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2013-09-04 12:31 PM
in reply to: snappingt

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Subject: RE: Triathlon swim team workouts

Thanks Tim, interesting feedback.  It would be nice to get some warm up time before races and I'll add to what you are saying in the messed up department.  Some races don't allow you to go in the water at all before the race begins.  So I hope you're right and some of that changes.

I'll have to try some longer warm up days and see how it feels.  Never too late to learn a new trick.  As I mentioned I can never really remember long warm up sets but then again I'm long removed from my competetive days.  I've found proper stretching beforehand beneficial and it correlates well with race days since there's typically time for that, at least for me.

As to the post regarding the negative connotations of warm up, I don't think this conversation is being negative.  More interested to the thinking behind longer warm up when training for triathlons, especially considering time constraints.

2013-09-04 12:37 PM
in reply to: MLPFS

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Subject: RE: Triathlon swim team workouts
You are welcome. I don't think these posts have been negative at all. I have enjoyed all of the exchange. When you don't have much time you got to get the most out of the main set as possible, so in my experience that means a longer warm-up. You are then ready to get everything you can out of the main set instead of spending part of the main set continuing to warm-up. Just my opinion and based on my coaching experience.
2013-09-04 5:03 PM
in reply to: snappingt

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Subject: RE: Triathlon swim team workouts
Originally posted by snappingt

- The warm-up needs to be consistent. It's two fold. You are training your body to warm-up and when it's consistent you'll know. Second,
when the swimmer goes away and the coach isn't there, they will have a consistent structure to get warmed-up and know that it works.

Yep, that's a good idea for people doing additional workouts on their own, but the warmup you use won't help as a race warmup where swimming aids are not available. You might want to introduce your swimmers to a warmup that may works for race day (OWS) as well.

- I don't agree with your advice to not use training aids in warm-up. Fins are an essential training tool and work well in warm-up. They take
pressure off your shoulders ...

But they add strain on legs and in particular ankles before these are warmed up. I think this is much worse than the limited strain on shoulders from easy swim. Mixing strokes will relieve the shoulders by doing different movements.

- Kicking is great in warm-up.
- Pulling in warm-up targets the upper body and the pull part of the stroke

What happens is that the body will direct blood to the active part while other parts cools. IMHO it's not effective way to warm up. On the other hand mixing strokes will work all muscle groups in slightly different ways giving a good warm up of the entire body and not letting anything rest.

- I've noticed that a lot of people in the triathlon community don't think warm-up is important or that it should be shortened since you have a
limited amount of time (1 hour or less) in the water. For most people, to get warmed-up, takes on average between 20-30 minutes of swimming.

Yes, I agree that for best performance in a high intensity main set or race the swimmer needs more than 10 minutes warmup, but lots of swimmers need to work on technique and I don't think you need that much warmup to start doing that.

Also, usually the problem is limited time in the water, consider instructing your swimmers to meet 10 minutes early and do warmup on the deck to avoid wasting precious pool time.

- As a swim coach, I would encourage people to learn other strokes. For triathletes, without swim backgrounds, I have found it to have little utility.

True, most triathletes just want to learn crawl, but I think that for safety people should be able to do both breast stroke and back stroke as well, the swimmer can catch breath while swimming back stroke and get better sighting while swimming breast stroke, and breast stroke and sculling are also fundamental to tread water.

Practicing different strokes during warmup serves well for the warmup and to give the swimmer general abilities and feeling for the water, without impacting the main set negatively. Also, I've found that other styles, in particular breast stroke, serves well as easy swim between sets.

- I don't agree that use of fins should be strictly limited to 50% of the workout. I have beginning swimmers that use fins for the entire workout. It's
typically the only way they can get through an entire workout while holding technique and not injuring themselves. And at the end of the day
that's what it's all about.

Looking over this forum you will find that many begin using swimming aids, particularly the pull buoy (and wetsuits), so much that it becomes a crutch and they never really get rid of it. Using fins or paddles extensively also increases the risk of stress injuries.

That's why I personally recommend limiting use of these aids to less than 50% as a rule of thumb.

That said, individual workouts may make more extensive use of swimming aids if that serves the purpose of the workout, but on long term the use should be limited.

BR, Erik
2013-09-04 5:39 PM
in reply to: erik.norgaard

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Subject: RE: Triathlon swim team workouts

What this training is based off of is my 15 years of competitive swimming experience at the national level in the US with some of the best coaches in the country along with 25 years of competing in open water swimming. Then I've coached for the past 20 years and helped age group swimmers achieve top 5 times and national cuts.

Practical experience has taught me that you are making too much out of using fins on warm-up sets. In my experience I have found that swimmers are less likely to get injured from using fins, especially during warm up. I have never met a swimmer that injured their ankles from using fins and in the past three years coaching triathletes no one has injured their ankles from using fins. Paddles, which I use infrequently, do tend to cause injuries.

I'm aware that within swim coaching community the training of all four strokes even for distance freestyle swimming is popular. I have chosen based on my experience coaching that a more effective way to achieve swim efficiency for open water swimming with triathletes is to focus on freestyle. It works and the success my swimmers have had demonstrates it.

You bring up that swimmers need to work on technique and don't need that much warm-up to do it. I agree that swimmers need to work on technique, but this goes to the fundamental misunderstanding in the triathlon community about where swim efficiency comes from. Technique does not stand alone on its own, you can't uncouple it from training. Real swim efficiency and efficient technique are made in really hard sets where you execute those sets at peak performance in practice after practice. So from my experience, you need a longer warm-up.

I agree that any swimming tool can become a crutch, but that's where a coach comes in to make sure that they are being properly used and not abused.

Again, appreciate the input and discussion.

Best regards,

Tim Floyd
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