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2016-05-19 10:24 PM


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Subject: How to Start Swim Training
I am wanting to compete in my first triathlon. I was looking at a sprint that is a 400m swim (an OWS in a shopping center pond), 20km bike, and 5km run. The cycling and running portions won't be a problem for me, but I no baseline for how I would do swimming. I know basic strokes from swimming in high school (17 years ago), but don't have a whole lot of swim experience otherwise; I do have a round 18" above ground pool that I play around in during the summer but the size isn't conducive to swimming laps.

So my question is really where do I start with swim training? Should I start with a lesson (I would imagine a single lesson isn't too much), doing an OWS (might be a bit chilly), or paying to access a pool (looked into the Y and it was $150 for first month + initiation fee). My goal is really to just finish a sprint tri and determine if I enjoy it before I make a larger investment.


2016-05-19 10:55 PM
in reply to: jedijohn

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Subject: RE: How to Start Swim Training

A 400m swim is approachable - ten laps in standard American 25 yard pool is 500 yards, and 400m is about 434 yards - but still if you've never done laps it can seem very, very long. Many people when starting out are not capable of doing more than 2 laps (100 yards, a lap being out-and-back to starting point) without stopping.  You will want to train for a 400m swim.

Swimming is a technique sport much more than cycling or running.  When swimming, you should look at it like practicing piano - just blindly repeating the same mistakes over and over isn't helpful and in fact can ingrain bad habits that are hard to breakl.  You need to practice the right things, and avoid the wrong things.  So a few sessions with a swim teacher will be helpful to get you off on the right path.

You will enjoy it more if you do well at swimming rather than struggle. There's a certain level of time and effort involved, but costs vary a lot.  Swimming isn't like downhill skiing, where even getting started is the big bucks, but still - it varies.

Do you have any friends who are members of gyms with pools that allow guests to visit for something nominal like $15 per visit or some such? Any triathlon clubs or Facebook groups?  The Oklahoma state board here on BT, maybe?

2016-05-20 2:00 AM
in reply to: #5182771


1

Subject: RE: How to Start Swim Training
Google Speedo swim fit and they have some good beginner/intermediate / advanced pdf traiing sheets to build you up to doing about 400m. You do need some equipment (floats and flippers etc.) I am doing the beginner one then I am going to get some lessons. A really good book is Swim Smooth (he has a website and youtube channel) There is also an app you can download from the author which is an animation of someone doing a perfect front crawl stroke. Has really helped me visualise . But i know i need a lesson soon to correct what mistakes I am sure I am still making. After with poster above re bad habits!
2016-05-20 6:45 AM
in reply to: #5182776


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Subject: RE: How to Start Swim Training
When you say you swam in high school were you on the swim team or are you talking about gym class? If it was the swim team it should not be gard to get back up to 400m. That is a warm up foe a high school swimmer
2016-05-20 7:35 AM
in reply to: Sidney Porter


2

Subject: RE: How to Start Swim Training
Just swimming in gym class. I did join the local tri club's facebook page, but admittedly it is a little intimidating to post there for the first time.
2016-05-20 8:42 AM
in reply to: jedijohn

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Subject: RE: How to Start Swim Training
Trust me on this...........don't wait very long to assess where you are with your swimming. Find somewhere to do this and see where you are, soon.

Go slow. If you've never tried swimming for any appreciable distance (and 400 M is an appreciable distance), you may get your feelings hurt. Don't ask me how I know.

Find out where you're at (baseline).


2016-05-20 8:54 AM
in reply to: 0


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Subject: RE: How to Start Swim Training
I may catch grief for suggesting this, but if time is tight and you can't get your crawl stroke in shape before this event you could consider breast stroking it. It is a short distance and you won't wear out your legs at 400m. I did my first tri (a sprint) last year and breast stroked it. I was worried, as I'd been told that serious triathletes hate breast strokers because it ups the chance of them getting kicked in the head. I was considerate and started late in the pack and tried to stay outside. I ended up finishing toward mid pack. You can't believe the variety of breast strokers, dog paddlers and back strokers (even elementary) that I saw out there!

Doing my first half Ironman in a month and have developed my crawl through lots of work at the pool. I'm about to begin open water swimming as the lakes are just warming up to tolerable temps (even with wetsuit).

Your first tri should be for fun and a sense of accomplishment. Don't sweat the swim if you have a backup stroke to use.

Edited by HaydenHunter 2016-05-20 8:55 AM
2016-05-20 9:02 AM
in reply to: jedijohn

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Subject: RE: How to Start Swim Training
Honestly, you start by joining the Y. If that is your only option for swimming then you'll need to go ahead and sign up. I don't know where you are geographically but around here(NC) outdoor pools are starting to open up in the next week or so. That also may be an option.

I'm a firm believer in Total Immersion Swimming. It isn't going to be the fastest way to swim but it is a good way to learn to swim and swim a solid distance. The one thing they gloss over in a lot of triathlon swimming is the kick. You don't really need a strong kick to be adequate enough to swim the distance. But, once you've starting improving and want to go faster a strong kick will help a ton. While, they don't recommend a lot of kick sets in the beginning. It won't hurt a thing to add them in. Much easier to do them in the beginning when everything hurt as opposed to waiting.

If you have been running and biking up to this point and have a fairly solid base in that then your heart and lungs should be ready to swim. The limiting factor for almost everyone is technique. I went from not being able to swim a 25 to 1600m in a few month of hard work. I wasn't fast but I could do it. It got me through my first open water swim.

You'll be much better off swimming 3x a week for 20-30min at a time than you will be 2x a week for an hour. You'll get the best practice when you are fresh and mentally focused.

Your enjoyment of this sprint triathlon will ultimately come down to whether or not you enjoy the training. The sad reality is that most of us on here aren't vying for the podium even in our own age groups. For me I enjoy the process. I've come to really like swimming and would choose that if I had to choose just one. If you enjoy your time running and biking then you'll know it is for you. Embrace the process and put the work in.

I would not recommend jumping into the open water and seeing how that goes. That would be a tall task for anyone getting back into swimming.

How far out is your race?
2016-05-20 10:35 AM
in reply to: #5182771


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Subject: RE: How to Start Swim Training
You need to find a lap pool and pay the daily rate so you can self access and determine you baseline. You at least swam rereationally and knew the basic stokes 17 years ago.

I would start out slow with the crawl. You might be out of breath after a 50 and the arms are sore after 100. If you are out of breath slow down. Think of a "walking" pace. Your technique my need work but you can get by with ugly form for 400m.

2016-05-20 10:53 AM
in reply to: Sidney Porter

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Subject: RE: How to Start Swim Training

Do not be intimidated.......wait until you see just how bad the majority or people who do triathlon swim.  Take the advice given.....get in a pool and see where you are, then make a plan to get to where you need to be.  You can find help here.  Just finishing a triathlon swim is not nearly as hard as it may seem.

2016-05-20 11:18 AM
in reply to: Sidney Porter

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Subject: RE: How to Start Swim Training
I was in the same boat as you this past winter. I knew I wanted to do a tri this spring and summer, had some background swimming from way back, comfortable in the water, could swim some semblance of the crawl, but didn't know the technicalities.

I started by trying to do some workouts in the pool on my own, figuring I would get the hang of it as I went. I quickly realized how utterly lost I was - and exhausted. Literally - I swam a few 25s and a few 50s and was totally worked. I needed help - ASAP.

I found a 6 week beginner triathlete swim class which helped immensely to build my technique - who knew I needed to glide, not just hack my way through the water?!! It was just once per week, so I added some swim sessions on my own to practice what we were taught in the class.

After the 6 weeks, I upped to the intermediate swim class which started to build my endurance while still focusing on technique.

I can't even imagine where I'd be without these sessions. I highly recommend looking into some tri groups or Y classes. Fast forward a few months from where I was this winter and I'm at a 2min/100. Not fast, but a definite improvement over barely being able to swim a 50!


2016-05-21 7:43 AM
in reply to: HaydenHunter


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Subject: RE: How to Start Swim Training
Originally posted by HaydenHunter

I may catch grief for suggesting this, but if time is tight and you can't get your crawl stroke in shape before this event you could consider breast stroking it. It is a short distance and you won't wear out your legs at 400m. I did my first tri (a sprint) last year and breast stroked it. I was worried, as I'd been told that serious triathletes hate breast strokers because it ups the chance of them getting kicked in the head. I was considerate and started late in the pack and tried to stay outside. I ended up finishing toward mid pack. You can't believe the variety of breast strokers, dog paddlers and back strokers (even elementary) that I saw out there!

Doing my first half Ironman in a month and have developed my crawl through lots of work at the pool. I'm about to begin open water swimming as the lakes are just warming up to tolerable temps (even with wetsuit).

Your first tri should be for fun and a sense of accomplishment. Don't sweat the swim if you have a backup stroke to use.


I would differ but...

The best style is the one which will allows you to finish. There are absolutely no rule enforcing a specific style in triathlon. There is also no rule stating you cannot switch style during the race.

With that said, I would say start with indoor lessons for a while. When you feel confident, make sure to practice once or twice in a lake before the race. You will want to experience being in the middle of a lake with no walls to support you at least once before the race.

If you find a triathlon club which will have you, even better. I personally love the "camaraderie" you build in those clubs.

You build up very fast as you begin.
2016-05-21 10:43 AM
in reply to: #5182839


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Subject: RE: How to Start Swim Training
A 400 breast sounds horrible. Breast is the most technically difficult and least efficient of the 4 competitive strokes. If someone is struggling with the crawl I would recommend either the trudgen or side stroke both are easier than the breast.
2016-05-21 3:43 PM
in reply to: Nick B

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Subject: RE: How to Start Swim Training
100% on the money as frequency is super important to improvement in swimming. Its why swimmers swim 9 or 10 work ours per week. 4 20 to 30 min sessions is better than the same training time broken into 2 or even 3.
2016-05-21 3:43 PM
in reply to: Nick B

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Great White North
Subject: RE: How to Start Swim Training
100% on the money as frequency is super important to improvement in swimming. Its why swimmers swim 9 or 10 work ours per week. 4 20 to 30 min sessions is better than the same training time broken into 2 or even 3.
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