2017 the year of LAZY TRI COACHING – look out for this new trend possibly in 2017. Hopefully it is just the January headlines on FB etc as people want to help kick start your season. Tri coaches that can’t swim coach particularly well are being devious with advertising headlines on FB etc offering the Holy Grail i.e. we have discovered how you can improve with less swim training. Well you will never get better at swimming without a healthy investment in swim training. What is the one skill most of us acquired to a reasonable level as and only as adults? Driving. Many passed within 8-10 lessons, some longer. How long was it until you instinctively knew exactly where the controls were without looking? without thinking? suddenly you became a better driver once you had more time to fully concentrate on the road rather then trying to find the driving controls. Swimming is a life long skill that can be improved upon at any level but there are few shortcuts and it is definitely a journey never a destination. I was asked recently how much I might improve during a swim camp week. Hard to say and we have had some amazing results so I would say yes you will improve. How much depends on many factors but the important thing is how determined you are to maintain this and continue to work on your own post camp.
Read further beyond the headlines and more often it is not the Holy Grail answer to swim technique offered. It is more about how you could divert your swim time into becoming better bike/runners. For the Duathlete trying the occasional Tri this is all well and good if you are not too serious about Tri. However not working on your swim leaves you-
Tired for the Bike – Exponential fatigue as you spend more time moving against water at near1000 times denser then air compared to biking through air. I have seen some really tired people stagger into T1.
No useful swim fitness acquired which we have proved is a highly beneficial type of fitness for the other disciplines, especially if an injury prevents run or bike training for a while.
Limited alternatives, ie one less discipline available if you are injured in an attempt to stay fit.
Exiting low down the field and starting your bike with tired, clumsy athletes struggling to stay upright. More accidents happen at the exit of T1 than anywhere else in my opinion and I have watched a lot of Tri’s!
Adding time and allowing competitors to get further ahead. Your £7k TT bike still sitting in Transition at 2hrs as I witnessed at the Outlaw is not going to catch up 45mins over your competitors. Few are going to bike at 40mph for the next 5hrs. No one does no matter how Uberbiker you think you are.
Swim fitness is highly beneficial to the other disciplines as we know 6weeks of structured swim can lead to 13% VO2 max improvement.
You don’t actually have to swim that fast in a Tri, just start steady and not slow down too dramatically given the long distance nature of even the ‘short’ events. Correction of some basic faults should be 10s of minutes quicker over a few Km.
I am fond of saying how learning to swim faster is more like a language or learning a musical instrument. I stand by that. Timing, rhythm, confidence, coordination are all needed. Yes most can get by and that will suffice for many but how far on this journey do you want to take your swimming? Don’t give up on it. Don’t just pass your test, go further on the journey.