As you know the triathlon sport is very demanding sport. Many athlete’s will freak out on participating in the sport of triathlon because they are afraid of the swim. In the sport of triathlon many athletes come from a running or cycling background, so the swim is usually met with fear and loathing. A runner will want to head out for a 9 mile run, a cyclist will rather go for a 25 mile Time Trial, and they both will avoid getting in the water. We all want to do something enjoyable; however, when it comes to the swim… it isn’t enjoyable at times. Many are afraid to confront their water ‘demons’ because it is their weakness. However, you can overcome your fear.
During the winter, take the opportunity to work on your weaknesses. Therefore, lets focus on the following:
- Work on having an efficient stroke during your swim. Take your time and get in the water to work on drills. Take your time doing the drills. Many athletes will push through them and don’t focus on the necessity of efficiency.
- Interval training
- Breaking through your comfort zone is crucial when doing any kind of endurance training. Interval training (fast/slow training), learning to swim fast and then return to your steady state is important for a successful swim and can make you more comfortable in the water. Therefore, make sure you look at the set a specific interval and don’t deviate. Your hard work will pay off.
- Dryland/weight training
- Sports conditioning is crucial to increase your performance. When we talk about dryland/weight training, we are emphasizing on swim specific exercises that will really pay off. Band work is beneficial to work on muscular endurance and build strength in the pool. With band work, you can mimic any swim stroke that you do in the water. You may also do interval training with bands as well, such as 40 strokes with 30 seconds recovery in between.
We always hear the the quote: “Practice makes perfect.” However, in the triathlon sport that doesn’t work because we do not want to emphasize on a bad stroke. Therefore, “Perfect practice makes perfect,” is the most appropriate quote. Take your time during training and work on your specific goals on each workout. Before each workout, establish the specific goals you want out of each drill/stroke and you will become stronger in the swim.
Hector L Torres
USAT Lv 2, USAC Lv 2, USAS and USATF & MS
USA Triathlon Florida Region Chair
Florida Paratriathlon Development Coordinator