
100 FC, 75 with a pull buoy (arms only, PB sits between the thighs)
50 FC, 25 with a pull buoy (try to perform arms only with the PB between your ankles)
Subset – 8 x 25, rest 15s, fast arms with 4 strokes fists clenched into 4 strokes fast arms with normal hands, then easy for the rest of the length. Just looking to get the heart rate up ahead of the main set.
Insert the Technical Endurance Mainset here –
200 technical FC with paddles, fins and a snorkel if you have one to realign the stroke
50 medium pace, don’t over analyse and try to work on too many aspects of your new stroke at once, 50 easy pace, slow and relaxed
Swimming normal FC when the lane rope is Blue and White allows the majority of the length to be swum with a fitness element. The following is a simple way to get a 1500m mainset swum, adding steady fitness but not ignoring technical aspects of your FC.
5x300m <or yards> FC rest 30
Tech Endurance Session1
THEME- with the following ‘interruptions’ will shake up any standard 1500 swim.
1) Fists clenched FC when in the red zone, <5m into and off each wall>
2) Legs only in the red zone <arms folded on head as you push off, by your side as you finish a length>
3) No breather in the red (and you probably will be!)
4) Add fins but point them downwards in the red zone to feel surplus drag & work the arms harder.
5) Windscreen wiper scull off the wall. Pivot at the elbow, fingertips to the bottom of the pool, palms to push out to the pool walls then return to facing each other
Eventually we all want to perform faster but in terms of swimming at this time I think it is important to learn to swim well again. Especially after a season of OW which can undo a lot of good technique. It is a great time to learn to swim well with good technique again. At this time, I encourage slow swimming for heightened accuracy, improved hand and arm pathways and fixing technical issues that might have arose. In fact, I fail to see how else to go about it. There is little to be gained with hard efforts at the moment. The body needs to recuperate, the mind as well. A fresh approach to swim training will lead to more stimulus to improve. The new fad for giant pull buoys will please many by allowing faster less accurate swimming. I call this lazy swimming. You are covering up a multitude of issues in your FC technique that might be uncovered come race day if the temperature goes up and it’s a no wetsuit kind of day. Repeatedly I get asked by Triathletes if they can join my fast Wednesday AM group, one of my stronger sessions that has created multiple Kona qualifiers. The lure of rubbing shoulders with several Kona Qualifiers must be the attraction? For anyone still finding swimming 400m non-stop at any pace tiring then a hard fitness session is not really in your best interest. Technique will be of far more use for the moment. Slow is good, slow is accurate, slow is ingraining new good habits, slow is erasing bad habits, slow is what happens before you start swimming fast closer to race season. Don’t be in a hurry to leave this period of your swim journey too soon. The ads promise great returns in speed with the latest piece of equipment or style of session but it’s a good place to be for a while, erasing bad habits permanently, making use of ‘active recovery’ and learning good movements permanently. To make things permanent is going to take some time and also some frequency.