Looking at my post of last week it all seems so long ago given all that has changed.  Publishing swimming sessions to do on our own only lasted 24 hours!  But at least we were able to do our online swimming-focused strength and conditioning session and will do a similar session this week.

I must say that in so many ways it has brought out the best in so many people.  The real heroes are our key workers but from a club perspective we have already seen sessions continue with Tim & Heather’s online sessions and Stuart’s Facebook run session to name but a few.  And I have been really impressed by the huge number of online swim-focused activities I have seen people do and would like to mention a few of my favourites from this week:

  • Brenton Ford’s post from Effortless Swimming on 10 things we can do out of the water at present (I like the cold shower one)
  • Lucy Charles and Reece Barclay’s post about dry land swimming training
  • Helen’s short video from SwimEngland about how to deal psychologically with the current challenges
  • Lucy’s toilet roll challenge for keeping people active from 5kyourway
  • Helen Gorman’s 100m IM challenge

I have been inspired by many of these and will incorporate some of the ideas into the session in this and future weeks.  The session this week will be similar to last week with a slightly shorter warm-up and a slightly extended main set and subset.  I also want to make time for a fun challenge at the end of the session with Lucy’s toilet roll challenge.  So this week please can you bring to the session:

  • Stretch cords (proper or homemade) if you can for the main set
  • Something like a bench to lie on for using the stretch cord
  • 6 toilet rolls and 6 tin cans (without panic buying anything) plus a basket large enough for the toilet rolls

If you can’t get together any of the above don’t worry as we will structure the session with alternatives.  Please don’t make any extra journeys out of the house to get them either!

See you Saturday,

Rob

 

Photo by Hello I’m Nik 🎞 on Unsplash

 

I am really sorry there will be no more CTC sessions for a while until we get through the Covid-19 outbreak.  So how do we keep our training and swim fitness going?  I have several ideas for you:

  1. Do more running and cycling if it is safe to do so while meeting government guidelines about social-distancing.  We are a triathlon club after all so many of us are able to do this and keep in shape.
  2. Find a pool that is still open and do some swimming by yourselves safely while it is still possible.  I have added all of our recent winter sessions onto my page here so you can do some of our recent sessions if you want.
  3. Use one of the many online resources that are springing up for home-based exercises to keep in shape.
  4. Come and join Helen and myself online while we do a swimming-focused strength and conditioning session from our living room on Saturday morning.  I will send out a link on email for when you can join us this week and we plan to do 2 x 45 minutes sessions with the first one starting at 7am and the second one at 8am.  You will only need a towel to lie on, a sofa and a phone or laptop with screen and camera to see what we are doing.  We will be using Zoom video conferencing to make this possible so follow the link in the email to check it out.

Hope to see some of you on Saturday online!

Rob

 

Photo by Sarah Ardin on Unsplash

We are getting close to race season so it’s time to keep cranking up the pace with the return of USRPT. As a reminder, USRPT stands for Ultra Short Race Pace Training and it is has some very simple rules to make it a very effective form of training for building your speed.  They are:

  1. Swim every 50 fast.
  2. Leave exactly 5s intervals between swimmers and take your time for each 50.
  3. Repeat until your time drops by 1s or more.  When this happens miss out the next 50m.
  4. If the person in front of you misses a 50m for this reason DO NOT close the gap on the next swimmer – keep to the same turnaround for yourself for the whole set.
  5. You do not get to choose when you miss a 50m.  The clock decides when you miss a 50m by telling you your time dropped by 1s or more.
  6. If you do not miss out any 50s then you have not worked hard enough on the set.

Patience and acceleration is critical to getting you swimming at the maximum speed in this set.  If you are tense you will not swim fast for long.  You still need patience to ensure you are relaxed and only apply the acceleration and power when it is effective during the push phase of the stroke.  We will be doing some drills before the main set to help you think about this.

See you Saturday!

Rob

Well done for your efforts on the Leap Year Swim last week.  It was a tough session and you all rose to the challenge.  This week we will slow it down and have a steadier session as I know many of you will be doing the Cambridge Half on Sunday.  So we will be doing some steadier paced aerobic swimming again giving you a bit more time to focus on your technique.

The thing I’d like you to focus on this week is patience and acceleration.  Patience is how I would like you to do the catch of each stroke.  Acceleration is what I would like you to use at the back half of each underwater pull to give you the maximum propulsion you can get from each stroke.  Watch the following video recently posted by Effortless Swimming to give you an idea of what a world class patience and acceleration during your stroke can give you.

Isn’t this a great video to watch?!  I love watching how smooth it is even though I know he is putting in a fair amount of effort to get the great distance per stroke he achieves from his patient catch and great acceleration at the back end.  Have a go this Saturday at adding a little bit more patience and acceleration into your stroke and see if you try and get a little bit closer to the sort of smoothness and speed you see here!

Rob

It’s special to have a Leap Year Day on Saturday so we have to do a special session to celebrate.  If my internet sources are correct then Leap Year Saturdays only occur every 28 years so we have a long time to wait until the next one!  To celebrate we will be doing a varying pace session with some challenging turnaround times and a lot of distance to complete.  And as the session is a little complicated I have decided to publish the full set below so you can make sure you are fully prepared.

To get the most from the session please do the following:

  • Read the session so you know what is coming up and can make sure you know when the faster efforts are coming rather than just relying on others in your lane;
  • Arrive early for the session so you can start on-time and not disrupt the lane by trying to slot in part way through; and
  • Pace yourself and try and relax as much as possible to ensure you can put the effort in on the faster ones and give yourself the best chance of completing what is going to be a challenging session for most of us.

See you Saturday!

Rob

 

Lane 1 – Saturday 29th February 2020

Leap Year Swim 2020

20 x 100s f/c, swum as 4 sets of 5

    Set 1: swum off 1:40

    Set 2: swum off 1:25

    Set 3: swum off 1:35, 1-5 prog

    Set 4: swum off 1:30, 1-5 prog

3 mins extra Leap Year Brucey Bonus Rest

32 x 50 f/c

12 x 50m every 4th 50m fast (off 45sec)

10 x 50m every 3rd fast (off 50sec)

6 x 50m every 2nd fast (off 55sec)

4 x 50m every 1 fast (off 60sec)

Swim Down – 200 own choice

 

Lane 2 – Saturday 29th February 2020

Leap Year Swim 2020

18 x 100s f/c, swum as

    Set 1: 5 x 100 off 1:55

    Set 2: 4 x 100 off 1:40

    Set 3: 5 x 100 off 1:50, 1-5 prog

    Set 4: 4 x 100 off 1:45, 1-4 prog

3 mins extra Leap Year Brucey Bonus Rest

28 x 50 f/c

12 x 50m every 4th 50m fast (off 50sec)

8 x 50m every 3rd fast (off 55sec)

5 x 50m every 2nd fast (off 60sec)

3 x 50m every 1 fast (off 65sec)

Swim Down – 200 own choice

 

Lane 3 – Saturday 29th February 2020

Leap Year Swim 2020

16 x 100s f/c, swum as 4 sets of 4

    Set 1: swum off 2:00

    Set 2: swum off 1:45

    Set 3: swum off 1:55, 1-4 prog

    Set 4: swum off 1:50, 1-4 prog

3 mins extra Leap Year Brucey Bonus Rest

28 x 50 f/c

12 x 50m every 4th 50m fast (off 55sec)

8 x 50m every 3rd fast (off 60sec)

5 x 50m every 2nd fast (off 65sec)

3 x 50m every 1 fast (off 70sec)

Swim Down – 200 own choice

 

Lane 4 – Saturday 29th February 2020

Leap Year Swim 2020

16 x 100s f/c, swum as 4 sets of 4

    Set 1: swum off 2:15

    Set 2: swum off 2:00

    Set 3: swum off 2:10, 1-4 prog

    Set 4: swum off 2:05, 1-4 prog

3 mins extra Leap Year Brucey Bonus Rest

22 x 50 f/c

10 x 50m every 4th 50m fast (off 60sec)

6 x 50m every 3rd fast (off 65sec)

4 x 50m every 2nd fast (off 70sec)

2 x 50m every 1 fast (off 75sec)

Swim Down – 200 own choice

 

 

This week it is the return of the Will Clarke set of 50s swum as a mix of fast and easy 50s with increasing amounts of rest.  The reason I really like this set is that it is a great mix of tight turnarounds near the start with a high frequency of high intensity efforts near the end when you are getting tired.  It also fits really well with our build of speed work towards the start of the season.

One of the things most people find most challenging about this set is varying their pace between the fast and slower 50s at the start of the set when the turnarounds are short.  You cannot say you have really mastered this set until you are able to vary the pace when the turnarounds are short so please do try your best to do this.  Try and use a fast and relaxed stroke rate, which we will be doing drills for before the main set, to make sure you can make the short turnarounds and still be fresh enough to push the faster efforts.

See you Saturday!

Rob

We are going to continue with more speed work this week and start with some drills to work on stroke rate before going into a main set of 100s swimming fast off a short turnaround time.  Try and relax as a much as possible when swimming fast and get the speed by swimming efficiently with a slightly higher stroke rate.  Think about applying a bit more pressure on the water during the back-end of the underwater pull to generate this higher stroke rate and speed without expending too much effort.  A slightly faster kick will also help increase your stroke rate.

See you Saturday!

Rob

It’s time to start adding some faster swims now as we build towards the start of the race season.  However, we’ve spent a lot of time over the Winter working on a good underwater stroke based on a good catch and push driven by rotation in your core.  This helps with a good distance per stroke and the trick to build speed is to increase stroke rate (i.e. strokes per minute) without decreasing your distance per stroke.

Try and do this by keeping your catch slow and patient and just squeezing as bit harder as you accelerate towards the end of the underwater part of the stroke.  Don’t rip it, though, as you will slip water.  The greater pressure during this push phase will push you forward a bit faster and your recovery and stroke rate will naturally increase.  Keeping a fast breath and short fast leg kick will also help with this.

We will be doing some drills on stroke rate after the main set today to help you work on this before we do some 100m pursuit swims to finish.

See you Saturday!

Rob

We will be doing time trials this week and the second of our three regular time trials over the Winter.  To help you prepare please try and get into a good mindset.  The challenge starts now and can be split into several phases.  Phase 1 is making a commitment to give it a go.  Subsequent phases are up to you!

I know many of you get anxious and don’t like the pressure but I do hope you are able to give it a try. The article I posted last year about getting into a good time trial mindset is very relevant here based on one of Helen’s articles about “Challenge and Threat.”  You can read it again here.

See you Saturday!

Rob

We’ve done a lot of work on the fundamentals over the last few months, mainly focused our underwater stroke but also combining it with posture and breath timing.  This week is the last week before the second set of time trials so we’re going to focus on putting it all together and start thinking about increasing stroke rate with some golf stroke.  Golf stroke (adding the total of your strokes and time for a 50) is great for measuring the balance between stroke rate, distance per stroke and efficiency and I’d like you to try reducing your golf stroke by:

  • Keeping your stroke count the same for each 50
  • Keeping your leg kick the same frequency and power
  • Increasing your speed purely from increasing your stroke rate

I think a good way to increase your stroke rate without slipping water is to keep your catch patient and strong at the same rate but just applying a bit more pressure on the water towards the end of each stroke.  Your stroke rate will naturally increase when you do this as you will be going faster through the water and moving your arms faster in the recovery due to this extra speed at the back-end.

After golf stroke we are going to do a set of 75s and 125s with some drills in the middle to remind you about keeping good technique throughout the set.  Use the main set to play around with adjusting your speed a little when the turnaround changes just with the stroke rate in your arms that you will have been practising with golf stroke.

See you Saturday!

Rob

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