Most of America is now beginning to settle down as cold weather blankets the country, and while the colder temperature makes my bike rides and runs a little bit brisker, I am now more motivated to get into the pool and focus on my weakest leg. Although many do not want to go near the smell of chlorine until well into next year, the off season provides a perfect time to get a jump start on your swim training, but what workouts should you do to ensure that you emerge from the off season swimming like Andy Potts?
Here are Five of my “Gluten free bread and Organic butter” off season workouts that I feel are essential to any training program:
1) 1600 Time Trial: Including tests every three or so weeks will allow you gauge and measure your progress over the off season. Your first test will give you a baseline for setting up paces for the next training block too.
2) Drill Babay Drill: With your A race several months away and therefore less pressure to gain speed quickly, now is a good time to focus on drills and aerobic efficiency so that your speed sets when they do come are faster. Include in each workout at least 500 yards/meters of drills like fist (swim using only fists), doggy-paddle free style, catch-up, and finger tip drag
3) Skulling: Skulling helps you “feel” the water. By applying constant pressure to keep you afloat, you will begin to feel when your pull is powerful and when it is weak.
4) Sprints: While the majority of my swim sets during this time of year are swum in zone 2 or zone 4, I like to include a few all out sprints at the end of a workout. Hitting your top gear is important to teach your body to go quickly even though you are tired. Moreover they are fun. I like 4-8×25 all out sprints before cooling down
5) Power sets: I have to admit, I am not a fun person since I hate pool toys, but I find them helpful in the off season to build power in my weak upper body. Binding my feet and using only my arms makes me focus on keeping my legs up and body flat in the water. Using paddles as well builds muscles and strength. 3×200 of just paddles leaves my arms drained and sore for the rest of the day.
If you are looking to upgrade your next swim workout or just want a change of pace, try including one or two of these sets into each workout. Come spring, you will be primed for a PR while others are trying to regain the feel for the water.