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Swim Training

I can run (to a fashion) and i can cycle. But its the swim! I can do one about 50 metres front crawl and then i'm spent. Yet i see people in the lanes churning up and down non stop???

Can anyone advise me on something to improve my swim?? i need to aim for 200m in six minutes as thats what i put on the entry form.


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    bennybenny Posts: 1,314
    I suppose fitness is not the problem, hence your biking and running. Most of the times,the real deal is technique. Especially breathing timing wears you out in the beginning. Get this sorted out together with your stroke technique, the rest will follow automatically.

    I did some ono on one coaching three years ago, which really helped me on the way. I just went to the pool, talked to a guy who was giving swimming lessons to a group andjust asked him if he wanted to help me. He gave me 3 private lessons, one a month, so he could check progress and/or flaws. This was a really cheap way of improvement for me.

    Hope this may help you out a bit.
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    BopomofoBopomofo Posts: 980
    Got to agree with Benny here: get somebody who knows what they're doing to show you, preferably in the water with you.

    I'd have to say that the big difference between your apparent fitness and your ability to swim only 50m means that you are probably making some really big (and easily fixed) mistakes in your stroke.

    For what it's worth, the list of common mistakes made by beginners includes:

    1) Head too high: Often caused by breathing to the front rather than the side. In basic terms imagine a line extending from your spine out of the top of your head. Rotate around this line to breathe, turning your head slightly.

    2) Legs too low: Often caused by 'pedalling' instead of kicking. Flexing your knees too much causes your legs to sink, your shoulders come up and it is 'all ahead stop' from then on. You can work out if this is your problem by getting a pull-bouy (big bit of foam) and gripping it between your thighs: if you find it much eaier to swim then you have probably been letting your legs sink too much.

    3) Overkicking: Kicking adds about 10% of your speed, but doing it wrong will use up half of your oxygen as you mobilise some of the biggest muscles in your body - bum and thighs - and also slow you down. It is usually best to kick just enough to get your legs out level behind you and no more. Save the big kick for another lesson.

    4) Under-reaching: your hand moving through the water is what pulls you along. The longer your sroke the more productive it is. Stretch for the end of the pool and make your power stroke last all the way down your body until about your mid-thigh. This also encourages rotation of the shoulders.

    5) Splashing like a fool! Don't whack your outstretched arm into the water ahead of you - your arm should 'spear' the water 20-40cm in front of your head then drive forwards towards the end of the pool in a smooth glide. THEN you start pulling the water. To help this, make sure your ELBOW is the highest point of your arm, not your hand. Try to think of dragging your fingertips in the water as your arm moves through the air.

    Summary: legs up, head down, think about staying level, stretch for the end of the pool and use a small kick.

    Hopefully just doing this will improve things for you, even if it feels funny at first. Like I said, if you are struggling to do 50m, just ONE of these improvements could make a massive difference in my humble (and utterly unqualified) experience.

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    bunongbunong Posts: 49
    A mate and I started Triathlons last year. He started from a very similar base - I think he swallowed water at about 40m. We both signed up to our local swimming pools adult lessons were there were people learning to swim from nothing to people wanting to get under 25minutes for a mile. The lessons cost about £60 for ten lesson, so good value.

    The lessons were great, focusing mainly on technique but also bringing in speed work etc as we developed. They also made you go to the pool on a regular basis which is something you easily talk yourself out of if you have no routine and you don't enjoy it.

    In the end my mate did his first competative 1500m open water in about 34Mins.

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    Many thanks for the very helpful comments, i will take on board the advice and see what happens. I was managing to do 75-100 metres a time today.

    I used this afternoon to swim for hour then run 2 miles to my sisters where my bike was waiting for my 7 mile ride home. Busy eating now.
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    bennybenny Posts: 1,314
    Looks like you'll get there in the end, you've got the right attitude!

    Remember: consistency is one of the most important things.
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    Swam again today, getting better i think. But pool was too busy and even the lanes were jam packed. Am having one on one tuition thursday evening. Will take it from there.
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    My god I have the same problem, run is ok (done a half marathon in 1.36) and bike is ok. I just seem to be swimming like a drowning dog. I think I swallowed half the pool.....

    I think my main problem is my head is to high in the water and breathing is erratic. Any tips would be great. Is it wise to get some one on one tuition or will a group session do? Last question, do you think a 750M swim triathlon is a bit ambitious for the summer.
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    I dont think 750m is out of reach. Once your technique is on the right lines your swimming should come along quickly. Its clearly not a fitness issue with you so I'd persevere with technique work.

    You can always use breastsroke for the odd few meters if your not quite ready!

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    Must agree with the others. Coaching can pay wonders. I started going to masters class once a week. In fact i will be there shortly.

    At first i could swim fast but over very short distance but after coaching with my breathing and over the last few weeks of regular practice its started to get a whole lot better. Even swam my first non stop mile in 32 min last week so something must be working.

    Good luck with it .[:D]
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    bennybenny Posts: 1,314
    Welcome nick,

    dont worry; 750 metres will be easy once you get the technique sorted out. 2 or three private sessions, with a little time between them so you can work on it, will do wonders for ya.

    Actually, its public secret that swimming speed comes from good technique primary. Swimming fitness is a factor, but not the main one. By the way, working on technique is also improving swim fitness, so its a double win[8D][8D]
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    my one on one lesson was a real eye opener! Did a demonstration where i went hard for a width, then i had to do a slow width. I did it in better time on the slow width due to not fighting the water! Got a long way to go but getting there. I seem to have trouble swimming in the lanes with the speedy tumble turners but am too fast for the slow lane. Never mind"
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    Hi, Ive only really just started swimming properly about 6 weeks ago. Before then I could swim Breaststroke(Poorly) and just mess around in the pool. I.e. swimming on the bottom etc!

    My girlfriend is a keen swimmer and has given me pointers to help me start front crawl. At first the 33m length was a challenge. Now, 6wks on I can do 1000m with 10-15s break between each length.

    Just keep at it is my advice. I found that swim fitness is almost seperate from one's normal running/riding fitness. I was a little worried at first cause I'm entering a Sprint Tri in June and 400m was almost an impossible task. All of a sudden it doesn't seem so dawnting!

    Im in the pool again tomorrow morning. Good luck with the training!

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    Definately just keep at it once you have have a bit of coaching. Two years ago I couldn't swim front crawl at all and last year I managed the open water swim at Bala in sub 30 minutes - the waves were rough as anything but nothing beats that feeling of accomplishment when you get to the end!

    I do a fair bit with a pull bouy to help me concentrate on my arms without worrying about sinking- but don't get too reliant on one - and I use some drills to improve my technique - catch up with a baton is good to lengthen your stroke.

    just keep at it cos the that feeling I mentioned earlier is just so worth it![8D]
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    Cheers guys the triathlon club I've joined has been really good, so let hope I can swim 750 before June. Or drowning day as it will be known.

    Do you know of any good training plans?

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    legalbeaglelegalbeagle Posts: 208
    Hi there, glad you are getting on OK

    Try this one - it's a 750m session in total

    50m, 75m, 100m, 150m, 150m, 100m, 75m, 50m take 10 -15 secs rest between each set.

    As you get stronger, try and go faster on the second half.

    Another one I use is

    10 x 10 lengths - alternate sets with a pull bouy and 10 -15 secs rest between sets - try and keep every set the same pace, with the pull bouy sets being faster than the straight sets. If 10 x 10 is too long, you can just shorten the number of sets.

    Hope they help!

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    legalbeaglelegalbeagle Posts: 208
    oops - forgot to say ... have a warm up first for 10 - 15 mins and a cool down at the end, just nice easy lengths and maybe a few drills to concentrate on technique. I like to do half a length of a drill followed by a normal stroke so that you get a real flow from drill to stroke, rather than changing at the end of the pool or doing long sessions that stop being of any benefit. Generally I use a combination of drills. Finger drag for hand position, catch up for stroke length and chicks (some people call it zips - it's where you drag your thumb up your side, right to your under arm before it exits the water) - for a good high elbow recovery.

    ooh all this swim talk makes me want to get to the pool not sit here working!

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    Just came back from my triathlon club and it's going well, but should I just do drill training? Or do i do a session of just legnths?
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    And thank you for all the good advice.
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    rodderzrodderz Posts: 14
    i was the same about 5 to 6 weeks ago. I have always been able to swim but in the pool i could do say 100-250 metres... i have persisted and up to 2500m and got my 1500m time down to 34 mins from 42 4 weeks ago... i changed my stroke to use more power and fewer strokes. head spends more time on its side breathing... and learn to breathe off both walls which made the BIGGEST difference
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    legalbeaglelegalbeagle Posts: 208
    Hi there,

    Glad to hear that the swimming is going well! I try and do different sessions each time I go, some based on drills, others lengths to keep my stamina up.

    This is a typical week for me - hope it gives you an idea

    Sunday 80 lengths as 4 sets of 20 concentrating on drills, and strength (ie paddles, pull bouy and kick board)

    Tuesday 100 lengths - straight swim, aiming not to stop - this depends on how knackered I am and how many recreational swimmers are doing widths in our tiny 20m pool!

    Thursday - coached swim session - we are doing a lot of pace work at the moment - which makes me think there's a time trial looming! It will be about 80 - 100 lengths broken down into sets of anywhere from 2 to 10 lengths

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