How much do I have to swim? Why isn’t my swim getting faster? What kind of swim workouts should I be doing? These are some of the questions that age group triathletes seem to ask, time and time again. I see them repeatedly on social media sites. Most triathletes do not come from a swimming background, and they find bike and run training to be easier and less frustrating.
The answers are not cut and dry, which isn’t what you want to hear when you are struggling with your swim. Every athlete is different in terms of training and/or ability. When I started, I could not swim more than 100 meters without stopping. My goal at that point was to be able to swim a longer distance without stopping. I would see other swimmers who could swim all day without stopping, and their goals were bringing their pace per 100 meter down.
How much do you have to swim? That debate can go on for hours. Most age groupers don’t swim enough. The key for me is to see where I am at the beginning of my training, and slowly increase speed and distance each week. An important point that many athletes fail to think about is that the more you swim, the less tired you are when you get out of the water and on to the bike. This alone can give you an advantage because with solid swim training you will be less tired than many of the other athletes coming out of the water. Good swim endurance leads to a good bike leg, which allows you to have stronger legs and lungs for the run.
A problem many triathletes have is that they just do long, slow swims. They have no variation in their swim workouts. Varying the workouts causes adaptation, which results in a faster, stronger swim leg, and better swim endurance. You or your coach should be writing swim plans that have different main sets. Some swims should be long and slow and some should be short sprint swims mixed with slower recovery laps. Lastly, some swims should be somewhere between long and slow and short sprints.
If you are getting the same results year after year during races, while doing the same training year after year, perhaps it’s time to change things up. Have you thought about changing your swim training to improve your overall performance? What are you waiting for?
Those are my thoughts on swim training, what are yours?