You hear it from almost every single coach: workouts need to have a purpose. At TSC, we agree. Getting into the pool without a set purpose or intention is wasting time. Each workout should have some focus that addresses a need or skill with which you can structure your sets and type of sets around. Here are several common ones with the type of workouts that get you there:
- Have fun: this seems obvious but many forget that we are here to have fun. A workout that achieves this would be an unstructured interval style swim where you go back and forth between super fast and laid back slow depending on how you feel. No watch, no clock, just you and your thoughts.
- Fear of open water: A workout with this focus needs to build your confidence in the open water so go to a lake or a calm stretch of beach with a bunch of friends and play around. Ease into the water bit by bit, then take a few strokes, flip onto your back do some back stroke, then do a few more strokes. Eventually, you will realize that there is nothing to fear
- Race prep: these workouts have you going at race pace for set periods of time.
- Endurance: workouts with longer distances, slower pace, and little rest
- Muscular Endurance/Strength: Unlike pure endurance, these workouts are intended to fatigue your arms then ask you to go (or try to go) fast. In these workouts, you want to increase your resistance and power to fatigue the muscles. You can do this by using paddles, binding the legs completely, doing specific strength drills like water polo sprint or doggie paddle freestyle, or increasing drag by wearing a t-shirt or drag suit. Deck ups are also a great way to incorporate these into a set. Then after your arms are fatigue you do one more set without any toys at an aggressive pace. (Note: this is not for everyone especially beginners. Make sure your form is solid before advancing to these)
- Speed: Like the focus says the purpose here is to go fast. If you are not heaving on the pool deck and need all of the rest interval, then you went too slowly.
- Form: Workouts with lots of drills and slower pace so that your form can be perfect
- Anaerobic endurance: Usually sets between 200-400m in length and going between sprint and race pace.
- Kicking: Rare for triathletes but fairly common for master swimmers and have you do a lot of kicking either against a wall, in the deep end vertically, or underwater holding your breath.
You do not have to have a single focus but can mix and match these. You might do one main set focusing on drills then do a speed set. Regardless of what you decide to focus on have an intention and stick with it.
Coach Chris and Kev