Tri Swim Coach
I'm at http://www.TriSwimCoach.com- a resource for beginning through intermediate level triathletes looking for help with swimming. The site features a free email newsletter offering tips and articles on triathlon swimming. I have also written an electronic book titled “The Complete Guide to Triathlon Swimming” and created "The Essential Triathlon Swimming DVD", both available on www.triswimcoach.com.
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October 2008 Swim Training Chat with Coach Kevin Koskella
Triathlon swim training discussions on the pull, open water swimming all year, winter swim focus, bilateral breathing during a race and Ironman swim training in 6 weeks.
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[bicyclpete] Is the 'pull' led by the lats?
[Tri Swim Coach] Partially. However, the effectiveness of your pull will depend more on your hip rotation than it will on the strength of your lats. If you are in the right position, it is more likely that your pull will come together. You could have really strong and powerful lats, but if you are say swimming flat in the water, that power will do you no good.
[bicyclpete] I typically feel most of the burn in my triceps...but I don't think of them as doing much work?
[Tri Swim Coach] You definitely will use a lot of triceps in your pull too.
[TriAya] Is it worth ocean swimming even when it gets cold (okay, I'm in So Cal, it doesn't get THAT cold) ... or should I just focus on other stuff in the pool? Even though I'm not that fond of the pool-mill?
[Tri Swim Coach] 1) I'm in So Cal and here to say it DOES get THAT cold!, 2) I would say from Nov-March stick with pool swimming and technique and drill work. Yes the pool mill can be boring but you can have fun with
masters swimming say once a week, swim with a friend, or try out one of those SwiMp3's!
[TriAya] Okay, good. So it's not just that I'm a wuss. Masters is good fun.
[Tri Swim Coach] Well I AM a wuss but I think even by non-wussy standards, 56-58 degree water (what we have here in the winter) is inhumanely cold!
[TriAya] Okay, another Q. Is it important to build an aerobic swim base in the way one might build a run or cycling base? Or should I just do interval work from the get-go?
[Tri Swim Coach] Yes, you can build your aerobic base through intervals. I like to build the base in the off season and not worry about swimming as much during the season.
[TriAya] So how should my winter swimming be different (other than MORE)? I know that's really general, but how?
[Tri Swim Coach] Of course, if swimming is your weakest, you can't not worry about it during the season!
[TriAya] Nah. Swimming's above and beyond my strongest.
[Tri Swim Coach] Winter is a good time to build endurance as well as do some of the dryland activities (like training the core) that you otherwise wouldn't have time for.
[bicyclpete] In training I can bilateral breath all day long...it a race it goes out the window. I think it's from the much increased effort. Is that normal or indicative of lack of training?
[Triswimcoach] This is normal. It takes time to get bilateral breathing in a race. I'm the same way as you. I'd rather just guarantee myself air a lot of the time than to force breathing every 3 strokes. Bilateral breathing however can
help with navigation.
[bicyclpete] I seem to redline in a race, and used bilateral to calm me down...otherwise I think I just swim harder than my ability. Can the other strokes help freestyle or just to break the monotony?
[Triswimcoach] Yes, backstroke can definitely help with the hip rotation and developing a smooth freestyle.
[jasonkoss] You have any secrets for how to get my swim ready in 6 weeks for an Ironman?
[Triswimcoach] 6 weeks? What have you done so far?
[jasonkoss] Not enough... I have been just swimming freestyle probably 2000-2500 yards a couple times a week.
[Triswimcoach] That's okay, bump that up to 3x/week. Do 1 week where you focus on making a couple of small improvements to your technique. Then 4 weeks of building your endurance to the IM swim distance (intervals and long swims). Then 1 week of backing off on the intensity...and you will survive it! Don't think you have to do everything contained there in 6 weeks, but just take one or two things from it and work on the rest later.
[jasonkoss] Sounds good....what kind of workouts for the intervals and long swims?
[Triswimcoach] 100's, 200's, 300's....mix it up.
[Triswimcoach] Check out my DVD and/or book if you haven't www.triswimcoach.com. I've got some plans in my guide.
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