Happy Tuesday! It is in fact the first Tuesday of the month so I am all linked up with the fabulous Cynthia from You Signed Up For What and the speedy Phaedra from Blisters and Black Toenails for some chatter and triathlon banter.
Today we’re coming full circle and delving back into the basics of swim, bike, run and starting with swimming. We’ve chatted about it a few times before. You can find some general swim information here and here, as well open water swim info here and must have swim gear and gadgets here.
It seems like, for most people, swimming is the weak link in triathlon. And while that’s not true for everyone, I’d go ahead and bet you hear “I can’t swim” or “I’m a weak/terrible/slow/some variation of I suck/swimmer” more than you here similar sentiments about running and cycling.
But swimming doesn’t have to be scary or intimidating. Even if you’re slow in the water or you think it’s not your favorite, there’s always room for improvement and with improvement comes confidence which leads to a better race. So let’s go over some swimming basics.
1. Body position in the water. This is something beginners struggle with that is very easy to correct. The quickest and easiest way to get your body planed in the water is with your head position. If your head is too far up and you’re looking too forward your hips and legs will sink. If your head is too far down and your chin is too close to your chest, you will have a hard time breathing. You should have you face more or less parallel to the bottom of the pool with the water level above your hairline. Most people have their faces too far up out of the water. By lowering it some it will actually pull your legs and hips up and your body will be flat and floating like it should be. This will make it easier for you pull yourself forward through the water and minimize some drag and the weight of your lower body sinking.
2. Figure out a breathing pattern that works for you. When I was first really learning to swim for triathlon I would breathe every other stroke. It was what worked for me. I would take a breath every time my right arm dipped into the water. As I’ve gotten stronger and more comfortable in the water I’m fine with breathing every third or every fourth stroke. But when you’re just beginning, it’s important to just do what feels natural and comfortable for you. Learning to breath bilaterally (on both sides) or go longer stretches in between breaths will come with practice and swim endurance and comfort.
3. Swim with a purpose. All your swim workouts should be just that; a workout. If you can’t swim more than 25 yards without having to stop and catch your breath, that’s okay, keep swimming and the endurance will come (and it’ll come quicker if you have good form!) But if you can swim multiple lengths or laps without stopping then it’s time to workout. Do a few hundred yards for a warm up then do some real, timed intervals. Make yourself work hard. The only way to get better in the water is to challenge yourself. And while it’s not bad to get in a just swim from time to time, the bulk of your swimming should be interval workouts of varying distances and intensities. Don’t know how to write a swim workout? No worries, this fabulous little book will not only provides you with a never ending supply of workouts, it’s also waterproof so you can plop it on the pool deck and work directly from it.
Swimming should be fun and really, swimming is pretty awesome. Don’t let that little voice in your head, your lack of swim workout knowledge, or anything else keep you from enjoy your time in the water. Watch a few videos on form, pick a workout out of the swim book, and jump on in!
Swim basics- What’s one piece of advice you would offer up?
What’s you favorite swim workout?
Tri Talk Tuesday will be back again on April 7, 2015. Our topic for April is all about the bike! Tell us all about your bike, bike workouts you love, bike handling skill drills, or anything else cycling related! Got a post that fits the theme? Make sure you come and link up!