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Kevin: All right. Welcome to TriSwimCoach. This is Kevin. And this is Episode Number 79. And in just a few minutes we’re going to talk about the latest and greatest in triathlon swimming. And I have Coach Chris Hague on the other line. Hey Chris, how’s it going?
Chris: Not too bad Coach Kev.
Kevin: All right so you just decided to blow off the marathon tomorrow?
Chris: Yeah, yeah, Phoenix marathon and it’s too early in the year to really. Focusing more on triathlon and this was supposed to be a fun run, but my hip flexor did something funny this week, and I don’t want to risk the season for 26.2 miles of fun running. So I’d rather turn tomorrow into a productive training day than go backwards in my training. There will be other races in my future, guaranteed.
Kevin: Yeah, yeah. I think you’re making the right calls. Especially with this storm that’s supposed to move in. It was hitting San Diego over the last couple days. Fortunately I’ve been down in Mexico and avoiding all bad weather all together, it’s like perfect here, it’s like sunny and 80 something degrees everyday and it’s just awesome.
Chris: Lucky you.
Kevin: Yeah, I’m just here for a few days and although I haven’t been really working out, I did walk up a really steep hill just a little while ago. Getting a little bit of exercise but there are unusual high number of elderly here in Puerto Vallarta where I’m staying right now. So it’s kind of an interesting place. I think a lot of people come down here like the snowbirds. People come from the mid-west and east and north of the US and then also from Canada and they come down here for you know kind of 6 months of the year. And sort of like a retirement spot. So interesting stuff, but tomorrow I’ll be going to Sayulita, which is supposed to be the hot spot here in Mexico and suppose to have awesome beaches and all that, and so hopefully get some.
Chris: How’s the training conditions there, would that be a good place. Are there any pools there, I’m sure you can open water swim.
Chris: The water’s nice.
Kevin: Yeah the water’s a great temperature and open water swimming, it would be a great place to do that and that issue’s a good segue into what I was going to mention. One of the thing, there’s a lot of triathletes in the Spanish-speaking/Latin American community. That’s what I’m discovering and I don’t think I’ve really mentioned this to you Chris, but we are going to be expanding into the Latin American market. So we are going to have TriSwimCoach Español, and that’s going to be coming out, hopefully soon. We’re also going to talk a little bit more about a swim clinic we’re going to be doing in the Dominican Republic, that’s about 90% sure, that, that’s going to happen. So that will be kind of a kick off. And that’s going to be in sort of mid May. So if anybody listening to this also speaks Spanish we’ll have some good stuff for you coming soon. I’m still working on my español, it’s not very good right now, but it’s going to be getting better soon, hopefully.
Chris: It’s being the latest and greatest in triathlon, yeah Mexico is a hot spot to train.
Kevin: I think so; I think if you have a chance to get down here, there are a lot of good spots. There are hills, there are great beaches, great water, I mean great ocean water and I think it would be a great place to do some training. We should do like a training camp down here sometime.
Chris: That’d be great. I know [00:03:32 Rev 3] actually just opened up. Rev 3 the race series that’s mostly in the east coast, but they just opened up. They’re doing a race in Mexico.
Kevin: Oh cool.
Chris: So yeah, it may be doing awesome and then the lead up to that would be nice. But Mexico, it is in oh some city that I did not hear of.
Chris: It is later on this year. It is in [00:03:53] T R A J E.
Kevin: Okay. Traje. Is that on the Pacific side?
Chris: I guess so.
Chris: I’ll google it later, but they are expanding into Mexico.
Kevin: Yeah, that’s awesome; it’s going to be really cool. There’s not a ton of resources down here or in Latin America for people that are doing triathlon. And especially for swimming, so hopefully we’ll be able to help some people out. We had a review on the I-tunes listing so I want to read that off. “Great advice always, 5 stars from [00:04:27 spapa41]”, and he or she says “my go to podcast and IPhone app for swimming”. Which I think they’re referring to our TriSwimCoach App which is also in the i-tunes store. “Great Interviews, have helped changed my technique and speed, nutrition and out of triathlon and lifestyle habits all for the better, worth every minute. Go get caught up and you’ll thank them as well”. Cool thanks for that spapa and if you the listener, if you want to take a couple minutes and give us a quick rating and review, that would be awesome, and I’ll read it on the next show, on the next podcast. That’s a great way to support our show. Let’s get into the topic today and that’s the Latest and greatest in triathlon swimming. There’s not a lot that changes. I’ll start off and there’s not a lot that changes with swimming. The changes take place over the course of 5 or 10 years, little things change and then it finally catches on. And that’s how swimming goes. There are a lot of concepts from the 1970’s as far as technique goes that still applies today, and they are still really relevant. And what total immersion did in the 1990’s was to take a lot of those concepts and to make them easy to understand for anybody. And also in a format that you can watch the video and see what’s going on and then repeat it. So total immersion took a lot of that stuff and it advanced swimming in a lot of ways, but since then some things have changed. Some small things have changed and some a little bit bigger. The one thing in the last 5, 6, 7 years that has really changed since I started TriSwimCoach has been, we used to teach people the glide when they swim so you’d have a long stroke and glide and really focus on those things, focus on the glide, and I used to teach that but what’s changed is that what’s more important than that, if you focus on the glide that’s the part where you’re actually slowing down. It’s nice to be efficient and have a long stroke for certain parts of your race but to just focus on the glide; you’re focusing on the slowest part of the stroke. So what you want to focus on is more the hip rotation and then also the pull. And that’s something that we kind of neglected, especially in the total immersion days. We neglected the pull, and now it’s obviously the really important thing. So starting with the pull and starting with the high elbow catch is where you’re going to see the most gains and that’s where people that did not come from a swimming background or maybe are not like the tallest person in the world can still be competitive in swimming and still have a great race and not expend all their energy. So you start off with a high elbow catch and you keep your pull kind of to the outside of your body and then if you’re doing the hip rotation, you can really get a good free style going. And just one more thing to add to that is the a lot of people focus, a lot of triathletes want to focus on these concepts that are more geared towards pull swimmers or competitive racers that are doing more sprint type or middle distance type races. And I got an email today from somebody asking about how many strokes per minute that they should take. And I don’t really deal with that. I know there’s a lot of information on that. Sheila Taormina has done a lot of great work on strokes those type of thing, strokes per minute. I don’t think we need to focus on that as much for triathlon because they’re some basic concepts that you can get, like I said the hip rotation and the pull, and that’s going to take you a lot further. If you’re a competitive one mile open water swimmer you might want to look at the stroke rate a little bit closer and the strokes per minute. But as a beginner or intermediate level triathlete or even as a competitive triathlete that just wants to have a better swim and a better race, you know focusing on some of these other things that we talk a lot about here, are the way to go. As opposed to getting really, really detailed in all these thing, and worrying about how fast your kick is and things like that.
Chris: Yeah, kind of getting bogged down in the details. If you get too caught up in all those metrics of how many strokes you’re taking per minute or how kicks you’re taking per minute or your kick to stroke ratio, then you kind of lose point.
Kevin: That’s true and not to say that that’s completely like useless or anything like that. There is definitely a time and a place to focus on that stuff. But as some of you that are listening to this podcast or subscribing to TriSwimCoach, our members, really, almost nobody would need to do that level of detail.
Chris: I completely agree. You don’t want to focus on distance per stroke because if you focus too much on distance per stroke then what happens is that you create a dead-zone. If you focus too much on gliding then your hand instead of focusing on the catch and pull phase your hand will be outstretched longer than it should be. So you are not moving at all, you’re just using your momentum, and eventually so you’re slowing down. What you should be focusing on though is constant turn over and focusing on keeping your arms moving and in addition to that nice hip rotation which will give you a further extension, then you should focus more on your turn over rate, because if you can get a high turnover rate but at the same time that nice extension, that’s when you’re going to get faster. And also I think a lot of people especially beginners, if they focus too much on distance per stroke, they are going to try to outreach their arm. And you don’t want to get your extension through your arm. You want to get your extension through hip rotation because if you focus solely on stretching out your arm as far as possible, a) you’re not going to go as far but b) that also creates shoulder problems. So focusing on hip rotation and then your high end as well as high elbow catch and quick pull that’s when you’ll start generating speed, than focusing, “Oh I have to take only 19 strokes per 25 yard”.
Kevin: Yeah, and that gets into people start comparing themselves to Michael Phelps or some Olympic swimmer which doesn’t do any good at all, because first of all these are Olympic athletes and we’re not them and secondly they have the perfect storm. If you look at Michael Phelps, he’s got everything, I think we’ve talked about it before, He’s got everything going for him to be the world record holder that he is. He’s got the body, he’s got the work ethic, he’s got the talent, and he’s tall, everything is there. So we’re not going to be Michael Phelps and also he’s doing one race, and he’s not doing a bike and a run after, so there’s a really big difference.
Kevin: And that’s the thing, I think it’s lost on all these swimming nerds out there that want to go into all these details about all the little things. You could really analyze it to death, you could go and what they do with Phelps on when he does his video analysis, they are looking at just minute things, like his head position is a millimeter to high and that can cost him like 1/100th of a second, so then that’s huge. But we’re not needing to worry about 1/100th of a second.
Chris: I’m glad you brought up Micheal Phelps because a lot of people go “Oh Michael Phelps takes only 3 strokes or 5 strokes in 25 yards” or whatever outrageous number he’d doing. He also has freakishly long arms. Now I’m 5 ft, 8 nothing, I’m a very small person and my arms aren’t that big, so it’s impossible for me biologically and physiologically to take so many strokes per lap, because my arms aren’t there. So you also have to keep in mind that everyone’s built differently, everyone has different arm lengths, and wingspan and to compare yourself to an Olympic athlete in stroke rate, when they may have a 6 ft or 6 1/2 ft wingspan as far as your arms go, when you only have 5 1/2. Do the math, you’re going to have to take more strokes.
Kevin: Or you could just take more steroids.
Chris: Exactly, either one works. But yeah you have you pick.
Kevin: Exactly. I would opt for joining TriSwimPro. If you join us, we can teach you some of the stuff, and we’ve got a series of videos and workout’s that can help you get ready for triathlon swimming. You can also chat with us in our closed Facebook group.
Chris: And if we ever do a training camp in Mexico, we can most definitely get a discount on steroids down there.
Kevin: Absolutely, you can buy them in the pharmacies, pharmacias.
Chris: Or the kid on the street too.
Kevin: Yeah, probably cheaper that way. So then we were going to talk a little bit about just some other training methods. You do some specific things with equipment in the water.
Chris: I use the basic stuff. Like I have the snubnosed fins, the zoomers I think they’re called, to work on my ankle flexibility. And then pull bouys and paddles and everything. I’ve got the triangular paddles to work on my form, and then the big paddles to work on my power but what I’ve been exploring with recently, is using tennis balls to help with the fist drill. And the fist drill is where you swim but instead of having flat hands you bunch your hands up into fists. And what this helps you do is, it allows you to get a better feels for the water and a high elbow catch, because it takes away your ability to just use your hands, for the pull. Instead you have to use your [00:13:42 home terra] form which is what you want to do. You want to create a [00:13:44 home terra] paddle with your form and using just your fists it does slow you down but you really focus on getting that [00:13:53 home terra] form and a little bit of your arm to generate that power in the pull. So I have been doing a lot of the fists drills in the pool and when I first started I noticed that I was kind of cheating and my fist would be a little bit relaxed, as I was cupping my hands more. So what I started doing was I took two tennis balls and I’m gripping the tennis balls and using those almost as a paddle, because with those I can’t cheat. If I cheat I let go of the tennis balls. So that’s what I’ve been using. We titled this podcast the latest in triathlon swimming, but really that’s just an old-school technique that I discovered.
Kevin: It is, it’s funny, they used to, and they probably still have these in the market. I used to recommend that people get these fist gloves, where you put your hands in then and you have to crunch them up as fists so you can swim with them on and that was something that worked pretty well, but this is like pretty no-brainer, everybody can access tennis balls and you can just use those or any kind of ball that you can hold it as a fist. And we talked earlier about hip rotation and that’s a really good way to start to get hip rotation. If you’re swimming flat right now in the water, if you want to get hip rotation just do the fist drill, and grab the tennis balls and you’ll start to get it after a while. It will feel really weird at first, you’re kind of forced to rotate your hips when you’re doing that drill, you can’t swim flat or you’re just going to go nowhere. So, it’s an awesome drill. Yeah, things don’t massively change in swimming, like I said at the beginning, so there’s just a couple things to think about and focus on here as we go into spring soon. So do we have anything else to talk about or is that pretty much it.
Chris: I did want to mention briefly because the triathlon season especially with Panama, two weekends ago with people posting incredibly fast times, people were racing there I think, my friend did it 21 for a [00:15:57 1\2 iron] which is insane. Like the pro’s were coming out heavier, Gomez was coming out [00:16:02 hepping] 18 or 19 minutes, so it was a very fast swim, and I asked my friend was it short, and he goes, No, it’s just the current was incredibly good and the wet-suits, it was wet-suit legal. So as you plan out your race season, right now think about where your weak strengths are. This is kind of cherry picking your races but if you are a weak swimmer, go for a race that has a history of having calm waters, or being with the current or being wetsuit legal. Perfect example would be Panama or Augusta at the end of September. And cherry picking your races to suit work strengths and weaknesses, might not be a wise idea but it might be a way for you to ease into the sport if you’re just getting into it. Also then along those lines, it is March right now, discounts on wet-suits are everywhere, because dealers are trying to get rid of their old inventory from last year, and get a new inventory for 2014. So if you want to get a wetsuit now, if you know for a fact that your swim is most likely going to be wet-suit legal, lake Tahoe for example or Ironman Tahoe is most likely going to be wetsuit legal. Go now, get fitted for a wetsuit and I cannot emphasize the importance of getting fitted for a wetsuit because you do not want to go too small or too large in your wetsuit because you’ll be uncomfortable and the wetsuit won’t fit as properly as a properly fitted wetsuit. So go to your local Tri-shop, get fitted, make sure it’s a good quality wet-suit, go now. Technology in wetsuits don’t change from year to year so the technology this year is most likely going to be the same as the technology last year, just a different look. Go now, get a wetsuit and that way you can test it out in practice and be ready for it on race day instead of waiting for the last minute and then having no idea what to do with it.
Kevin: Yeah good points.
Chris: That would be my early pre-season tip.
Kevin: Yeah, absolutely. We have actually a 21 day challenge, we’re kind of consistently running now. It’s on Facebook, so if you go to our Facebook page you can find out about that. And we’re sponsored by Xterra Wetsuits, so just give them a plug. You can win one, if you win the challenge you’ll win an actual xterra wetsuit, but you have the upgrade suits and they are a great company, so I definitely would support them. I think that about wraps it up. I had one more thing to mention before we sign off. The next podcast, I’ve been trying to line up an interview with a woman names ShirinGerami. She’s a tri-athlete that competes for the country of Iran and I just found her on a google search, I just saw some information on her and she’s the only female tri-athlete in Iran and she’s got a little bit of press but I’ve found that her story is really interesting because there’s just not a lot of that stuff going on in that country. A lot of things are really repressed and especially for women that want to do sports.
Chris: Especially swimming because of the swimsuit issue. And they brought this up in Saudi Arabia a couple years ago when you have a society where woman for the sake of humility don’t expose a lot of their body, swimming in a swimsuit would be pretty risqué.
Kevin: Yeah, yeah. And I think that’s one of the things that she has to deal with, and she has a full body suit and all that but I have exchanges a couple of emails with her and obviously she speaks great English, her writing is great. The last one was that I have to clear it with the Iranian Triathlon Federation, which is interesting. I didn’t even think they would have something like that, but she gave me an email address there that I emailed and it didn’t work, so I going to still keep trying on this because I think it would be an interesting interview and I think people would probably get a lot out of it. And hearing about someone that’s in a completely different place because I doubt we have any subscribers in Iran although if we do, please email me and let me know what’s going on. I think that would be really interesting.
Chris: I’m looking forward to that one.
Kevin: Yeah. Well thanks everyone for listening and thanks Chris for coming on and we’ll do it again in a couple of weeks.
Chris: Great, alright talk to you later Kev.[Concluding Promo 00:20:21 – 00:20:45]