Experience the Difference

The Swim – Are you ready?

As with all high level sport, ‘If you are currently training and preparing as you have always done, then you are going backwards against your opposition’.

This has been the case for over a decade now and is no more evident than in this continually developing sport of triathlon.

There is always going to be someone in your division out there that is prepared to do in training what many others find too hard, too painful or too uncomfortable and chances are too, that they are doing that training when a good number of you are finding excuses not to get out and complete your next session where and when and at the required intensity that you need to.

If that person has a tight progression plan and has some ability, then they will beat you in your next race.

With every new day and accordingly, every new training session you are being presented with an opportunity to better yourself physically and psychologically in preparation for your next race.

Please don’t make the mistake of thinking that the adrenaline and hype of the occasion of your next race will make you go faster than you have in the past if you haven’t been there in training.

That is KEY, if you haven’t taken your body there in training, then it will NOT go there in competition no matter how hard you try.

Very personal and specific goals need to be formulated in order for you to be able to work towards improvement on each discipline distance for each length event if your goal is to continually improve.

Your overall race time (and indeed each of the swim, bike and run times) need not be a surprise to you providing your training is very specific and relevant to you personally and structured around your strengths and weaknesses.

In previous articles I have touched on the swim and some of the obvious differences between triathlete swimmers and dedicated swimmers who do not bike and run.

As with the bike and run, everyone has their own unique technique that stays with them for their entire sporting life and so it is the case in the swim.

The neuro/muscular patterns that are set early in your life will form the platform of your technique for you entire career.

What does that mean?

It means that looking at ‘textbook’ technique and trying to mirror and emulate what you see will invariably end in tears or at least lead to very disappointing outcomes. This is because it is a very arduous and frustrating task to attempt to ‘rewire’ the way your body works. Technique is something that needs to be considered with the very young as that is the time to instil that all important technique that they will carry forward their entire lives.

The way that you swim, bike and run now won’t generally change a great deal, what we, as coaches do is to help you get the absolute maximum from how you do it by making you stronger and faster and providing support always with an eye on avoiding injury wherever possible along the way.

Experience has shown me in triathlon that using and continually improving the two beat kick in the swim along with increasing upper body strength with continued use of various shape pull buoys and paddles will show the biggest, sustainable gains in the long term.

Continued attention needs to be given to core and glute strength which are needed to maintain the all-important streamlined position of the body in the water.

A combination of squad sessions and individual sessions are needed to continually improve speed and conditioning as you strive for continued improvements.

Squad sessions to challenge you and individual sessions for you to continually ensure that you stroke rate, and technique are continually being attended to.

You need to be challenged in order to make improvements. If you are already the strongest swimmer in your squad, then it is highly likely that everyone else in your squad is continuing to improve and you are not. You need to find people that challenge you.

Squad dynamics are the cornerstone of any female athlete improvement strategy. Generally, female athletes respond well to training with other, like minded athletes and it is the very competitive nature of each individual within that squad that bring out the best in each other.

If that squad environment is carefully nurtured and everyone in the squad is driven, not only by their own improvements, but also to the others in the squad, then that helps yourself as well.

If they improve, you improve. Everyone wins!


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