Success with Stamina
Success with Stamina
A little blog about being a triathlon coach. Here you'll find a little diary about my activities as a coach, the performances of the people I work with and my thoughts and opinions on what makes athletes faster for longer.

Sprint distance athlete with only 30 minutes for a swim?

AndyBby AndyBJul 22nd 2010
For those of you who haven't seen it here is a short piece I recently wrote for 220 Triathlon magazine with ideas for short (30 minute) swim sessions based around sprint distance races.

Are the pressures of work and/or family closing in, causing you to reduce your regular swim sessions to a meagre 30 minutes? Well, no need to despair... a half hour is still plenty of time to achieve some performance gains in your swimming. With a clear idea of your session goals you can make that half an hour pack a proper fitness or technique sized punch, into your training programme. So, how do you go about this? Well, firstly read through the sessions below, all designed to be completed within 30 minutes (for the average swimmer) of your free time, be it pre-work, lunchtime or post work. Secondly, decide on the aim of your 30 minute session and finally go out and give it a go.

NB: All sessions should start with 5-10 min of steady swimming (front crawl or back crawl) as a warm up and finish with 5 minutes gentle swimming as a cool down

Session 1: Aim: Performance benchmark and speed development: 400mTime trial / 2 or 3 minutes rest / 4 x 100 (5s rest). Aim to swim each 100 2-3 seconds quicker than the average 100 from the 400TT. Swim off time should be 10-15s longer than average 100m time from 400 TT.
Benefits: A regular time trial will allow you to assess improvements and set send off times for the remaining reps. Swimming at 2-3s per 100 faster than 400m pace will allow you to develop your swimming by not only understanding how to swim quicker but also encouraging your body to improve fitness over these distances.

Session 2: Aim: Improve technique: 4 x 50 kick with board 20s rest. Focus on kicking from hip 4 x 50 (25drill/25swim). 4 x 100 25 drill/75 swim 200 steady swim focusing on improved technique.

Benefits: Using drills to help improve your technique as you continue to think about the drill in your stroke. Using a drill that has been suggested to you by a swim coach or you have read about and start using the drill in an equal amount with your regular front crawl. Slowly increase the amount of front crawl in relation to the drill. This offers the opportunity to continue to think about what the drill is doing for your stroke whilst transferring the skill over to your stroke.

Session 3: Aim: Improve pacing: 2 x (8 x 50) Swim off time: Take your 400 swim time divide by 8 to get the average time per 50m your send off time should be a maximum of 5s more than your average 50m time. E.G.400TT = 8:00. 50m time = 1:00 send off time = 1:05. Repeat the second set holding a more consistent pace

Benefits: Improving your ability to pace your swim will mean you finish feeling fresher, not exhausted. Swim the first rep too fast and you will not get any rest by the end of the set. Swim the first few with a few seconds rest and you will work hard but get recovery after each rep.

Session 4: Aim: To swim a negative split. 4 x 200 as 1 = 150 easy 50 hard / 2 = 100 easy 100 hard / 3 = 50 easy 150 hard / 4 = 200 hard. Send off time should be 20-30s longer than average 200 time from 400TT.

Benefits: Similar to improving your pacing in session 3. Knowing how to swim at a steady pace before increasing your speed towards the end of the rep and set will teach you to judge the best pace to start your swim and how to finish strongly.

Session 5: Aim: Build endurance and practise open water technique. Over distance swim with open water technique: 2 x 500 steady swim practising sighting every 6 strokes. 30s rest between each 500.

Benefits: Swimming over distance will give you confidence about the distance you are required to swim. Practising sighting every 6 strokes by pushing down a fraction more at the front of your stroke will help you incorporate this smoothly into your swim stroke meaning a more fluent stroke and a faster swim time in open water.

Go on, give them a go and let me know what you think!

Thank you for your time.
Skinnybuddahby member: Skinnybuddah, Jul 27th 2010 10:39
Great article just what I was looking for!

Articles like this are fantastic, I'm sure there are many people like myself who are not great triathletes but love to train and have to be creative with their limited time.

I'm a sprint distance triathlete, primarily because I've got a young family and a full time job (certainly not because I'm a fast sprinter!!) - so everything I do is centred around those two factors first of all.

I make use of my lunch break (1hr) by cycling to the pool which is laned (6-8mins)and spend 25-30mins working on my limiters or any pointers that my coach has made during the one club swim I manage to get to during the week, and manage to get back to my desk in time to microwave some lunchtime soup.

Incidentally I run in to work at least one day a week (1hour slightly downhill) so that's my long run done. I cycle in and out on a singlespeed most days, and often try and get up early 5.30ish when I can for turbo sessions and running hill sprints or 1k reps. This maximises my time and family often don't notice that I've been out training at all.
Any other articles on maximising time for effective sprint based training would be much appreciated.

ps - I enjoy your 220 articles - you're providing a top service.

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