For triathletes, off season is pool season! The off season is perfect for honing your swimming skills and doing something new and different, to spice things up in the pool rather than swimming mindlessly up and down the lane. Doing it right will tumble minutes off your times next season. Let's get into showing you how.
We don’t have to run and bike quite as much or even compete, so it may be cold and dark outside but, it’s bright, light and warm as toast indoors at the pool. There’s no better time to re-connect with the water and find a couple of minutes extra for next season. Here are our 3 top tips:
1. Learn new skills (for new motivation):
Learn something new. A skill you have been putting off for years like the flipturn, dolphin kick or learning another stroke, now is the perfect time. As endurance swimmers, we are often focused on long, freestyle-only endurance-based sessions and don’t have time for learning new skills.
Why learn to flipturn? The flipturn will give a continuity to your long swims, enabling you to seamlessly transition into every new lap, not stopping and starting, but flipturning your way through that long set. The flipturn will improve core strength, as every streamlined push off from the wall requires core muscle stability. This extra core strength will improve overall body position. Lastly, the flipturn introduces an extra breathing element that challenges our breathing management skills. An important lesson for race day.
Why learn to swim a different stroke? As Triathletes this should seem obvious! Because we don’t swim anything else but freestyle all-year-round. Most triathletes come into the sport with little swim experience and so freestyle is their only focus but, swimming only freestyle can lead to repetitive use injuries. Learning to swim the other strokes helps improve overall body co-ordination and body strength, avoiding overuse and injury in the off-season. Learning to swim all four strokes is a great way to spice up your training and become a stronger and more accomplished swimmer.
2. Invest in your technique
Investing in your technique is wise in swimming as performance is build on technique. ‘How do I learn the freestyle technique,’ I hear you ask? Drills, drills and more drills! Plain and simple. Drills are important because they teach us body co-ordination, control of movement and body awareness. Drills should be done slowly to program new neuromuscular patterns; out with the old, in with the new. Our vast library of drills at SwimGym.com will provide you with the professional help you need to get you on your way. All drills are simply explained and easy to duplicate in the pool.
First you need to analyse your technique to know what to work on. Book a personal training session and have your technique analyzed on video by our coaches in our Amsterdam pool. Or take one of our online courses (e.g. efficiency course or body position course) and see your skill level improve dramatically pool side.
3. Have a goal!
Spice up your training routine. Swim with purpose this winter. Make every session count. Use the session to motivate yourself, improve your technique or build strength. We see many triathletes come in and swim one tempo kilometers at a time. This will not improve your results next season. Mix it up with shorter interval sessions focused on speed and higher intensity sets.
Your goal, this winter, should be to become stronger by building swim strength with high intensity sprint sets and dryland training. High intensity and sprint sets cement the technical execution of the stroke and help us to build speed endurance, a very important element in triathlon and open water swimming. Be ahead of the pack this winter by incorporating dryland training into your regime. Dryland training will work on your core and overall body strength. A sure-fire way to help avoid injury as the miles pile up in the run up to the new season.
Take the time to work on every aspect of your swimming, see minutes tumble off your times next season…and have fun along the way!