Triathlon Swim Training Effective Triathlon Swim Training For Beginners to Intermediate Triathletes 2017-08-22T03:27:44Z https://www.triswimcoach.com/feed/atom/ WordPress admin <![CDATA[Mastering the triathlon taper]]> https://www.triswimcoach.com/?p=13884 2017-08-22T03:27:44Z 2017-08-22T03:27:44Z After a quick glance at our social media and private Facebook pages, we have noticed a significant uptick of “taper” related posts. It seems that many of our TSC athletes are in “taper mode.” “It’s race week! Time to put the feet up #tapertime”. “Only 2000m in the pool. It must be time to #taper”. [...]

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After a quick glance at our social media and private Facebook pages, we have noticed a significant uptick of “taper” related posts. It seems that many of our TSC athletes are in “taper mode.”

“It’s race week! Time to put the feet up #tapertime”.

“Only 2000m in the pool. It must be time to #taper”.

“I’m so hungry! I’ve got the #taper munchies”.

With many of our triathlete’s seasons coming to a close in the Northern Hemisphere (our folks Down Under are just gearing up), many are peaking for their key races. But to truly peak for your race, you need to first go through the taper. This means a decrease in training to allow you to arrive at the start line fresh rather than over trained. All of your training plans have a good taper structure built into them to take the guesswork out of it. But if you are self coached, it is easy to fall prey to over training or neglecting the taper altogether.

While the taper might seem like a simple concept, it is actually hard to get right. There is much more to it than putting your feet up and cracking open a beer. The former, I actually recommend, the later should wait until after the race.

Here are three tips to nailing your taper so that you can dominate your race.

Pump up the intensity not the volume.  Even though you might think that you should be taking it easy in the lead up to a race, a good taper should have a lot of small doses of very intense sprinting. This will keep your muscles and mind sharp leading into the race but not enough to bury you and prevent recovery.

Focus on race pace. In addition to your short intervals, you should include short race pace intervals. At the beginning of the week, use your Garmin to make sure that you hit your splits.  As the week progresses, go strictly off feel and then look at the data afterwards in TrainingPeaks. This will help you associate what you were feeling with a number so that come race day, you will know exactly what X pace and X wattage feels like without having to be so focused on the numbers.

Keep it clean. Now is not the time to make a massive overhaul of your diet (i.e. don’t go keto two nights before a race). Keep eating what you are familiar with and do not stress out about carbo loading (it’s actually a myth) or specific numbers. Just keep your diet clean and the least processed as possible, so that your body does not have to deal with any extraneous stress.

Get some sleep. Use the extra time that you have to catch up on sleep. If you are traveling to the race go to bed at the same time you would in the time zone that you are going to be racing in. It helps with jet lag.

Less is more. You may have a lot of energy in your workouts, but hold back and stick to the plan. Save that extra energy for the race. It is actually better to come into a race slightly undertrained but fresh, than overtrained and under recovered.

Overall, focus on the race and your plan. Know that you have done all the work that you can. Trying to squeeze in any extra, fear driven workouts in will only hurt your race times.

Race well and race hard.

Coach Chris and Kev

 

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Kevin Koskella <![CDATA[Balance and Inspiration – TSC Podcast #120]]> https://www.triswimcoach.com/?p=13848 2017-08-17T18:05:33Z 2017-08-16T17:00:05Z Download this episode     In this episode of the TriSwim Coach Podcast, Kevin digs deep  about what balance really is. Inspiration is also tackled in this episode with an amazing story that could help you move forward in life! Topics discussed in this episode: Acid Reflux and how coffee plays a role in it Idea of [...]

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balance and inspirationIn this episode of the TriSwim Coach Podcast, Kevin digs deep  about what balance really is. Inspiration is also tackled in this episode with an amazing story that could help you move forward in life!

Topics discussed in this episode:

  • Acid Reflux and how coffee plays a role in it
  • Idea of balance is important
  • What is balance
  • Different ways of looking at balance
  • What is downtime
  • The accident story
  • Pushing through adversities
  • Taking smart risks

Links & Resources:

**If you’ve enjoyed this episode of Tri Swim Coach Triathlon Swimming, please subscribe and leave us a rating & review over on iTunes to help spread the word. Thank you!**

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admin <![CDATA[Sink or Swim in Your Next Triathlon]]> https://www.triswimcoach.com/?p=13852 2017-08-15T11:42:32Z 2017-08-15T03:15:43Z Triathletes like to say that they swim, bike, and run during a race. But actually, they “swimbikerun”. What makes multisports unique is that the success of one leg depends on the previous stage.   This is why swimming is so critical. Without a good swim leg the rest of the race can easily go wrong. [...]

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Triathletes like to say that they swim, bike, and run during a race. But actually, they “swimbikerun”. What makes multisports unique is that the success of one leg depends on the previous stage.   This is why swimming is so critical. Without a good swim leg the rest of the race can easily go wrong.

Granted, you can “complete” a sprint triathlon or maybe even an International distance triathlon with a poor swim. But it will not be as pleasant as it could have been, and you will be suffering at the end of the race. In longer races, a strong swim becomes increasingly important if not critical.

If you want to “sink” in your next race, follow these points:

  • Don’t swim enough – This goes without saying. If you do not swim enough, you will literally sink in your race when you fatigue. Being comfortable in the water and consistently training in the lead up to a race is essential to having a good race. Many first time triathletes* think that they can “just wing it” on race day. Unfortunately, they often find themselves clinging to a kayak half way through.
  • Just swimming in practice –  Yes, you might be able to swim the 2.4 miles in under the cut off by doing a mix of doggie paddle, backstroke, and breaststroke. But you will have very little energy left for the rest of the race. Getting into a pool and swimming laps non stop without focusing on your weaknesses can only take you so far.
  • Going out too quickly – It is a marathon not a sprint (even sprint triathletes hold back a little on the swim). Sprinting the first 200 m is setting you up for a long day.
  • Not sighting – Not sighting frequently will lead to straying off course and zig zagging around which can add time and zap the energy that could be used to swimming faster and racing faster later on.
  • Wearing a wetsuit for the first time. Using a wetsuit for the first time goes beyond chafing. Because of the tight, compressing fit of wetsuits, in particular cheap and ill fitting wetsuits, it can be hard to breathe when you first swim in them. It’s like having a rubber band around your chest. This feeling decreases overtime as the wetsuit stretches out and you adapt. However, wearing one for the first time in your race can lead to disaster later on.
  • Freaking out: Many early DNF’s occur not because of a lack of swim fitness but because of a lack of mental preparedness. This can be easily prevented with the proper mental training and OWS training ahead of time.

*I am referring more to those who have no or little swim experience. Those lucky ones who swam throughout college and high school and have many laps under their speedo might be able to do this successfully.

So how can you prevent sinking your race (or literally sinking in a race)?

  • Follow a structured training program. There is a lot more to preparing for a race than getting in a pool every few days, and knocking out laps until you are tired. You need to follow a structured training program that will build your fitness and form over time.  Then you can complete the swim with a smile on your face, and a full tank of gas for the bike and run. Or as we like to say at TSC, a program that will have you laughing at the water.
  • Swim your own race. Smart triathletes position themselves at the start line to either avoid the scrum, or to use it to their advantage. They also know that the race is not won in the first 200 m, but the last 200 m.
  • Practice properly. Practicing in the open water using the wetsuit, swim skin or speedo that you will use on race day will prepare you mentally and physically for the race to come and prevent anxiety attacks and chaffing. As the old adage goes, “fail to prepare then prepare to fail.”

As you think about your next race are you going to sink or swim? I hope it’s the latter.

Train Hard
Coach Chris and Kev

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admin <![CDATA[How to plan your triathlon swim strategy]]> https://www.triswimcoach.com/?p=13843 2017-08-14T16:27:02Z 2017-08-14T16:25:27Z Coach Kevin on 6 steps to plan your triathlon swim strategy in a race:

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Coach Kevin on 6 steps to plan your triathlon swim strategy in a race:

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admin <![CDATA[Fall in love with swimming to get faster]]> https://www.triswimcoach.com/?p=13684 2017-08-03T12:15:34Z 2017-08-03T12:15:34Z Triathlon coaches hear this all the time: “I just want to survive the swim” “Once I get on the bike, I will be fine” “I suck at swimming” “I have a love-hate relationship with the water. I love it because it makes me a triathlete; but I hate it because it’s swimming” “Thank goodness the [...]

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Triathlon coaches hear this all the time:

“I just want to survive the swim”
“Once I get on the bike, I will be fine”
“I suck at swimming”
“I have a love-hate relationship with the water. I love it because it makes me a triathlete; but I hate it because it’s swimming”
“Thank goodness the swim is the shortest leg”

Raise your hand right now (even if you are in the office) if you have said or thought any of the above or something similar.

I would bet you have.

Hating the swim but loving triathlon is very common. If you truly want to succeed at and love triathlon, you cannot get away from the water. But there is an alternative.

An alternative that will make you a faster triathlete, love training more, and thrive overall.

That alternative?

Learn to love the swim.

You might be scoffing right now, saying to yourself: Impossible! But it is true. If you love the swim, then that love and joy for the water will make you a better swimmer, which will have a trickle down effect into biking since you will have more energy on the bike and on the run because less energy and mental strain will have been consumed during the first leg of the race.

Loving the swim will also make day to day training more enjoyable. You will no longer begrudge waking up early to get to the pool. Swim workouts will be easier because they will become more about loving what you are doing and less about when you can get out. Not to mention excellent opportunities to recover from bikes and runs while still improving and getting in a good workout.

Unfortunately, you cannot force love, but you can change your mindset to cultivate it. Here is how:

The first switch that must be flipped is seeing the obstacle–in this case swimming–as the way forward. Getting faster in the water definitely is a challenge. But because it is a challenge you will be stronger for it. Don’t fight it; embrace it with curiosity. Ask yourself: “How fast can I get?” But, just because it is challenging, does not mean it has to be difficult.

Part of the reason people hate swimming is that they see the task at hand as daunting. Instead, start small. If you are struggling with your swim form, it needs to be addressed 25m at a time. Doing shorter reps with perfect form has been shown to dramatically improve swim speeds without having to spend hours and hours in the pool.

A sample workout would be:
20-40 x 25 broken into sets of 5 that look like this:
Sets 1 and 2 are drills that address your specific weaknesses.
Sets 3 and 4 are regular swimming trying to bring the feel that the drill built into actual swimming.
Then on the 5th set go hard holding that perfect form into more intensity.

Repeat each round of 5 sets four times through. You can change the drill after two rounds or keep the same drill throughout.

The key is monitoring how you feel on each 25 and noting your pace and effort level. Treat each as an opportunity for improvement and make each 25 m count. From here, build to 50’s then to 100’s and beyond. When you get to an advanced level of swim skill and speed figure out your next obstacle and modify your training to meet it head on.

In the first few practices it might seem daunting to be able to swim 1500 m straight. Refocus on the process rather than that end goal. Be the best swimmer you are today and that means immersing yourself fully in making sure that 25 (or 50 or 100 or 200) is done with awareness. After each practice, monitor how you feel and look for indicators of improvement that go beyond times to rates of perceived exertion, how tired you are, being less sore than the practice before, even feeling refreshed rather than drained.

Recruiting others who are in the same position helps. Create a community of people be it on Facebook or a lane crew who are all striving to improve. You do not all have to be the same speed but everyone should want to be getting faster and have a curious and positive attitude. This type of positive environment will do wonders. People in our own TSC facebook group thrive because of the positive yet constructive feedback that they hear from others.

So by changing your mindset, approaching the goal with curiosity, starting small, immersing yourself one practice at a time, and creating a positive environment, you will foster a love for the swim that will make you a more complete (and faster) triathlete.

Coach Chris
Tri Swim Coach

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admin <![CDATA[Training with a tempo trainer is ruining your stroke]]> https://www.triswimcoach.com/?p=13816 2017-08-03T03:03:02Z 2017-08-03T03:03:02Z Many websites, swim coaches and programs recommend that beginner swimmers train with a tempo trainer (i.e. a “wetranome”) to help them find the ideal stroke rate. This little device goes underneath your swim cap and beeps every time you “should” take a stroke. In theory, this is supposed to help swimmers get their stroke rate/cadence [...]

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Many websites, swim coaches and programs recommend that beginner swimmers train with a tempo trainer (i.e. a “wetranome”) to help them find the ideal stroke rate. This little device goes underneath your swim cap and beeps every time you “should” take a stroke.

In theory, this is supposed to help swimmers get their stroke rate/cadence up. With a faster stroke rate, you become a faster swimmer without gliding or dead zones in your stroke. However, that little beep might be doing the opposite: ruining your efficiency and swimming economy.

Don’t get me wrong: I agree that many swimmers glide too much and the best way to reduce the glide is to increase the stroke rate. BUT, by trying to sync your stroke to a beep is not the way to do it.

By focusing on the beep, swimmers take short cuts to match it so that they can get their arm through the water as quickly as possible. This is what I see when swimmers focus just on cadence:

  • They do not rotate as much (i.e. swimming flat).
  • They pull with the shoulders instead of the lats.
  • They  drop their elbow in their haste.
  • They cross over to get their hand back into the water.
  • They will hold their breath because they are so focused on cadence.
  • When they do breathe, they lift their head.

So while they hit that magic strokes per minute, they have lost all efficiency and are wasting energy.

What can you do instead? Focus on all the ancillary mechanisms that naturally increase your stroke rate.

Doing the following drills will not directly increase your stroke rate. However, they will strengthen the areas of your swim that lead to a higher cadence AND a more efficient stroke.

  • Firstly, work on the mobility of the upper back through resistance band stretches that allow you to move your arms better and faster in the water. Shoulder and back impingement causes a weak stroke rate and pull.
  • Secondly, work on rotation so that you can engage more muscles and thus cut through the water. Check out the video here BONUS that it helps with sinking legs. This, in turn, will allow for higher turnover since you will have less drag.
  • Thirdly, focus on a strong, high elbow catch through drills like catch up drill and underwater recovery. This will increase your power per stroke, and if you can pull stronger, you can full faster.
  • Lastly, single arm swimming, when done correctly, will strengthen your pull. And since you are only using one arm you will naturally increase your cadence to keep moving forward.
  • BONUS: Use paddles (like these or these) which paradoxically slow down your cadence but at the same time increase power and strength. Once removed you will be able to pull at a higher cadence. Just be careful if you have shoulder problems. Use our promo code “TSC18TM” for 15% off at trisports.com

So if you use the wetranome, double check that you are not sacrificing form and efficiency for the sake of hitting an arbitrary number. If you have not yet, test before, focus on the above drills and then test again. Chances are you will not only hitting higher turnover rates but also faster.

Train Hard,

Coach Chris and Kev

 

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Dave <![CDATA[The Breathing Solution To Swimming With Coach Dominic Latella – TSC Podcast #119]]> https://www.triswimcoach.com/?p=13744 2017-08-01T20:39:58Z 2017-08-01T20:39:58Z Download this episode     In this episode of the TriSwim Coach Podcast, Kevin interviews top US swim coach and breathing expert Dominic Latella for the second time (see episode 111 for Dominic’s first appearance on Tri Swim Coach). Dominic has now discovered a new way of breathing that has been really effective with his swimming students, allowing [...]

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The Breathing Solution To Swimming With Dominic LatellaIn this episode of the TriSwim Coach Podcast, Kevin interviews top US swim coach and breathing expert Dominic Latella for the second time (see episode 111 for Dominic’s first appearance on Tri Swim Coach). Dominic has now discovered a new way of breathing that has been really effective with his swimming students, allowing them to swim faster without any issue with their breathing.

Learn all about this revolutionary breathing in this show!

Topics discussed in this episode:

  • What is postural respiratory
  • The usual protocols in swimming
  • Correcting interior pelvis tilt
  • What Dominic does differently in their trainings
  • Foundational Breathing Method
  • What good posture should look like
  • Ratio of land and water training
  • Who can learn this kind of breathing?
  • The beautiful outcome of this kind of breathing
  • Opinions on Wim Hof training
  • Flexibility and mobility versus strength
  • Learn about PRI
  • High Elbow Catch
  • Dominic’s Course

Links & Resources:

**If you’ve enjoyed this episode of Tri Swim Coach Triathlon Swimming, please subscribe and leave us a rating & review over on iTunes to help spread the word. Thank you!**

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Kevin Koskella <![CDATA[The 5 Triathlon Swim Rules You Need To Know]]> https://www.triswimcoach.com/?p=13673 2017-07-26T03:08:02Z 2017-07-18T14:38:12Z Coach Chris goes over the 5 triathlon swim rules you need to know to avoid things like confusion and disqualification on your swim. Transcript: Coach Chris: Hey, everyone, this is Coach Chris from triswimcoach.com, and I want to talk to you today about the rules of the triathlon swim. These are USAT sanctioned rules, meaning [...]

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Coach Chris goes over the 5 triathlon swim rules you need to know to avoid things like confusion and disqualification on your swim.

Transcript:

Coach Chris: Hey, everyone, this is Coach Chris from triswimcoach.com, and I want to talk to you today about the rules of the triathlon swim. These are USAT sanctioned rules, meaning if it’s an international race or if it’s an unaffiliated race, meaning it’s not sanctioned by USAT, you need to check with the race director to make sure that they follow these rules.

Or if they may have different rules, so definitely check with the race director to confirm.

The first rule is strokes. You can use any stroke that you want. Freestyle, which is the most common. Breast stroke, backstroke, even butterfly. You can use any stroke that you want.

Number two is bottom contact and resting. If the water is shallow enough and you for some reason need to stand, take a break, or because you feel nervous, you can do that.

You can stand up in shallow water. If you’re in deep water and you need to hold onto a kayak, a buoy, a piece of rope, any flotation, that’s fine as long as you don’t move forward in the race. That’s called forward assistance and you will be disqualified for that.

So you can hold onto something, as long as you’re not moving forward.

Number three. Emergencies. If you get into an emergency, raise your hand, pump your arm, and help will arrive. Now if you get pulled from the race, or get forward assistance, you will be disqualified. So keep that in mind.

Number four. Wetsuit temps. So if it equal to or underneath 78 degrees Fahrenheit, 25.6 degrees Celsius, you can wear a wetsuit. Full sleeve, no sleeve, the LAVA shorts, the Neoprene shorts, those are legal underneath 78 degrees Fahrenheit.

If it’s between 78 degrees Fahrenheit and 84 degrees Fahrenheit, that’s wetsuit optional. Now they will put you in your own race category, your own swim wave, and you will be not disqualified, but you will be ineligible for awards or Kona positions, 70.3 world slots.

So keep that in mind if you decide to wear a wetsuit in between 78 and 84 degrees Fahrenheit.

Above 84 degrees Fahrenheit you cannot wear a wetsuit. It’s wetsuit illegal. And that includes LAVA shorts and Neoprene shorts. You can, though, wear a textile based swim skin.

Also you need to make sure that your wetsuit is five millimeters or below. Most wetsuits follow this rule, but double check your thickness of your wetsuit.

Equipment, finally. You need to wear the cap that they give you, the swim cap that they gave you, you can wear a Neoprene cap or a swim cap underneath the cap that they gave you, but the swim cap that they issued you at check-in needs to be worn on top so that it’s visible.

You also cannot have any gloves, fins, bouys, anything that can be used for propulsion. Can’t wear those. And goggles are 100% optional. I don’t know why you wouldn’t, but just in case your goggles fall off, they are optional. So you don’t need to be worried about disqualification if your goggles fall off.

I hope that cleared up some confusion, and good luck in your next race.

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Chris http://www.triswimcoach.com <![CDATA[Are you really ready for an Ironman?]]> https://www.triswimcoach.com/?p=13666 2017-07-27T11:58:18Z 2017-07-13T13:06:26Z Scanning my news feed this past week, I came across this article on TrainingPeaks.  It gave three indicators that you are ready for a full distance Ironman. To summarize: Lifestyle – In essence, asking whether your family, work, and social commitments can support 15-25 hours a week of training, early bedtimes and adjusting to the [...]

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Are you really ready for an Ironman? Scanning my news feed this past week, I came across this article on TrainingPeaks.  It gave three indicators that you are ready for a full distance Ironman. To summarize:

  1. Lifestyle – In essence, asking whether your family, work, and social commitments can support 15-25 hours a week of training, early bedtimes and adjusting to the stress of training.
  2. Athletic experience – Is your body primed for the training and the demands of the course that you have selected specifically?
  3. Costs – Do you have the money not only for the race fees but the extra food and equipment of taking on a long distance triathlon?

All of these are valid points.  And the author, endurance coach and athlete Maria Simone, is fairly thorough in her analysis of what it takes to take on a full distance tri. I especially liked how she believes that the social environment in which you train has to be conducive for you to succeed. However, she glossed over three key points that I think should weigh more heavily in the mind of the athlete who is contemplating going long.

Firstly, a person’s health. While this ties into the lifestyle component of triathlon, she does not specifically mention it, so I will. Mark Sisson and Brad Kearns, host of The Primal Endurance Podcast, argue that an athlete’s health is one of the most important things that he/she has. To truly succeed, you need to optimize your health first. This is why in our program “The Fit Triathlete,” we emphasize health as the basis of your training pyramid instead of the training itself. (Listen to our round table discussion here for more on Brad and how health plays into triathlon training). In order to take on a triathlon, you need a healthy lifestyle in order to adapt to the stress of training.

Secondly, I would have emphasized the swim and the run. While she does mention that you need some athletic experience especially with longer events, I think athletes who want to race a full distance triathlon need more swim experience before advancing to the 2.4 mile race. A cyclist, for example who has no experience swimming but who can go out and ride a bike for hours on end, is not necessarily ready to take on an Ironman.

Your swimming (both form and endurance) has to be at the point where you are relatively fresh getting out of the water after a solid workout. Otherwise, no matter how fit you are on the bike and run, you are not going to make it through the day by the cut off because you will not have any energy left. Nor is it going to be an enjoyable experience.

Even after 24 weeks of swimming, if your swim program or coach has not addressed your technique weaknesses, you are sabotaging the rest of your day. Yes, you might be able to swim the distance. But can you swim the distance without so much energy loss that you jeopardize your bike and run.

Of course you hear about people who go from couch to Ironman in the course of 24 weeks, and still go under the 17 hour cut off. But are they the exception or the norm? These stories overshadow the countless athletes who are pulled out of the water in the swim ending their day. Of the three disciplines, the biggest concern and weakness for the majority of participants is the swim.  Thus fitness, form, and swim psychology needs to be in place before bumping up to the Ironman distance.

And the run is by far the most demanding on the body. Unlike swimming and biking, the third leg of the triathlon is where people run (pun fully intended) the risk of injury. Add in weak hips, low mobility, tight hamstrings, calves, and  quads, and you have a recipe for injury before you even get to race day. You cannot complete a triathlon if you are not able to run because of injury. Running consistently and injury-free, therefore, needs to be a factor in the IM registration decision.

Lastly, and most importantly, there is no mention in the article as to the “why”. Even if you have the best swim form and health, enough money to buy several bikes, and never get injured, you have to have a strong reason to train for the Ironman.

This “why” has to go beyond the desire to beat your co worker or put the tattoo on your calf or the bumper sticker on your car. It has to be strong enough to get you up at 4:30 am to get to the pool and to lace up your trainers at the end of a full day of work. If that intrinsic drive is not there, you are wasting your money and time. With the proper drive and mindset though, you can overcome all the rest of the needs for Ironman training.

So are you ready for an Ironman? Yes, you may be able to check off all the physical and environmental boxes, but can you check off that “mental drive” box?

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Dominic Latella http://theswimbox.com <![CDATA[How To Fix Sinking Legs In Freestyle]]> https://www.triswimcoach.com/?p=13654 2017-07-28T03:18:43Z 2017-07-07T20:04:18Z I have been seeing a lot of posts on the Tri Swim Coach Facebook page about people trying to get more efficient and get their legs up. A few of the videos and images these individuals share demonstrate the swimmer has lordosis or excessive curvature of the spine. Lordosis is a posture in which the [...]

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I have been seeing a lot of posts on the Tri Swim Coach Facebook page about people trying to get more efficient and get their legs up. A few of the videos and images these individuals share demonstrate the swimmer has lordosis or excessive curvature of the spine.

Lordosis is a posture in which the lower back is arched downward.

This means no matter what you do to lift your legs up you will always be slightly sinking and swimming uphill. A lot of swimmers trying to combat this issue will bury their heads deep in the water or put their arms really deep out in front as a counter weight to their “sinking hips”.

Sometimes these movements can help make some corrections.​ But if a swimmer has lordosis, these corrections will not help very much or at all. This problem is common in triathletes because of running, cycling, and sitting a lot. This is a very complicated issue to fix and should not be considered a quick fix or easy to correct.

But fear not,​ there is hope. At SwimBox we have created some breathing protocols to help.  And we are seeing some really great results. Here are some before and after photos of swimmers:

before-and-after

before-and-after-2

xiphoid processThe breathing protocols might be a little much for someone to try on their own. One simple cue that helps, is to make sure your xiphoid process (or the point end of your sternum; see photo for reference) is pushing inward towards your spine as you swim. This helps keep your ribs internally rotated and helps to lengthen your spine.

It might feel like you are slouching,​ but I promise you, you aren’t. Give it a try with just kicking on your stomach with your hands down by your side first. ​Try to​ kick and see if you can make the sternum adjustment.

This should be the easiest position to learn and maintain this posture. Here is a video progression of kicking on your stomach ​into​ underwater recovery freestyle to help focus on keeping this new posture.


​​
It becomes more difficult as you take your arm​ overhead.  If you have limited range of motion in your shoulder, you will start to use your lower back to assist your shoulder’s range of motion.

That​’​s not to say you won’t be able to maintain it.  You will just have to focus more on keeping that xiphoid process pointing towards your spine.

I’d love to see pictures or videos of you guys trying this. If I can give any feedback on them I will.​

-Dominic

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Chris http://www.triswimcoach.com <![CDATA[3 Ways to Fasttrack Your Swimming Progress – Beginner’s edition]]> https://www.triswimcoach.com/?p=13646 2017-07-31T03:26:42Z 2017-06-28T09:42:31Z I have some news to you new swimmers: There are no shortcuts in swimming and training. You put in the work and the quality and volume of that work dictates your results. You put in junk you are going to get junk results.  But if you put in quality and consistent work you are going [...]

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3 Ways to Fasttrack Your Swimming Progress-Beginner's editionI have some news to you new swimmers: There are no shortcuts in swimming and training.

You put in the work and the quality and volume of that work dictates your results. You put in junk you are going to get junk results.  But if you put in quality and consistent work you are going to achieve your goals.

Unfortunately with swimming, the gains can be small and definitely do not occur overnight: five seconds here; a few less strokes per 100; breathing every 3 strokes instead of every stroke; only having to take a break after each lap instead of every length; swimming outside without panicking.

All of these small gains should be celebrated. But what if I told you, that you could fast track these small steps. These are not shortcuts.  Nor are they hacks because both of those will only give you temporary gains and can ingrain bad habits. These are proven actions you can take now to avoid the frustration of losing and wasting training sessions and time.

  1. Video analysis is the first and best way to fast track results. Instead of wasting time guessing what drill you need to do and what types of workouts you should do, video analysis and having a coach look over your stroke will target exactly what you need to focus on in your stroke and how to fix your problems step by step. Video analysis is so important that we include it for free with our upgraded TSC program. It is that crucial.
  2. A structured training program: Knowing the issues of your stroke and fitness is only half the issue. Once you know what you need to fix, you need a plan that will fix it. The plan should be specific, structured, and progressive. You cannot randomly go to the pool and do a speed session here, take a few days off, then get in again for maybe a continuous swim or just a few laps of drills, then take a week off. Well you could do this but you would not see authentic progress. One of the reasons that so many of our athletes have found success is that our plan plan is not random.  It builds consistent and long lasting swim habits.
  3. Focus on one thing: When you get your stroke analyzed for the first time and see your seemingly complex training schedule, fixing your form seems like a Herculean task. Instead, you should first take a deep breath and focus on ONE small habit. One task that we really like to give our beginner athletes when they first join is the bubble drill. All you have to do is float on your stomach (or even more simply, put your face in the water) and blow bubbles. THAT’S IT. Then when you are comfortable breathing underwater, you move on to the next tweak in your form and then the next.

If you follow these 3 steps early on in your training, you will be laughing at the water without wasting weeks of training or being paralyzed by the work you have to do.

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Chris http://www.triswimcoach.com <![CDATA[What to do after you hit the panic button…]]> https://www.triswimcoach.com/?p=13631 2017-07-31T03:33:08Z 2017-06-21T12:16:19Z The sound of the gun fades into the early morning mist. The water is cold and murky as you swim, and the bottom of the lake disappears into the gloom. Clouds of muck swirl below you. Then a dark blur stirs bellow you. Was it a shark or just a fish or something else? Other [...]

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The sound of the gun fades into the early morning mist. What to do after you hit the panic button...

The water is cold and murky as you swim, and the bottom of the lake disappears into the gloom.

Clouds of muck swirl below you. Then a dark blur stirs bellow you. Was it a shark or just a fish or something else? Other racers’ bodies continue to push around you as you continue to swim out to the first buoy.

Your heart rate rises.

Your breath shortens.

You raise your head to take a breath but all you get is a mouth full of water.

“I don’t think I am going to make it,” you say. “What am I going to do? This is insane. This is hopeless.”

Have you been here?

Even with the best of race plans, open water swim anxiety can be problematic and ruin your race day. But it is possible to rebound from an attack. The key is to calm down and get back into a rhythm as quickly as possible.

So if this happens to you and you have hit the panic button, stop and follow this 5 step action plan:

  1. Let everyone go ahead: If you are in the melee, then get out of it and let everyone else clear out before getting back in the swim. Once the water clears (which shouldn’t be long at all), stop, flip over, float and…
  2. Take deep breaths: It might be simple but the easiest and fastest way to calm down is to stop hyperventilating and focus on the breath. Try a four breath in, four breath out pace. Feel your wetsuit or diaphragm expand and contract with each breath. Remind yourself that you are perfectly safe. There are many volunteers ready to take action if something actually does go awry. After you have gotten a hold of your breath…
  3. Start backstroke: Before trying to get back into the race, do a few strokes on your back to warm the muscles up again and get back into a rhythm. This might take some time but it is alright as long as you keep moving forward. You can also tread water until you are ready.
  4. Keep going: Once you are ready to keep on moving and the water is fairly clear, resume swimming. To keep the anxiety down, keep your stroke smooth and relaxed while focusing on the present moment and what is going on around you. To keep the engagement in the present moment, it is alright to have a running dialogue of what you are doing like “I am putting my left arm into the water…I pull back with a high elbow…I breath…right arm…high elbow….strong pull…recovery, breath….”
  5. If you feel the panic coming back, return to the present moment and your smooth stroke and relaxed breath (the more oxygen the better). Remind yourself again that you are 100% safe in the water. There are 1000+ other people out here too in addition to plenty of EMTs. Go back to step 1 if need be.

As you continue to swim try to avoid crowds and take a wider course around buoys. It might add on time but a few more minutes is better than a DNF at this point.

If you have experienced this before and have some helpful tips to share, let us know via Twitter or Facebook with the hashtag #laughatthewater

 

 

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admin <![CDATA[How to have a successful triathlon swim start]]> https://www.triswimcoach.com/?p=13626 2017-06-20T10:03:13Z 2017-06-20T09:54:44Z Triathlon Swim Start Success Coach Kevin discusses the 4 ways to have a successful swim start:

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Triathlon Swim Start Success

Coach Kevin discusses the 4 ways to have a successful swim start:

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Chris http://www.triswimcoach.com <![CDATA[4 “Shortcuts” to a faster Triathlon swim]]> https://www.triswimcoach.com/?p=13614 2017-07-31T04:05:56Z 2017-06-14T03:28:05Z Have you found that despite a winter of solid progress in the pool, when you get into the open water, you fall short? Are you looking for that secret workout or tip that will take your open water swims to the next level? We have three of them are guaranteed to take your open water [...]

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4 "Shortcuts" to a faster Triathlon swim Have you found that despite a winter of solid progress in the pool, when you get into the open water, you fall short?

Are you looking for that secret workout or tip that will take your open water swims to the next level?

We have three of them are guaranteed to take your open water game to the next level.

  1. Swim more in the open water: I know what you are thinking: “That’s not really a shortcut”.  But the hard fact is that many people are slower in open water than in the pool because they do not swim enough in open water. Swimming in the pool all the way up until race day is like only running on the treadmill (while taking a quick 5 s break every 200 meters). And then expecting to run a fast half marathon on rolling terrain. You improve most on what you do most frequently. Including at least one open water swim in the peak and race phase of your training will help you to a faster open water swim.
  2. No wall sets: Let’s say you cannot get to open water, which I know is hard for many people. Then including sets in which you do a flip turn at the flags and not touch the walls will simulate the surging aspects of races and eliminate the mini breaks you get on the wall. Be sure you either have the lane to yourself or the people in your lane are doing the same workout.
  3. Muscular Endurance sets: Another big factor in why people slow down in open water is strength especially in the shoulders. You need strong muscles to be able to swim continuously and resist fatigue. The best way to do this is to do long swim sets in the open water (see number 1). Or use a Vasa swim ergometer.  This will not only target your shoulders but also apply steady resistance like you will encounter in open water. In the pool you have to be a bit more creative to find a way to fatigue your shoulders and swim longer. One way to do this is deck ups before or during a 200-500 m set at race pace intensity.
  4. Sighting: Many people lose time in open water because they don’t sight well and go off course. People have swum as much as an extra half mile in a race because they were zig zagging all over the course. To stop this, you need to sight better without breaking form. Check out our video here on some drills to improve:
  5. Bonus for advanced swimmers: Toys like paddles and drag suits will help with muscular endurance. And a drag suit simulates a strong current. This is for advanced swimmers only because if your high elbow catch is poor, wearing paddles will aggravate the rotator cuff and cause shoulder problems. Wearing a drag suit will also cause more harm than good if your form is poor.

There is not a magic pill to becoming a faster open water swimmer.  However, these tips will give you a way to avoid doing workouts that are more for pool racers than triathletes.

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admin <![CDATA[Swim sighting for open water triathlons]]> https://www.triswimcoach.com/?p=13606 2017-06-09T23:27:23Z 2017-06-09T23:27:23Z In this video, Coach Dominic takes you through the drills you will need to practice to improve your swim sighting for open water triathlons. This is a crucial part of the swim that can’t be overlooked! Make sure to practice in the pool, and then in the open water.

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In this video, Coach Dominic takes you through the drills you will need to practice to improve your swim sighting for open water triathlons.

This is a crucial part of the swim that can’t be overlooked! Make sure to practice in the pool, and then in the open water.

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Kevin Koskella <![CDATA[Transformation Through Triathlon With Michelle Dinsdale – TSC Podcast #118]]> http://www.triswimcoach.com/?p=13456 2017-05-24T19:19:19Z 2017-05-24T19:13:10Z Download this episode     In this episode of the TriSwim Coach Podcast, Kevin interviews age group triathlete Michelle Dinsdale.  Currently as a health coach, she now helps people from all walks of life transform their bodies and improve their energy so that they can get more done in less time. Topics discussed in this episode: Her background and what [...]

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In this episode of the TriSwim Coach Podcast, Kevin interviews age group triathlete Michelle Dinsdale.  Currently as a health coach, she now helps people from all walks of life transform their bodies and improve their energy so that they can get more done in less time.

Topics discussed in this episode:

  • Her background and what was like growing in South Africa
  • Reaching school standards
  • How she got into triathlon
  • “You can do this” mentality
  • What “swimming like a dancer” means
  • The many positive things she encountered doing triathlons
  • Measuring your diet
  • Sugar, MCT Oil and Ketosis
  • Kids adapting to changes in food
  • Favorite races

Links & Resources:

**If you’ve enjoyed this episode of Tri Swim Coach Triathlon Swimming, please subscribe and leave us a rating & review over on iTunes to help spread the word. Thank you!**

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Chris http://www.triswimcoach.com <![CDATA[Two Truths and a Lie about Swimming]]> http://www.triswimcoach.com/?p=13474 2017-08-01T03:29:50Z 2017-05-24T14:03:58Z If you ever did a team bonding activity back in school or some corporate environments, you might have played the corny game “two truths and a lie”. Participants would gather round and each would say two truths about themselves (e.g. I coach for Tri Swim coach and I like swimming on a Vasa more than [...]

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Two Truths and a Lie about SwimmingIf you ever did a team bonding activity back in school or some corporate environments, you might have played the corny game “two truths and a lie”. Participants would gather round and each would say two truths about themselves (e.g. I coach for Tri Swim coach and I like swimming on a Vasa more than in a pool) and one lie (e.g. I enjoy swimming backstroke). The other players are supposed to guess what the lie is and what the truth is.

In principle, the game helps you get to know your peers, and test your knowledge of your friends. So let’s play a round of “Two truths and a Lie–Tri Swim coach edition.” Can you spot the lie?…. and no cheating by scrolling to the bottom.

  1. Doing drills will make you slower.
  2. Triathletes do not need to do dryland because they bike and run, which doubles as dryland.
  3. Triathletes neglect the kick because they need to preserve their legs for the bike and run.

So which two are fact and which one is fiction?…………

The truth is they are all myths!

Drills are important for swimmers during certain parts of their swim career. For the entry level swimmer, the majority of practice (but not all!) should be spent doing drills so that you can develop a better and proper feel for the water.

The critical concept is that drills are beneficial only if the swimmer translates that feel and position into their actual stroke.  This is why we include intensity or cruise swimming in all of our swim programs. As a swimmer improves it becomes important that the yardage ratio of swimming:drills shifts towards swimming (and swimming at intensity too). Once a swimmer has achieved a good level of efficiency, drills might only be done in the warm up for 100-200 m just to “wake up” the muscles.  So drills will not make you slow unless you do them mindlessly and without purpose.

Onto lie two: dryland is not important. You can skip dryland–which I define here as core work, mobility, and strength–and still get faster. However that speed might be short lived because you run the risk of injury especially repetitive use injuries, shoulder strains, rotator cuff tears, IT band syndrome, piriformis strains, psoas tightness, and lower back pains. Moreover, including “swims” on the Vasa Ergometer will actually improve your swim directly.

Including a structured and progressive strength and mobility program like what I outlined in my series “How to Bulletproof your Shoulders” (here and here) is important to building strength in muscles and preventing overuse injuries not to mention help you look good too. For masters athletes, it becomes even more important.

I have talked about the importance of yoga in the past and will restate it here. Yoga helps you as a triathlete and swimmer because in “unlocks” tight muscles like the psoas and hip flexor, that when tight can impede power output on the bike and give you that achy feeling when you get off. A weak core, which yoga will strengthen, will prevent you from rotating properly and holding yourself “up” in the water.

Swimmers and triathletes do not have to spend a lot of time in the gym and yoga studio. But 2 to 3 sessions a week goes a long way toward strengthening your core.

Finally the myth about not kicking. If you have ever tied a band around your ankles and tried to swim, you quickly realized how much your legs sink. You needed to focus on keeping your lower body up. While triathletes do not need to focus on their kick like pool swimmers, it is still important. An efficient kick will keep you balanced in the water, help with rotation, and propel you forward instead of laterally. But don’t reach for the kick board quite yet.

For a triathlete to improve his/her kick, the 6/3/6 drill which will also help with rotation in the water, and vertical kicking–a TSC success program staple—beats straight kick sets.

If you spotted that they were all myths, major brownie points. You know your swimming!

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Chris http://www.triswimcoach.com <![CDATA[3 Things All Good Swim Programs Do]]> http://www.triswimcoach.com/?p=13425 2017-08-04T03:04:52Z 2017-05-16T15:35:18Z It is hard to boil down swimming success to three points especially since everyone has unique weaknesses. Some people need to focus on balancing in the water, while others need to focus on a high elbow catch, and others need to focus more on intensity and speed. However, there are three things that all successful [...]

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3 things all good swim programs doIt is hard to boil down swimming success to three points especially since everyone has unique weaknesses.

Some people need to focus on balancing in the water, while others need to focus on a high elbow catch, and others need to focus more on intensity and speed.

However, there are three things that all successful programs share that lead to your success. These are the programs that turn first timers into successful finishers, as well as middle of the packers into podium placers.

#1: Meets you where you are currently

The most successful programs find out where your fitness is, set a baseline, then structure the rest of the program around improving that. Regardless of whether you can only swim 25 m at a time or you are churning out 1000 m repeats, a good plan acknowledges this place then works to improve this. Instead of imposing arbitrary times, splits, and workouts on to you or putting you in a lane that you are not able to handle or that is too easy, the best program works from where you are.

This also means that the plan meets you where your life is. Some cookie-cutter programs on the web will insist that you swim four times or more a week. While this volume is ideal for making gains, this is sometimes not realistic for many working, family-focused athletes. Unless you have a Vasa of course and then you have no excuses and 4+ swims a week becomes a piece of cake.

A good program however, will recognize this and will allow you to train that amount that you are able. The best volume of swimming is the amount that you can do without over-stressing you in all of life’s departments, and a good swim program sees this.

#2: Structured and Progressive

One of the reasons that people find success in training programs–even cookie cutter ones on the internet and out of magazines– is that they finally structure the amount of stress given. Good plans will give just the right amount of stress, followed by recovery, then gives another dose this time a tad bit bigger. Tolerable stress is highly individual given age, lifestyle, fitness, sleep, etc.  A good program recognizes all of these factors.

#3: Turns your limiters into strengths

Many swim programs give general advice like: work on your forearm catch or your balance in the water. But what if these areas do not need improving? Don’t waste your time on drills that are irrelevant to you. Instead, focus on drills and intervals that target your weaknesses. This is why we include video analysis into our all access pass. We want to target your limiters and turn them into strengths.

For beginners, there are key parts of the stroke that are common weaknesses like sinking legs, crossing over, rotation, kick etc. But there are many who do not need this focus. Instead, you may need to do more speed work, endurance, or open water swimming.

Overall, good programs take a “zen” approach to training: they find where you are as an individual athlete, put you on your own path, then nudge you forward towards what you want to achieve.

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Chris http://www.triswimcoach.com <![CDATA[The coaching world has a HUGE PROBLEM]]> http://www.triswimcoach.com/?p=13403 2017-08-04T03:17:17Z 2017-05-09T09:47:20Z The coaching world has a HUGE PROBLEM. It happens in swimming, triathlon, running, cycling, weight training, fitness….. almost every sport. It ruins athletes, breaks down their motivation, and destroys seasons. The problem is that coaches design programs around them not you, the athlete. Even if you are self coached, you are not immune. Many coaches design [...]

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The coaching world has a HUGE PROBLEMThe coaching world has a HUGE PROBLEM.

It happens in swimming, triathlon, running, cycling, weight training, fitness….. almost every sport.

It ruins athletes, breaks down their motivation, and destroys seasons.

The problem is that coaches design programs around them not you, the athlete. Even if you are self coached, you are not immune.

Many coaches design their program based on their own ego. They give you splits to hit based not on your current fitness levels, but on what they think you should hit. They design workouts and training programs not on where you are as an athlete, but on their own preconceived notion of what an athlete should be able to do. And the worst part? If you do not hit those times and are not able to do those workouts, it’s your fault!

You can fall into this trap even if you are self coached. Many self coached triathletes and swimmers have these false conceptions about what  a “good training program should be” and times that a triathlete should have.

Have you or your coach ever said:

  • “You should train X hours a week to be successful”
  • “You should  be swimming X times on these repeats….”
  • “Every other workout needs to be HARD for me to get better”

How did it make you feel? Downcast? Like you never will get there? Not to mention that you left most workouts feeling like a failure because you were not able to hit the times, splits or even complete some workouts, which is a huge problem if you want to be successful.

One of the main reasons that programs, like the TSC Success Plan and The Fit Triathlete,  live up to their name and are successful programs is because they put you, with all your current strengths and weaknesses, at the center of the program. Whether you start at a 2 min/100 or a 1:20/100 you should be able to adapt the program to you.

So how can you start being athlete centered even if you are self coached? Follow these 5 steps:

  1. Accept where you are and embrace it. If you are going to be training, you are starting on a transformational journey, on which is does not matter where you start it, but rather where you “end.”
  2. Start training from this beginning and push yourself just a little bit each time. Instead of setting inappropriate splits, set your splits to where you are then modify from there. So, if your cruise pace is 2:30 per 100, stick with it and let your paces come down naturally with training.
  3. Create a workout and nutrition plan that you can stick with. It is ok to have lofty goals of swimming, biking, and running 6 times a week. But most of the time those plans are unachievable because of limitations with your life.  Instead of leaping straight into that training program and forcing it, make small changes that you know you can hit like getting to the pool an extra time each week and sticking with it. Once, you achieve it and it has become natural then add on one more goal, master it, and repeat.
  4. Approach your progress or obstacles with a sense of curiosity instead of morality. If your training plan falls through, instead of saying “I’m a failure” say “I wonder why this happened.” Get to the root cause, make adjustments and carry on.
  5. Be aware of the changes. I see this a lot with swimmers. They train for weeks and weeks and they get “only” get 5 s faster but they fail to see the major gains that they have made else where like the ability to swim 200 straight without stopping instead of gasping after a 25. Or that they are no longer tired after a workout. If you follow an athlete centered plan then change will happen and you must savor each part of that change.

So if your coach (or your inner coach) has a big ego and their program is more about them than you, you need to switch to “Team You.”

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Dominic Latella http://theswimbox.com <![CDATA[Swim Slow To Go Fast]]> http://www.triswimcoach.com/?p=13392 2017-05-03T17:50:39Z 2017-05-03T17:02:42Z By Dominic Latella The Swim Box It’s always much easier to swim fast, it’s just not maintainable for more than 25 or 50 yards. Learning to swim slowly is what’s really hard, and it’s what most, if not all, swimmers need to do in order to learn to control what they’re doing. Swimming fast provides [...]

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By Dominic Latella
The Swim Box

It’s always much easier to swim fast, it’s just not maintainable for more than 25 or 50 yards. Learning to swim slowly is what’s really hard, and it’s what most, if not all, swimmers need to do in order to learn to control what they’re doing.

Swimming fast provides us with easy balance and buoyancy without even realizing it’s happening. Once we slow things down we are forced to have learn to balance with our trunk, legs, arms, an even head.

That’s a lot of moving parts and a lot to think about. It is impossible to try to control and focus on everything all at once. Its much smart to have a check list so you can think about each item on that list one at a time.

The more you can do something correctly the longer you’ll be able to maintain it, and then it becomes a habit.

As a swimmer you should pick a priority for what you want to correct. That priority should be number one on your mental check list. Once you can perform that task well you can move on to your second item. And then your third item and so on. Then you just keep repeating that list. This is what will turn proper technique into habit.

During drill work make sure you take the time to understand the drill and focus solely on what that drill is designed to help you with. I hear from my SwimBox clients all the time that their legs were, “all over the over the place”, or ,”my breath was really bad”.

But the drill we were working on was about the catch phase, not their legs or how they take a breath. Sure, it would be great if they could do everything all at once, but that’s just unrealistic.

I am guilty of this as a coach. I will only focus on what the task is at hand is and not pay attention to what their legs are doing, or what their breath is like. It would not be very helpful if I told a swimmer, “nice job on the drill, but your legs – that had nothing to with the drill – were crap.”

When we give a video analysis we like to try to point out as much as we can see in order to give you guys have all the information. But in no way should you being trying to correct everything all at once.

Sometimes if you correct one issue it can end up clearing up a few other issues. Two birds with one stone. And we love when that happens, but we don’t know until we slow things down and work on issues piece by piece. So take your time, slow things down, and focus on one thing at a time.

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Kevin Koskella <![CDATA[Triathlon As Art – TSC Podcast #117]]> http://www.triswimcoach.com/?p=13372 2017-05-03T00:50:58Z 2017-05-03T00:50:58Z Download this episode     In this episode, Kevin reads an email he made back in December where he share about triathlon as a form of art. Delve deeper into this philosophy and how this could affect you as an athlete by listening to the valuable lessons from this episode. Topics discussed in this episode: The content [...]

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Download this episode

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In this episode, Kevin reads an email he made back in December where he share about triathlon as a form of art. Delve deeper into this philosophy and how this could affect you as an athlete by listening to the valuable lessons from this episode.

Topics discussed in this episode:

  • The content of the email
  • Your art could be…
  • The WHY behind racing Triathlons
  • Bringing something into the world

Links & Resources:

**If you’ve enjoyed this episode of Tri Swim Coach Triathlon Swimming, please subscribe and leave us a rating & review over on iTunes to help spread the word. Thank you!**

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Chris http://www.triswimcoach.com <![CDATA[The biggest obstacle to your swimming]]> http://www.triswimcoach.com/?p=13380 2017-05-01T12:18:52Z 2017-05-01T12:18:52Z I have been coaching with TSC for almost 8 years and the biggest issue that I see with swimmers has nothing to do with the water….. No it’s not sinking hips….. Not even high elbow catch Nor “efficiency”…… Can you guess it? It’s how swimmers talk to themselves. That is the biggest barrier swimmers face [...]

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The biggest obstacle to your swimmingI have been coaching with TSC for almost 8 years and the biggest issue that I see with swimmers has nothing to do with the water…..

No it’s not sinking hips…..

Not even high elbow catch

Nor “efficiency”……

Can you guess it?

It’s how swimmers talk to themselves. That is the biggest barrier swimmers face to improvement because without it, your hips will continue to sink, elbow drop, and waste energy with each stroke.

Looking over the emails that we get at TSC, our private and public Facebook group, and the individual consults with athletes for out Fit Triathlete program, many swimmers describe themselves as

  • Runners/Cyclists who play around in the water
  • Horrible and/or hopeless swimmers
  • Just wanting to get through the swim
  • Just wanting to survive the swim
  • Drowners
  • Terrified of the water

Have you ever told yourself that or maybe something worse? Do you see how harmful that is to your progress?

If you tell yourself that you suck at swimming or are inefficient or only want to get through the swim so that you can get on the bike, you automatically shut yourself down and block potential progress. Tell it to yourself enough and you will live into that feeling and embody it.

Instead embrace your potential as a swimmer. Even if you are swimming for the first time, you can learn to swim and swim well. Yes, it will take time; yes, it will tough and frustrating. But, if you embrace the challenge and embrace the fact that every drill that you do, every lap taken, and every workout you do if done purposefully and mindfully will take you closer to your goals.

Next time you catch yourself telling yourself negative thoughts try these instead:

  • My swim is a work in progress and is improving with each workout
  • My swim is my biggest challenge and I am taking that challenge head on
  • There is nothing to fear about the swim
  • Progress not perfection
  • The power to improve is within my grasp
  • Best mode engaged
  • Let’s have some fun today

At TSC, our first goal is for you “to laugh at the water” and in doing so unleash your your inner swimmer. Countless of our clients in our Success Plan have gone from 3:00min/100 to 1:30/100 and beyond and you can to, but the first stroke is in your mind.

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Kevin Koskella <![CDATA[The ‘Play vs Structure’ Show – TSC Podcast #116]]> http://www.triswimcoach.com/?p=13285 2017-06-08T05:06:24Z 2017-04-12T16:07:22Z Download this episode     With your swim training, do you add a little of play or is it all about structure? Kevin and Chris discuss their take on this idea of free play, and how it can help your training in many ways. Don’t miss it! Topics discussed in this episode: Chris studies on Sport Psychology [...]

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With your swim training, do you add a little of play or is it all about structure? Kevin and Chris discuss their take on this idea of free play, and how it can help your training in many ways. Don’t miss it!

Topics discussed in this episode:

  • Chris studies on Sport Psychology
  • Figuring out qualities of a good coach
  • Bad Coaches vs Good Coaches
  • The caveat of saying “Good Job!”
  • Play vs Structured workouts
  • Ways to play in swimming
  • Listening to your body
  • How to create a structure

Links & Resources:

**If you’ve enjoyed this episode of Tri Swim Coach Triathlon Swimming, please subscribe and leave us a rating & review over on iTunes to help spread the word. Thank you!**

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Chris http://www.triswimcoach.com <![CDATA[Bulletproof Your Shoulders: Part 2]]> http://www.triswimcoach.com/?p=13297 2017-06-05T06:50:56Z 2017-04-12T13:05:49Z Now that you read part 1 and the prologue to TSC swimmers guide to bulletproofing your shoulders here is part two of the workout program. Why so many parts? The reason I broke this up into 3 installments (the last one is coming next week) is because as your season changes your strength routine should change [...]

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Bulletproof your shoulders: Part 2Now that you read part 1 and the prologue to TSC swimmers guide to bulletproofing your shoulders here is part two of the workout program. Why so many parts?

The reason I broke this up into 3 installments (the last one is coming next week) is because as your season changes your strength routine should change too in order to complement what your primary focus is (i.e. swimming).

Last week was the intro phase which is good for the off-season months when your A race is many more months away, your training is low relative to the peak months, and you are ready to lay a foundation for stronger shoulders and more swim volume. This stage would also be a perfect to compliment a program like the “Fit Triathlete” or the early weeks of the Triathlon Swim program

But what if you are in the middle of a season (like now)? Fear not and read on…..

You still need that intro stage even if, I should say especially if, you are approaching a key race. You definitely do not want to jump into stage 2 and 3 thinking, “Oh, I know my way in the weight room. I used to play football/rugby/soccer/baseball (or insert other popular, team sport) back in high school. That stuff is way too easy….pass me the 25 dumbbells so that I can bang out some lateral raises”.

WRONG.

Chances are your shoulders are pinched, immobile and fragile and your form in the pool and your lack of a high elbow catch is not helping.

You NEED to wake up the different  parts of your shoulder which are most likely neglected and tight from being in the TT position on the bike, not placing your hand properly when swimming, and typing too much on a keyboard.  SO do NOT skip to part 2 until you have laid a good foundation of mobility and a bit of strength.

Now onto Part II:

The goals of part two is to build upon the mobility movements we started in part I and add on different movements for strength. Here are my top three exercises:

  1. Forward and Lateral raises: Stand just narrower than shoulder width apart with two light dumbbells. Raise them straight forward, palms facing down, with a slight bend in your arms until they are shoulder height, pause, now move them to the side keeping the weight at the same height, so that your body now forms a T, then lower your arms to your side. Repeat
  2. Resistance Band Ls: Anchor a resistance band just lower than shoulder height and step back so that you have some good resistance but some movement can be made. Hold one handle in each hand, palms facing down. Your arms should form an L that is parallel to the ground with your elbows in line with your shoulder and your wrists in line with your elbows. Rotate your hand up, keeping your elbow and arm in the same place so now that it forms an L that is perpendicular to the ground. Rotate back and repeat.
  3. Straight arm Lat pulldowns: Standing in front of a lat pulldown bar, place your hands on the bar and keeping your arms straight push down. Pause when the bar hits your hips and return.
  4. Continue to hang: While this was in the first phase, this is an exercise you can do year round (and should!)

This phase is best for the build and race phases of your training. Since you always want to be progressing, change the resistance, number of reps or weight every week or so. During race phase decrease the weight and increase the reps. Then after your key races return to phase 1 but this time with some light dumbbells or more resistance on the bands.

You are well on your way to bulletproof shoulders!

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Chris http://www.triswimcoach.com <![CDATA[Bulletproof Your Shoulders: Part 1]]> http://www.triswimcoach.com/?p=13141 2017-06-05T06:58:38Z 2017-04-04T11:04:03Z Did you read last week’s blog? If you have not, pause, click here, and read my rant before reading any further; the rest of this article will be waiting when you get back. I promise. Now that you are better informed about the importance and of a good, structured strength regimen and how it is [...]

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Bulletproof your shoulders: Part 1Did you read last week’s blog?

If you have not, pause, click here, and read my rant before reading any further; the rest of this article will be waiting when you get back. I promise.

Now that you are better informed about the importance and of a good, structured strength regimen and how it is dependent upon a good, structured training program for it to work, there is one point that a reader pointed out to me: what about injury prehab?

While swimming is low impact, swimmers are particularly prone to shoulder injuries. Just ask Coach Kevin, who has been dealing with shoulder issues since college.

Prevention is the best medicine so including these shoulder and back exercises will help significantly. As I mentioned in part 1, you need structure so here is my progression for prehab exercises for upper body that can bulletproof your shoulders.

Below is “Stage One” where the focus is on mobility and muscle activation. You are most likely not used to working your shoulders like this so it is important to start without weight then by the end of the 3-6 week progression add in light dumbbells.

  1. Wall slides: Stand with your back against a wall, “cactus” your arms at a 90 degree angles palms facing up. Slide your arms up pause then back down. Your back should remain glued to the wall
  2. Ys, Rs, and Ts: Lying on a swiss ball extend both arms out to form a Y, pause and return to the start. Then extend your arms to the side to form a T. Lastly, hold your arms so that your arms are bent at 90 degrees, elbows in line with your shoulders, fists pointing to the ground, biceps parallel to the floor. Rotate your fists up so that they are in line with our body now. Pause, then rotate back down. Note, your elbows and biceps  should not move. The only part of your body that should move is your forearms and hands.   You can start to include light weights towards the end of this phase.
  3. Bar hanging: As Kevin mentioned in this post here, just hanging as if you were going to do a chin up can help your shoulders tremendously.

Stay tuned for Part Two when we go from mobility to strength.

 

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admin <![CDATA[What the Karate Kid can teach you about swim drills]]> http://www.triswimcoach.com/?p=13136 2017-06-05T07:06:06Z 2017-04-03T16:25:31Z (from Coach Dominic) I just got back from a weekend of teaching coaches certifications and stroke clinics. Everyone, coaches, swimmers and triathletes wanted to know what swim drills to do for x, y, and z corrections or how to get faster. It made me realize that so many people think there is some secret swim drill [...]

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(from Coach Dominic)

I just got back from a weekend of teaching coaches certifications and stroke clinics. Everyone, coaches, swimmers and triathletes wanted to know what swim drills to do for x, y, and z corrections or how to get faster.

It made me realize that so many people think there is some secret swim drill or magical way to improve. But the reality is that the fastest triathlon swimmers in the world are doing the same freestyle swimming drills that you are doing. They are just approaching them differently. There are no secrets.

Drills are just an extra of portion of a stroke. Its very important to understand the purpose of a drill before you start trying to practice the drill. Understand how the swim drill you are working on is going to improve your stroke.

Think through how you can implement the drill into your stroke before you start practicing the drill. I know sometimes doing drill work can make you feel like Daniel-son waxing on and waxing off or painting that fence.

What the Karate kid didn’t get was the purpose of his chores. Knowing the why of a drill is extremely beneficial.

Now for the important stuff. When you first start working with a new drill you need to work very slowly and mindfully. New motor skills are very hard to learn, our brains don’t want to reinvent something it already “knows how to do”.

Most people can only maintain a new movement/motor skill for about 15 seconds. If you are lucky maybe you can do it for 20 seconds. This means you can really only maintain doing this new movement for about 25 yards at the most. I always instruct people to do 25s or less and take a lot of rest.

Once your heart rate goes up or you add too much effort your subconscious takes over so your conscious can be more focused on something more important, like, surviving. So take your time, try to control the movements, and get a lot of rest. If you have a pair of fins I think it’s a good idea to use them so you can focus more on one task (the drill) and not worry about having to move forward or even stay up on the surface of the water.

This is the part that most people don’t do. After about 4 to 6 practices of working on a drill slowly it’s time to add some effort.

You should be able to judge if you can nail the drill you are working on moving at an easy controlled pace or not. If it takes more than 6 practices that’s okay, don’t get discouraged. Just keep at it with your controlled pace until you are ready to move on.

Every 4 to 6 practices you should increase the intensity of the drill with the end goal being that you can perform the drill without fins and at a fast pace. It’s important to practice drills at your race pace, or even sprinting, so your nervous system learns to make these movements at a fast pace. It’s the same idea of doing speed work for your run. If you always run the same pace you will only ever run that speed. It’s the same for swimming and for learning drills.

If you are wondering why you are doing the drills you’re currently working on I am happy to help you understand the reasoning behind them and they’ll help your stroke.

-Dominic Latella
Tri Swim Coach
The Swim Box

P.S. We have a series of drill videos combined with workouts to put you on the path to swim success for your next race..join the course here: Tri Swim Success

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Kevin Koskella <![CDATA[Freestyle Speed & Technique Round Table – TSC Podcast #115]]> http://www.triswimcoach.com/?p=13112 2017-06-05T07:10:38Z 2017-03-31T16:51:24Z Download this episode     On this special episode, we have a panel discussion with 3 experts in tackling a couple of the most debated issues in the triathlon swimming world.  Meet Tim Crowley an accomplished triathlon & swim coach from Florida, Eric Neilsen, recent Colorado Masters Swim Coach of Year of  Train Smart Race Fast, and Rob [...]

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Freestyle Speed & Technique Round TableOn this special episode, we have a panel discussion with 3 experts in tackling a couple of the most debated issues in the triathlon swimming world.  Meet Tim Crowley an accomplished triathlon & swim coach from Florida, Eric Neilsen, recent Colorado Masters Swim Coach of Year of  Train Smart Race Fast, and Rob Sleamaker founder of Vasa Trainer as they answer questions about acceleration and increasing distance per stroke.

This show is filled with principles, techniques, tips and tools that anyone training for their next triathlete will find as gem.  This is definitely a unique show that you shouldn’t miss!

Topics discussed in this episode:

  • Difference of triathlon swimming to pool swimming
  • How Fear and Mental Preparedness play a huge role
  • Freestyle swimming training in pools
  • Intensive discussion about techniques and best practices
  • Hand speed and “accelerating the blade”
  • What patterns to have first
  • Increasing distance per stroke without increasing stroke rate
  • Common mistakes and ways around them
  • Most important two things that a swimmer should have in their swim bag
  • Wrap up and final thoughts

Tools Mentioned

  • Center mount Snorkel
  • Finis agility paddle
  • Fins

Links & Resources:

**If you’ve enjoyed this episode of Tri Swim Coach Triathlon Swimming, please subscribe and leave us a rating & review over on iTunes to help spread the word. Thank you!**

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Chris http://www.triswimcoach.com <![CDATA[What strength training articles don’t tell you]]> http://www.triswimcoach.com/?p=13100 2017-06-05T07:13:59Z 2017-03-28T07:39:13Z If you skim through any triathlon magazine, forum, or blog, you are bound to find some article or blog on strength training for triathletes or the best weight lifting movements for triathletes. With some variation, these movements are: Deadlift Squat Lat pull down Lunge Box jumps The above movements are all great exercises, but, I [...]

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What strength training articles don't tell youIf you skim through any triathlon magazine, forum, or blog, you are bound to find some article or blog on strength training for triathletes or the best weight lifting movements for triathletes.

With some variation, these movements are:

  1. Deadlift
  2. Squat
  3. Lat pull down
  4. Lunge
  5. Box jumps

The above movements are all great exercises, but, I am sorry to say, they will not make you a faster triathlete. These articles leave out three key bits of information:

  1. The best way to get faster as a triathlete is to swim, bike, and run.
  2. The functionality and purpose of these exercises
  3. The need to have strength phases

While important, time in the gym is meant to supplement your key swim, bike, and run workouts not supplant them. If you find that you cannot complete your key sessions because you are too sore from lifting in the gym then you are missing the point of these gym sessions.

Moreover, if you are crunched on time and you are debating to get in the pool for a key session or hit the gym, ten times out of ten, you should swim.

These articles also leave out why you are doing these exercises gym sessions, which should be to make you a faster triathlete. Unless you are lifting purely for vanity’s sake, which is a legitimate reason — we all want to look good in our speedos, I see the purpose of including the gym as:

  1. Train your brain to recruit more muscles when doing specific exercise (i.e. neural recruitment
  2. Remaining healthy hormonally
  3. Train and strengthen muscles that are often neglected when swimming, biking, and running, until you fatigue
  4. Train fast twitch muscles that are often needed for hills, passing people, or quick sprints
  5. Boost coordination

With all of these in mind those five exercise that I listed at the beginning of the article are not going to do much for your swim, bike, and run with the exception of reason four and even then there are better exercises for you to do, which are all dependent upon what phase of the year and race season you are in.

Like how your training undulates and the focus changes as you approach a race, so should your gym sessions.

In the beginning of the year, you should be worried about coordination, balance, and neuro engagement while as your race approaches, your focus should shift to quick power bursts.

The next time you see one these articles on strength training, keep these points in mind and don’t be fooled by false promises that speed can be solely gained in the gym.

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Chris http://www.triswimcoach.com <![CDATA[The hardest workout of all]]> http://www.triswimcoach.com/?p=13062 2017-06-05T07:17:31Z 2017-03-20T07:36:28Z In my opinion, the hardest workout exercises of all is not the 4×1000 or the 500 for time or the 10×100 with the interval set at your race pace; no, the hardest workout is the after work workout. Some people thrive in the hours from 4-9pm thus making getting to the pool after a full [...]

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The hardest workout of allIn my opinion, the hardest workout exercises of all is not the 4×1000 or the 500 for time or the 10×100 with the interval set at your race pace; no, the hardest workout is the after work workout.

Some people thrive in the hours from 4-9pm thus making getting to the pool after a full day of work easier, but I know for a fact that many struggle with getting there during that time. Be it because of having to pick the kids up at school and taxiing them around to after school activities (hopefully swim practice) or just wanting to crash on the couch after a full day of putting out fires and mindless meetings at the office, it is tough to find a time slot and the energy to get your workout in. But these workouts can have huge benefits to your fitness and training.

While I know many triathletes prefer to train in the “peace of the morning” before work and before the day gets ahead of us, sometimes we have to workout in the afternoon possibly because you wanted to sleep in after a late night or that is the only time that the pool is open to the public.

Studies have actually shown that the afternoon between 4 and 6pm is when our body is best suited and receptive to do intensity exercises while the morning is best for aerobic, fasted workouts. Moreover, while there is no scientific evidence to support my theory, I think working out in the afternoon when we are mentally and physically tired from the day makes us stronger (proverbially, it puts hair your chest); it is similar to when we have to dig deep at the end of a race when our legs might be tired already and our mindset not 100%.

Over the past couple of months, I have added in an afternoon workout into my routine to add in some extra weekly volume and to build this mental strength. At first, it was a STRUGGLE. I didn’t really want to put on my swimsuit or lace up my running shoes. I was tired from not only my morning workout but also work, and all I really wanted to do plop down on the couch and watch Netflix.

But I did it anyway because I knew the workout was not going to complete itself. Each and every time, I felt instantly better after the first minute as the stress of the day melted and sweated away. After the first week or two, I settled into my new routine, and going to the gym at 4pm became habitual.

If you struggle with the PM slump, I  have found some helpful hints to get you through and optimize these sessions:

  1. Don’t ask yourself if you will do the workout, ask yourself, how you are going to do it. By removing the option of bailing, and honoring your commitment, your mind becomes more resolute.
  2. Keep on reminding yourself that you will feel better during and after the workout because you will.
  3. Get dressed at work and pack ahead. Instead of heading home first, go straight from work to the pool. I even put my swimsuit on at the office to further remove any possibility of not going.
  4. Don’t worry about the quality at first. If the thought of a hard workout stresses you or gives you anxiety (it does happen), then throw out the workout and go by feel. Especially if you are super tired,  tell yourself, that you are going to warm up and go from there. If I have to just do quick sprints and drills, then I will, but I am going to at least start the workout.
  5. Go light at lunch: While you do not want to go into your afternoon session depleted you don’t want to be nursing a food baby either. I typically go with an Amrita or RX bar coupled with a green tea for caffeine, which will give me energy for the set without making me feel sluggish. Then, after my workout, at dinner I am sure to refuel with a large, fully loaded salad since I know that I will have the time to digest all of that fiber.
  6. Join a group or meet up with friends to keep you accountable.

There you go: six tips for an awesome PM workout. Are you an early bird or night owl when it comes to training? Let us know. We love hearing from our crew.

 

 

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admin <![CDATA[5 Reasons You’re Not Swimming Any Faster Review – TSC Podcast #114]]> http://www.triswimcoach.com/?p=12957 2017-06-05T07:21:27Z 2017-03-08T20:43:52Z Download this episode     Questioning “Why Can’t I Swim Faster” or “How to train to swim faster”. Kevin and Chris tackle an article from TriathlonWorld.com titled “5 Reasons You’re Not Swimming Any Faster.” The two hosts discusses each reason and what they think about it. Get tips to swim faster and learn the pros and cons from [...]

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Questioning “Why Can’t I Swim Faster” or “How to train to swim faster”. Kevin and Chris tackle an article from TriathlonWorld.com titled “5 Reasons You’re Not Swimming Any Faster.” The two hosts discusses each reason and what they think about it. Get tips to swim faster and learn the pros and cons from each point and discover the right way that both hosts think works best for anyone who wants to swim faster.

Topics discussed in this episode:

  • The rainy season and getting into the water
  • Chris moving to Canada
  • Article: technique or fitness
  • Running vs Swimming
  • Number One: Ignoring Distance Per Stroke
  • Number Two: Not Going Fast Enough
  • Number Three: Too tense
  • Number Four: No Forward Acceleration
  • Number Five: You’re Dropping Your Elbow

Links & Resources:

**If you’ve enjoyed this episode of Tri Swim Coach Triathlon Swimming, please subscribe and leave us a rating & review over on iTunes to help spread the word. Thank you!**

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Chris http://www.triswimcoach.com <![CDATA[A better way to use the pull buoy]]> http://www.triswimcoach.com/?p=12953 2017-06-05T07:23:40Z 2017-03-06T03:55:15Z Most swimmers put the pull buoy between their thighs close to their hips to keep their lower body from sinking and to isolate their arms more by minimizing their kick. However, there is a different and, in my opinion, better way to place and use the pull buoy by putting it between the ankles. This [...]

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A better way to use the pull buoy Most swimmers put the pull buoy between their thighs close to their hips to keep their lower body from sinking and to isolate their arms more by minimizing their kick. However, there is a different and, in my opinion, better way to place and use the pull buoy by putting it between the ankles.

This unconventional placements helps with several key parts of your stroke. For one, it helps with your overall body awareness. Many swimmers’ lower body sways from side to side as they swim without them even knowing it. Typically, this occurs because either the swimmer’s hands are crossing over when they enter the water and/or they are not rotating to breath but rather pulling their head up or to the side.

Ideally, you want your whole body body to rotate on your central axis without any crossover by your hands, hips, or legs. By placing the pull buoy between your ankles you will build awareness of what your lower body is doing. If your legs are swaying, then you will feel it.

At the same time, you are going to be improving your rotation. As I mentioned in an earlier post, rotating from your hips and not just your shoulders is critical for efficiency, power, and distance per stroke. With your ankles and legs floating in line with the rest of your body thanks to the pull buoy between them, you can feel your whole body rotating along this central axis.

If isolating your arms and giving your legs a break is your goal, then the new position will help with that. Many swimmers still kick when using a buoy between their thighs, but it is nearly impossible to cheat with it between your ankles. For an added bonus, I recommend binding your ankles together with an old inner tube or laundry loop and placing the buoy just above the bind.

As always, the pull buoy is a toy/tool so use it sparingly. Even with this “new” position I would not recommend swimming the whole swim set with it. I like to do 3-5×100-200 with the buoy between my ankles during the warm up to wake up my arms and my overall feel for the waters. Try this technique out in your next practice and let us know how it goes.

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Chris http://www.triswimcoach.com <![CDATA[Your guide to rotation in the water]]> http://www.triswimcoach.com/?p=12937 2017-06-05T07:27:04Z 2017-02-27T14:50:58Z Have you ever been told that you swim flat in the water? Some programs and coaches think that swimming flat in the water is perfectly normal and should not be corrected but at TSC, we take a different approach because there is a right way to rotate and a very wrong way to rotate. While [...]

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Your guide to rotation in the waterHave you ever been told that you swim flat in the water? Some programs and coaches think that swimming flat in the water is perfectly normal and should not be corrected but at TSC, we take a different approach because there is a right way to rotate and a very wrong way to rotate. While swimming flat is more efficient that rotating incorrectly, you are still missing out on distance, speed, and efficiency when rotating. We are here to guide you on how to rotate your body correctly while swimming.

Swimming flat in the water means you are not rotating your hips and instead moving your arms as your shoulders, hips, and torso, remain inline with the surface of the water. The reason why this is inefficient is that you cannot get as much power in your catch and pull and you are not extending your arms as far as they could. It looks like you are paddling a surfboard.

Over rotating though is just as problematic. By rotating to the point that you are almost perpendicular to the surface of the water and your whole body is pointing to the walls. When this happens, you are most likely crossing over your center axis when you pull and thus you are losing power and forward propulsion. Here is a good video from our friends at Vasa that shows this. As they say in the video, over rotating is more like rolling in the water.

Instead of swimming flat, we recommend that you rotate your hips as you extend your arm forward so if your right arm is extended in front of you, your left hip is up and your belly button is pointing to the left. Video analysis of top swimmers show that a 45 to about 80 degrees of rotation is ideal.

You cannot measure this in the water as you swim, so these are just guidelines. The point though is to get more extension with your catch and more power with your pull since as you pull (with a high elbow of course) your hips “snap” as you rotate to the other side). The rotation also helps with engaging those back muscles instead of just using your shoulders as you would if you were flat in the water.

The best drill to help with rotation is the side kick drill.  Here, you want focus on that good rotation while remaining balanced in the water. Fins usually are a good idea here. Do not be concerned with the exact degree of rotation but more extra extension from the hips not the shoulders and the power of your pull and your hips snap from one rotation to the other. I like to include these drills in the warm up and between sets to set your form up for the work to come.

 

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admin <![CDATA[The Tri Swim Rules Part 2 – TSC Podcast #113]]> http://www.triswimcoach.com/?p=12908 2017-06-05T07:31:16Z 2017-02-24T20:42:47Z Download this episode     This is the second part of the Tri Swim Rules episode where Kevin discusses the rest of the “Tri Swim Manifesto”. If you haven’t listened to the first part, here it is: Part 1 In this quick episode, you will learn about a TriSwimSuccess story, the four remaining triathlon pool swimming rules, and [...]

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This is the second part of the Tri Swim Rules episode where Kevin discusses the rest of the “Tri Swim Manifesto”. If you haven’t listened to the first part, here it is: Part 1

In this quick episode, you will learn about a TriSwimSuccess story, the four remaining triathlon pool swimming rules, and more goodness!

Topics discussed in this episode:

  • Kevin’s free consultation
  • A training story from the Tri Swim Success program
  • It all starts with the basic drills and breathing exercises
  • 12 week plan on what to do in the water
  • Rule 5: We swim because it’s fun
  • Rule 6: Never leave your wingman/women
  • Rule 7: Following the non traditional ‘holistic’ approach
  • Rule 8: We take care of business.

Links & Resources:

**If you’ve enjoyed this episode of Tri Swim Coach Triathlon Swimming, please subscribe and leave us a rating & review over on iTunes to help spread the word. Thank you!**

 

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Chris http://www.triswimcoach.com <![CDATA[3 essential stretches for triathletes]]> http://www.triswimcoach.com/?p=12856 2017-06-05T08:44:37Z 2017-02-21T06:20:05Z Triathletes are notorious for being inflexible and on the precipice of injury. Maybe it is the fact that we are doing three sports all of which have repetitive movements and where poor form can have season ending consequences after doing the same move for the billionth time. I myself visit my chiropractor once a week [...]

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3 essential stretches for triathletesTriathletes are notorious for being inflexible and on the precipice of injury. Maybe it is the fact that we are doing three sports all of which have repetitive movements and where poor form can have season ending consequences after doing the same move for the billionth time.

I myself visit my chiropractor once a week to do maintenance and “prehab” work, and she shared three stretching exercise including figure 4 and forward lunge stretches that I can and should do quickly after my morning workout, while at work, and before bed to keep me firing on all cylinders.

  1. Behind the back arm clasps: clasp your hand behind your butt and then flex your shoulder blades together as you push your clasped hand back so that your triceps flex and you feel your shoulders being pinned back. This is great for triathletes because it counteracts the rolled shoulder effect of  being in the aero position for extended periods of time. I have found that it also helps with my mobility in the water.
  2. Figure four: While sitting in your chair take your left ankle and put it over your right knee as if crossing your legs. Now push down on your left knee. Hold for 30s-3min and repeat on the right side. This stretch targets the gluteus medius piriformis, and IT band, all of which have reputations for getting weak and tight in runners and triathletes. The pigeon pose in  yoga targets the same muscles but can be hard to do in a public setting without getting odd looks.
  3. Forward lunge: Lunge forward keeping the back leg straight so you feel your hip flexor. Hold OR for added benefit, twist your trunk from side to side while bracing the core. Repeat on the other side. I like to do this one before and after I run and bike. Because the TT position can force your hip flexors to shorten it is important to stretch them and lengthen them so that our mobility is not compromised. If you work a desk job or drive a lot, then definitely do this multiple times throughout the day.

I chose these three because they target the most common areas that athletes need to focus on. Obviously the list of stretches that you could do is endless so do the stretches that you need to focus on and leave the rest.

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admin <![CDATA[The Tri Swim Rules Part 1 – TSC Podcast #112]]> http://www.triswimcoach.com/?p=12794 2017-06-05T07:36:44Z 2017-02-13T17:29:44Z Download this episode     Kevin is flying solo on this episode and he shares about the “Tri Swim Rules”, the redesign and sort of rebranding of the TriSwimCoach website. Exciting things are coming and one of them is the Tri Swim Manifesto. It’s basically the triathlon pool swim rules for beginners that encompass the whole Tri [...]

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Kevin is flying solo on this episode and he shares about the “Tri Swim Rules”, the redesign and sort of rebranding of the TriSwimCoach website. Exciting things are coming and one of them is the Tri Swim Manifesto. It’s basically the triathlon pool swim rules for beginners that encompass the whole Tri Swim Coach community.

Learn “the basic rules”, what Tri Swim Coach stands for, and what it stands against on this part 1 episode. Don’t miss it!

Topics discussed in this episode:

  • Redesign and rebranding of TriSwimCoach
  • The Tri Swim Manifesto
  • Building a community
  • Rule 1: It never gets easier, you just get better
  • Rule 2: Befriend the water
  • Rule 3: Your background doesn’t matter, it’s where you are going that’s important
  • Rule 4: We learn swimming as naturally as possible
  • Being open to change

Links & Resources:

**If you’ve enjoyed this episode of Tri Swim Coach Triathlon Swimming, please subscribe and leave us a rating & review over on iTunes to help spread the word. Thank you!**

 

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Chris http://www.triswimcoach.com <![CDATA[Getting faster 25m at a time]]> http://www.triswimcoach.com/?p=12664 2017-06-05T07:33:36Z 2017-02-06T11:36:11Z In this lesson, you will get efficient swimming tips and workout techniques that will improve your swimming speed. Let me tell you a little secret of the swim world: you do not have to swim 1000m repeats or 5k for time to get faster. In fact, if you are a beginner swimmer, shorter repeats like [...]

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Getting faster 25m at a time In this lesson, you will get efficient swimming tips and workout techniques that will improve your swimming speed. Let me tell you a little secret of the swim world: you do not have to swim 1000m repeats or 5k for time to get faster.

In fact, if you are a beginner swimmer, shorter repeats like 25 to 50m can actually make you faster and more efficient than doing longer distance repeats.

Since swimming fast is largely dependent upon much your body position and pull technique, if either of these two are lacking then you are going to be expending a good deal more energy for very few seconds off your split; sometimes you might actually swim slower.

By swimming shorter and focusing on your form each and every time, you can build your muscle memory with good habits and not have to worry about fatigue breaking down your technique.

Below is a good workout that will build your swim stroke up through drills and then will take that form work and translate that into speed:

Warmup:
5×25 balance drill on 10-15s rest
5×25 side kick drill (go half on your left side and half on your right)
5×25 6/3/6 drill on 10-15s rest
5×25 catch up drill on 10-15s rest

Main set:
20×25 following this rotation

  1. Focus on your balance in the water
  2. Focus on good rotation
  3. Focus on focus on good hand placement
  4. Focus on high elbow catch
  5. Put it all together

Main set 2:
4×50 HARD on 30s rest

Cool down: 2×100 choice of stroke

To do this workout properly, you need some eyes on the pool deck at least initially be it through a video analysis so that you know what you are doing wrong or ideally a coach or friend on the deck who can give you feedback and can give suggestions to tweak your stroke.

This is a great workout to do at the beginning of your season when fitness and endurance is not your primary focus. Then, as your season and your form progresses to such an extent it becomes more of an easy recovery swim rather than a key workout.

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admin <![CDATA[Swim Outside The Box With Dominic Latella of The Swim Box – TSC Podcast #111]]> http://www.triswimcoach.com/?p=12626 2017-06-05T08:47:53Z 2017-02-03T15:32:14Z Download this episode     Coach Dominic Latella is the only US Masters Swimming (USMS) Level 4 (the highest certification available) certified coach in VA. He is an instructor for USMS Certifications and the USMS Adult Learn to Swim program. He is the owner and lead instructor of SwimBox, where they specialize in swim lessons for people of [...]

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Dominic Latella

Coach Dominic Latella is the only US Masters Swimming (USMS) Level 4 (the highest certification available) certified coach in VA. He is an instructor for USMS Certifications and the USMS Adult Learn to Swim program. He is the owner and lead instructor of SwimBox, where they specialize in swim lessons for people of all ages and levels. And he has been appointed twice – the maximum amount – as the lead coach for USMS High Performance Camp. Coach Latella also works with the swimming rehabilitation and adaptive swimming programs at Bethesda Naval Hospital for the Wounded Warriors.

Coach Latella’s philosophy focuses on the execution of proper swimming technique to achieve improved efficiency and prevent injury. This way of coaching allows swimmers to not only reach personal bests, but do so in a way that allows their body to keep up their love of swimming for a lifetime. Fewer injuries and happy swimmers are Coach Latella’s favorite things to see.

Topics discussed in this episode:

  • How Dominic developed his passion for swimming
  • Correcting your swim technique to avoid shoulder injury
  • Dominic’s experience working with different clients
  • Training beginner swimmers
  • Endless pool technology
  • Applying the Wim Hof method
  • Open water anxiety
  • High elbow catch
  • Swimming workout for distance swimmers/triathletes
  • USRPT  (Ultra Short Race Pace Training)
  • Swimming test sets
  • Triathlon training at Lake Como, Italy in August

Links & Resources:

**If you’ve enjoyed this episode of Tri Swim Coach Triathlon Swimming, please subscribe and leave us a rating & review over on iTunes to help spread the word. Thank you!**

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admin <![CDATA[Not All Swim Training Is Equal: How To Train For Your Level – TSC Podcast #110]]> http://www.triswimcoach.com/?p=12548 2017-06-05T08:51:49Z 2017-01-24T10:00:40Z Download this episode     Topics discussed in this episode:  Swimming training plan for beginner, intermediate, and advanced swimmers importance of swim drills overcoming fear of water and swimming better breathing watching YouTube videos to help improve your technique when to incorporate more intensity interval training swimming sprints vs. distance fixing bad swimming habits building endurance yoga & strength [...]

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Topics discussed in this episode: 

  • Swimming training plan for beginner, intermediate, and advanced swimmers
  • importance of swim drills
  • overcoming fear of water and swimming
  • better breathing
  • watching YouTube videos to help improve your technique
  • when to incorporate more intensity
  • interval training
  • swimming sprints vs. distance
  • fixing bad swimming habits
  • building endurance
  • yoga & strength training
  • consistency in training
  • keeping an open mindset

Links & Resources:

**If you’ve enjoyed this episode of Tri Swim Coach Triathlon Swimming, please subscribe and leave us a rating & review over on iTunes to help spread the word. Thank you!**

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Chris http://www.triswimcoach.com <![CDATA[Take away from my own video analysis]]> http://www.triswimcoach.com/?p=12543 2017-06-05T09:00:21Z 2017-01-23T07:29:05Z (by Coach Chris) This past Saturday, I had my swim stroke analyzed. I have had at least a biannual swim video analysis since I started swimming, and even though my swim has progressed to times that I could not imagine 10 years ago, I still make sure that I maintain this tradition although the frequency [...]

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Take away from my own video analysis (by Coach Chris)

This past Saturday, I had my swim stroke analyzed.

I have had at least a biannual swim video analysis since I started swimming, and even though my swim has progressed to times that I could not imagine 10 years ago, I still make sure that I maintain this tradition although the frequency of assessments has gone from every month to every 6 months.

To me, since swimming is so technique based (like golf), you need constant feedback so that you are aware of what you are doing and have some piece of your form to focus on and improve upon.

As Kevin and I always like to say, you have to accept where you are currently to be able to move forward; rejecting or resisting the present state will only lead to frustration, disappointment, and swim speed plateaus.

I came away with lots of information, optimism, and plenty of homework. I share this with you all because

  1. I encourage you to get your swim analyzed
  2. You too can benefit from this information because you yourself might have the same issues
  3. The homework and drills that I was assigned are good for everyone to try to target these weaknesses

So here are the takeaway points and with how you can benefit from them too:

  1. My s curve has finally been broken (at least for now): looking at the underwater shots I am pulling straight back and not sculling and curving like I once did.Beating this out of my muscle memory has had the additional benefit of getting rid of my swaying and splaying legs.If you struggle with swaying legs, then how you pull might be a good place to start.I still have to be cognizant of it though so that it does not come back when I am fatigued.My advice to you: ditch the S curve but be mindful of muscle memory and fatigue
  2. My two beat kick is efficient but could be more efficient with a few tweaks. The videos show that I have a fairly natural two beat kick at lower intensities and my stroke cycle is a good 1.5s per stroke.What this means is that from when one arm is fully extended in front of me, through the pull, recovery phase and back to that extended position it takes 1.5 seconds while at my cruise pace. This is good BUT can be improved with better rotation.My advice to you: find your ideal stroke cycle time and see if you can improve this with better rotation.
  3. I am only rotating at about a 70 degree angle instead of 80-85. Especially if I am taking fewer strokes while I am swimming in this lower zone, I need to rotate more to get better reach.My advice to you: analyze your rotation.
  4. I am faster with a 6 beat kick and taking my stroke cycle down to 1.3s. If I can train at this rate and get my race pace to 1.3s then my times will significantly improve. .2 seconds might not seem like a lot (because it’s not) but think about how much that .2s compounds over the course of 1500m or 1.2 miles.My advice to you: experiment with different stroke cycle times and kicks and monitor the results.
  5. I should start breathing earlier and with more of a snap. I am breathing too far along in my stroke which is causing a pause in my stroke so instead of breathing towards the end of my pull phase I am going to move it to the front and take a quicker breath.This means that I will need to focus more on exhaling to empty the lungs more.Talking with my instructor, this tendency to breath late in the pull is actually quite common and many swimmers would benefit from moving their breath to earlier in their stroke.My advice to you: avoid holding your breath and find your the best time to breath for your stroke. Breathing, rotation, and pull should all be in sync with each other.
  6. Bilateral breathing is not the most efficient for me: We took several videos of me breathing bilaterally and unilaterally at different paces and breathing to my right side was actually more efficient than to both.There is no way to know this though without video analysis and correlating that with times and splits.My advice to you: test what type of breathing style works for you but make sure it is backed up with times and video analysis. It is quite possible that breathing to one side will actually throw off your stroke and balance in the water.
  7. I need to bring my left arm in more and keep my head closer to my shoulder and elbow when I breath. The biggest problem with my stroke was that my left arm was entering the water wide and that when I would breath to my right with my left arm extended, my head would go away from the arm causing my left leg to come out of the water, which is an interesting detrimental side effect.To remedy this, I am going to be doing a lot of side kicking while keeping my cheek pressed up against my shoulder even when breathing and my hand right on the surface. These two points are ones that everyone should be focusing on when doing side kicking.My advice to you: keep your head on that axis especially when you breath. Don’t pull your head up or to the side when breathing.

Video analysis is a huge part of getting faster in the water. It is not a criticism of where you are currently; it is a tool for you to move forward.

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admin <![CDATA[Overcoming Adversity and the Transformational Power of Sisu with Emilia Lahti – TSC Podcast #109]]> http://www.triswimcoach.com/?p=12523 2017-06-05T09:03:02Z 2017-01-18T03:57:20Z Download this episode     Emilia Lahti (MSc, MAPP) is a researcher and social activist, whose life mission is to simply be a catalyst for human connection, compassion and non-violence. She has given talks at Stanford, UC Berkeley and TEDx, as well as at Singularity University at NASA Ames, where she studied futurism and exponential technology. Her [...]

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Emilia Lahti

Emilia Lahti (MSc, MAPP) is a researcher and social activist, whose life mission is to simply be a catalyst for human connection, compassion and non-violence. She has given talks at Stanford, UC Berkeley and TEDx, as well as at Singularity University at NASA Ames, where she studied futurism and exponential technology. Her work has been featured in The New Yorker, Business Insider and Forbes, among others. In her current PhD, Emilia is exploring the Finnish construct of sisu, denoting endurance in in the face of overcoming extreme adversity.

Emilia is an avid human rights advocate and is currently training to run 2400 km solo across the length of New Zealand to break the silence around interpersonal violence and highlight the strength of overcomers of abuse.

Topics discussed in this episode:

  • What is Sisu?
  • Getting over a traumatic relationship
  • Post-traumatic growth
  • Learn Positive Psychology
  • Grit by Angela Duckworth
  • Self-Compassion by Kristin Neff
  • Emilia’s run (1,500 miles across the length of New Zealand)
  • Mark Allen’s training method
  • Emilia’s swim training
  • Stopping the mental chatter
  • Listening to music while swimming
  • Small actions lead to big changes
  • “Honor yourself” mantra

Links & Resources:

**If you’ve enjoyed this episode of Tri Swim Coach Triathlon Swimming, please subscribe and leave us a rating & review over on iTunes to help spread the word. Thank you!**

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Chris http://www.triswimcoach.com <![CDATA[Distance Per Stroke revisited]]> http://www.triswimcoach.com/?p=12532 2017-06-05T09:05:56Z 2017-01-17T14:15:34Z “Distance Per Stroke” or DPS pops up in a good deal of swim blogs, newsletters, workouts (TSC included), and forums, but is it something you should really focus on? At TSC, we think so but not because of what you might think. To us, DPS swimming drills is not just extending your arm a tad bit [...]

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Distance Per Stroke revisited “Distance Per Stroke” or DPS pops up in a good deal of swim blogs, newsletters, workouts (TSC included), and forums, but is it something you should really focus on? At TSC, we think so but not because of what you might think.

To us, DPS swimming drills is not just extending your arm a tad bit farther, kicking a bit more, and gliding through the water–this is over simplistic. While you will go farther doing this, you are making two critical errors.

Firstly, by doing the above you are extending through your shoulders and not through your core as you should. This puts undo stress on your shoulders and even though you are focusing on extending your arm, you are also not reaching as far as you could.

The key to DPS is understanding that it is primarily a rotation drill. To extend to your fullest, you should rotate your hips while extending forward (don’t cross cover here but reach for the corner of the lane!). By doing so, you will get at least two inches farther use your hips and core to pull and thus have a more efficient stroke–which is the whole point of DPS in the first place.

Secondly, swimmers like to glide because they feel that they will get the most distance and use less energy. When you glide however, you are slowing down and creating a dead zone in front of you. It is hard to see this in the water unless there is a current, but you can actually see this dead zone when you take a swimmer and put him or her on the Vasa Swim Erg. Swimmers with a dead zone will slide back on the swim bench and then move forward again instead of the bench remaining in generally the same place.

When practicing DPS, therefore, do not slow down and glide. Instead after rotating and extending, immediately start your quick high elbow pull and drive forward rotating and extending with the other hip. Then repeat the catch and pull on the other side. Your hands should almost always be in motion, and your stroke should look similar to a sped up catch up drill where your hands are never together in front but come close.

Next time you see DPS on your workout be sure to (a) extend through rotation and (b) don’t glide. By emphasizing those two points, you will be faster and more efficient for it.

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Chris http://www.triswimcoach.com <![CDATA[Testing Not Guessing]]> http://www.triswimcoach.com/?p=12515 2017-06-05T09:08:26Z 2017-01-09T10:43:38Z What can be measured can be improved, as the old adage goes, and that is certainly true for the swim. Testing allows you to track progress, look for limiters, and sharpen your mental game. Since not all tests are created equal nor complimentary to your goals as an athlete, I am giving you three different [...]

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Testing Not Guessing

What can be measured can be improved, as the old adage goes, and that is certainly true for the swim.

Testing allows you to track progress, look for limiters, and sharpen your mental game.

Since not all tests are created equal nor complimentary to your goals as an athlete, I am giving you three different tests that you can implement into your training depending on your goals and current swim skill. Read below to know about The 1000m/1600m TT test, critical swim speed test, & GOLF efficiency test.

  1. The 1000m/1600m TT:

    1. Protocol: do a 500 warm up and 5×100 at what you think will be race pace on 30s rest. Then go into a 1000 or 1600 straight for time. Record your time at the end. 200 cool down
    2. Who is this best for? Long distance and endurance athletes who are intermediate to advanced swimmers.
    3. Who is it not for: Beginner swimmers, short course athletes, if you cannot swim 1000 straight without a rest
    4. How to use the data: use to track progress, measure fatigue, and sharpen your abilities to swim straight without rest. You can also use your average split as your threshold pace to structure your training around. Take mental notes about how your form and pace changes throughout the set
  2. CSS test 200/400 double:

    1. Protocol: Warm Up 300 easy freestyle, 4 x 50 freestyle (25 fast/25 easy) on 10 seconds rest, then 4 x 100 freestyle at what you think you can do for the 400, Main Set: 400 time trial, 200 easy swimming plus some time on the wall (5min total) THEN 200 time trial, Warm Down 100 easy choice of stroke
    2. Who is it best for? Shorter course athletes and beginners who see the 1000 or 1500 TT as a bit daunting, or even longer course athletes who do not want to do a 1000 TT
    3. Who is it not for? Beginner athletes who still need to focus on form
    4. How to use the data: Look at your times to see which one you were faster at. If your 200 was much faster than the 400 then you need to focus more on endurance sets but if your splits for both TTs were close or the same, then you should work on developing your speed.  Your 400 time is also a good indicator of where your endurance to speed ratio is. With an online calculator you can also set your threshold pace to structure your workouts.
    5. Note: I really like to do this on the Vasa Swim erg in addition to the 1000m TT in the pool. The swim erg gives me a power number that I can then use to train with over the next training block
  3. Swim GOLF efficiency test

    1. Protocol: Warm Up 300 easy freestyle, 4 x 50 freestyle (25 fast/25 easy) on 10 seconds rest. Main Set: 5-10×50 at a good sustainable pace on 15-30s rest. Cool down as needed. Count your strokes for each 50 then add them to your time in seconds (so if you swam the 50 in 60s and 40 strokes your score is 100). Track your scores for each 50 and see if they change.
    2. Who is this best for: those who are working on form and novice swimmers
    3. Who is this not for? Those you have good form and many years of swim experience.
    4. How to use the data: does either your time or number of strokes drastically change throughout the test? Then your form and endurance is not quite there. Also you can track progress in both form and speed over time. You can improve your score with better form (lower stroke rate) and a more powerful pulling (speed). It also helps to find your ideal cadence. If your cadence drops but so does your speed then you have gone too low and need to speed up your stroke. The opposite is also true.

As always, try to minimize variables and keep things constant.

Record as much data as you can including: the temp and distance of the pool (i.e. don’t go from a college Olympic sized pool that is usually kept at 74 degree to a hotel 30 ft lap pool that is 90 degrees), what you eat before, and time of day (if you test in the morning then after work, your times will be different).

Then as you analyze for your TT data, look back and see if you need to make modifications before your next test. Tests should be performed every 4-8 weeks.

Befriend the swim!

Coach Chris

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Chris http://www.triswimcoach.com <![CDATA[17 anti-resolutions for 2017]]> http://www.triswimcoach.com/?p=12491 2017-06-05T09:13:13Z 2017-01-03T11:58:20Z If you read my newsletter from last week, you know that I am not a fan of New Year’s nor resolutions. Instead, I prefer anti new year’s resolutions and creating lasting mini habits that are so small you immediately say to yourself “Wow! I can do those easily.” While small, only tackle one at a time–TRUST [...]

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17 anti-resolutions for 2017If you read my newsletter from last week, you know that I am not a fan of New Year’s nor resolutions. Instead, I prefer anti new year’s resolutions and creating lasting mini habits that are so small you immediately say to yourself “Wow! I can do those easily.”

While small, only tackle one at a time–TRUST ME. Once one has become innate, automatic, and routine (about 2 to 3 weeks), you add in another (or repeat the same one but increase the time by five minutes) so eventually you have transformed into a healthier and faster athlete with ingrained, long lasting habits. Notice that you are not giving anything up here. Rather you are adding in activities, foods, and behaviors that crowd out bad ones make you a better athlete.

  1. Drink a glass of water first thing in the morning (for an added health spike, put a bit of lemon juice into it)
  2. Write down your goals each morning
  3. Go to bed 5 minutes earlier
  4. Keep your cell phone/tablet/computer out of the bedroom
  5. Put your fork or food down after each bite or sip
  6. Chew your food 20 times each bite
  7. Drink one green smoothie per day
  8. Eat one salad a day
  9. Fill up half of your dinner plate with vegetables
  10. Stretch after each workout for 5 minutes
  11. Stretch for 5 minutes before bed each night
  12. Meditate for 5 minutes each morning
  13. Have a piece of fruit after dinner
  14. Walk for 5 minutes out of each hour while at work
  15. Take the stairs instead of elevators or escalators
  16. Write down 5 things you are grateful for at the end of each day
  17. Run, bike, or swim without your Garmin/HR strap/Suunto/gadget de jour for one of your workouts each week.

Have a great 2017!

Coach Chris and Kev

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admin <![CDATA[Is high level triathlon training healthy? – TSC Podcast #108]]> http://www.triswimcoach.com/?p=12475 2017-06-05T09:17:47Z 2016-12-27T17:39:52Z Download this episode     Questioning “Is advanced & high Intensity triathlon training healthy”? In this episode, Brad Kearns, host of The Primal Endurance Podcast, joins Kevin & Chris in a discussion on the health benefits and health factor of high level triathlon training. They discuss: Balancing health and fitness Stress management Sleep & Circadian Rhythm Genetic [...]

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Questioning “Is advanced & high Intensity triathlon training healthy”? In this episode, Brad Kearns, host of The Primal Endurance Podcast, joins Kevin & Chris in a discussion on the health benefits and health factor of high level triathlon training. They discuss:

  • Balancing health and fitness
  • Stress management
  • Sleep & Circadian Rhythm
  • Genetic influence on athletic performance
  • Other factors that affect training recovery
  • Training motivations
  • Common misconceptions about pro athletes
  • Rigid versus fluid workout training schedule
  • Guiding your training decisions by your desire to train
  • Training frequency and consistency
  • The 180 Heart Rate Formula by Dr. Philip Maffetone
  • Potential adverse cardiovascular effects from excessive endurance exercise
  • Pushing your body to the limits

Links & Resources:

Books

**If you’ve enjoyed this episode of Tri Swim Coach Triathlon Swimming, please subscribe and leave us a rating & review over on iTunes to help spread the word. Thank you!**

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Chris http://www.triswimcoach.com <![CDATA[The “Inbetween Zone”]]> http://www.triswimcoach.com/?p=12478 2017-06-05T09:22:25Z 2016-12-27T03:45:09Z In between Christmas and New Years might be the oddest fitness week of the year. Many people are coming out of a stressful holiday run up full of work parties, last minute shopping, travel, family gatherings, tantrums (from kids and adults alike), and an endless supply of sweets, alcohol, and rich, dense foods. However, the [...]

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The "Inbetween Zone"In between Christmas and New Years might be the oddest fitness week of the year. Many people are coming out of a stressful holiday run up full of work parties, last minute shopping, travel, family gatherings, tantrums (from kids and adults alike), and an endless supply of sweets, alcohol, and rich, dense foods. However, the holidays are not over; we still have New Years.

This week is therefore complicated. For many, you are still on vacation, traveling to see family and thus away from the pool and your typical routine. Even if you are at home but have not been sticking to your training schedule after holidays, you might be questioning how to get back into triathlon training or whether you should even get back in the water and workout. There is always January 1st, right? WRONG!

Here are some tips to get you through this week and start 2017 on a better foot than if you took this whole week off to eat leftovers and watch sports as tempting as that might be.

  1. Something is better than nothing: While the pool might be closed, you are traveling with family, and you are away from your bike, you can still do something no gym required like walking (even around the airport, which actually makes a good track of sorts and people watching too), core work, yoga, pushups, sprints, plyometrics, stairs.
  2. Similarly, if your pool is closed, use this time to get your dryland in. You can turn this week into a run or bike focused week with lots of core and mobility work to supplement. In particular, I love using the Vasa during this time of year when pool hours (and time to get there and back) are limited to keep my feel for the water sharp and my form on point.
  3. Try to get back into your routine this week. Since both holidays fall on the weekends, it’s easier to get back into your typical routine from Monday through Friday. Try to get back into it if you can, and you will be thankful you did next Monday. Which leads me to my next point….
  4. Don’t give up hope and hit the reset button: Just because you might have had one too many treats last week and enjoyed yourself (and I’m not criticizing you at all in this. You should have had a good time) does not mean you have to beat yourself up this week and write off the whole week as a failure. Like I said in point two, use this week to get back to your training plan.The power to change is NOW not January 1st at 12:01 am.
  5. Prep for 2017: While January 1st is an easy mental day to turn over a new leaf. You can easily make today the day you do that. Start writing down (or rewriting) what your goals are (if you have not done so already) and far more importantly, setting up the habits that will enable you succeed in them.

We have plenty of posts on habit making on our website so if you want to get a head start on your New Year’s resolution check them out here and here. The years might be dated but the message is still current.

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admin <![CDATA[The Wim Hof Breathing Method with Andrew Harper – TSC Podcast #107]]> http://www.triswimcoach.com/?p=12428 2017-06-05T09:27:52Z 2016-12-19T14:00:47Z Download this episode     In this episode, Kevin interviews Andrew Harper, a Tri Swim Coach member and age group triathlete from Virginia. They discuss: Transitioning from running to a triathlon How Andy improved his swimming skills Proper breathing techniques What is the Wim Hof method Benefits of using the Wim Hof method in triathlon training Eating clean Links & [...]

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In this episode, Kevin interviews Andrew Harper, a Tri Swim Coach member and age group triathlete from Virginia. They discuss:

  • Transitioning from running to a triathlon
  • How Andy improved his swimming skills
  • Proper breathing techniques
  • What is the Wim Hof method
  • Benefits of using the Wim Hof method in triathlon training
  • Eating clean

Links & Resources:

Wim Hof Method

SwimBox

Andrew’s email address

**If you’ve enjoyed this episode of Tri Swim Coach Triathlon Swimming, please subscribe and leave us a rating & review over on iTunes to help spread the word. Thank you!**

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Chris http://www.triswimcoach.com <![CDATA[How the Triathlete Stole Swim Practice]]> http://www.triswimcoach.com/?p=12465 2017-06-05T09:31:27Z 2016-12-19T03:24:32Z This is a modified reprint of a newsletter that I wrote last year. Enjoy: “How the Triathlete Stole Swim Practice” Every Swimmer Down in the pool Liked swimming a lot But the Triathlete Who watched on the pool deck DID NOT. This triathlete hated these triathlon training workouts and swim practice sessions! The whole swim [...]

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This is a modified reprint of a newsletter that I wrote last year. Enjoy:
How the Triathlete Stole Swim Practice

“How the Triathlete Stole Swim Practice”

Every Swimmer
Down in the pool
Liked swimming a lot
But the Triathlete
Who watched on the pool deck
DID NOT.
This triathlete hated these triathlon training workouts and swim practice sessions! The whole swim focused off season!
Now please don’t ask why. No one quite knows the reason.
It could be that his goggles weren’t screwed on quite right
It could be perhaps that his speedo was on too tight
But I think that the most likely reason of all
May have been that he hated the flip turns off the wall.
But whatever the reason
His goggles or his speedo
He stood there on the pool deck, hating the swimmers,
Staring down from the lifeguard stand with a sour frown
At the barely heated pool below in the Y.
For he knew every swimmer in the pool beneath
Was busy now, getting ready for the workout.
“And they are getting their pull buoys” he snarled with a sneer
“It’s 5:25am! The workout is practically here!”
Then he growled with his fingers nervously drumming.
“I must find a way to keep the workout from coming!”

For in a few moments he knew…
All the swimmers down in the pool
Would dive in bright and early, They’d rush for the wall
And then! Oh, the Drills! Oh the drills, Drills, DRILLS!
That’s the one thing he hated! The DRILLS!
Then the Swimmers, young and old, would swim into the main set
and they’d swim, and they’d swim!
and they’d swim, Swim, SWIM
They would start with an IM Set, and then a set where the speed would increase
Which was something the Triathlete couldn’t stand in the least

And THEN
They’d do something he liked least of all
Every swimmer in the pool, the tall and the small,
Would swim close together, with lane dividers glinting
and they’d swim feet to feet, and they would start sprinting
They’d sprint and they’d sprint
And they’d sprint sprint sprint sprint
and the more the triathlete thought of the whole main set sprint
The more the Grinch thought “I must stop this whole stint!”
Why for several race seasons, I have put up with it now!
I must stop this workout from coming.
But how?”

Then he got an idea
An awful Idea
The triathlete
Got a wonderful, awful idea
“I know just what to do!” The triathlete laughed in his throat.
And he made a quick speedsuit and swim tote.
And he chuckled and clucked, “What a great Triathlete trick”
“With this suit and tote, I’ll look just like a swimmer and just as quick!”
“All I need is a kickboard…”
The Triathlete looked around.
But since kick boards are scarce there were none to be found.
Did that stop the triathlete?
No! The Triathlete simply said.
If I cannot find a kickboard, I’ll make one instead.”
Then the triathlete said, “Let’s go”

And he started down
Towards the pool where all the swimmers
were swimming and kicking around
All the lane lines were full. Chlorine filled the air
All the swimmers were all swimming with great care.
When he came to the first lane of the pool
“This is stop number one,” The triathlete hissed
And he climbed into the lane, paddles in his fist.
Then he swam down the lane. A rather tight pinch.
But if swimmers could do it, then it should be a synch
He got stuck only once, for a moment or two.
Then he stuck his head out of the water
Where the swimmers all put their gears
“Taking these pool toys” he grinned, “will end their careers”
And he slithered and slunk, with a smile most cruel
Around the whole pool, and he took every tool.
Pull buoys! And kick boards! Snorkels and fins!
Goggles, paddles and Garmins.

It was a quarter past dawn, all the swimmers still a-bed
All the swimmers still a snooze, as he packed up his sled
Packed it up with their tools! The bottles and bands
the belts and paddles for hands.
Thirty meters up! Up the side of the high dive
where no one could get to alive.
“pooh-pooh to the swimmers” he was grinch-ishly humming
“They are finding out now that no workout is coming!
“They just finished warming up! I know what they’ll do!
Their mouths will hang open a minute or two
Then all swimmers in the pool will all cry out Booo-Hoo
“That’s a noise” grinned the Triathlete.
“That I simply must hear!”

So he paused and the triathlete put a hand to his ear
And he did hear a sound rising up from below
It started in low then it started to grow
But that sound wasn’t sad
Why this sound was merry
It couldn’t be so!
But it was merry! Very!
He stared down at the pool
The triathlete popped his eyes
Then he shook.
What he saw was a shocking surprise
Every swimmer in the pool, the tall and the small,
Were sprinting! Without any pool toys at all!
He hadn’t stopped the workout from coming!

It came
Somehow or other, it came just the same!
And the triathlete, with his grinch-feet ice-cold as snow
Stood puzzling and puzzling: “How could it be so?
It came without pool toys! It came without fins!
“It came without swim bags, paddles, or Garmins!”
And he puzzled three hours, `till his puzzler was sore.
Then the Grinch thought of something he hadn’t before!
“Maybe speed and proper swimming,” he thought, “doesn’t come from those tools.
“Maybe the speed…perhaps…comes from a love of pools!”
And what happened then…?
Well…in the YMCA they say
That the triathlete’s pace
dropped three seconds in his next race!
And that minute his speedo didn’t feel quite so tight,
He whizzed with his load through the bright morning light
And he brought back the toys! And who could forget
that he…
…HE HIMSELF…led the main set!

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admin <![CDATA[Overcoming Addiction & Becoming a World Champion with Karlyn Pipes – TSC Podcast #106]]> http://www.triswimcoach.com/?p=12380 2017-06-05T09:34:32Z 2016-12-09T14:00:38Z Download this episode     In this episode, Kevin interviews Karlyn Pipes, an International Swimming Hall of Famer, motivational speaker and the author of The Do-Over, a memoir about her struggles and victories with addiction. They discuss about how to become a swimming world champion: Why Karlyn wrote her book, The Do-Over What it was like for her [...]

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In this episode, Kevin interviews Karlyn Pipes, an International Swimming Hall of Famer, motivational speaker and the author of The Do-Over, a memoir about her struggles and victories with addiction. They discuss about how to become a swimming world champion:

  • Why Karlyn wrote her book, The Do-Over
  • What it was like for her growing up
  • Staying motivated in swimming
  • How Karlyn overcame her alcoholism
  • Beating addictions
  • Importance of having goals
  • Listening to your body
  • Rebounding from injuries
  • Importance of reaching out and asking for help
  • Letting go of shame
  • It’s not about what you do, but why you do it
  • Why you should celebrate small victories
  • Reframing your thoughts
  • Letting go and allowing life to unfold naturally
  • Karlyn’s swimming advice for beginners

Links & Resources:

The Do-Over: My Journey from the Depths of Addiction to World Champion Swimmer (You can order an autographed copy of The Do-Over by sending an email to karlynpipes@gmail.com.)

Get in touch with Karlyn Pipes:

**If you’ve enjoyed this episode of Tri Swim Coach Triathlon Swimming, please subscribe and leave us a rating & review over on iTunes to help spread the word. Thank you!**

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Chris http://www.triswimcoach.com <![CDATA[Two ways to increase front end power]]> http://www.triswimcoach.com/?p=12351 2017-06-05T09:37:32Z 2016-12-05T10:23:48Z A few weeks ago I posted an article on front end power and how that swimmers need to focus on the front end swimming (i.e. the catch and pull) rather than the finish of the swimming stroke. We received a couple questions on the best way to improve this, so I wanted to go into this [...]

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Two ways to increase front end powerA few weeks ago I posted an article on front end power and how that swimmers need to focus on the front end swimming (i.e. the catch and pull) rather than the finish of the swimming stroke. We received a couple questions on the best way to improve this, so I wanted to go into this further and give you two swimming drills to focus and hone this skill.

The first drill is a modified catch up drill. Like the standard catch up drill, you are going swim with both hands extended out in front of you and stroke with one hand at a time with a good focus on a high elbow and wide hand placement. The twist though is that each time you stroke, you are going to purposefully accelerate your hand during the catch (hand placement out front at the 1-2 o’clock position) and pull as you pull straight back with a high elbow.

After your hand has passed under you, you slow down your hand and slow down as you finish your stroke and exit the water all the way around to the start. This drills allow you to feel where your propulsion should come from in your stroke as well as perfect form where it counts.

The second drill is a single arm drill, which also helps isolate each arm so that you can focus on form and feel for the water. The added benefit with the single arm drill though is that you can incorporate proper balance and rotation.

Many coaches recommend having an arm extended out front while doing this drill but I think having your non focus arm at your side allows for better rotation and balance in the water. With one arm planted at your side, you feel whether your body is out of line and your legs sinking. I break these up by 25 so swim down with one arm then back with the other. Each stroke you want to engage your back core so that as you accelerate through the pull you are doing so with your back and not solely your arms.

I like to do both of these drills during the warmup as to wake up my body and alert it to proper form, a feeling that I try to carry into my main sets.

 

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Chris http://www.triswimcoach.com <![CDATA[Increasing front end power]]> http://www.triswimcoach.com/?p=12246 2017-04-09T11:46:11Z 2016-11-21T12:57:29Z If you were at the swim summit, then you might have heard Karlyn Pipes talk about how we have been swimming and being taught to swim incorrectly. If you did not catch the summit or her talk there is a great review on this website. In essence she said that many swimmers focus too much [...]

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Increasing front end powerIf you were at the swim summit, then you might have heard Karlyn Pipes talk about how we have been swimming and being taught to swim incorrectly. If you did not catch the summit or her talk there is a great review on this website.

In essence she said that many swimmers focus too much on the back end of their strokes (past the hip and exit) which is a waste of time and power. Moreover, by doing so you risk throwing yourself off balance and over gliding–both of which will slow you down and waste energy. Instead, you should focus on the front end with a long catch and then a powerful and quick pull–“Quick in the back, long in the front” as she says. But how do you increase your power in the front?

First off you need to make sure your placement is wide. Typically, when athletes move to a wider stroke they think that they are entering too wide but in reality there placement is just perfect. I like to visualize pointing to the far corner of the lane as I swim. A wider catch will also prevent crossing over and keep you balanced in the water for better rotation. Catch up and ¾ catch up are perfect drills to help with this ideal hand position.

The next ingredient for a powerful catch and pull is a high elbow catch. Your arms should make half a “Superman” logo when it pulls. You also want this part of the pull to be quick and powerful since this is where your propulsion comes from. A good visual for this, is Pipe’s video here. Once again catch up drill and ¾ catch up drill are good to develop this as are water polo sprints and underwater recovery/doggy paddle freestyle.

There are other ways to increase power in this phase of the stroke though. For one, using the Vasa ergometer is an ideal way to do so because you get the ability to work on form coupled with extra resistance for strength. You can also see your power numbers go up as your form and deltoid and lat strength improve.

Resistance bands can also help here because you can allow your arms to snap back each time and not overglide in the end part of your stroke. In the weight room, straight arm lat pull downs target very similar muscle groups to the ideal swim stroke and can help improve that power. Finally, using paddles adds resistance and a strength element in the water.

Were you taught to overglide? If so, it’s time to change and embrace a quicker more powerful swim stroke.

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admin <![CDATA[How to train for a triathlon when you’re a busy professional – with Triathlon Taren]]> http://www.triswimcoach.com/?p=12238 2017-06-05T09:41:37Z 2016-11-13T20:30:06Z Tri Swim Coach Podcast #105 In this podcast, Kevin interviews Taren Gessell, Triathlon Taren of Youtube fame. They discuss: -Becoming Triathlon Taren -Most popular triathlon topics -Beginner swimmers training for triathlon -Triathlon as a lifestyle -Brick workouts -Maffetone Method advantages -Guide to Triathlon Swimming for busy professionals References Taren’s Website – http://triathlontaren.com Triathlon Taren on Youtube Triathlon [...]

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Tri Swim Coach Podcast #105
tritaren
In this podcast, Kevin interviews Taren Gessell, Triathlon Taren of Youtube fame. They discuss:

-Becoming Triathlon Taren
-Most popular triathlon topics
-Beginner swimmers training for triathlon
-Triathlon as a lifestyle
-Brick workouts
-Maffetone Method advantages
-Guide to Triathlon Swimming for busy professionals

References

Taren’s Website – http://triathlontaren.com
Triathlon Taren on Youtube
Triathlon Swimming: Total Immersion VS Tri Swim Coach VS Swim Smooth Guru
Find him on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/triathlontaren
Find him on Twitter: http://twitter.com/triathlontaren

Please help us out with a rating & review on iTunes!

https://itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/tri-swim-coach-triathlon-swimming/id306454334?mt=2

triswimcoach-podcast

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Chris http://www.triswimcoach.com <![CDATA[Winter Training Pitfalls]]> http://www.triswimcoach.com/?p=12201 2017-06-05T09:44:38Z 2016-11-08T13:33:05Z Many beginner triathletes have the great goal of improving their swim over the winter, but when spring comes they are usually disappointed with their improvements especially in the open water. Why? I have picked apart several training plans and traditional, typical programs to find the most common mistakes that are slowing your swim gains during [...]

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Winter Training Pitfalls Many beginner triathletes have the great goal of improving their swim over the winter, but when spring comes they are usually disappointed with their improvements especially in the open water. Why? I have picked apart several training plans and traditional, typical programs to find the most common mistakes that are slowing your swim gains during winter triathlon training:

  • Not training consistently: It might seem obvious (like everything else on this list) but it is true: to swim faster and more efficiently, you have to swim but also more consistently. Swimming 2x5000m a week is great but in my opinion it would be better to swim 3×3000 Monday, Wednesday, Friday, then 2×1500 Tuesday and Thursday.Getting into the water everyday, improves your swim because you never lose that feel for the water. I personally have found great success with 3x 3400-3800m three days a week then 2×1500-2000m on the Vasa as a warmup to my bike workouts, which are the key sessions for that day. I recognize that this is difficult for some because getting to the pool and syncing the pool hours up with your own schedule can be tough, but if you are serious about improving in the water, consistently getting in the pool is a great first step.
  • Your Master’s swim program: A lot of triathletes are members of a master’s swim group, which is a great way to stay accountable, get good workouts in, and train with people who will push your speed. Masters, though, has its faults. I have found that many masters coaches assign workouts that are not specific enough to triathletes: the sets are too short; the workouts are usually not long enough; and the ratio of stroke to freestyle is skewed.Obviously this is very much dependent on your coach and your program, so if you have found a great program which has developed your skills, speed, and endurance, stick with them. However, if you are not seeing the gains you want, going solo might be better so that you can do triathlon specific workouts.
  • Neglecting your weaknesses: Winter and the offseason is the time to address your weaknesses not hone your strengths. Many triathletes though continue to do what they have always done throughout the season (500m repeats at Ironman pace or 50-100m sprints on 1min rest) without attending to the flaws in their stroke (sinking legs, lopsided breathing, crossing over, dropping elbows). Now is the time to analyze your stroke by a professional, and talk to a coach about how to turn your weaknesses into strengths.
  • Skipping the open water: This is a really tough one to do over the winter because for most of us, the lakes, reservoirs, and open water swim areas are frozen over or just way too cold to swim in. If this is the case for you, wait till spring to start planning OWS, but start planning now so that you can include them the day the ice begins to thaw. If you are blessed enough to swim in warmer climates though, getting into the open water every other week will give your swim training, endurance, and skills a huge boost come spring. Swimming on a Vasa swim trainer as I mentioned before will give you similar fitness and endurance but not address open water anxiety or fears.

 

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admin <![CDATA[Global Swimming Summit: Sneak Preview (Audio Podcast)]]> http://www.triswimcoach.com/?p=12146 2017-06-05T09:48:03Z 2016-10-25T23:50:29Z In this podcast, Kevin discusses the ongoing Global Triathlon Swimming Summit, how to sign up, and plays a highlight reel of the free online conference. References Register for the Global Swimming Summit: http://globalswimmingsummit.com Please help us out with a rating & review on iTunes! https://itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/tri-swim-coach-triathlon-swimming/id306454334?mt=2

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global-swimming-summit

In this podcast, Kevin discusses the ongoing Global Triathlon Swimming Summit, how to sign up, and plays a highlight reel of the free online conference.

References

Register for the Global Swimming Summit: http://globalswimmingsummit.com

Please help us out with a rating & review on iTunes!

https://itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/tri-swim-coach-triathlon-swimming/id306454334?mt=2

triswimcoach-podcast

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Chris http://www.triswimcoach.com <![CDATA[Joci Goggle Review]]> http://www.triswimcoach.com/?p=12128 2017-06-05T09:50:29Z 2016-10-24T08:02:35Z There is a glut of goggles on the market all claiming to be different and special. From the wide scuba like masks that claim 140 degree vision to the minimalist, old school socket rockets, whatever your preference/goal is there is a goggle for it. Since everyone has different facial structures it is hard to rate [...]

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Joci Goggle ReviewThere is a glut of goggles on the market all claiming to be different and special.

From the wide scuba like masks that claim 140 degree vision to the minimalist, old school socket rockets, whatever your preference/goal is there is a goggle for it.

Since everyone has different facial structures it is hard to rate one over another. However, we can give you our impressions on how to choose best goggle for triathlon and rank them based on what we find as universal traits that people look for in a goggle:

  1. Aesthetics
  2. Suction and feel
  3. Anti-fog
  4. Visibility in open water and pool performance

For the below review I will rank these goggles on a 5 point scale of 1-Worthless to 5-Awesome.

The Joci goggles, which are new this year, are one of the best rated and selling goggles on the Amazon market–which is a very good sample size when you look at the numbers and purchasing trends. Their Free Swim Swimming Goggles claim to fit a wide range of facial structures, from adults to kids.

They are similar in size and shape to the Special Ops 2.0 by TYR but are slightly bigger than the Speedo Vanquishers that I currently use. They are certainly not a mask though.

Overall, when it comes to looks, I personally like the “olympic swimmer” look of my Speedo Vanquishers slightly better than the Joci, but they are not bad looking especially when you throw a swim cap on. The gray lenses too are a nice touch and do give an intimidating “don’t mess with me” look. My score but this is personal preference: 4 out of 5

As far as fit, when I first tried these on, I immediately noticed the close fit that they had and the instant suction. Even without using the straps they fit snuggly into my eye sockets. However, maybe because of the close fit, I did get a slight “racoon” face after 90 minutes of practice.

The marks did disappear by the time I got to work, but the effect is worth noting. They certainly live up to their claim of fitting a variety of faces too. My wife who has a very different bone structure with narrower eye sockets also tried them on and they were just as snug on her as they were on me. Even with the tight fit though I could not feel them on my face. I would confidently give the Joci a 5 out of 5 for suction and feel.

The Joci also claim to be anti fog, a claim that held well. After two weeks of daily use including an open water race, the goggles did not fog up or leak once. They remained just as clear as the first swim. They get a 5 out of 5 in this category.

Now onto the most important category: visibility in practice and races. In the pool this matters less but is still important. Since they did not fog up at all nor did they leak, the Joci had perfect vision in the pool and I was able to see my “competitors” (i.e. the bloke doing laps two lanes down) fairly well. Even in open water I had near perfect visibility.

For the first half of my race, I was swimming into the sun and while the goggles were not mirrored I still could see fairly well both when I sighted and when I was swimming.

I think my mirrored Vanquisher goggles would have performed better when sighting but I would not have as much visibility when it comes to other swimmers and my place in the race. Overall, these get a solid 4 out 5. What would make them a 5 would be mirroring the lenses or having an option to do so.

Overall, I think the Joci are well worth buying or trying out especially if you like a snug fit and cannot find a goggle that does not fit your face. If you are more traditional than stick with your socket rockets.

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admin <![CDATA[From Dead Last to Podium Finish in 4 Years – Interview with Steve Mallard]]> http://www.triswimcoach.com/?p=12125 2017-06-05T09:53:20Z 2016-10-21T18:13:33Z In this podcast, Kevin interviews Tri Swim Coach member Steve Mallard, about his progress going from not swimming to finishing mid-pack in just four years. We discuss: – Masters swimming & one-on-one lessons – The importance of underwater video feedback – Mixing up workouts – drills AND intervals AND long swims – Toys – fins, [...]

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In this podcast, Kevin interviews Tri Swim Coach member Steve Mallard, about his progress going from not swimming to finishing mid-pack in just four years. We discuss:

– Masters swimming & one-on-one lessons
– The importance of underwater video feedback
– Mixing up workouts – drills AND intervals AND long swims
– Toys – fins, paddles, pull buoy or Lava pants
– Finis Tempo Trainer
– Get the best wetsuit you can afford – your shoulders will thank you
– Don’t worry about bilateral breathing?
– The great Flip Turn controversy
– The single best thing you can do for your swim

References

Finis Tempo Trainer

Xterra Wetsuits – xterrawetsuits.com (use discount code CO-TRISC for up to 60% off)

Tri Swim Coach Customer Appreciation Day in Irvine, CA – Sign up here
Not a member? Go here to sign up: http://triswimcoach.com

Please help us out with a rating & review on iTunes!

https://itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/tri-swim-coach-triathlon-swimming/id306454334?mt=2

triswimcoach-podcast

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admin <![CDATA[Beginner triathlon guide: Where to start]]> http://www.triswimcoach.com/?p=12098 2017-06-05T09:56:17Z 2016-10-11T18:19:45Z Unlike any other sport, triathlon can incredibly intimidating to get started in. Not only do you have to deal with essentially three training schedules in one, but also not every source agrees with how you should train. A simple Google search will regurgitate at least 10 different programs, most of which contradict each other in [...]

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Unlike any other sport, triathlon can incredibly intimidating to get started in.

Not only do you have to deal with essentially three training schedules in one, but also not every source agrees with how you should train. A simple Google search will regurgitate at least 10 different programs, most of which contradict each other in terms of what is needed to train.

You have to navigate the training, gear, and nutrition. And then there are the type-A personalities that seem to gravitate to the sport, who often like to give free advice, much of which may be conflicting.

It is safe to say that you can be overwhelmed and confused even before you take your first dive, stroke, or step.

So, where should you begin? Read on for a condensed beginners triathlon guide…..

Assess where you are currently, and accept it

shutterstock_423383881

Are you coming off the couch after years of unhealthy living or are you a well trained masters swimmer/cyclist/runner who is looking for a change of pace? Many triathletes come from single sports because of overuse injuries. Switching to triathlon only to keep overtraining is not in your best interest.

First things first: Accept yourself where you are now.

Ask yourself, “Why am I doing this?” and “What is my goal?”

This is critical to motivating you forward. It could be health, fitness, glory, praise, setting a good example for your kids, beating your friend, raising money/awareness, whatever it is find it, write it down and post it everywhere you can.

This is the fire that keeps you going when things get tough. Make sure your answers are heartfelt and coming from your true self.

Once you have done these self inventories, you are ready for step two:

Choose a Plan

Obviously, this is dependent upon where you are starting and where you want to go. An experienced coach who relates to where you are coming from would be an ideal person to help with this.

If you are doing it solo then here are some tips:

-If you are well trained in a specific sport, you will need a program that emphasizes your weaker sports.

For example, if you were a runner, you need to adapt to running off the bike; or, if a cyclist originally, training for longer durations without drafting. If you are coming from a non-swimming background you definitely need to start with the basics in the pool- drills and technique emphasis.

-If you are coming from a different sport entirely and/or an active but non triathlete lifestyle, you need to build a base in all three sports. Start slow, build up your aerobic base for 6-10 weeks, then start getting fancy with sprint workouts, strength training, acrobatic yoga, crossfit endurance, or swimming in a tuxedo. 🙂

-If you are making a drastic lifestyle change, build slowly, be consistent, and be patient with yourself. The key in this stage is to build mini habits, build good form, and make small incremental steps each week. You are starting on a great but long journey so enjoy it, and celebrate each little victory as it comes.

-Look for a plan that meets and fits your lifestyle and your other commitments and addresses your specific limiters while keeping your strengths. If it looks like it will bury you and drain you of all energy leaving you with nothing for family, friends and work, start smaller, with challenges that are easily doable for you. Consistency is critical. You are better off doing four weeks of small but frequent workouts than one to two weeks of high volume- which can lead to three months of injury and sickness.

Choose Your Gear

Go for the basics here. You might be tempted to run out and grab the latest, most aero gear. Having worked in a bike store, I (Chris) know oh too well the overwhelmed look of new customers. Do not be suckered into expensive purchases. If it helps, go with a trusted friend to advise.

triathlon-gear

Should you buy used? Yes, you can, but be sure you also buy having done your research on what type and size of bike you should get. Start basic, then after several months of training and even a few races you can upgrade. Overall, all you need to start are:

Swim: Goggles, swim suit, swim cap (kick board, fins, and paddles can come later)

Bike: You need a basic road bike that fits well. Even if you decide to not to triathlon, you can keep your road bike for your other biking needs. Also:

-Helmet (no wiggle room here)clipless pedals (get ones that can be used for spin classes like Look pedals)
-Water bottles
-Tri shorts
-Jersey (optional)

I would also add in a basic trainer/turbo so that you can workout early in the morning on your own trainer and work on bike skills like unclipping without traffic worries.

Run: running shoes, socks.

That’s it. Remember to not be intimidated by experienced athletes with their aero helmets, sleek one piece kits, and goofy aerobars but those are just shiny objects and toys. Focus on your own engine and having fun out there (and cherish the extra 10k that you saved by not getting those upgrades).

Dial in Your Nutrition

You’re taking on quite a physical endeavor, even if it’s “just a sprint” triathlon.

You will need proper fueling, and despite the 90s “common wisdom”, this does not mean stuffing your face with carbohydrates! If you are currently carbohydrate-dependent, consider getting off this roller coaster. But not all at once.

Implement small habits like having a salad once a day. Iced tea or sparkling water instead of soda. Drinking 6-8 glasses of water a day. Once you’ve adopted a healthy habit, it’s time to add another.

Finally, surround yourself with positive supportive people. It might be hard in certain places but look for a club or training crew to help you along the way.

This is particularly important when it comes to swimming. You will be better off asking for help first, learning how to swim right the first time around, and building from the bottom with help rather than going to YouTube University and books for help.

Youtube is great but it cannot replace eyes on the pool deck or a person analyzing your form via video.

Feeling overwhelmed? Chunk things down. What can you do today to move yourself forward? The journey of 1000 miles begins with a single dive, pedal stroke, and step…or simply, a good night’s sleep.

beginner triathlon guide

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Chris http://www.triswimcoach.com <![CDATA[Muscular Endurance Workouts]]> http://www.triswimcoach.com/?p=12055 2017-06-05T10:00:05Z 2016-09-26T08:24:14Z Muscular Endurance focused workouts are in my opinion some of the best workouts you can do at all levels of swimming training with the exception of a green beginner. Essentially, what these exercises are those that fatigue your arms first through a variety of evil, maniacal and crafty ways and then tells you to swim [...]

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Muscular Endurance WorkoutsMuscular Endurance focused workouts are in my opinion some of the best workouts you can do at all levels of swimming training with the exception of a green beginner. Essentially, what these exercises are those that fatigue your arms first through a variety of evil, maniacal and crafty ways and then tells you to swim at race pace or higher for long intervals or repeats.

I like these regardless of whether you are advanced or just a novice because it teaches you to swim while you are not completely fresh. It also forces you to focus on your forms which undoubtedly will break down and thus requires you to focus even harder on keeping it together. Lastly, because of the rigorous demands of these sets, you can complete them in a shorter time frame compared to pure endurance.

Below you will find a few of my favorite muscular endurance exercise sets that you can customize to your current swim level. These are just the main sets so if you want to throw in a warm up and drill set before please do.

Mainset 1:
4-10 x 250 as 50 waterpolo sprint*** then 200 hard on 30s rest
2-5 x 200-500 at race pace on 30s rest.

Other good drills for this include underwater recovery/doggie paddle freestyle or fist drill sprint with tennis balls

Mainset 2:
5-10 x 50 sprint with bound legs*** and no pull buoy on 20s rest
200-500 race pace
100 easy recovery
Repeat for 1-4 rounds
****You can also substitute a drag suit, t shirt, or towel to increase drag

Main set 3:
5 x 200 hard with paddles and buoy on 20s rest
200-500 at race pace
100 easy recovery
Repeat 1-4 rounds

As a side note, be careful on the last main set with the paddles if you have shoulder issues.

Let me know what you think of these.

Coach Chris and Kev

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Chris http://www.triswimcoach.com <![CDATA[Are Drills Overated?]]> http://www.triswimcoach.com/?p=12043 2017-06-05T10:02:32Z 2016-09-20T06:23:50Z Drills are actually a pretty controversial topic among swimming and triathlon coaches. Some, like Brett Sutton and Matt Dixon, both of whom have coached numerous Olympiads and Ironman Champions between see drills as unimportant for becoming a better swimmer in fact it is better to spend your time with intensity. Matt Dixon goes as far [...]

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Are Drills Overated? Drills are actually a pretty controversial topic among swimming and triathlon coaches. Some, like Brett Sutton and Matt Dixon, both of whom have coached numerous Olympiads and Ironman Champions between see drills as unimportant for becoming a better swimmer in fact it is better to spend your time with intensity.

Matt Dixon goes as far as to call drills making you faster a “myth” and that they “rarely translate into improved swimming for triathletes.” His reasoning is that as triathletes, we are training for open water swimming and thus drills that focus on technique are great for competitive pool swimmers but not for the open water.

It’s like learning to run a marathon by looking at the form of Usain Bolt. As long as we have a few fundamentals down the mechanics of the stroke will fall into place. Moreover, there are better ways to spend our two-three swim sessions a week.

Similarly, Sutton states that:

“90% of non-swimmers would be far better served by using aids and instead of drilling, performing swim sessions that specifically address the needs of the physical exertion of swimming non-stop for an hour.”

He goes on to say that “developing a feel” for the water prevents you from becoming a better triathlete.

Both Dixon and Sutton have three very valid points here. Since many of us cannot get to the pool (or do not want to get to the pool) more than a few sessions a week, we have to make every lap count. Thus, spending an hour of our time and the majority of the practice doing fingertip drag for lap after lap does very little to building swim fitness or speed especially in the open water. Secondly, swim times for 50s or 100s does not completely correlate to 1900 or 3800m times. Lastly, drills will not make you faster–at least directly.

However, it is here that I start to question these two, great coaches. From our experience at TSC, beginner and novice swimmers and triathletes, who are just getting started in the pool and can swim only a few lengths without taking a break to swim, need drills like sidekick, 6/3/6, balance drill, to get their form right initially so that they can swim longer without a break.

What is holding these swimmers back is not only fitness but also form. To improve the former, you have to get the latter correct. If we just gave these swimmers sprints or worse, 500 meter repeats not only would they not be able to complete the workouts but they would most likely quit because of how miserable it feels.

The compounding effect too is that swimming without the technique instruction first ingrains bad form habits that will prevent them from getting faster later on in their swim development. These errors not only will be in the pool but also in the open water. In this instance, drills and building feel for the water will allow swimmers to be more confident in the water and actually be able to swim.

You are not going to be able to develop a high elbow catch if you do not focus on it and work to improve it. Nor are you going to be able to float better in the water if you do not know what it feels like to be balanced in the water. Breathing, the trickiest part of learning to swim, too is hard to develop without knowing and honing the timing of your stroke, which is hard to develop without breaking down your stroke into individual parts and improving body position. Drills build awareness of what your body is doing, which is a critical skill for those new to the pool.

As the swimmer and triathlete develop their stroke, moving from “novice” to “intermediate” and “advanced,” then drills need to be toned back and that time in the water is indeed better spent focusing on fitness, endurance and speed. The type of drill too should change from technique/form to strength. An advanced swimmer does not need to do balance drill but can still gain benefit from first, water polo sprint, or underwater recovery, which focus on strength rather than water feel.

Moreover, if swimmers and triathletes skip the foundational work early on then they will hit plateaus later on. As they get faster, eventually they will hit a time barrier that becomes near impossible to get past without addressing issues in their form. If your legs sink, it will be very hard even with the best of training schedules to break the 90”/100m mark and more swimming will not automatically fix it.

So should you do drills to develop a feel for the water? Yes! Especially if you are a novice to the pool but keep in mind as you progress as a swimmer, your drills and training need to as well.

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admin <![CDATA[Being a Fit Triathlete]]> http://www.triswimcoach.com/?p=12040 2017-06-05T10:06:19Z 2016-09-18T19:33:45Z In this podcast, you can learn how to become a fit swimmer. Kevin discusses the upcoming Tri Swim Coach webinar, The Fit Triathlete. The 4 pillars of optimal health & fitness for triathletes include: 1. Psychology 2. Nutrition 3. Rest/recovery/sleep 4. Workouts Reference – Signup for the webinar at http://thefittriathlete.com Please help us out with [...]

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In this podcast, you can learn how to become a fit swimmer. Kevin discusses the upcoming Tri Swim Coach webinar, The Fit Triathlete. The 4 pillars of optimal health & fitness for triathletes include:

1. Psychology
2. Nutrition
3. Rest/recovery/sleep
4. Workouts

Reference – Signup for the webinar at http://thefittriathlete.com

Please help us out with a rating & review on iTunes!

https://itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/tri-swim-coach-triathlon-swimming/id306454334?mt=2

triswimcoach-podcast

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Chris http://www.triswimcoach.com <![CDATA[Raising the BAARR this off season]]> http://www.triswimcoach.com/?p=11924 2017-06-05T10:09:24Z 2016-09-06T03:31:30Z In the Northern Hemisphere, the tri season is coming to a strong close, while in the Southern Hemisphere is just heating up. However, regardless of whether you are ready to hunker down in your hibernation training cave or whether you are emerging ready for longer hours outside, you are most likely laying down your goals [...]

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Raising the BAARR this off seasonIn the Northern Hemisphere, the tri season is coming to a strong close, while in the Southern Hemisphere is just heating up. However, regardless of whether you are ready to hunker down in your hibernation training cave or whether you are emerging ready for longer hours outside, you are most likely laying down your goals for the coming months. In this phase you need extra motivation to set goals for your triathlon training.

It’s at both of these points in the season (the opening and the “closing”), that I like to sit down with my athletes, swimmers and personal training clients and take them through what I have dubbed my “Raising the BAARR” (pronounced just like “bar”) exercise.

The purpose of this exercise is to do more than to just set goals; that is not enough. Setting goals is good but will fail unless you have the psychological infrastructure to achieve it. I want to help them set a goal, solidify it, get them excited for that goal, and then lay the mental framework for them to reach and then surpass it.

To start the exercise, you actually start from the end and work backwards.

The last “R” stands for Results:

Ask yourself, what result do you want to achieve this season be it your offseason or your racing season. Be as specific as possible especially if you are in the former category. Also try to sort your goals into two groups, performance and behavioral, and it is ok to have a mix of both. Performance goals are those that relate, as the name implies, to your performance such as “I want to qualify for 70.3 world championships,” “I want to go sub 1:05 in the 100m,” “I want to break 35 minutes for the 10k off the bike” or “I want to get down to 140lbs”.

These are great goals to have and needed for certain A type personalities but are out of your control to some extent. Qualifying for worlds is largely dependent upon who shows up that day and racing conditions. Behavioral goals though relate to how you behave and thus are 100% in your control. They also directly impact your performance goals.

While qualifying for world might be out of your control, going to the pool four times a week, completing 95% of your scheduled workouts, and eating a cleaner diet are certainly within your power to do. These goals should get you excited just thinking about them. You should be motivated by picturing achieving them. If they do not light that fire in you, choose a different goal because in two weeks from now, when your alarm clock goes off at 4:30am, if you are not motivated now, you will not be then.

The second to last “R” stand for Reason:

This strikes at the core of your results. Why do you want to achieve those results? Why do you want to qualify for worlds? Why do you want to get leaner? This step is hard at times and requires you to do some honest soul searching but without a “Why” your results will wither.

The first “A” stands for “Actions”:

Ask yourself and ask your coach, what actions you need to take to achieve your results. It could be that you need to swim an extra 4000 yards a week or focus more on your drills. To get to a 1:10/100 you will have to include more swim sets. If your results are more physique based, the actions needed to achieve that ideal body could be like including more vegetables in your diet, hydrating more, etc.

It might be tempting to include things as “not hitting the snooze button on your alarm clock” or “not eating doughnuts” but I prefer to guide my athletes to positive actions, which are more powerful and more likely to stick. By focusing entirely on the positive, you do not have time or energy to focus on the negatives. Positives will push you towards your goals while negatives will pull you. They both will get you there but you are stronger and faster when you pushing yourself.

The second “A” stands for “Affect”:

What emotions or affect do you need to adopt to achieve these actions. Many goal setting practices skip this step entirely, but I see it as essential. Actions arise from emotions. Think about the last time you were depressed and you ate a pint of ice cream because of it. Or when you were really motivated and you had an awesome workout. Emotions lead to actions and by priming our emotions we can lead to better actions and the ones we need to adopt to achieve our results.

The emotions that I like to awaken are not the typical happy or joyful but rather ones like “beast mode,” “determined,” “unstoppable” “focused,” and “flow.” I then conjure up these emotions at the beginning of the day during my morning meditations and pre-warm ups to get me in the right mood for the day and for my workouts. I also focus on these if I am struggling in a workout. Music can help a lot in this step.

Finally the B stands for beliefs, which is the driving force of all the sequential steps.

As the saying goes “To acheive, you must believe” and as corny as that sounds, it is 100% true. Unless you believe you have the potential to be a good swimmer, a leaner athlete, age group champion, you will never become it. Kevin and I talked about adopting a growth mindset on our last podcast.

What that means is that you cannot shut down and say “I am a bad swimmer” or “I am a slow triathlete” or “I am fat;” that type of mindset will only lead you to what you think you are. Instead accept where you are right now (“My swim times are slow right now”) then accept that you have the power to change them (“but I am going to work at it through the structured training plan”) and then confirm your belief “because I am a dedicated swimmer and triathlete).

With the right beliefs, you will prime the right affect, which will lead to the desire actions, which are powered by your reasons, which finally lead to your results. So are you ready to raise the BAARR this year? What are you waiting for.

-Coach Chris and Kev

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Chris http://www.triswimcoach.com <![CDATA[Five books and a podcast to help you this offseason]]> http://www.triswimcoach.com/?p=11918 2017-06-05T10:13:14Z 2016-08-31T15:45:29Z For many of you (at least our Northern hemisphere readers and non Kona qualifiers), your last race is coming up more quickly than you want and after that a well deserved break as you enter the offseason. In my opinion, “off season” is a big misnomer. For many, It might conjure up images of pizza, [...]

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Five books and a podcasts to help you this offseasonFor many of you (at least our Northern hemisphere readers and non Kona qualifiers), your last race is coming up more quickly than you want and after that a well deserved break as you enter the offseason.

In my opinion, “off season” is a big misnomer. For many, It might conjure up images of pizza, doughnuts, sleeping in, and a dry swimsuit collecting dust at the bottom of your swim bag in the back of your closet, but for me, it means honest self-evaluation of the previous season, analysis of current limiters, and then doubling down on my weaknesses and training.

Yes, after a few “re-set weeks,” my training shifts in focus and my weekly TSS does drop a tad as it should in a good periodized annual plan, but at the same time my focus does not. As the saying goes, champions are made in the offseason.

Now is the time to start making plans for next year and asking yourself where you want to be at the end of next year. Now is also the time for many to focus on your swim form because it is your biggest limiter. Instead of procrastinating until a week before your 2017 A race or aimlessly doing workout after workout without a plan and a vague hope you will find improvement, please please please put the time in now to do the form analysis and prescribed drills for your specific problems in addition to time in the pool since now is the time when it is ok to have a ratio of form work: intensity: endurance ratio that is closer to 2:3:2.

In an effort to make this the best, most transformative offseason, you’ve ever had, I have been looking for some resources to help you out. Below you will find Six inspirational triathlon books and a podcast for beginners that I highly recommend and have been transformative for both my mind and body. None of these authors have asked for our endorsement or paid us large sums of cash to get on this selective list. Rather they are great resources that stand out to me as the best, so let’s begin:

“Ego is the Enemy” and “The Obstacle is the Way” by Ryan Holiday

Both of these books by Ryan Holiday are fantastic. While not related to triathlon directly, they nevertheless can easily be applied especially if you struggle with swimming. For many, swimming is the obstacle in the way of their triathlon dreams and thus needs to be addressed head on; these books can help with that.

Having listened to both on Audible, they are those types of books that you finish and then hit the replay button. For me, they have helped me address what I need to work on, refocus my efforts, confront my fears, and reassess my goals as an athlete, teacher, coach, and husband. I would say there is nothing ground breakingly new in either books, they do slap you in the face with reality and give you the reminders that we all know in our hearts of hearts but occasionally forget.

These books are not the type that can be read in one sitting. On the contrary, I actually like listening to 5-10 minutes in the morning then reflecting and meditating on the passage as I get ready to workout. They are easy but nevertheless inspiring reads.

“The Well Built Triathlete” By Matt Dixon of Purplepatch fitness

I cannot list all of Matt Dixon’s credentials in a single post, but to summarize, he is one smart, inspiring, practical, and realistic author and coach. In this book, he outlines how he trains his own athletes and what he sees as the pillars of a successful triathlete program. He analyzes swimming, biking, running, nutrition, strength training, and recovery and how even the busiest triathlete can optimize each one.

To summarize, his approach is looking at triathletes as not swim, bike, runners like many books do but rather, triathletes, who have to think more about how the three sports and training for the three sports relate to each other rather than in isolation. His nutrition section too is well worth the read. He gets away from the dogma and n=1 stories out there and gives his reader practical advice. His section on swimming is not anything new but he summarizes what he sees as the key points of a good swim nicely.

If you are a self-coached triathlete or a coach yourself, this is a must read right next to “The Triathlete Training Bible” by Joe Friel, which I was going to include in this list but it seems pointless to because it should go without saying.

“How Bad do you Want it?” By Matt Fitzgerald

This book looks into the psychology of some of the toughest athletes out there and how they got there. The book ties these athletes together and sees what makes these athletes tick mentally. The stories are interesting and motivating at the same time.

It was hard for me to read this without wanting to jump into the pool or put on my running shoes to go for a run. I would often think about specific passages during hard sessions when I wanted to give up and found motivation to keep going.

“Diet Cults” by Matt Fitzgerald.

Many people look at their nutrition and launch into a new diet in the offseason but before you do, read this book. It analyzes some of the most common diets out there and cuts through some of the claims that many diets make.

He analyzes diets more from a sociological approach rather than scientific and in doing so makes you question your motives. He does not offer any advice or tell you that one diet is better than another, which a breath of fresh air in a market that is polluted with quick fixes and diet dejours.

“The Sports Motivation Podcast” By Niyi Sobo.

Besides our own TSC podcast, this is one of my favorites and I am a loyal listener. Sobo does an amazing job at looking at common errors athletes make (perfectionism, self-doubt, fear, procrastination) and helps you specify your goals and motivations so that you can achieve results.

Not a single episode has left me without not being fired up or ready to tackle my next workout. He offers advice on training, competing, and even marriage, all of which I have found useful. His background is very much in team sports like basketball and football, but his message can easily be applied to swimming and triathlon.

I hope you found this list helpful and if you have your own list of great resources that you continue to come back to season after season let us know.

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Chris http://www.triswimcoach.com <![CDATA[Getting Back Your Swim Mojo]]> http://www.triswimcoach.com/?p=11899 2017-06-05T10:15:58Z 2016-08-23T02:42:44Z I have a confession to make: from January through June, I only got in the water five times for a total of about 6000 yards. I started the year with full intentions to get faster in the water, increase my yardage, become more consistent, come out in the lead back instead of being overtaken by [...]

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The YouTube and Vasa Diet

I have a confession to make: from January through June, I only got in the water five times for a total of about 6000 yards.

I started the year with full intentions to get faster in the water, increase my yardage, become more consistent, come out in the lead back instead of being overtaken by the age group behind (or two groups behind me).

All of that went out the window when the school year (I’m a Middle School math teacher by day) started up again. After Christmas break, my local pool shut down for 3 months of renovations (LA pools are notoriously bad at this), I got a stomach flu in February, and, most importantly, my love for the water seemed to fade away and i felt getting back into triathlon training is daunting.

When your motivation is gone, it is hard to drag yourself to the pool and dive into cold water.

Now, I did not stop training altogether. On the contrary, while my desire and time to go to the pool went away my desire to ride and run redoubled. I also found a new love: Vasa workouts.

Even though I did not want to go to the pool to swim, I still wanted to get faster and improve with the time that I did have. Recognizing the time and logistical crunch, my coach began assigning me 2-3 Vasa workouts a week: one of which would would be a Vasa/Kick brick, another focusing on endurance, and the last one being speed/power work.

These workouts barely lasted more than 60 minutes and were between 2000-3200 meters long; most importantly, they fit into my schedule and were what I wanted to do.

For the endurance sets, the basic structure would be a 10 minute warm up doing drills (yes—you can do drills on the Vasa but they are far more effective than in the water because you actually can see your form), then sets of 200-500 meters for about 40 to 45 minutes total with varying resistances using the vent to make it harder or easier. The sprints harken back to my college days with the weight rack.

After a warmup, I would do all out efforts for 15-30s maxing out my power each time. My favorites would be the The Vasa/Kick bricks where after warming up on first the trainer then on the Vasa I would go all out for 400m then transition to the bike and do VO2 max repeats then rotate back to the Vasa again for three to four rounds. Best workout ever.

I used the power meter on the Swim Erg to track progress over time, a GoPro to monitor my form, and the forearm cuffs for supplemental strength work; it was an ideal set up. Since the power meter is ANT+ I was able to go through each workout on TrainingPeaks to see where my power would drop so that in the next workout I could focus extra hard to prevent my form from crumbling.

I could look at my form in the GoPro videos and in the mirror next to the Erg to do checks on my form in the middle of workouts–something you cannot do solo in the pool.

In addition to the Vasa, I binged watched YouTube videos. I watched past olympic trials, our own TSC videos, Vasa videos, anything dealing with swimming that would allow me to visualize good form.

I would watch their forms then visualize myself doing that form; then I would hop on the Vasa and actually act it out. With the exceptions of the five pool sessions, YouTube and Vasa sessions were the closest thing I came to putting a toe in the water.

Recently, my wife and I moved to Phoenix, and, not coincidently, right across from a 25m pool. Finally I was able to get back in the water. I was a little nervous at first and scared of what the pace clock would tell me.

How much time had I lost? Would I be able to regain it back in time for my race? Would I be starting from square 1?

The first workout was rough. I did find myself a little winded after about 2000 m but believe it or not my times were not that slow compared to where I was in December.

In fact, my 100 and 200 time was actually faster! I was dumbstruck, but the results do make sense. Although the training scenario was not ideal and swimming three times a week would have shown more improvement potentially, my intense, form-focused, fluffless workouts did pay off.

Even though I can get to the pool whenever I want (work and family permitting of course), the Vasa and YouTube video diet is still going strong. I swim three times a week and get on the Vasa 2 more times.

Before most swims, I pull up a few videos to watch and visualize my own form. The gains keep on coming and I am seeing consistent improvements both in speed and endurance. After six more weeks of now swimming and including the Vasa, I have further cut down my 1000m TT by 30 seconds and took off another 10s on my 100m split. THe results are short of incredible.

Am I recommending that you not swim for six months? NO! But what I am saying is that when crunched for time or under specific circumstances, use the time that you have to the maximum. Don’t waste your time with junk yards. Condense it down to the essentials and then focus and give 100%.

If you can’t get to the pool or don’t want to, there are options out there like the Vasa Swim Erg that can give you great results.

Also, do not discredit the power of visualization. It might look goofy, but it can help. My recommendation is to visualize, and immediately follow it with acting it out in the pool or on the Vasa.

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admin <![CDATA[Most Common Swim Questions Answered (Why You’re Not Alone) – TSC Podcast #102]]> http://www.triswimcoach.com/?p=11893 2017-06-05T10:20:10Z 2016-08-18T22:28:56Z In this podcast, Kevin and Chris answer 4 common triathlon swimming questions. Points discussed: 1. How can i improve my swimming efficiency/Sinking Legs 2. Hitting a plateau 3. Race is coming up SOON- what to do 4. “I’m a slow swimmer” Also mentioned – Upcoming webinar, The Fit Triathlete, September 12th. Mark your calendars! Book [...]

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floatie

In this podcast, Kevin and Chris answer 4 common triathlon swimming questions. Points discussed:

1. How can i improve my swimming efficiency/Sinking Legs
2. Hitting a plateau
3. Race is coming up SOON- what to do
4. “I’m a slow swimmer”

Also mentioned – Upcoming webinar, The Fit Triathlete, September 12th. Mark your calendars!

Book – Mindset – The Psychology of Success by Carol Dweck at Amazon

Reference – Newsletter Signup – http://triswimlessons.com

Free Facebook Group: Facebook.com/groups/triswimcoach
Please help us out with a rating & review on iTunes!

https://itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/tri-swim-coach-triathlon-swimming/id306454334?mt=2

triswimcoach-podcast

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Chris http://www.triswimcoach.com <![CDATA[How close to a race should you make change?]]> http://www.triswimcoach.com/?p=11871 2017-06-05T10:23:10Z 2016-08-12T07:44:56Z Usually, around this time of year we get a lot of inquires from athletes about what to do the day before a triathlon race and whether they should start our program because they have a race coming up. “Is it even worth trying to change my bad habit?” He might say. “I know I am [...]

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How close to a race should you make change?Usually, around this time of year we get a lot of inquires from athletes about what to do the day before a triathlon race and whether they should start our program because they have a race coming up. “Is it even worth trying to change my bad habit?” He might say. “I know I am a bad swimmer but I am afraid to change anything too much.” It is an interesting dilemma.

Obviously, I have to give the disclaimer, “it depends.” It depends on how close the athlete is to the race, how much improvement the athlete’s form needs, and of course the race’s distance.

You cannot change your swim stroke overnight nor are you going to become Andy Potts after watching a few videos and doing a few drills, so trying to change your strokes when you have five to four weeks or less before your race, would be foolish.

That is not to say that you cannot focus on things meaning as you swim, you are thinking about pulling with a higher elbow, keeping a neutral neck, or widening your pull. However, I would not divert your time in the pool away from your regular training plan to do exclusively drills; it will only hurt your fitness, which is the primary focus in the final weeks leading up to a race.

Instead, I would add in supplemental sets of drills into a warm up and add in a mental focus while you are swimming main sets but do not rework your whole entire training or try to reinvent your stroke in that short a period of time. Then after your race, focus on your stroke mechanics during the transition and build phase, which is the ideal time to rework your stroke. If you are still in the base phase (weeks 1-12 out of 24+ of a program) of your training, then you can make some good change after that you should focus more on sticking with the training plan that you are on and supplement with form correction drills and sets.

To be brutally honest, some people’s swim form really needs work and for them to get through a race — in particular a half or full Ironman — they will require a lot of change. In which case, I would advise spending more time correcting the form than on training. For example, if a swimmer cannot swim more than 500m without resting and he/she has an Ironman in 6 weeks, then trying to improve his/her efficiency will help him/her more than telling them to grunt out increasingly harder sets and distances. We might also discuss transferring races to a later race but that is a discussion for another time….

Lastly, swimmers who have a sprint race with a 500-700m swim coming up do not necessarily need all that training to finish so can spend more time working on adjusting their position in the water and how they pull and still get in critical swim sets during the same practice, so for them I would definitely say try to change their stroke.

Overall, weigh the cost and benefits of trying to rework your stroke. If you have the time to prepare and can still get in quality training with intensity then do so, but if it’s crunch time and you need all the swim fitness you can get, then focus on the plan and call us up after your race.

Good luck in your training!
Coach Chris and Kev

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Chris http://www.triswimcoach.com <![CDATA[Sinking Legs revisted]]> http://www.triswimcoach.com/?p=11860 2017-06-05T10:26:45Z 2016-07-29T01:48:41Z One of the biggest sources of frustration for beginner swimmers and coincidentally the most common form error next to crossing over is sinking legs. It has been a while since we have addressed this and since we have received so many questions like “why do i sink when i swim”, “why my legs sink when [...]

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Sinking Legs revistedOne of the biggest sources of frustration for beginner swimmers and coincidentally the most common form error next to crossing over is sinking legs. It has been a while since we have addressed this and since we have received so many questions like “why do i sink when i swim”, “why my legs sink when i try to float or swim backstroke” and more, we thought we would revisit the topic.

In an ideal swim stroke like those seen in YouTube videos of the Olympics and Collegiate Nationals, swimmers’ bodies are parallel to the surface of the water; their butts skim the surface and their ankles come slightly out of the water as they kick, propelling them forward like fins.

On the other hand, a swimmer with sinking legs looks like they are swimming uphill. Starting at the hips, their whole lower body drags underneath the water and in extreme cases practically scrape the bottom of the pool. With such form, drag and thus effort and energy increases which in turn causes problems with breathing and pulling.

The causes of sinking legs are multifaceted including

  • Lifting the head up to breath instead of to the side which causes the shoulders to move up and the hips to move down
  • Holding the breath which inflates the upper body and causes the lower body to sink.
  • Severe ankle inflexibility with toes pointed to the bottom of the pool instead of the wall.
  • Kicking from the knees
  • Looking forward which will raise your head instead of down
  • Straight arm catch rather than a vertical forearm catch.

Obviously, with so many causes it is hard to have just one solution, so instead here is a simple progression to improve all of these causes and improve your entire stroke.

  1. The first step is to align your body properly in the water and more importantly know what this feels like so that you have the ability to feel when you slip out of alignment when swimming. This is often the hardest but most critical part. You should first start with drills like balance point and dead man’s float. Do not move on until you have mastered the basic float. Play around with where your shoulders lie in the water and where your head is and see how that affects your hips and lower legs. Also be sure to point your ankles and keep breathing.
  2. After you have mastered the float and know what it feels like to balance, add in kicking from one side to the other then progress to drills like 6/3/6 (6 kicks left, 3 strokes, 6 kicks right). When performing these kicking drills also focus on your ankles pointing and ROTATING to breath. Eyes should be on the bottom of the pool not the end of the lane. It is at this point that you may need to supplement with deep end vertical kicking to increase ankle flexibility and kicking efficiency.
  3. With your newly found balance in the water and your proper breathing technique, progress to the catch up and ¾ catch up drill to perfect that high elbow/vertical forearm catch all the while breathing to the side and maintaining balance in the water.

You might be tempted to use a pull buoy or Lava pants to help with the situation but be aware that this is a serious Band-aid and not the solution. Use them sparingly for the main set of workouts as you do the above progress but not in place of it.

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Chris http://www.triswimcoach.com <![CDATA[Your five point mental check list]]> http://www.triswimcoach.com/?p=11839 2017-06-05T10:29:47Z 2016-07-21T01:53:53Z It is hard to keep track off all the different parts of the proper stroke: Make sure you keep your head straight… Don’t cross over…. Keep your elbow up… Watch out for doing an S curve…. Are your legs dragging… Are you hips sinking…. At times it seems so overwhelming, you forget to breathe—which is [...]

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Your five point mental check listIt is hard to keep track off all the different parts of the proper stroke:

Make sure you keep your head straight…
Don’t cross over….
Keep your elbow up…
Watch out for doing an S curve….
Are your legs dragging…
Are you hips sinking….

At times it seems so overwhelming, you forget to breathe—which is another thing to add to the laundry list of other form points. However, TSC wants to simplify things for you, so we boiled down everything you need to focus on into a quick mental check list that you can run through as you swim. Our mental checklist will guide beginners to stay focused while they swim in triathlon swimming race.

  1. Am I balanced in the water? Do a quick body scan first thing and mentally check to see if your legs or hips are sinking. If they are, lower your upper body and shoulders, put your head into a neutral position, and breath out to balance things out.
  2. Are my hands entering the water on the outside of my body? To prevent crossing over, have your hand enter wide and visualize them pointing to the opposite corner.
  3. Am I pulling straight back with a high elbow? Avoid curving in the water because that can throw your body position off and waste energy.
  4. Is my head in a neutral position? Don’t crane your neck to look up but keep your chin tucked and your gaze affixed to the black line slightly ahead of you.
  5. Am I breathing? While it might seem simple, not breathing is quite common and destroys your form. For one, it causes you to hyperventilate, wastes energy, pushes your upper body up and your lower body down (see point one). You should feel bubbles constantly.

If you nail all of those, you will be cruising along in no time. As a beginner, 5 points even might be too much, so focus on one point per 100 or per set.

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Chris http://www.triswimcoach.com <![CDATA[Different strokes for different folks]]> http://www.triswimcoach.com/?p=11808 2017-06-05T10:32:34Z 2016-07-14T10:36:15Z I have been following the Olympic pre trials fairly religiously not only because I love seeing the split second finishes but also because I love analyzing the near perfect strokes and different types of swimming strokes. Recently one of my athletes asked me why the sprinters don’t use a high elbow catch? “Their arms are [...]

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Different strokes for different folksI have been following the Olympic pre trials fairly religiously not only because I love seeing the split second finishes but also because I love analyzing the near perfect strokes and different types of swimming strokes. Recently one of my athletes asked me why the sprinters don’t use a high elbow catch? “Their arms are pretty straight,” she said. “Why can’t I do the same thing instead of working on a high elbow catch?”

If she was a sprinter and not a triathlete, then I would have said of course she could swim like that. The problem would be though that after about 100 meters of swimming with a “deep catch” her arms and shoulders would finally fatigue and she would have to slow down. This video shows that perfect sprinters’ straight arm/deep catch:


Why though? Shouldn’t sprinters also be efficient and use the high elbow pull?

The truth is that by doing a straight arm pull, you are generating more power and lift as seen in this study, reviewed here by the NY Times:

However, as they mention, while the deep catch does generate more lift, this style of stroke requires a lot of shoulder strength–something long distance swimmers and triathletes need to consider, which is why we go for a high elbow catch or vertical forearm entry.

If you take a look at this video from the 1500m (right around the 1:14 mark is a perfect underwater shot):

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mG_TfSpFkZY&index=18&list=PLAE03FD4A17CAFC78

You see a perfect high elbow catch, which does not generate as much lift but is far more efficient because it recruits the lats and pectoral muscles as compared to the shoulder driven deep pull. Similarly look at USA triathlon team here:


(around 1:50 mark), you see the same high elbow catch and vertical forearm for the same reason.

So what’s the best stroke for you? 9/10 I would say to work on the high elbow catch with that 10% reserved for experienced sprint focused swimmers. Your shoulders will thank me.

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Chris http://www.triswimcoach.com <![CDATA[What to do when you hit a plateau]]> http://www.triswimcoach.com/?p=11737 2017-04-09T12:09:03Z 2016-07-07T09:12:09Z Like in all fitness routines, plateaus are quite common in swimming if not more so. You swim for weeks and weeks and think you are improving, but after you do a TT, you find that you have only shaved off a few seconds. Or after every sprint, you feel like you have given your all [...]

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What to do when you hit a plateauLike in all fitness routines, plateaus are quite common in swimming if not more so. You swim for weeks and weeks and think you are improving, but after you do a TT, you find that you have only shaved off a few seconds. Or after every sprint, you feel like you have given your all and are completely wiped only to see marginal gains (if not slower times) on the clock.

Plateaus are frustrating to say the very least. It would seem that all your work and effort are for nothing. But instead of throwing in the towel and giving up completely, you can use plateaus as a way to improve.

The reason for plateaus are two fold and highly dependent upon where you are in your swim journey. If you are just a beginner then, plateaus are usually a sign of issues with your form, which would explain why your times are not getting better.

If your form is off, then no matter how much muscle you put into your stroke you are only going to improve so much; most of that added energy you are applying will be used to push you left and right rather than forward. The biggest issues with form which lead to plateaus or lack of progress are:

  1. Body position such as sinking hips and legs, lack of rotation,
  2. Pull mechanics like crossing over, straight arm pull, breaking wrist
  3. Breathing like holding your breath, lifting your head, breathing at the wrong time

To break through this plateau and start making serious gains again, you need to fix the above problems by going back to the basics. Simple drills like deadman’s float, 6/3/6, high elbow, fingertip drag and catchup should fix the above issues. After your form is remedied that extra effort you put into each kick and pull will propel you forward more efficiently and more powerfully, leading to faster times.

But what if your form is already good? In this case, you need to change up your training. Like in any sport, if you are not improving then something needs to change. Usually this means adding intensity to your program. Many athletes that I see have really good form but all they are doing is swimming in zone 2 or lower. Long and slow will only take you so far until the stress is not enough to cause a reaction. In this case take a step back and focus on short sprints of 25-200m at a very high intensity.

It could also be that you are not swimming enough in which case try increasing your distance and/or include another swim per week. Other, more advanced ways to break through plateaus and improve is including power sets with a weight rack (if your pool has one and allows you to use it), paddles, Vasa Swim Erg workouts (my favorite), drag suits, bands around your ankles, and swim parachutes. I wills say those that these are for use when and only when your form is at a good state; if you are still struggling with the basics, these will not help much at all and make you at risk of injury.

Plateaus are certainly frustrating but with some analysis and hard work, you will get to the next level guaranteed.

Coach Chris and Kev

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Chris http://www.triswimcoach.com <![CDATA[Drills to help improve breathing]]> http://www.triswimcoach.com/?p=11707 2017-04-09T12:08:31Z 2016-06-19T08:53:50Z The most common problem that we see at Tri Swim Coach is breathing. Unfortunately, it is also the (or at least one of them) most critical part of swimming. Obviously, it is important because you need oxygen to survive and to go faster, but it is also critical in developing an efficient stroke. If you [...]

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Drills to help improve breathingThe most common problem that we see at Tri Swim Coach is breathing. Unfortunately, it is also the (or at least one of them) most critical part of swimming. Obviously, it is important because you need oxygen to survive and to go faster, but it is also critical in developing an efficient stroke.

If you breathe incorrectly (i.e. lifting your head, breathing at the wrong time in your stroke, holding your breath) your whole swim stroke collapses and you waste energy. However, if you unlock the power of proper breathing, your stroke will become more powerful, efficient, and relaxed. But how do you get there?

Below you will find a drill progression that I have found works very well for getting swimmers to become more comfortable breathing and breathing correctly.

  1. Side kick: The side kick is the first step in building proper body position and breath timing and form. To do this (and it might help to wear fins at first), kick with your left arm extended and your belly button pointed to the right. Keep your head down and looking at the bottom of the pool, chin tucked, and the neck in a neutral position. Be mindful of your balance in the water and if your legs are sinking. Kick down the pool breathing through your nose or mouth and rotating your head to the side to take a breath with only one lense goggle out. This last point is very important. DO NOT lift your head to do this. Instead rotate your head take a deep breath and resume being sure not to hold your breath. Once you reach the other side, do the same thing on the return but with your right arm extended
  2. 6/3/6: The next step is to do the side kick for six kicks, three strokes, then six kicks on the other side. The focal points are still the same:
    • Don’t hold your breath
    • One goggle out, one still submerged
    • Rotate head to breath and not lifting up
    • Proper balance in the water
  3. One arm drill: Finally we have the one arm drill. While many advocate to have one arm out in front when doing this, I prefer to have the non-working arm planted firmly at the side. This aids in teaching you proper body rotation and breath timing. To do this drill, keep one arm at your side and swim with the other with your foci as the same as above but also to breath to the side as your arm has just exited the water and is “recovering” through the air. You should see your hand “fly” by. When you get good at this, you can add in the focus of high elbow catch. Swim down with one arm, swim back with the other.

Try this progression out and let us know how it goes. We are always available for your questions too.

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admin <![CDATA[4 Tips On Coming Back From an Injury – Tri Swim Coach Podcast #101]]> http://www.triswimcoach.com/?p=11642 2016-06-08T23:44:16Z 2016-06-08T23:44:16Z In this podcast, Kevin and Chris discuss the 4 tips on coming back from an injury. Points discussed: -Kevin’s shoulder issues -Joe Rogan podcast http://podcasts.joerogan.net/podcasts/steve-maxwell –

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shutterstock_318125816

In this podcast, Kevin and Chris discuss the 4 tips on coming back from an injury. Points discussed:

-Kevin’s shoulder issues
-Joe Rogan podcast http://podcasts.joerogan.net/podcasts/steve-maxwell
Shoulder Pain? The Solution & Prevention, Revised & Expanded -4 Tips on coming back from an injury:”>Shoulder Pain book

1. Mental
2. Increase gradually
3. Rehab
4. Equipment

Lava Pants – Pick up at xterrawetsuits.com, use code CO-TRISC for a discount

Free Facebook Group: Facebook.com/groups/triswimcoach
Please help us out with a rating & review on iTunes!

https://itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/tri-swim-coach-triathlon-swimming/id306454334?mt=2

triswimcoach-podcast

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admin <![CDATA[So you’re having shoulder issues…]]> http://www.triswimcoach.com/?p=11563 2016-06-06T18:48:12Z 2016-06-06T18:38:42Z Swimming is a wonderful, healthy activity that comes along with far fewer injuries than say…running! The pavement pounding is not a factor as the water is a supportive environment. But the one common swimming injury, shoulders, tends to be really annoying! Quick personal story. I grew up swimming in an era where “More is better” [...]

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Swimming is a wonderful, healthy activity that comes along with far fewer injuries than say…running!

The pavement pounding is not a factor as the water is a supportive environment.

But the one common swimming injury, shoulders, tends to be really annoying!

Quick personal story. I grew up swimming in an era where “More is better” was the motto among my coaches. “Hell week” consisted of 20,000 yard days. One week I remember our team eclipsed 100,000 yards. I was so proud at the time to say I did that!

But that kind of distance can come at a price.

By the time I was 19, I was getting tendonitis in my left shoulder.

Not using a pull buoy or paddles for a while helped me heal. But the next year, the same shoulder issue came back. Lots of physical therapy, icing, and ibuprofen carried me through that year. Yes, it was the 90s, we weren’t enlightened on the dangers of ibuprofen yet. 🙂

This shoulder issue became ongoing. I was able stave it off for the most part in my competitive years, but it has come up occasionally as an adult.

And then, 2 years ago, it became kind of a permanent thing. Pain in both shoulders. It went from having to cut down on my swim workouts, to avoiding swimming completely, due to pain and lack of range of motion in my shoulder.

“Frozen shoulder” is what I heard it might be.

I proceeded to see physical therapists, chiropractors, deep tissue massage therapists, acupuncturists, and various other alternative therapists. 2 years went by and I had no relief other than a few temporary spans of less pain.

And then, 2 weeks ago. A friend told me to listen to this Joe Rogan podcast episode where the guest discusses how he fixed his shoulder issues by…hanging from a bar!

hanging-bar

He recommended a book that I immediately bought. It’s called “Shoulder Pain? The Solution And Prevention.

The basic idea is, we are meant to have our hands above our heads on a regular basis. As kids, we play on monkey bars and climb on things on the time. Then we become adults and we sit at computers all day, and move around about 99% of the time with our arms down.

If there are any rotator cuff or other shoulder issues, they can get compounded by this.

The cure is to hang daily. At first, this is very hard. And, if you have shoulder injuries, it can feel like you are making them worse!

But I’m happy to say. I’m on week 2 now and I’m already experiencing 50% less pain than before, and an increase in mobility that is shocking! I even swam a few laps the other day with minimal pain.

How does it work? The book I mentioned explains it in detail, if you’re interested in the biology behind this.

As far as protocol goes, the idea is to start small. If you currently are unable to hang with your body off the ground, start with your toes touching the ground. Start with 5-10 seconds at a time, and build from there. I’m currently doing about 5-6 sets of 45 seconds a day, but when I started, I could only do 15 seconds at a time.

Bottom line. If you’re doing any swimming, and you have even the slightest bit of shoulder pain, start doing some hanging from a bar. This can not only cure your pain, but also prevent bigger issues that may sideline you.

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Chris http://www.triswimcoach.com <![CDATA[Fixing Imbalances]]> http://www.triswimcoach.com/?p=11469 2017-04-09T12:07:43Z 2016-05-27T04:22:19Z If you look at many age group athletes’ stroke, you might notice that it is slightly imbalanced as if they were limping through the water. One arm might extend a little further, pull a little quicker, or recover across the water faster. Moreover, many of these same athletes get out of the water complaining that [...]

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Fixing ImbalancesIf you look at many age group athletes’ stroke, you might notice that it is slightly imbalanced as if they were limping through the water. One arm might extend a little further, pull a little quicker, or recover across the water faster. Moreover, many of these same athletes get out of the water complaining that only one side or arm is fatigued or tight while the other feels fine.

These imbalances could be due to past injuries, mobility issues on a specific side (for example right handed people typically are weaker on their left side), or improper technique. Depending on the magnitude of your imbalance, it may or may not have an impact on your times, but more importantly, imbalances interfere with your efficiency and drain you of energy–energy that could be used to going faster.

This past month, I noticed that I had a slight imbalance on my right side which would make my right elbow drop during my high elbow catch and pull, and would make my right arm sorer after practice. After analyzing my power data files from Vasa workouts, I found that my right side was pulling about 5-10 watts more than my left leading to a 48%/52% imbalance. It was not that my right arm was stronger but rather, it was weaker and thus had to pull harder to keep up.

So how do you fix it?

  1. Fix your breathing: Many imbalances are caused by not breathing at the right time in your stroke or only breathing to one side. To fix this, do sets of bilateral breathing and weak side breathing. I like doing these sets at the beginning of a workout and before the main set. If you have good technique bilateral breathing should feel natural and more relaxed than breathing to one side if going at a moderate pace or under.
  2. Work on mobility: Inflexibility prevents you from extending to your fullest, which then impairs your speed. Fixing this requires doing stretches that target your upper back and shoulders and deep tissue work. Seeing a chiropractor also can help since some parts awkward to get to on your own.
  3. One arm drills: By only swimming with one arm you can really focus on proper form and extension with both arms. Be sure that the non swimming arm is fixed to your side so that you can get the proper rotation and work on your breathing. Wearing fins can help with body position and speed if you are not used to this drill.

By fixing these imbalances, your stroke can regain balance, and you can become more efficient in the water.

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Chris http://www.triswimcoach.com <![CDATA[3 Aquavelo Bricks to Include in Your Training]]> http://www.triswimcoach.com/?p=11326 2017-04-09T12:07:26Z 2016-05-17T09:39:02Z Many triathletes focus every week on mastering their bike to run transition by doing bricks, but they rarely focus on transitioning from swim to bike, a switch that is equally as important. By practicing your swim to bike, you train your legs to engage quickly after minimum use during the swim as well as train [...]

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aquabikeMany triathletes focus every week on mastering their bike to run transition by doing bricks, but they rarely focus on transitioning from swim to bike, a switch that is equally as important. By practicing your swim to bike, you train your legs to engage quickly after minimum use during the swim as well as train your gut, which can “freak out” and cramp up, as it goes from horizontal in the swim to vertical on the bike.

The only problem with these aquavelo bricks are that they logistically hard. If you are swimming at a pool, see if you can put your bike on a trainer on the pool deck or in your car and ride immediately after changing. Even better would be to swim in your tri shorts–preferably the pair that you will be wearing race day–and just throw on a tri top as you sprint through the locker rooms.

While your transition might be a little long, the back to back workout will still have benefits. A spin bike, which many gyms have, can also work. Practicing in open water with your bike in your car ready to go or being watched over by a friend is even better. The most convenient would be to setup a trainer next to a Vasa Swim Erg and go from the “swim” to the bike repeatedly with ease.

Work out 1: Tempo race simulation (best done outdoors) and a good way to practice race day nutrition
Warm up: On pool deck do arm swings, push ups, and squat jumps for 5 min to get the blood moving.
Swim Main set: 200m hard, 600 steady race pace, 100 build, 100 HARD, 1min rest, repeat twice to three times.
Bike: 2min build, then hold race pace for 20min, 5min easy (repeat 2-5 times depending on distance of your race)

Workout 2: Threshold work
Warmup: 200 easy, 4×50 drill, 4×50 build
Main set: 10-20×100 HARD with 20s easy
Bike: 10min at threshold wattage/zone 4/ RPE:8 , 5min easy spin x4

Workout 3: (Best done on a Vasa or with a bike on the pool deck)
Bike warmup: 10min easy then 5x30s at 100rpm, 30s easy, 5min easy
Swim warm up: 200 easy 4×25 build
Then 2-4 rounds of
Swim: 500 continuous as 50 hard, 50 easy
Bike: 5×1 min all out, 1 min easy, 5 min easy spin.

Cool down
15 min easy on the bike

Tweet us or Facebook your favorite Aquavelo bricks and let us know how these go.

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Chris http://www.triswimcoach.com <![CDATA[7 habits of highly successful Age Group Triathletes]]> http://www.triswimcoach.com/?p=11118 2017-04-09T12:11:00Z 2016-05-02T15:00:12Z I know and have met many successful age group triathletes since I started triathlon just under 10 years ago. However, there is not one formula, one path, one secret, one plan that makes you great. While there are multiple paths all of which lead to the podium and PRs, I have noticed some common trends [...]

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7 habits of highly successful Age Group TriathletesI know and have met many successful age group triathletes since I started triathlon just under 10 years ago. However, there is not one formula, one path, one secret, one plan that makes you great. While there are multiple paths all of which lead to the podium and PRs, I have noticed some common trends in the behaviors, habits, and training of these greats. They….

  1. Manage stress: Stress is a two-sided coin. Apply just enough and it makes you stronger, but apply too much and it will break you. Successful athletes (or their coaches) know this and have mastered the ability to listen to their bodies and apply just enough stress to get the adaptations that they want, recover (see the next step) and then hit it again.
  2. Prioritize recovery: There is no point in training if you cannot recover from what you are doing, so successful athletes make sure they get the nutrients, sleep, and downtime to optimize their training.
  3. Do the unsexy stuff: Mobility work, stretch cords, and drills are not as sexy or interesting as banging out 100s on sub 70s but the successful athletes do it anyway because they know the little marginal gains will add up to major successes.
  4. Control the numbers and don’t let the numbers control them: It is easy to get caught up in the numbers like watts, splits, pace, etc. but successful athletes actually go more by feel. If they are not feeling a specific pace they tune it down (or up) and roll with it. If they are not feeling the workout at all they change it without stressing.
  5. Plan and communicate: Triathlon training is logistically harder than most any other sport. With juggling three sports, one of which, swimming, you have specific windows of time to get to, on top of life stressors, successful athletes plan out their weeks and communicate when and where they will be once they know so if something comes up (i.e. they get lifed) they can make adjustments.
  6. Don’t follow a diet: The majority of successful athletes do not have a specific diet that they follow. Yes, you have the occasional podium finisher who swears by “[insert diet here]”, but the majority eat their veggies, fuel their workouts, and enjoy their treats on occasion.
  7. Control the controlables: Successful athletes envision themselves of the podium but know that qualifying for Kona and getting top 5 is largely dependent on who shows up that day, which is out of their control. They recognize this lack of power and instead of stressing over it, focus on what is in their power like their own training, preparation, and race plan.

How many of these traits do you exude? Did we miss any? Let us know and tweet us back.

 

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Chris http://www.triswimcoach.com <![CDATA[Beyond the High Elbow Catch]]> http://www.triswimcoach.com/?p=10481 2017-04-04T11:18:16Z 2016-04-08T09:10:08Z For years, we have been preaching the importance of the high elbow catch (HEC) and pull. Why? Because it is the most efficient way to propel you forward for longer distances without damaging your shoulders. Sprinters might go for a deep pull because it generates more power, lift, and reduction in drag, which is why [...]

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Beyond the High Elbow CatchFor years, we have been preaching the importance of the high elbow catch (HEC) and pull.

Why?

Because it is the most efficient way to propel you forward for longer distances without damaging your shoulders.

Sprinters might go for a deep pull because it generates more power, lift, and reduction in drag, which is why sprinters typically swim with a deeper pull, but for anything beyond a 50 and you will be cooked. For endurance, the high elbow seems to be the way to go.

But just because you have a high elbow catch doesn’t mean you have achieved “swimming form nirvana,” so what is next?

After you have perfected the HEC, you still need to focus on several key parts of your stroke.

First, you have to make sure that your body positions is still balanced in the water. Tri Swim Coach athletes know that we spend the first couple of weeks focusing on finding your balance point, without which you will literally sink in the water and increase your drag.

Even the strongest HEC will not propel you far if your body is not in a hydrodynamic position to do so, so if you have a good HEC, make sure your body is balanced without sinking legs. A HEC will be even more effective if you have an efficient body position.

Secondly, your HEC also will not be as effective as it should be if you do not have a powerful and quick pull. Many (slow) swimmers do not apply enough force as they pull back but rather keep a casual pace throughout the whole catch, pull, recovery cycle.

Instead, you should have a quick pull back and an easy recovery (hence why it is call recovery).

Think of your stroke like the oars of a boat, they glide above the surface of the water then rotate, enter the water, and quickly accelerate through it. Your stroke should do the same thing: a high elbow catch with a quick, powerful pull through the water keeping that nice 90 degree bend, and then a “casual” recovery.

How do you improve your force? A couple of ways are to use paddles and/or a drag suit and do some strength training.

The best way, however, is to mimic the swim stroke itself on a Vasa Swim Erg or with resistance bands. The former will not only allow you to focus on power but also perfect form.

Lastly, it is increasing yardage. If your form is solid and spot on you can start increasing your yardage. Now that you are positioned to be efficient, it will be easier to handle longer practices and you will be able to add more intensity on top of that.

We have swim training plans available in our Essentials triathlon swim program, find out more here.

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Chris http://www.triswimcoach.com <![CDATA[Attacking a Sugar Free IRONMAN]]> http://www.triswimcoach.com/?p=10316 2017-04-04T11:18:24Z 2016-03-31T13:55:12Z For me, my experiment with cutting out sugar and processed carbohydrates from my diet is over. It’s now become a natural day to day part of life and don’t see any way that I can now go back. My first IRONMAN was an amazing experience which has left me buzzing, even almost a month after [...]

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For me, my experiment with cutting out sugar and processed carbohydrates from my diet is over. It’s now become a natural day to day part of life and don’t see any way that I can now go back.

My first IRONMAN was an amazing experience which has left me buzzing, even almost a month after the race. Removing sugar and processed carbohydrates from my diet is definitely working for me when it comes to endurance training and racing, as well as my day to day life.

It did take a little hard work and some trial and error, but overall, consistent training over a long period of time combined with these changes to my eating habits allowed me to convert to being a more efficient and hopefully a healthier athlete.

I am sure that everyone needs to take an individualized approach to changing their eating habits but if it works, you’ll be able to process fat more efficiently as an energy source instead of relying on sugar or carbohydrates. I don’t like to use the term “Bonk Proof”, but the first time you head out for a long ride or run and don’t need to be accompany it with gels or other food, it’s a pretty big change and feels amazing.

The following is a list of the main things that I’ve learned over the past five months while transitioning into a low carb triathlete.

Some People Just Won’t Get It
It doesn’t matter how hard you try, some people just won’t get it. Don’t let this get you down and don’t feel the need to constantly explain yourself. You don’t need to be an evangelist or preacher, even when things are working well for you. On the other hand, some people will see what your doing, see the amazing results and be influenced to try it for themselves. Feel free to give them as much help as you can.

Give Yourself Time to Adapt
You’re going to need time use any existing carbohydrates in your body and allow your body to become more efficient at processing fat as a fuel source. If you have come from an endurance background, this will most likely be easier for you but each person will be different. I found my energy levels were not bad during the first week, crashed and struggled to even get to training in the second week, and things started to gradually improve during the third. At the start I committed to six weeks before I would rethink my approach.

Cut Out All Sugar and Processed Carbs at Once
Once you know you have things right, you can always add in an occasional piece of fruit or a piece of bread, but if you want to do this, I believe you need to make a clean break. There are some approaches that suggest a gradual decrease where you remove fruit the first week, bread the second, then all grains for the third, and continue until you have cut out as much carbohydrates and sugar as possible, but see this as giving people a way to fall back into old habits.

How Low is Low?
Some people suggest that you need to drop your carbohydrate intake to under 50g a day, but if you’re training hard, you may find that this isn’t achievable. With trial and error, you’ll be able to see what is right for you and most likely be able to achieve a level of between 100g and 150g of carbohydrates per day, which most likely would be a massive reduction from where you originally were, but still allowing you to switch to utilizing fat a fuel source more easily when needed.

Practice Your Race Nutrition
It doesn’t matter how efficient you are in using fat as an energy source, an IRONMAN is not something that you are wanting to be going into without having properly practiced for, especially nutrition. This includes what you plan to eat for breakfast on race day and the night before. My race nutrition consisted of an omelette for breakfast, nuts during the first half of the ride, then nut butter during the second half of the ride and run.

Be Prepared for Nutrition to Fail Occasionally
With any nutrition, there are always variables that are out of your control that may end up causing your race day nutrition to fail. On race day, I swallowed a nut butter sache in the transition area when I left for my run, I felt nauseous after that and knew that I was not going to be able to continue using them for the rest of the run leg. I switched to diluted coke for the rest of the race with no ill effects.

Using Supplements?
Yes, I use supplements. I take 6g of Omega 3 each day, as it’s been shown that it can help reduce inflammation and can increase the body’s efficiency in converting fat to energy. I also take a Zinc and Magnesium supplement before bed, as it helps me sleep and can also help reduce cramping. When reducing your intake of carbohydrates, you also need to be mindful that this may reduce the amount of sodium in your body, so I also have a cup of chicken broth on most days. Some people use ketone supplements, which have gotten some exposure during the Tour De France recently but I don’t have any real experience with them. (http://www.cyclingweekly.co.uk/news/latest-news/ketones-controversial-new-energy-drink-next-big-thing-cycling-151877)

Eat Regularly
Eat three regular meals a day and avoid snacking. You may be excited by the fact that you can go for longer periods of time without feeling hungry, but use this sparingly. Include some fasted training sessions into your weekly plan, but make sure they are not every day as you may send your body into starvation mode where your body thinks that it needs to start storing fat due to there being no food available.

Occasionally Count Your Calories
I don’t think that it’s necessary to count calories, but I do think that, from time to time, it may be worth counting your calories over a three-day period, just to make sure you are still on the right track. It may give you an indication that a recent change to your diet is making a major change to the amount of carbohydrates that you are taking in daily.

I would have loved to be racing my first IRONMAN in my home city, but New Zealand turned out to be a great place to race my first event.

The mass swim start and calm conditions turned out to work in my favor, with a strong exit on to the bike course. It was evident that I still have a long way to go with my bike leg but held firm and stuck to plan even after having about 200 people ride past me. It was all worth it in the end though as I was able to run strong on the picturesque three lap run course, with the local support cheering everyone on. I just need to work out where my next IRONMAN will be.

See the following link if you are interested in results:
http://ap.ironman.com/triathlon/events/asiapac/ironman/new-zealand/results.aspx?rd=20160305&race=newzealand&bidid=763&detail=1#axzz44KgPyCfo

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Chris http://www.triswimcoach.com <![CDATA[Surviving a Mass Swim Start]]> http://www.triswimcoach.com/?p=10286 2017-04-04T11:18:33Z 2016-03-18T11:08:51Z I was taken by surprise when I was told that the IRONMAN New Zealand swim start would be a mass start. It is one of the last remaining mass swim starts on the IRONMAN Calendar, so was under the assumption that New Zealand would have followed with wave starts for each age group. Although it [...]

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I was taken by surprise when I was told that the IRONMAN New Zealand swim start would be a mass start. It is one of the last remaining mass swim starts on the IRONMAN Calendar, so was under the assumption that New Zealand would have followed with wave starts for each age group. Although it was a surprise, I had worked hard and knew that as long as I kept calm and stayed to my plan, I would come out of the water without any trouble. I had been in mass swim starts before, but the most people I had faced previously would have been about 300 other swimmers, so taking this up to about 1,200 was a bit of a change, but the following plan kept me on pace.

Stay calm
There is no point getting anxious or over excited for the mass swim start. It’s going to be a long swim and you need to conserve your energy. Especially if you are completing an IRONMAN, there will be plenty of time to catch up if you have lost any time in the swim.

Find some room for yourself
This could be difficult, especially if the start is a deep water start. Everyone else will be trying to do the same thing, so if you bump into someone, don’t worry, the other person will most likely be trying to move away from you as well. Wade out into the water and keep clear of other swimmers around you. Make sure you are mindful of your own ability and where you should be in relation to other swimmers. You don’t want to be at the front of the pack before the gun goes off if you don’t belong there.

Look for signs of anxious swimmers
It will be pretty certain that there will be other swimmers in the water who have under prepared or be new to swimming in general. These swimmers can be unpredictable in these situations and can be hard to point them out in the swim start. Look for someone that is struggling to tread water or trying too desperately to make room for themselves.

Ride the current through to the major turning buoy
When the gun goes off, the strong swimmers will move to the front of the pack, the weaker swimmers will drop away. You have probably practiced drafting in the water, and the good thing about a large mass start is that you don’t really have to go very far to be drafting off someone. For a large amount of time you will simply be able to ride the wave of someone else’s hard work.

Increase your stroke speed to give yourself a little room
When approaching a turning buoy or maybe you are getting squeezed by a group of swimmers, there is a good chance that you have been conserving some energy specifically for this occasion. Increase your stroke turnover and increase your speed a little to give yourself the room that you need to clear any trouble.

I was really happy with my swim in New Zealand and I left the water in 58 minutes and 41 seconds. Conditions were the best that I could have hoped for and the result of the swim set me up for a great day both physically and mentally. Other times I’m sure I wont be as lucky, but as long as you prepare yourself for everything, you can still turn it into a positive experience.

Vince Sesto


Vince Sesto

Tri Swim Coach Ambassador

Vince works as an IT Engineer in Melbourne, Australia where he lives with his cat Tim Tam. He has been a runner for longer than he can remember. He competes in distance running races, open water swims and long course triathlons.

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admin <![CDATA[5 Tips To Get You Ready For Race Season – TSC Podcast #100]]> http://www.triswimcoach.com/?p=10278 2016-03-14T17:09:29Z 2016-03-14T17:09:29Z In this podcast, Kevin and Chris discuss the 5 tips to get you ready for race season. Points discussed: -High elbow catch blog post: http://triswimcoach.com/high-elbow-catch 1. Plan 2. Intensity 3. Simulate 4. Get outside 5. Nutrition References: Tri Swim Coach plans on Training Peaks: http://www.triswimcoach.com/training-plans/ Mark Sisson interview on Tri Swim Coach: http://www.triswimcoach.com/fl099-primal-endurance-with-mark-sisson/ 3 Swim [...]

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In this podcast, Kevin and Chris discuss the 5 tips to get you ready for race season. Points discussed:

-High elbow catch blog post: http://triswimcoach.com/high-elbow-catch

1. Plan
2. Intensity
3. Simulate
4. Get outside
5. Nutrition

References:

Tri Swim Coach plans on Training Peaks: http://www.triswimcoach.com/training-plans/
Mark Sisson interview on Tri Swim Coach: http://www.triswimcoach.com/fl099-primal-endurance-with-mark-sisson/
3 Swim Tips video: http://www.triswimcoach.com/3-swim-tips/

Please help us out with a rating & review on iTunes!

https://itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/tri-swim-coach-triathlon-swimming/id306454334?mt=2

triswimcoach-podcast

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Chris http://www.triswimcoach.com <![CDATA[What to do about swim panic in open water]]> http://www.triswimcoach.com/?p=10261 2017-04-04T11:18:44Z 2016-03-13T15:13:12Z At Tri Swim Coach, our whole approach to coaching both physiologically and psychologically is to have you laugh at the water; we want you not only to start loving to swim instead of seeing it as the part of the race that you “just want to survive” (how many times have you heard or said [...]

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At Tri Swim Coach, our whole approach to coaching both physiologically and psychologically is to have you laugh at the water; we want you not only to start loving to swim instead of seeing it as the part of the race that you “just want to survive” (how many times have you heard or said that?!), but we also want you to overcome those mental barriers and fears of the water.

However, most of our articles and podcasts focus on how to prevent and deal with anxiety before the gun goes off but what happens when panic seizes you during a race?

Unless you are doing a time trial start for a race, the first half of a swim is like a washing machine set to super spin: elbows are flying, hands are going every which way, and people are swimming on top, below, and all around you. It is enough to freak out anyone, let alone non-experienced swimmers.

So it can be hard to calm down and get back into a rhythm after such an experience (duh!). So if this happens to you, here is what we recommend doing:

  1. Let everyone go ahead: If you are in the mele, then get out of it and let everyone else clear out before getting back in the swim. Once the water clears (which shouldn’t be long at all), stop, flip over, float and…
  2. Take deep breaths: It might be simple but the easiest and fastest way to calm down is to stop hyperventilating and focus on the breath. Try a four breath in, four breath out pace. After you have gotten a hold of your breath…
  3. Start backstroke: Before trying to get back into the race, do a few strokes on your back to warm the muscles up again and get back into a rhythm. This might take some time but it is alright as long as you keep moving forward. You can also tread water until you are ready.
  4. Keep going: Once you are ready to keep on moving and the water is fairly clear, resume swimming. To keep the anxiety down, keep your stroke smooth and relaxed while focusing on the present moment and what is going on around you. To keep the engagement in the present moment, it is alright to have a running dialogue of what you are doing like “I am putting my left arm into the water…I pull back with a high elbow…I breath…right arm…high elbow….strong pull…recovery, breath….”

As you continue to swim try to avoid crowds and take a wider course around buoys. It might add on time but a few more minutes is better than a DNF at this point.

If you have experienced this before and have some helpful tips to share, let us know via Twitter or Facebook with the hashtag #laughatthewater

And if you haven’t yet seen our Triathlon Swimming Essentials video, click here to watch!

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admin <![CDATA[What should you focus on in your triathlon swim training?]]> http://www.triswimcoach.com/?p=10220 2016-03-09T23:05:11Z 2016-03-08T17:59:28Z What is the best focus? Drills or distance swimming? Coaches Kevin & Chris discuss how to focus your triathlon swim training.

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What is the best focus? Drills or distance swimming? Coaches Kevin & Chris discuss how to focus your triathlon swim training.

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admin <![CDATA[Primal Endurance With Mark Sisson – TSC Podcast #99]]> http://www.triswimcoach.com/?p=10120 2016-03-14T16:23:44Z 2016-03-03T16:42:51Z In this podcast, Kevin interviews Mark Sisson, former Ironman triathlete turned primal, and head of marksdailyapple.com. We went over some of the highlights of his new book, Primal Endurance. Points discussed: -Mark’s history as an endurance athlete -Injuries and maladies -Marksdailyapple.com origins -Low carb/paleo/primal endurance -Problems with endurance sports & health -The Black Hole & [...]

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In this podcast, Kevin interviews Mark Sisson, former Ironman triathlete turned primal, and head of marksdailyapple.com. We went over some of the highlights of his new book, Primal Endurance. Points discussed:

-Mark’s history as an endurance athlete

-Injuries and maladies

-Marksdailyapple.com origins

-Low carb/paleo/primal endurance

-Problems with endurance sports & health

-The Black Hole & heart rate training

-Train slower to go faster?

-Optimal strength training

-Pitfalls of group training

-Periodized training, High intensity workouts

-Having FUN with training

-Sprinting with triathlon training?

-Training efficiently

-Sleep habits

References:

Mark’s Website: http://marksdailyapple.com

New Book: Primal Endurance: Escape chronic cardio and carbohydrate dependency and become a fat burning beast!

Please help us out with a rating & review on iTunes!

https://itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/tri-swim-coach-triathlon-swimming/id306454334?mt=2

triswimcoach-podcast

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admin <![CDATA[5 Tips To Get a Stronger High Elbow Catch]]> http://www.triswimcoach.com/?p=10108 2017-07-20T16:11:12Z 2016-03-02T18:43:44Z The high elbow catch and pull, also known as the vertical forearm catch is one of the most critical and allusive parts of the swim stroke. But to become a stronger more efficient swimmer, you need to have one. Without it, you will tear up your shoulders and only make marginal gains being left tired [...]

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The high elbow catch and pull, also known as the vertical forearm catch is one of the most critical and allusive parts of the swim stroke. But to become a stronger more efficient swimmer, you need to have one. Without it, you will tear up your shoulders and only make marginal gains being left tired and exhausted after longer sets. Why? Because all your power comes from this part of the stroke.

Have you ever tried hoisting yourself out of the pool or over a wall while keeping your arms straight? If you have successfully, well done, because it is hard to do and strains your shoulders tremendously. Chances are, To do either task, you needed to bend your arms and engage your lat muscles and pecs. Your swim pull works the same way.

Perfecting the high elbow catch is hard to do because you shouldn’t be looking at your arms when swimming so it is hard to visualize what your arms are doing while looking at the bottom of the pool. However, here are five, easy things you can do now to improve your high elbow catch.

1. Watch this video. It gives the best visual representation of high elbow catch both in and out of the water.

2. The Vasa Erg or resistance bands: The Vasa Swim Erg is an awesome way to work on your high elbow catch because you can see and monitor your arm as you pull. The forearm cuff attachments as well will slip if you straighten your arms and not keep a high elbow. Muscularly, the added resistance also make you feel your lats and pecs engaging while taking pressure off your rotator cuff. If you do not have a Vasa, you can rig one up using a resistance band anchored to a door. Simply bend over like you are in the water and pull back keeping your arm at a 90 degree angle.

3. Lat pull downs: you can mimic the high elbow catch while getting a great workout in by standing in front of a lat pulldown bar and pushing the bar down while keeping your arms bent at a 90 degree angle (like you did in tip number 1). I would keep the weight light and high to start and build from there.

4. Deck ups: Like the previous three drills, these help you get used to engaging your lat muscles. Check out this video on how to do it: https://youtu.be/fgS_sA3m1fA

5. Fist drill/tennis balls: taking away your hands for propulsions forces you to use your forearms and have a high elbow to keep moving. Once your form gets good enough, your fist drill split and your normal swim split should only be a few seconds apart.

The high elbow catch is one of the cornerstones to successful freestyle. It can take some time to really get good at. Don’t give up! The effort you make to break out of bad habits and develop this new, effective one will pay off in terms of a faster, smoother freestyle.

Click here for our 3 tips to a faster triathlon freestyle video!

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admin <![CDATA[Efficient Triathlon Swimming Tips]]> http://www.triswimcoach.com/?p=10010 2016-06-26T02:56:04Z 2016-03-01T19:04:37Z Thank you for taking the time to watch our 3 quick swim tips video. We hope you enjoyed it. Here is another video where Chris and I discuss how to expend less energy in the swim. While you are here, feel free to look at the recent articles.

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Thank you for taking the time to watch our 3 quick swim tips video. We hope you enjoyed it. Here is another video where Chris and I discuss how to expend less energy in the swim. While you are here, feel free to look at the recent articles.

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Chris http://www.triswimcoach.com <![CDATA[Revisiting the Snorkel]]> http://www.triswimcoach.com/?p=9953 2017-04-04T11:20:20Z 2016-02-25T14:03:25Z This week I wanted to return to the subject of snorkels in the swim. A few weeks ago, WTC standardized all of their rules, one of which was to ban snorkels from races. Overall, I think this was a wise move. Snorkels—a swim aid similar to paddles, gloves, and fins—can provide an unfair advantage to [...]

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This week I wanted to return to the subject of snorkels in the swim.

A few weeks ago, WTC standardized all of their rules, one of which was to ban snorkels from races. Overall, I think this was a wise move.

Snorkels—a swim aid similar to paddles, gloves, and fins—can provide an unfair advantage to swimmers because when swimming with a snorkel all you have to do is swim without having to worry about breathing from side to side. Without this rotation, you can go faster, much faster, especially if your form is weak.

But what about in training? Can snorkels help your swim? When should you use them? How often?

I’ve always understood the benefits to swimming with a snorkel, including the ability to improve body position while maintaining a smooth breathing pattern, the ability to focus on generating power in your pull, as well as increasing VO2 max (maximum capacity to transport and utilize oxygen during incremental exercise) since you are limiting oxygen to some extent.

Peter Reid, pro triathlete and winner of the 2003 Ironman Triathlon World Championship considers the snorkel as one of the keys to his swim training.

However, snorkels are an aid and should not be used all the time. Learning to rotate to breath is critical to proper stroke technique.

We have some videos forthcoming that show exactly where and when to breath in your stroke, how to breath (while it seems simple is actually hard to do), as well as some drills to go improve your timing. So how often should you use a snorkel?

If you are very dependent upon using the snorkel, I would use the snorkel for half of the main set, and then overtime begin to wean yourself off them so that within a few weeks you are only using it for drill sets.

Eventually you want to get to the point where you are only using the snorkel for specific sets and drills like when paired with paddles for endurance/power/force sets or for hypoxic training.

The snorkel, like all great swim toys, is a tool and has a specific purpose, so it’s important not rely too much on it because come race day, it will not be there to help cover up your swim form flaws.

Click here to pick up a Finis GLIDE snorkel on Amazon.

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admin <![CDATA[Open Water Swim Tips for Triathletes to reduce anxiety]]> http://www.triswimcoach.com/?p=9948 2016-02-24T20:38:46Z 2016-02-24T20:26:47Z Some open water swim tips from Coach Kevin & Coach Chris on how to reduce anxiety. Part of our triathlete Q&A video series.

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Some open water swim tips from Coach Kevin & Coach Chris on how to reduce anxiety. Part of our triathlete Q&A video series.

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admin <![CDATA[I Learnt a New Word Today…Hangry.]]> http://www.triswimcoach.com/?p=9809 2017-04-04T12:36:32Z 2016-02-04T08:16:40Z I remember hangry. That feeling you get after a long ride, when you forgot to take enough food and you are desperately trying to cram food into your mouth. Or when you’re told to be at lunch at 12pm, but your meal doesn’t come for another two hours. It’s the feeling you get when you [...]

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I remember hangry. That feeling you get after a long ride, when you forgot to take enough food and you are desperately trying to cram food into your mouth. Or when you’re told to be at lunch at 12pm, but your meal doesn’t come for another two hours. It’s the feeling you get when you need to eat so bad, that you are angry as well as being hungry. When I was eating a more carbohydrate-based diet I would be constantly eating through the day and if I lost track of time or was taken away from eating during my usual routine, I would get hangry. I learnt to plan things as best as I could to limit the effects.

During the weekend I realized that since I removed sugar and processed carbohydrates from my diet, I don’t get hangry anymore. I raced a small sprint triathlon with my local tri club. I always help set up, but running late as usual, I missed breakfast and headed to the race after only having a coffee, but happy knowing that after the race and packing up, we’d be going for breakfast. I completely forgot that being Australia Day, our usually pack up would be delayed by a further three hours due to the running of the Kids Triathlon. It was a long morning, I helped set up, I raced, helped pack up, marshaled in the Kids Triathlon and then packed up again. It was not until 1pm that I got my Spanish omelette, almost 7 hours after I had my morning coffee, and almost 17 hours since my last meal. I wasn’t hangry at all.

I keep talking as if this change to my eating is strange or abnormal, but I’ve started to see that carb loading and sucking on gels and electrolyte drinks as abnormal and not necessarily the way that humans were meant to be eating. I am not advocating training or racing in a fasted state, I think each individual should be able to question and find an eating plan that is right for them, but removing sugar and processed carbohydrates, seems to be leading me to even more benefits that I knew were possible.

Vince Sesto


Vince Sesto

Tri Swim Coach Ambassador

Vince works as an IT Engineer in Melbourne, Australia where he lives with his cat Tim Tam. He has been a runner for longer than he can remember. He competes in distance running races, open water swims and long course triathlons.

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Chris http://www.triswimcoach.com <![CDATA[How do I stop my legs from swaying?]]> http://www.triswimcoach.com/?p=9802 2017-04-04T12:35:19Z 2016-02-04T16:03:12Z This past weekend, I gave a talk about the Vasa Swim Erg to a group of athletes participating in a training camp in San Diego. After the talk, when athletes were trying the Vasa, the most common mistake that I saw in form was that their legs would sway back and forth like a pendulum [...]

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This past weekend, I gave a talk about the Vasa Swim Erg to a group of athletes participating in a training camp in San Diego.

After the talk, when athletes were trying the Vasa, the most common mistake that I saw in form was that their legs would sway back and forth like a pendulum when they swam. I was curious to see if this was also true in the water.

Sure enough, when I saw them in the pool the next day, their legs did the same thing. This is a very common swim form malady but fortunately with easy root causes.

The first potential cause is weak core engagement. When we we pull just from the arms and shoulders and not from the back and the hips, it is easy for our body to feel unstable and off balanced, thus our legs swing to compensate.

To fix this, try doing one arm drills with a focus on hip rotation as you pull. You should feel your opposite hip engaging as you pull. A good visual of this can be found with this video:

The second cause is that your hand placement is too narrow and/or you are crossing over. Many swimmers slam their hand down and extend diagonally, crossing over their center axis. When this happens your legs move in the direction that your hand moves and sway back and forth. To correct this, widen your stroke and place and extend your hand at about the 10 and 2 o’clock position.

I like to recommend visualizing extending to the corner of the lane. It might feel odd at first and that your stroke is too wide but chances are it will be just right.

Lastly your head position could be off. Many swimmers look up while they swim instead of keeping a neutral spine and looking down more. When you look up, not only does your lower body sink but also your body’s balance is thrown off. To try to reclaim your balance, your legs sway.

Instead of looking up, focus on keeping your chin tucked and your spine straight. If you can see the wall or the feet of the swimmer in front of you, you are looking up too much. Granted, not everyone has the same head position; some people do fine with a slight angle up while others, myself included, have to look straight down and a little behind to feel that balance point.

Experiment to find a good head position by doing the balance point drill and kick drills without a board.

Fixing swaying legs will translate into more movement forward and less movement from side to side, which means instant speed and efficiency.

For more on the Swim Erg and how to try it risk-free for 90 days, click here.

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admin <![CDATA[Power in Swimming]]> http://www.triswimcoach.com/?p=9674 2016-03-08T14:02:35Z 2016-01-19T11:46:39Z Although power meters were first introduced in 1989, over the past 10 years, they have crept into cycling and triathlon training and become the gold standard of metrics. Training with power has the power to transform your training and set new PRs in endurances races. Monitoring watts and training in specific zones prevents burn out, [...]

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Power in SwimmingAlthough power meters were first introduced in 1989, over the past 10 years, they have crept into cycling and triathlon training and become the gold standard of metrics.

Training with power has the power to transform your training and set new PRs in endurances races.

Monitoring watts and training in specific zones prevents burn out, bonking, and overtraining.

You can apply just the right amount of stress and not a watts more. Unlike heart rate it is objective. 200 watts is the same 200 watts to me and you. It might be easier for me to hold because I am heavier and/or weigh more but it is still 200 watts. It also is instantaneous.

With heart rate, there is usually a 1-2 minute lag between when you start your effort and when your heart rate reflects that effort.
    
More recently, power has begun to creep into the running world. A nifty device called “Stryd” successfully launched a kickstarter campaign and is in production.

Stryd  is a small pod that looks like a heart rate monitor and can measure power while you run using metrics and a complex algorithm. One benefit of power over HR in running is that you will be able to normalize your effort between courses.

Theoretically, if you are on a hilly, windy trail course which is more challenging than a track 5k, then you can run to a specific wattage to prevent fatigue and bonking. In an endurance triathlon race also, you could “set” a wattage range that you know you can hold and thus do not have to use HR data which could be influenced in by dehydration, hills, bike fatigue etc.

In training it is feasible to track how fit you are running off the bike with a relatively object metric. Over the course of your training if you are able to run at a higher power off the bike then you are getting fitter. Whether this catches on or coaches adapt this successfully into training programs remains to be seen.
    
Is power in the pool the next step?

Even though I am a huge data geek and get excited at the thought, I am first to admit that this would be very hard to do at least in water.

For one, the device would be hard to create because there is nowhere to put strain gauge. There has been rumors of a power meter connected to a paddle but even then it would be tough to validate.

Then you have the issue of how to send that data because sending through water has always been an issue unless you record then send like many heart rate monitors do these days.

There is a solution though by using an ergometer like the Vasa Swim Erg, which is on land and thus has a strain gauge built into the main, resistance unit in addition to being ANT+ compatible and thus sends your numbers directly to your Garmin watch or head unit. I personally have been playing with the numbers with interesting success but is a different metric from how I use it on the bike.

For one, power allows me to track my swim fitness differently than just watching my splits in the pool.

In addition to being able to watch my splits go down, I can track my power go up on both TT tests and in workouts. Like on the bike the numbers swing widely so it is not like I can hold a specific number like I can on the Kickr.

However, I can look at power trends over time. If I am doing a 400m set for example, I can see if my power fades over the course of the interval. Can’t I do this with just pace? In a way I can, but my pace does not reflect my form like when I pair the numbers with power. If my power is high and my pace is the same, I know my form is breaking down and my inefficiency is climbing.

On the flip side, if I am going at the same pace, but my power is lower, I am becoming more efficient.
    
More importantly, power on the Vasa also allows me to monitor form better. I have noticed that when my elbow drops and I pull with my shoulder rather than my core and back, my power also drops by a good 15 watts.

This makes sense because compared to my lats and back, my shoulder muscles are not as strong.

Using power has its limitations and will never replace quality time in the pool, but it does have significant benefits as a training tool and supplement to pool workouts.

If you are interested in picking up a Vasa Swim ERG, you can get $50 off by using discount code TRISWIMCOACH here:

Vasa ERG

Let us know what you think about swimming power in the comments below!

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admin <![CDATA[Health Testing for Sugar Free]]> http://www.triswimcoach.com/?p=9640 2016-01-08T08:06:31Z 2016-01-08T08:06:31Z One thing that’s been going through my head over the past two months is something my Doctor said to me when I went for my yearly checkup. It had been almost two years since my last cholesterol test. Although my results were pretty good, I wanted to know if it would be worth getting tested [...]

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One thing that’s been going through my head over the past two months is something my Doctor said to me when I went for my yearly checkup. It had been almost two years since my last cholesterol test. Although my results were pretty good, I wanted to know if it would be worth getting tested again. His thought was that unless I had not made any significant changes in my lifestyle, there was no need for me to test again so soon.

Since then, I have made some changes with my lifestyle and eating. It’s been just over two months since I removed all sugar and processed carbohydrates from my diet and I just wanted to take a moment to clarify that as it may look like I have gone into this as a blind guinea pig, I have been mindful of repercussions of making a large change to eating. It’s been a long process of research and discussion with a number of people and I am keen to continue with this as long as possible, making sure that I am keeping as healthy as possible at the same time.

There are pros and cons to any diet and I have heard some issues that can be experienced when cutting out carbs from your diet including hormonal issues, sleep disruptions and issues with recovery and muscle loss. I wanted to clarify that I am not going into starvation mode throughout this process and am managing my diet and eating properly. I am also testing myself periodically to make sure there are no underlying issues.

As a starting point, I am always checking a small list of indicators, especially during high training loads, to help me measure the fatigue and stress that’s being placed in my body which include resting heart rate, weight, can I match my race pace during training sessions and mood (ask someone else’s opinion on that one). I’ve now added the following tests to make sure I’m tracking on the right path and not putting my body at risk.

Body Fat Analysis
The picture that I have included in this post is not there to show off my body but more so to give an indication of the fact that I am pretty lean and as so going into this new eating plan of reducing sugar and processed carbohydrates. I didn’t realise how lean I was until I was able to get a body fat analysis recently which put me at 8.8% body fat. Considering that I am looking to get a majority of my fuel from fat I need to make sure that it’s not dropping, especially before heading into my first IRONMAN. I am still sorting out my eating plan, and hoping to make my next post a comparison of my current eating compared to what I would previously eat.

Blood Glucose Level
The main aim of this eating plan was to make sure that the amount of sugar I was eating would not develop into diabetes later in life. Although I am cutting out sugar and processed carbohydrates as much as possible, due to the amount of vegetables and nuts I am eating, I estimate that I am still consuming about 100g worth of carbohydrates a day. A blood glucose check will test blood for any spike or drop resulting in an unknown change to my diet. I am currently sitting at 4.4mmol/L, which is in a healthy range.

Cholesterol Test
Finally, cholesterol, as I said this will be a major indicator of a potential failing in my new eating plan. As I had only been sticking to this plan for just over two months I was not expecting a change in my cholesterol level but it was good to get a good base line before I go any further into this experiment. My test came back as not having changed since my last test at 4.5, including the levels of both good and bad cholesterol remaining the same.

Vince Sesto


Vince Sesto

Tri Swim Coach Ambassador

Vince works as an IT Engineer in Melbourne, Australia where he lives with his cat Tim Tam. He has been a runner for longer than he can remember. He competes in distance running races, open water swims and long course triathlons.

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admin <![CDATA[New Year, New Swimmer?]]> http://www.triswimcoach.com/?p=9637 2016-01-08T18:07:21Z 2016-01-08T07:57:31Z Chances are that you or one of your friends has made a resolution for the new year, and chances are that that resolutions either involves health (nutrition, weight loss, six pack abs) and/or swimming. Honestly, it is great that you have made that resolution. It shows that you recognize something is missing or lacking in [...]

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New Year, New Swimmer?Chances are that you or one of your friends has made a resolution for the new year, and chances are that that resolutions either involves health (nutrition, weight loss, six pack abs) and/or swimming.

Honestly, it is great that you have made that resolution. It shows that you recognize something is missing or lacking in your life and that you also desire change. However, recognition and motivation are only the first two steps in making lasting change; to actually achieve your resolutions, though, you will have to do a good deal of work and reprogramming. Think you are up to the challenge? Read on…

First, you should get specific. Saying you want to lose weight is all fine, but it would be a stronger resolution and more likely to succeed if you said “I want to lose 20lbs” or “get back to my high school swimsuit size.” If you are resolving to become a better swimmer, you may want to refine that and say that you want to take 5 minutes off your HIM time or get into the water more. The more specific you get, the easier it will be to track progress and visualize your goal. After you get the specifics clarified you can start working.

Just because it is 2016 and you have made your resolution, does not mean you are a completely new person. In fact, you are the same person with the exact same habits as before. If you want to achieve your resolution you are going to have to spot and change those habits and form new and better habits. If your goal is to get faster in the water than you need to change what made you slow in the first place be it not swimming enough or having bad technique. Only by spotting the bad habits can you then change them.

Change does not occur overnight but each step is worth taking. Changing eating habits, for example, is the hardest because food is sometimes linked to rewards and emotion; we also do it three plus times a day so habits form quickly. Swapping in foods and focusing on what you can eat and not on what you cannot is a good first step.

Resolve to give up the afternoon candy bar? Swap in a healthy treat like an Amrita Bar. The Chocolate Maca satisfies my sweet tooth but doesn’t kill my fitness dreams (in fact the bars help them).To change frequency of swimming you may want to join a Master’s class to motivate you to get to the pool and keep you accountable. To change bad form, get a video analysis done so that you can see what specifically you need to fix. Making the change is good, now repeat it over and over again.

To make an action a habit requires repetition and practice. To do this you need to keep on reminding yourself about what you need to focus on. Everyday, set 1-3 intentions (I stole this trick from my yoga teacher) related to your goal and write them down. By writing them down, you keep the desire and focus alive and plant the seeds of growth.

Eventually, with practice, those seeds will result in new habits and achieving your goals. This takes time and patience especially if you have spent years doing the same thing. Trying to give up the “s” curve in my pull took me 3 years of conscious effort but with practice and lot of time in the pool and on the Vasa Swim Erg watching my form. I did it.

Chances are, you will mess up. But if you do, it is not the end of the world or your dreams. Learn from your mistake, figure out what led you to mess up, and keep on moving forward throughout the year.

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admin <![CDATA[The Sugar Free 70.3]]> http://www.triswimcoach.com/?p=9430 2015-12-23T19:58:52Z 2015-12-21T09:19:39Z It’s difficult not to get caught up in the hype when you race an IRONMAN 70.3 branded race. There’s a sense of “bling” about the event. You’re made to feel like you are really achieving something really special, so I was impressed with my first ever IRONMAN branded 70.3 race in Ballarat, Australia. I was [...]

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It’s difficult not to get caught up in the hype when you race an IRONMAN 70.3 branded race. There’s a sense of “bling” about the event. You’re made to feel like you are really achieving something really special, so I was impressed with my first ever IRONMAN branded 70.3 race in Ballarat, Australia.

I was a little nervous though going into the race as I’d just come off an injury and had not been running much over the past eight weeks. One thing that I wasn’t nervous about though, was my fuelling strategy. For once I was clear with no questions about which brand of gel to use? How often should I be fueling? Should I be consuming magnesium? How many gels should I carry? If I drop any of my gels, how bad will I run?

It was going to be simple this time. I would be racing the way I was training and that would be no sugar or carbs for the whole race and only water to replenish fluids. I was going to race the 70.3, sugar free!

It’s easy to look back now and say that I wasn’t nervous. I was nervous. It had only been six weeks since I completely cut out sugar and processed carbs in my diet, so I was worried about bonking and even having to pull out of the race as a result poor fueling.

I’d wanted to reduce my sugar intake for a long time. I’ve always been a sweet tooth, but the amount of sugar and processed carbs I was eating had increased due to my training with plans to tackle a full IRONMAN. I’ve been concerned that my lifestyle and the way that I eat would lead to insulin resistance and diabetes later in life.

I came across the concept of the Low Carb, High Fat eating plan about 12 months ago and saw it as being a way to reduce my dependence on sugar. The theory goes that you train your body to burn fat instead of sugars for energy. I saw some pretty extreme meals that completely put me off the concept until I spoke with a work colleague who is diabetic and is using the eating plan to help control his symptoms.

He recommended I watch the movie Cereal Killers. It opened my eyes about my sugar and carbohydrate consumption and it was not as extreme as I had originally believed. The diet made sense to me as it meant there would be no grey areas to cutting out sugars, as I would be cutting out all processed carbohydrates of any kind including most fruit, grains, and starchy root vegetables.

So I started the day with my usual spinach and cheese omelet and a coffee. Then it would only be water for the rest of the race. I would not be risking anything though and would pull out of the race if there were any concerns out on the course. Even long term, if I ever show negative results from any medical tests, I would be stopping this eating plan straight away.

As for the course, IRONMAN Ballarat offered an interesting mix. The swim is in a freshwater lake. Reeds got tangled in my goggles, but the water remains calm most of the time with a nice up and back course. The bike is a two lap course with an mix of technical turns for 5km stretches which then take you on undulating, straight and furious time trial sections that run for over thirty kilometers in parts. The run course is flat and if it is hot, any wind coming off the lake is a refreshing change under the hot sun.

The race day went really well for me. I stuck to my plan and made sure I was consistently drinking water throughout the race. I ended up sore and tired, which would be expected, but hydrated with no bloating or sickness from gels. I was able to sleep without any issues and was not hyperactive or over stimulated from the race.

It was one of those days when everything goes to plan. I had been training hard and over a consistent period of time, so taking ten minutes off my PB shouldn’t be a surprise.

What should be surprising is that I was able to swim for thirty minutes, ride for two and a half hours and then run for just over ninety minutes, without any need for sugar, gel, electrolyte drink or supplement replacement. I didn’t need to rely on feeding every thirty minutes or anything that I had learnt over the past fifteen years of being involved in running, open water swimming and now triathlon. What else are we capable of? What else is there that I’m doing wrong with my training and racing?

Incase you are curious about my results:
http://ap.ironman.com/triathlon/coverage/athlete-tracker.aspx?race=ballarat70.3&y=2015#axzz3uF945reP

I am not advocating that this is something that everyone should be implementing in his or her diet, but so far it’s worked for me and now I need to scale it up over the next two months to race IRONMAN NZ. I am still a work in progress, but I believe I am eating better with my cupboards almost empty, usually full of cereal, pasta, noodles, flour, rice, chocolate and my fridge is now full with fresh vegetables, meat, dairy, eggs, berries and avocados. I am able to go for longer periods of time without eating or feeling hungry, and feel like I am no longer a slave to having to continuously eat. My thoughts are clearer, and as a result feel like I am less stressed, calmer and happier.

Vince Sesto

What about you? Have you tried anything like this, or do you have an interest in doing so? Please add your comment below!


Vince Sesto

Tri Swim Coach Ambassador

Vince works as an IT Engineer in Melbourne, Australia where he lives with his cat Tim Tam. He has been a runner for longer than he can remember. He competes in distance running races, open water swims and long course triathlons.

a

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admin <![CDATA[Updated Glossary]]> http://www.triswimcoach.com/?p=9357 2015-12-17T02:27:38Z 2015-12-17T02:27:38Z We posted a glossary of terms a while back but it needs an update, so we dug up our old post and have modified it to include some more terms to help you decipher swim workouts: Zone 2: I stole this term from cycling and running, both of which define it as about 65-70% of [...]

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Swim WorkoutWe posted a glossary of terms a while back but it needs an update, so we dug up our old post and have modified it to include some more terms to help you decipher swim workouts:

  1. Zone 2: I stole this term from cycling and running, both of which define it as about 65-70% of your max heart rate. Unfortunately there is no accurate heart rate monitor for swimming (yet), so we are left to educated guess work and feel. Zone 2 is a pace that you feel you can hold all day. It is not EASY like a warmup but rather a sustainable and relaxed pace. Some like to call this Ironman swim pace. You should be able to bilateral breath.
  2. Tempo pace: Tempo is faster than zone 2 but is not an all out sprint. You should be breathing harder maybe even breathing every other stroke. Consider it just above mile pace. This is “moderate” pace.
  3. Threshold or Moderate: One step above tempo pace or a “hard” effort.
  4. Race pace: the pace you want to hold in your goal race. This can be further specified to Oly (Olympic), HIM (half ironman/70.3), and IM (Ironman) race pace.
  5. TT pace: While it means “time trial” or all out effort over a set distance, the actual time and effort is dependent upon you and what your goals are. TT could refer to your pace for a 100, 500, 1000, 1650, 4000k, or 10k effort. However, nearly always TT means a hard effort above race pace.
  6. Easy pace: Just like it sounds–easy like a warmup or cool down
  7. 8/3/8 or 6/3/6: One of my favorite drills where you take 8 or 6 kicks to one side with your belly button pointing to the wall, one arm extended, head down, chin tucked and looking down at the bottom of the pool. Then take 3 fast strokes and take 8 or 6 kicks to the other side after which you take 3 strokes, and repeat.
  8. Fist drill: swim normally with clenched fists or you can hold tennis balls so that you do not cheat
  9. Catch-up: No this does not mean what you put on burgers. It is a slowed down swim stroke drill where you are focusing on one arm at a time. Take one stroke focusing on a high elbow catch, quick pull, then shallow entry. Pause once one stroke is complete and then do the same on the other side.
  10. Water polo sprint drill: Another favorite, this one you swim tarzan style with your head completely out of the water. Be careful where you put your hand and try to keep your head steady without twisting.
  11. Build: building in intensity so that you get faster each 25 or 50 and finish in an all out sprint.
  12. N/S: Negative split means your second half of the distance is faster than your first
  13. Switch drill: Also known as doggie paddle freestyle, this drill is where your hands do not come out of the water but you recover under water. Check out our video on our channel or YouTube for further explanation.
  14. DPS: This is a rare one on TSC workouts but it means distance per stroke.
  15. Pull: Swimming with paddles and/or a pull buoy usually with feet bound with a band
  16. Band: Feet wrapped and tied so that they do not move
  17. Hypoxic: Means holding your breath for a certain number of strokes like 5 or 7
  18. 25 or 50 or 100 or 250 etc. refers to the distances that you swim. Typically a length (one time down) is 25 meters or yards. It can be 50 meters if you are in a long course pool.
  19. Odds and evens: Refers to the odd or even reps so if you are doing 100×100 with odds as sprints and evens as easy, reps 1,3,5… are sprint and 2,4,6,…are easy.
  20. Deck ups: Pushing yourself up out of the water as if you are getting out of the pool and then coming back down. This is a great tricep workout.

Now different coaches will use the same term to refer to something completely different, so be careful translating these term in masters’ swim practices or magazine articles. Consider this your Tri Swim Coach dictionary so you may want to bookmark this post for future reference.

Need any other terms clarified? Send us an email!

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admin <![CDATA[Setting Goals]]> http://www.triswimcoach.com/?p=9294 2015-11-30T13:03:29Z 2015-11-30T13:03:29Z So what are you going to do next? So many people have asked me that in the last few weeks. Competing for Canada at World’s has been the goal for the last two years. First there was the qualification for World’s and then there was the actual competition itself. Now that it finished the obvious [...]

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So what are you going to do next? So many people have asked me that in the last few weeks. Competing for Canada at World’s has been the goal for the last two years. First there was the qualification for World’s and then there was the actual competition itself. Now that it finished the obvious question is: What is next?

I have been unsure about how to answer that question. For the last few weeks it has been harder to get back into the regular work out routine. I took a couple of weeks off after the season was over and that was good. It felt a bit strange to not have to drag myself out of bed real early in the morning to get out to the pool, and I found I actually enjoyed sleeping in. But once the two week were over the motivation to get back at it was not really there. I knew that I needed a new goal.

Establishing a goal and then moving progressively closer to that goal till it is achieved is a great was of keeping focus and motivation. Once the goal is reached you set and new goal and continue to move forward. But where do you go when you have reached one of the main goals you have set for yourself?

So the last few weeks has turned into a time of evaluation. It has been a time to consider what my priorities are, and I’ve learned a few things.

First, a goal does not have to be something huge. It can be very simple. It can be as simple as making the decision to get out and into the pool just once a week or to get up early once a week to make the early morning swim time at the pool.

Secondly, the goals we set are our goals and they do not have to look like anyone else’s. Each of us is an individual and each one of us is unique and our goals will be too.

Thirdly, writing down your goal is an important thing to do. I have heard that said several times but never realized how important it was. Once it is down in black and white it gives a certain amount of self accountability and it gives us a record to look back to in the future.

So what are my goals?

  1. My first goal is to enjoy myself. As I have looked back at why I am doing all of this I realize that it is because I enjoy it. I think it is important not to forget that. So it’s a question I have decided to ask myself after each work out. Did you enjoy that? I realize that some workouts are not fun, some are not easy, some are just plain tough but even in the tough ones there still needs to be an element of enjoyment. So that is my primary goal.
  2. The second goal is to continue to improve. I want to perform better at each of the races I will do this coming year. Most of them are smaller local races. But they are ones I know and so ones I use to measure improvement. I want to see improvement in each section of the race, with a special emphasis on the transitions which have, if I’m honest, been poor this past year.

They are not huge goals, but they are my goals and already they are helping me get back in to the rhythm of my workout routine.

Martin Boardman


Martin Boardman

Tri Swim Coach Ambassador

Martin lives in Brooks, Alberta. He has done a number of sprint and olympic distance races. His goal for 2015 is to do well at the World Championships in Chicago.

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admin <![CDATA[TSC holiday shopping guide]]> http://www.triswimcoach.com/?p=9290 2017-04-09T15:14:54Z 2015-11-30T12:25:35Z The holiday shopping season is upon us and you might be creating a list (and checking it twice) of gear to get that special swimmer in your life (including yourself). Since triathletes and swimmers are so hard to shop for, TSC put together their list of the 10 best gifts on the market. We have [...]

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holiday shoppingThe holiday shopping season is upon us and you might be creating a list (and checking it twice) of gear to get that special swimmer in your life (including yourself). Since triathletes and swimmers are so hard to shop for, TSC put together their list of the 10 best gifts on the market.

We have made sure to include several price points so that even if you are on a budget, you can still make your 2016 “the year of the amphibian.” All the items though have been tested by for quality insurance and have our TSC seal of approval.

  1. The Vasa swim trainer: While the most expensive product on our list, it will also give you the biggest gains. If you want to read more about it and see what impressive progress both in strength and form I have gained from it, you can read more about it here and here.
  2. Lava shorts or pants: WIth these shorts you will get all the benefits of a wetsuit without having to overheat in the pool. Some people call them “cheat shorts” because they will definitely smooth out any irregularities in your form and thus boost your speed significantly. Although tempting, they are not for everyday use but for those weekly “Fast Friday” or “long block” sessions they are worth every penny. To pick up a pair at 60% off list price, use code CO-TRISC.
  3. Tri Swim Signature Series: With a new box every month full of goodies, not only is this better than getting a new swimsuit for the holidays but also it is more cost efficient. This one closes soon you better take advantage of this soon.
  4. Amrita Club membership: Triathletes eat a lot and usually on the move either on the way to the pool, between the pool and work, on the bike, on the run–you get the idea. Unfortunately, convenient nutritious and hypoallergenic foods are hard to come by. Amrita bars are our go to bar for pre and post workout snacks. By joining their membership club you get a good supply of bars at a steep discount.
  5. Finis Freestylers Paddles: Our favorite paddles that will not put stress on your shoulders and will correct your form.
  6. Finis Z2 Zoomers: Our favorite fins that will help loosen up your ankles and improve your kick instead of being a crutch.
  7. A new suit: With a huge variety of swimsuits to choose from you can have your pick to express yourself.
  8. The Bodimetrics Performance monitor: Give the gift of health. For those of you worried about your health or for the Bodyhacker in your life, this is the swiss army knife of metric monitors.
  9. GoPro: Another pricey toy but is great to record and track your stroke in the pool. Always have a pair of eyes on the pool deck and in the water. Take a video and then send it off to us and have it analysed.
  10. Garmin Swim: The perfect way to track laps, speed, and time in the water. Never miss a lap.

If you have something to add, let us know.

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admin <![CDATA[Interview with Chris Ritter – TSC Podcast #98]]> http://www.triswimcoach.com/?p=9283 2015-11-24T15:46:26Z 2015-11-24T04:56:48Z In this podcast, Kevin interviews Chris Ritter, strength trainer at http://rittersp.com. Points discussed: -Chris’ background -Working with Cullen Jones, Olympic Gold Medalist -Strength training for distance swimmers & triathletes -Hinges, squats, and shoulder injuries -Problems with sitting -Maximizing your workouts -When to do strength training -Stretching -Bilateral breathing -High elbow catch -Sun Yang’s stroke -Ritter [...]

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triswimcoach-podcast

In this podcast, Kevin interviews Chris Ritter, strength trainer at http://rittersp.com. Points discussed:

-Chris’ background
-Working with Cullen Jones, Olympic Gold Medalist
-Strength training for distance swimmers & triathletes
-Hinges, squats, and shoulder injuries
-Problems with sitting
-Maximizing your workouts
-When to do strength training
-Stretching
-Bilateral breathing
-High elbow catch
-Sun Yang’s stroke
-Ritter Sport

References:

Chris’ Website: http://rittersp.com
Video library of exercises: http://rittersp.com/exercise-library/?type=1
Surge Strength book
Swimming Fastest by Ernie Maglishco
Sun Yang’s stroke

Sign up for the Ritter Sport newsletter and get access to the pullup progression Chris mentioned in the show by going to http://rittersp.com/tri-swim-coach-podcast 

Please help us out with a rating & review on iTunes!

https://itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/tri-swim-coach-triathlon-swimming/id306454334?mt=2

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admin <![CDATA[No More Sugar!]]> http://www.triswimcoach.com/?p=9279 2015-11-22T10:06:08Z 2015-11-22T10:06:08Z Back in September the Team 500 Challenge for TriSwimPro was to remove all sugar and processed carbohydrates from your diet. The funny thing is that after all the stress and pain I have put my body through in training and races, this challenge just seemed like something I couldn’t to do. You see, I have [...]

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Back in September the Team 500 Challenge for TriSwimPro was to remove all sugar and processed carbohydrates from your diet. The funny thing is that after all the stress and pain I have put my body through in training and races, this challenge just seemed like something I couldn’t to do. You see, I have a little problem with sugar. I recently made a conscious effort to reduce the amount of sugar I was eating, but I was still eating a lot more than the average person and with the extra gels, protein shakes, pre workout drinks and snacks after training, I would hate to know the actual amount that I was consuming.

Fast forward three months and I’m training a little less due to injury and after a long discussion with some friends(This wasn’t an intervention), I decided it was time to cut out sugar. Due to my history with sugar, I needed to set some strict rules with no grey areas. This meant that as well as cutting sugar completely, I also decided to say no to bread, pasta, rice, fruit or any root vegetables. I know this sounds extreme, but I think it was going to be the only way for it to work for me.

I have almost gone through a full month and there is a long way still for me to go, but so far here is what I have learnt.

Sugar and processed carbs are literally everywhere.
Until you start looking for it, you probably don’t know that you are surrounded by sugar and processed carbs. Unless people are on a similar mindset to you, it will generally be the norm, and with Christmas coming very soon, I have been reminded of all the things I will be missing out on over the holiday period.

Your thoughts will become clearer.
I have never had trouble focusing or concentrating on one thing at a time, but now, instead of ten different things going on in my head all at once, there is only one or two. My thoughts are also clearer and I am generally calmer, and it almost feels like the world has slowed down.

Nuts are addictive.
Nuts are a great snack when you are trying to cut out sugar or processed carbs, but once I have a small handful, I need to eat more. There is no point in doing something like this if you are going to eat half a bag of mixed nuts twice a day.

There is hidden sugar in everything.
I know I am still learning, so I am reading a lot of labels. Sugar is a main ingredient of so many foods. Even when something says “100 Whey Protein”, read the ingredients.

Breaking the routine is the hardest thing.
The first time I ate out, I ordered a coke with my lunch out of habit. Even though I made sure my meal adhered to my sugar free guidelines, I completely forgot about what I was drinking. Fortunately, I was able to stop myself when my drink was delivered to my table.

There is no looking back.
For me, there is no going back to my old ways. I have cravings occasionally, but it is like I am a reformed addict and it almost makes me a little nauseous to even think about eating the type of food that I used to eat. If I eat something that I shouldn’t, even by accident, I get the sugar shakes, so I know there is no way I can go back.

Make sure you are getting tested.
Even though I am sure I am making a good choice with my diet, it is a major change and you need to make sure you are getting yourself tested, even if it is only a cholesterol and blood check.

Vince Sesto


Vince Sesto

Tri Swim Coach Ambassador

Vince works as an IT Engineer in Melbourne, Australia where he lives with his cat Tim Tam. He has been a runner for longer than he can remember. He competes in distance running races, open water swims and long course triathlons.

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admin <![CDATA[Tri Swim Signature Series]]> http://www.triswimcoach.com/?p=9253 2015-11-20T20:15:09Z 2015-11-20T19:20:08Z November 2015 is a very special month for Tri Swim Coach. It marks our 10-year anniversary of promoting triathlon lifestyle and training our athletes with the latest triathlon swim training and information! Tri Swim Coach is built upon the idea that everyone should be able to participate in triathlons, from individuals who have never swam [...]

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November 2015 is a very special month for Tri Swim Coach. It marks our 10-year anniversary of promoting triathlon lifestyle and training our athletes with the latest triathlon swim training and information! Tri Swim Coach is built upon the idea that everyone should be able to participate in triathlons, from individuals who have never swam to advanced athletes who have been training for years.

The story of the Tri Swim Coach is a story of hope, optimism, and success. It’s a story that represents a dream that started many years ago with small number of triathletes whom gained confidence, efficiency, and strength to set their sights from nearly sinking in the water to becoming top triathletes and continue on with thousands of fans and followers.

I strongly believe that our strength as a community has taken us further than any one individual could travel.

Although we are very proud of our Tri Swim Coach Community and all that it represents, it is just the beginning for us.

This year, Tri Swim Coach is growing to reach over 100,000 followers from all over the world, allowing us to bring even more special ideas to inspire, train, have fun, and build an amazing tribe together.

To help facilitate the training experience, we’ve compiled a number of resources to help within our Tri Swim Pro Training Program. These proven methods have helped 4,181 triathletes (and counting) to slash average of 7:21 minutes off their triathlon race times…

A Step Toward a Bigger Dream…

Beyond stroke improvement, faster race times, and smoother swims, we set our sights on inspiring our athletes, making swimming more fun, and developing more personal connection.

We are excited to show you what is more to come.

In this effort to inspire, create more fun, and develop connection, we came up with another idea – the Tri Swim Coach Signature Series.

Each month, we will unveil a signature swim suit & bottle designed and inspired by a Tri Swim Coach sponsored team athlete.

The Tri Swim Coach Signature Series will include:

  • Swimmer Signature Suit (Male or Female)
  • Swimmer Signature Bottle
  • Tri Swim Coach Weekly Triathlon Swim Workouts ($29.97+ value)
  • Free Gifts from our sponsors
  • BONUS: Motivational Swimming/Triathlon Poster

Of course, it’s time to give you a sneak peak of what you can expect in monthly signature series!

triswim-signature-series-samples

bottles

triswimcoach-motivational-package

Through this motivational monthly package, we are expecting athletes to build healthy habits in a new and fun way. With the creative designs and team/group participation, we are expecting this community to be taken to the next level.

As of this post, we have about 9 days left before the December Signature Series closes. For more and to sign up today, go to http://triswimgear.com.

I can’t wait to see the new habits being built and the community growing!

We hope that you enjoy reading about our community and how we work together to have fun, develop more personal connection and ensure the strength of our tribe, so we can travel further.

Thank you everyone for helping us have wonderful last 10 years.

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admin <![CDATA[A better workout this winter]]> http://www.triswimcoach.com/?p=9250 2017-04-09T15:14:42Z 2015-11-18T03:45:13Z In the winter, when my races are many months away, and the colder weather and darker mornings are changing up my circadian rhythms, I like to experiment with my training to keep things fresh and interesting. One of my latest crazes is doing swim-bike bricks. In these workouts, I will swim a main set then [...]

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Winter TrainingIn the winter, when my races are many months away, and the colder weather and darker mornings are changing up my circadian rhythms, I like to experiment with my training to keep things fresh and interesting. One of my latest crazes is doing swim-bike bricks.

In these workouts, I will swim a main set then get out of the pool and immediately hop onto the bike and go straight into an intense set on the bike, then back in the pool to repeat everything all over again. Or I will do an intense set in the pool (think 200-500m repeats) and immediately go into intervals on the bike like 10’ at threshold 5’ easy for two to three rounds.

If you just had a hard workout in the pool or on the bike the day before and need some recovery but still want to gain the benefits of these brick sets, then you can do a drill focused swim, followed by an intense bike, or an intense swim with an easy bike, treating it more like a cool down.

These sessions have many benefits. For one, they break up the monotony of straight swim sets and gives me some mental toughness of pushing the pace in the pool but also the bike. Since I swim in tri shorts, I can work on wicked fast transitions and get use to the feel of my race kit.

Another benefit, though, which many people don’t think about, is the physiological benefits of going from the horizontal position of swimming to the vertical/hunched over TT position of the bike. Many people experience GI distress from making this transition so by practicing, your body gets used to going hard in the water to going hard on the bike.

I can also practice making the switch nutritionally to figure out what my stomach can handle out of the water and what I need hydrationally. So far, I have found that a ¼ of an Amrita bar (mango coconut flavor is my go to) is just enough to get me going. A few sips of a honey/green tea/enduropacks electrolytes mix works as well if you like liquid hydration. I would not recommend Clif bars because I found them too chewwy which makes it hard to chew and breath at the same time.

The only problem with these is the set up. The Vasa Swim Erg has completely transformed this type of workout for me and has allowed me to do them at least once or twice a week; my transitions are quicker and I can do more rounds too. If this is not an option then ask your pool if you can bring your bike and trainer pool side. If you are tucked away in a corner, it should not be a problem. You can also do a spin class after a swim.

Working swim-bike bricks into your winter training will keep the winter blues away and make you emerge faster and fresher in the spring.

 

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admin <![CDATA[BodiMetrics Performance Monitor]]> http://www.triswimcoach.com/?p=9177 2016-01-20T16:06:39Z 2015-11-12T18:02:37Z By Chris Hague Tri Swim Coach There are two growing trends in health: young millennials are becoming more interested in quantifying their body and older baby boomers are becoming more concerned about their health. The former, also called “body hacking,” aims to optimize the body and performance by exploring its hidden intricacies and then putting [...]

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By Chris Hague
Tri Swim Coach

There are two growing trends in health: young millennials are becoming more interested in quantifying their body and older baby boomers are becoming more concerned about their health.

The former, also called “body hacking,” aims to optimize the body and performance by exploring its hidden intricacies and then putting a number on it so that it can be tracked, monitored, and thus improved. Looking at the success of activity trackers like the Vivofit and Jawbone, optical heart rate monitors, and even glucometers and ketone monitors for recreational trackers shows that people want to learn more about their bodies in an effort to optimize performance and, to steal a phrase from the king of biohackers, Dave Asprey, “upgrade” and “bulletproof” their bodies.

The latter trend is just as interesting and strong. Baby boomers (and their concerned children) are looking more and more to new technology to track health and thus look for indicators of problems before they arise. They are turning to DIY metrics to provide their health care providers with more health information. Just look at the new health apps and devices that can send information digitally to nurses and doctors and instantly warn them if a red flag, like low body temperature, heart rate, or high glucose, arrises.

For a while, both of these groups have been looking for “one device to rule them all” and provide all the numbers you would like in one place. The BodiMetrics Performance Monitor wants to fill that niche.

The Overview

product_final-600x600The Monitor is about the size of a credit card and as thick as a cell phone but weighs just 3oz.

The sleep mode displays the time and date with the battery level in the lower right hand corner. Depending on how long and how much you use it, the battery life can last up to three months or if you use it more frequently, especially with the step tracker, a few days.

Once you hit the awake/home button, you see the home screen with the different test that you can do: heart activity (Heart rate monitor), temperature, pulse oximeter, relax me, and Body Check, which does it all including systolic blood pressure. When you swipe right, the second page shows the pedometer mode, reminders, bluetooth connectivity, reports and settings.

The Features:

The BodiMetrics Performance Monitor can track:

  • Heart Rate- by placing your hands on three of the sensors you get a near complete EKG reading in about 20s
  • Temperature- Place a sensor on your temple and have a reading in 3 seconds which is much faster than standard devices
  • Oxygen Saturation- Put one finger into the top sensor and see how much oxygen your blood is circulating
  • Heart Rate Variability (HRV) (through the “Relax Me” mode) and Relaxation Score- Follow a given breathing pattern to see how relaxed you are and how your heart is responding to that
  • Blood Pressure- When you run the “Body Check” it gauges systolic blood pressure at the same time
  • Remind you to take medication or do a relaxation check-always good to do especially in a busy lifestyle.
  • Steps- just like on a vivofit but since it is in your pocket, it gives a more accurate reading.
  • Rate Pressure Product-(RPP) (more on this in a bit)

It can then push all this data to your smart phone app so that you (or trusted advisors, coaches, or significant others) can look for trends.

So how does this relate to swimming and Tri Swim Coach?

tsc-swim-clinic-bodimetrics-1

When it comes to athletics and athletic performance, the more you know about your body, and in particular how it reacts to training and external stress the better. Getting faster and fitter is all about stress management: applying more stress when your body can handle that and reducing that stress when your body cannot. The way you know when and how to do this is looking at all of the above metrics as one piece of interrelated information.

It used to be that you could just look at heartrate as a measure of health and the lower the better. HRV then became the better metric because it looks at the “flexibility” and “systolic” of your heart as well as stress and recovery. Now, with RPP, which is your HRV multiplied by blood pressure, you can track or monitor any irregularities in your heart rate rhythm and its responsiveness. A low number would indicate that you are overworking, under recovered, or both. When paired with the pulse oximeter reading, you get an even better picture of what your body is doing.

With an increase in swim related deaths in triathlon–mostly due to heart irregularities and heart health problems–it is becoming increasingly important to know your numbers, which the Bodimetrics can definitely help with.

Overall thoughts:

Overall, I found the monitor very helpful and accurate. With the small, light size it fit easily into my pocket and went unnoticed throughout the day while I was walking around tracking my steps until it reminded me to take a stress test or pop my multi vitamin. The relaxation test itself in which you inhale and exhale on command made me focus on my breath and let go of stressful thoughts or situations. The stress reading that it gives out were not exactly the same as other HRV readings but that is to be expected because other tests like SweetBeat and the app on my Garmin 920xt have different algorithms to generate their own number. The BodiMetrics calculates HRV based on the EKG waveforms which is much more reliable and accurate than algorithms using Heart Rate.

The other readings, however, were fairly similar. My pulse aligned with my Garmin’s HR strap, and even without a cuff, the blood pressure readings were in line with the blood pressure cuff monitor that I have. It did take a while to figure out where to position my hands over the sensors, and it still takes a few tries to get the position just right.

The RPP was interesting to follow and track with my training. The day after really stressful days or long hours on the bike or run, it would go down but on recovery days it would bounce back up.

The temperature reading was about .5 degrees off from my under the tongue reader.

Two functions that I wish it had are a blood glucometer and a sleep tracker. With those it really would one all in one body hack.

None of these features, with the exception of RPP, is special by itself–there are apps and devices to do each one individually–but it is incredibly helpful and convenient to put them all together and see the relationship between the numbers and that is the true benefit of the BodiMetrics Performance Monitor.

get-it-today

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admin <![CDATA[Interview with Chloe McCardel – TSC Podcast #97]]> http://www.triswimcoach.com/?p=9123 2015-11-08T20:57:59Z 2015-11-08T20:57:59Z In this podcast, Kevin interviews world class marathon swimmer Chloe McCardel. Points discussed: -Chloe’s background -Disadvantages of being a triathlete -Why distance open water swimming/life lessons -English Channel crossings and spiritual experiences -Swimming with sharks -What Chloe thinks about while swimming -Cravings while swimming -Nutrition -World records -Cuba to US swim & box jellyfish -Never [...]

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triswimcoach-podcast

In this podcast, Kevin interviews world class marathon swimmer Chloe McCardel. Points discussed:

-Chloe’s background
-Disadvantages of being a triathlete
-Why distance open water swimming/life lessons
-English Channel crossings and spiritual experiences
-Swimming with sharks
-What Chloe thinks about while swimming
-Cravings while swimming
-Nutrition
-World records
-Cuba to US swim & box jellyfish
-Never giving up
-Charity: Swim Across America
-Training for marathon swims
-Loch Ness swims (and the monster)
-Weight gain and cold water
-Avoiding injuries
-Typical mistakes in open water swimming
-The future of marathon swimming
-Chloe’s future plans

References:

Chloe’s Website http://chloemccardel.com
Swim Across America: http://swimacrossamerica.org

Please help us out with a rating & review on iTunes!

https://itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/tri-swim-coach-triathlon-swimming/id306454334?mt=2

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