Many people who decide to compete in a triathlon think that because they are in great shape and they can run forever, they can hop in a pool and swim. Not true my friend. For many people the swim leg of a triathlon is the most difficult. This is because swimming uses different muscles and requires a very different approach to oxygen intake. Planning and building your swim ability and endurance in advance is the best way to effectively compete in a triathlon.
The swim leg of a triathlon is typically in open water and is crowded. If you are not comfortable being bumped, splashed and sometimes even pushed under you should start your training in a safe environment until you are prepared. Most tri coaches suggest that you start your training in a pool where you can learn to swim long distances. When you do start your swim training it is also important to learn proper stroke technique. Proper technique will not only help with alleviating fatigue, but it will keep you from getting injured. Yes, you can get injured swimming. Strained muscles in your neck and back can happen when you swim long distances with bad body and head position. Having a USA swimming coach on deck to make sure you are swimming correctly is a huge benefit and should be a consideration when you start your tri training. Additionally, when you jump in for the first time remember to stay calm! Anxiety will increase fatigue. Don’t be surprised that even though you can run for miles, you will get winded after just a few laps. Ask your swim coach for breathing techniques and advice to help you transition from land to water.
As you progress through your triathlon swim training you should start to fine-tune your open water swimming. You will start to track your stroke count, really learn how to create a longer body line and how to swim more fluidly over long distances. Your swim coach can give you drills to help create muscle memory and increase your efficiency. As your stroke gets better and your endurance increases you will notice that you can swim farther and faster.
At Waterloo Swimming, we offer triathlon training to our Masters swimmers up to three times a day during the week and once on Saturday AM. If you are interested in adding swim training to your triathlon regimen contact us today at firstname.lastname@example.org and “Tri” two free Masters practices. Our triathlon classes are completely flexible to fit your times six days a week-morning, noon and night.