25 June 2017
SWIMMING IN TRIATHLON: TECHNIQUE AND TRAINING
The most important thing in swimming in a triathlon is not to get tired. Important tips on swimming techniques and recommendations for training were given by Tatiana Ivanova, 16-times Ironman and an experienced trainer.
For most of beginning triathletes, swimming is the biggest obstacle. Many people are afraid of it and many do not like it. But why? After all swimming takes only 10-20% of the total time of the competition, you can swim in the pool at any time of year with sufficient comfort, moreover it is difficult to get injured while swimming, but it is easy to disconnect the brain from vanity of vanities. Why do we dislike it and why are we afraid of it? Because, as a general rule, we do not know how to swim like triathletes as this is a completely different kind of sport, rather than a hundred-meter in the pool. In the open water there are no paths and there is no visibility, but there are waves, currents and other athletes. Moreover there is a wetsuit that is very buoyant and thereby changes the position of the body in the water, which is for the best for the majority. Also there is a need to jump on a bicycle right after swimming, and then to run — that means that there is still an hour to 15 hours of race ahead. Therefore it is important to train swimming as one of the stages of a triathlon.
The most important thing in swimming in a triathlon is not to get tired! Swimming as fast as possible is important, but it is secondary. Swimming itself is very intense and energy-intensive, and people tend to underestimates it. Most of the fans spend so much energy on survival in the water that it takes a long time for them to recover from it. It may sound paradoxical, but the problems on the last stage — running, can often be explained by the weakness during the first stage — swimming. So, how to swim most economically and quickly?
1. Simplify the technique and focus on 3 phases: stroking, hand-carrying above the water, inserting the hand into the water. Start the stroke smoothly and gently, grabbing the water, during the stroke wrist should be catching up the elbow, which should be kept high and at the level of the middle vertical line of the body, as soon as the wrist reaches the stomach, accelerate the movement of the hand. Thus, the stroke will be equally accelerated, which will increase the speed due to a soft start and an evenly accelerated end. Carry your hand freely and relaxed, you can keep it straight, which will allow you to distribute your efforts more rationally in open water in case of excitement and hindrances from other participants. Put your hand behind your head approximately at an average distance from the hand to the shoulder, which will allow you to stay on the right course and not wag, covering extra meters of distance.
2. Strength in the hand under the water. Everything that happens under the water is very important, because all of the translational motion is generated there. To maximize it, we need the strength of arms, shoulders, back and abs. It is developed mostly when you swim with the training paddles. Train with the training paddles for 50% of the time. Choose them correctly — they should be slightly larger than your hand and they should be straight, without convexities and concavities, the simplest model is the best.
3. Minimize the work of the feet — two-beat rhythm is the maximum. We still need our legs, let's take care of them! Our position in the water will be supported by a wetsuit at competitions and a pull buoy between the legs during training in the pool. I recommend swimming with a pull buoy often, up to 80% of the time. The pull buoy and the training paddles are the best friends of the triplet.
4. Cadence — there is no ideal cadence, as there is no ideal style and technique for swimming in the triathlon. Ideal is something that is individual and suits your proportions, body type and degree of stretching. But bear in mind that it's difficult to slide on open water, because there are waves, wind and other people around. Therefore, it is worthwhile to increase the cadence in order to compensate this. I recommend a high cadence for women, up to 28 cycles at 25 meters. For men it should be less as they are stronger and it helps them to accelerate themselves better, to keep balance and to slide at capture of water.
5. Swim often and effectively - start to love swimming! If you can go to the pool 3 times a week — it's perfect and. Do not waste time on long workouts and complicated exercises on technique. Jump into the water and row! Use time in the water effectively.
The following sample training will help you with it.
1. Strength training: Warming up and cooling down: 10 x 25m — one quickly, one calm. Main part: 40 x 50 with training paddles and pull buoy, pause for 10 seconds.
2. Tempo for endurance: 16 x 25 — every 4th quickly, 12 x 25 — every 3rd quickly, 8 x 25 — every 2nd fast, 4 x 25 — all quickly. Pause 20 sec between series. 3 x 200 with training paddles and pull buoy.
3. Endurance: 8 x 400 — each 2nd with training paddles and a pull buoy.