Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Sharing the Wisdom of My Pool Experience

So, for those who are actually Triathlon trainers, or who wish to get better stamina in the pool. Here are my suggestions for you.

All of the triathlon or pool training schedules usually keep you regimented to a freestyle only workout. Now granted, the freestyle is most likely what you will be using come Tri day, there are numerous benefits to training in all four strokes- or at the very least three of four strokes. I know not many people have the ability to throw a butterfly out of no where. I mean, Ive been swimming forever, and even I'm too intimidated to randomly throw some of my slick butterfly moves in the midst of lap swimming. Mainly, because I kick up a lot of water and cause a lot of waves... not very lap pool etiquette friendly.

If you are totally inexperienced in the pool, following any of the swim programs are probably going to be too many laps for you to do. To start off with, I would suggest swimming as long as you are able to stamina wise (shoot for thirty minutes) and switch it up. When your body is tired from swimming freestyle, switch to breast stroke. When I first came back to the pool after twenty plus years away, I had little to no stamina in the pool. Breast stroke became my savior. I found it is much easier to do breast stroke when you are exhausted than it is to do a freestyle or even a backstroke. My own hypothesis on this is that your arms are staying underneath the water, and you are breathing with every stroke... whereas with freestyle and back stroke, there is much more movement in the arms and of course your face down with freestyle.

Anyhow... this is how I started:

1 lap freestyle
1 lap breast stroke
1 lap freestyle
1 lap breast stroke

and I would keep going until I was tired. I would stop, catch my breath and start again until I needed to stop again.

If you are afraid (as I was) of looking out of shape or stupid, bring a water bottle (which you should be doing anyway- as much as people want to insist you don't- you really do sweat in the water) and pretend to be taking a water break.
Or, if you find that you are stopping pretending for water breaks too often- stop to unfog your goggles or to readjust your swim suit. All of these tricks worth.

And trust me- the big bad lap swimmers who swim circles around you really aren't even paying any attention to you- at all. Even when they are recovering (ie resting against the wall catching their breath) they aren't paying any attention to you. They are either focused on their breathing, concentrating on the time clock, or thinking about what they are going to do next.

Once you build up the ability to swim two laps without stopping, switch to

2 laps breast stroke
2 laps freestyle

rest and repeat.

After you get the handle of that, you can introduce the backstroke into things:

2 breast
2 free
2 back


and, if you get really bored-

2 breast
2 free
2 back
2 kick board

Don't be afraid of tools such as the kickboard. First of all, it provides a really good lower body workout. It also gives you a "break" and allows you to catch your breath without looking obviously out of breath.

Also, once you become able to work up to a 1200 m set- you can introduce pull buoys, fins, and paddles into your workout.

If you are stictly tri training, you may not care too much about pull bouys and paddles, as these will help develop upper body strength and increase your pull ability in the water.

But, I highly suggest training with fins. For everyone who is tri-ing. I personally use Zoomers by Finis. They are roughly thirty bucks. I bought mine on swim outlet dot com. There are blue for beginners and red for seasons swimmers. I actually still use the blue ones, and I get a really good leg workout with them. They train muscles you probably didn't even know existed in your legs. Well worth the thirty bucks.

Once you work your way up, you can follow a similar routine that I do

100m Breast
100m Back
100m Free
100m Kick


The two sets in the middle- I do one with the pull bouy and paddles, the next with fins and a kickboard
and then the final one straight swimming again. I dont do this every day but this is one of my workout rotations.

I am also very brand loyal. Once I have found something that works, I will not deviate from it. I only swim in Speedo Vanquisher goggles. I Only swim in Speedo Swim Caps (preferably pink- same with the goggles)
I only use TYR for any swimming training gear (paddles, pull buoys, kickboards etc) I actually deviated from my usual kickboard and bought a Nike one on sale at the Nike OUtlet for 10 bucks (because it was yellow and had pretty flowers on it, making it so much easier to recognize which is mine- and prevents other people from trying to steal yours mid-workout)
and im quite unhappy with it. I'll keep it until it wears out, but I definitely do not like anywhere near as much as I do my trusty TYR standby's.

if you are going to carry backups in your bags- make sure your backups are the same brands as what you use daily, otherwise it will throw your workout off trying to adjust to something new.

Thats all I have for now! :)

I hope his helps! :)