Newbie needs swimming advice

Newbie needs swimming advice

Post by Megan Mull » Tue, 20 Jun 1995 04:00:00


Hi all--
I am doing my first tri in August--it's a sprint tri w/a 1/2 mile swim.  I
feel okay about the bike and the run--at least, I know how to bike and
run.  But I have never competed in swimming, and don't really have any
idea how to set up workouts and/or keep them interesting and beneficial.
I've been told that it would be good to join a master's program, but with
no experience whatsoever, I didn't know if that was such a good idea.
I know it's kind of a broad question, but could someone give me advice on
how to approach the swim training?  Thanks!

--megan

 
 
 

Newbie needs swimming advice

Post by BPSulliv » Tue, 20 Jun 1995 04:00:00

I will let the great swimmers give you all the training advice. I'll give
you some bad swimmer advice: practice in open water as much as you can.
Swimming in a pool cannot prepare you for a race in open water (though it
is certainly important for conditioning). Also, if you are an
inexperienced swimmer with questionable form, a wetsuit is invaluable.

Brian Sullivan


 
 
 

Newbie needs swimming advice

Post by Starcyc » Tue, 20 Jun 1995 04:00:00

  You wrote;                                                              
                                                   >I will let the great
swimmers give you all the training advice.I'll give

Quote:
>you some bad swimmer advice: practice in open water as much as you >can.

i agree with that. i swim in the pool alot and still get trashed in the
water. i, too am a newbie and i'd like to know just how much people swim
in the open water and how much they swim in a pool. also, any suggestions
for open water swim workouts...

 
 
 

Newbie needs swimming advice

Post by Marty Mill » Wed, 21 Jun 1995 04:00:00


Quote:

>I've been told that it would be good to join a master's program, but with
>no experience whatsoever, I didn't know if that was such a good idea.
>I know it's kind of a broad question, but could someone give me advice on
>how to approach the swim training?  Thanks!

A master's swimming team would be a great place to start, as most will welcome most any ability.
 Plus, you'll meet ALOT of triathletes at the pool.  Plus, swimming can be rather boring by
yourself.  Another suggestion is to try some open water swimming if you can.  Go to a local
lake and try to swim from buoy to buoy, such as might be found in a swimming area.  This will
make you much more comfortable with the open water swim in the race, and you will learn how to
swim in a straight line (hopefully).

Marty

 
 
 

Newbie needs swimming advice

Post by Ian Lil » Wed, 21 Jun 1995 04:00:00

I have been swimming for 3+ years and did my first tris last summer
(sthn).
I swim 3-4 days per week with a masters group at Cronulla, south of Sydney
and right on the beachfront.
In summer we do one day per week openwater session.
Some sets are
Pool    1 to 1.5km warmup (SKIPS or similar) while its too dark for the ocean
Ocean
        15 * beach circuit comprising 200m out and back swim, approx 250m running
loop on sand, 15 secs rest.
        15*  (run in, swim 200m to sea, 30secs rest, swim back to land, run up
beach to dune, back to waters edge, 15 sec rest)
        or
        run 200m along beach, do previous (IN/OUT) set 5 times, run 200 etc for
2-3 Km
        or
        run 3Km along beach, swim back non-stop (good navigation test)

The variations are endless and we change to suit weather/surf conditions,
amount of light etc.

Always swim in a group, count heads before and after each set. On long
swims arrange to stop briefly every 500m or so and check on a buddy.
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Newbie needs swimming advice

Post by TGCarls » Wed, 21 Jun 1995 04:00:00

Attack on two fronts:

GET IN A MASTERS SWIM PROGRAM. It will improve your stamina and form and
speed so much the fears and rigors of open water swimming will be very
nearly eradicated and swimming will be turned from nightmare into fun.
They are also fun because the coaches and swimmers are a lot of fun and
you will always find a lane at your level of fitness to give you an added
incentive to hang in there. Otherwise it can be lonely pounding out the
miles with just those black lane lines as company.  

GET A WETSUIT --  LONG JOHN OR FULL SUIT -- AND THEN TRY OPEN WATER
SWIMMING Why a wetsuit? Because it elimates the possibility of
hypothermia. And secondarily, short of a dedicated two or three year
background in swimming, it is the equivalent of training wheels. It makes
triathlon swimming not a torture for inexperienced swimmers. Why? Because
it gives flotation to the legs. All in all, it takes 20 percent less
effort to swim with a wetsuit because it puts your legs and body on an
efficient plane. In fact, with a wetsuit, you do not have to use your legs
at all. Having said this, hopefully you will then be inspired to learn how
to kick and will eventually not need a wetsuit and will be much faster and
more fit when you do learn how to kick efficiently.

Also, wetsuits take the shock out and ameliorate the bumping and thrashing
of mass swim starts.

The third piece of advice may be the most valuable, but it costs more: Get
private swim lessons from a great stroke mechanic. It would be most
advantageous to eliminate your bad stroke habits immediately and ingrain
good habits as you start the sport.

 
 
 

Newbie needs swimming advice

Post by Rick Teichl » Thu, 22 Jun 1995 04:00:00

[SNIP]

Quote:
> But I have never competed in swimming, and don't really have any
>idea how to set up workouts and/or keep them interesting and beneficial.
>I've been told that it would be good to join a master's program, but with
>no experience whatsoever, I didn't know if that was such a good idea.
>I know it's kind of a broad question, but could someone give me advice on
>how to approach the swim training?  Thanks!

I second the motion to get in a Masters swim program.  Unless it's run by
some kind of body Nazi, you'll be made to feel welcome.  You will almost
certainly swim in a lane with other people who are at your swimming
ability level, and get workouts proportional to your skill and fitness.

If this isn't a possibility, then maybe the following rules of thumb (or
ROTs, as in "I'm dishing out more ROT here") could be used.
1. You've got probably less than 2 months to get ready, so practice the
   skills you'll need.  Try to get in a couple of open water swims so that
   you get used to swimming a roughly straight line without a line on the
   bottom ;-).  Practice raising your head every fourth or fifth arm cycle
   (or whatever frequency you need) and take your bearing from landmarks on
   the shore, or on anchored buoys, or whatever). Also find out what
   goggles work out for you in open water.  If you're really intense,
   you can even practice a swim to bike transition on these training
   cruises.
2. Practice first to achieve the distance necessary for the race, if you
   aren't already confident of doing a non-stop 1/2 mile.  Do this by  
   simply always getting in at least a half-mile in your workout, but don't
   take that to mean grinding out a straight half-mile every time you get
   in the pool.  Do a non-stop half-mile no more than once per week.
3. More than most other sports, swim training makes use of intervals.  
   The workout is broken into many sets of varying distances, with varying
   amounts of rest.  A very simple set for someone working on a 1/2 mile
   distance might be 20 x 50yd on 1:00 (translation: do twenty swims of
   fifty yards each, taking 1 minute for each fifty yard swim (including
   rest).)  Personally, I *like* to break long distances into very short
   chunks, like 50yd, and take short rests  (this is usually called a
   "broken swim" or "broken set").  So I would set my time interval such
   that I'd have to work a bit to get a mere 5 to 10 seconds rest.  The
   early swims in this type of set feel easy, but you should be fatigued
   by the end.  This also lets you swim at what you hope is your "race pace",
   or the speed you hope to maintain on race day.
4. Do a few non-stop swims of greater than 1/2 mile--up to a mile.  Things
   happen in a race:  the course is incorrectly measured, you swim off-
   course, you swim towards a buoy only to find out that it's an orange-
   sailed windsurfer but your goggles were too foggy to distinguish it at
   a distance.  Again, you just want to be confident that you can handle
   unexpected problems.

There are many, many more things to be said, but I'd still go with your
first choice of finding a Masters group.  Failing that, you can try to
talk to an age-group coach to see if you could suck along in some of their
workouts (sometimes a small "coaching fee" can be a worthwhile investment).

Rick Teichler


                                            Louisville, Colorado)
"Usual disclaimers: blame me, not the company that keeps me."

 
 
 

Newbie needs swimming advice

Post by Matt Bickl » Fri, 23 Jun 1995 04:00:00

I swam with the St. Pete Master's Swimming group for two weeks several years ago,
and they were welcoming and friendly.  Master's programs are almost universally
delighted to have new faces, whatever the skill level of the person (providing
you can swim the length of the pool comfortably and work to accomodate others).

I suggest you try it for a week or two, and if you like it and stick with it,
then the people there will be able to assist you more than we can over the net.

Matt

 
 
 

Newbie needs swimming advice

Post by Lionheart Softwar » Sat, 24 Jun 1995 04:00:00


Quote:

>feel okay about the bike and the run--at least, I know how to bike and
>run.  But I have never competed in swimming, and don't really have any
>idea how to set up workouts and/or keep them interesting and beneficial.

I'm not sure just how new you are to swimming, so this may be much more
basic advice than you need.  When I started training for my first triathlon,
I was quite fit (from soccer), but I hadn't swum in more than 15 years, and
the thought of swimming just 25m filled me with dread.  The thought of a 1
mile ocean swim evoked outright terror.  So, what I did was adopt a training
program designed to prevent me getting scared while in the water; anyone
else out there ever had that lung-*** gasp that comes from water-fear?

What I did was swim some lengths as emotionally relaxed as possible.  As
soon as I felt uncomfortable, I stopped to rest.  I'd start up again when I
was calm.  The goal here was to produce a Pavlovian response from my brain;
ie. by only swimming when calm, I wanted to produce the association that
swimming ==> calm.  After two weeks of this (an hour a day) my brain stopped
fighting me and shifted to more the prosiac concerns of staminia and
technique.

Now, 8 months later, swimming is one of the high points of my day and like
many others here, my biggest swimming concern is how to get more speed with
less effort (and how to flip-turn without hitting my head ;-).

- Tim Iverson

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