Well done for your efforts last week working on rotation and especially hip connection.  We are going to do a bit more work on that this week to give you more chance to practise this so the theme for this week is hip-connection.

One thing to be aware of when thinking about rotation is avoiding over rotation and also avoiding over reaching, which is something I do see sometimes on Saturday.  A recent video from Brenton Ford at Effortless Swimming talks about this, and how to correct it, and I would recommend watching it here:

We will be doing some of the drills from last week – prone kick with rotation and hip-connector – as well as one of the  drills from Chloe Sutton’s video we didn’t do which is power rotation with kick board, so watch the video from last week if you need a reminder about this.  But in all the swims this week – technique set, main set and subset – please focus on hip-connector timing.  Engage your core and start your rotation as you start the catch of each stroke.  And please do use your kick timed with this hip-connector rotation to help – even when doing the pull set.

See you Saturday!

Rob

We have focused a lot on the catch over the last few weeks and I have seen some good improvements from many of you, especially in increased patience with the catch and avoiding wasted effort pushing down on the water.  I now want to focus on the transition to the power phase using rotation from your core – building on your patient catch.  The following video from Chloe Sutton is a good summary of what to think about and some drills we will be doing this week.

I’d like you to particularly focus on timing.  We will be doing the hip connector drill to help you focus on this.  We will also be doing quite a lot of work on the legs so really think about timing your kick to help with the rotation.  After the drills we will do an aerobic pyramid with some sprints to finish.

See you Saturday!

Rob

It’s time trials this week and a great opportunity to get some data to help you plan and track your progress over the winter.  I’ve mentioned before that your swimming speed is the product of two key variables – your distance per stroke and your stroke rate.  What are your distance per stroke and stroke rate?  Mine were an average of 1.3m/stroke and 56 strokes per minute during the last time trial in February.

So why would I be interested in finding out what my distance per stroke and stroke rate are now?  Because I know that stroke rate and distance per stroke are affected by both my fitness and technique.  I know that my fitness is approximately the same as in March, and I am not planning to do much different over the Winter to change my fitness, but I do want to improve my technique.  I am adjusting both my kick and stroke symmetry after some self-analysis and feedback from Tim.

So this week is a perfect opportunity to see what affect the changes I am making are having at this early stage and I will use it to track over the Winter as I continue to work on my technique.  I am not interested in my time at this stage of the Winter – just the baseline variables of stroke rate and length – and will think about speed in the future time trials after Christmas.

So what will you learn from doing a time trial this week?  You have plenty of time to think about answers to that after Saturday but will only get that opportunity if you come along and swim it to generate the data!

See you Saturday!

Rob

 

 

 

Great effort last week on the drills with alternating hinge drill.  I saw some good high elbow catches and also had good feedback that you could really feel the difference.  We are going to build on that this week with a final session before we do the first time of the Winter next week, where I will ask you to focus on swimming fast with good technique.

The drills this week will be alternating hinge again followed by catch-catch-pushCatch-catch-push is my new name for catch-catch-pull and I have just changed the name to emphasize the key focus point for this week, i.e. making the propulsion part of the underwater stroke a push rather than a pull.  Please continue to be patient with the catch – as we have been practising – with no power applied during the catch phase.  Please also be patient with the push – starting the push gently and increasing the pressure on the water until the maximum speed of your wrist and forearm is at the end of the underwater stroke just before you start the recovery.  When you do this well you should feel the acceleration of the water past your body as you accelerate yourself through the water with each arm stroke.

As usual, please take the time you need during the drills to get this right and then keep it going into the main set, which will be aerobic 150s this week.

See you Saturday!

Rob

 

Well done for your efforts last week trying to focus on technique and drills in the cold water.  Hopefully it won’t be as cold this week (I have been told that spare parts for the boiler are on their way) and we are going to continue with the focus on pull with some more drills.  I also have a cue to help you think about getting a good catch position.

For the drills please watch the Chloe Sutton video for a refresher on what we are trying to achieve and typical mistakes.  We will be doing the alternating hinge drill as well as some catch-up with a pause at the EVF position.

The other thing I would like you think about when you do these drills is not bending your wrist to make it feel like you are getting an early vertical forearm when actually you are just bending your wrist.  A simple cue I saw recently to help with this mistake, and help with a good catch, is called the wrist watch technique from Triathlon Taren.  I like it.  Check it out.  I hope some of you find it useful too!

After the drills we will be doing an aerobic set and some pull-back sprints to finish.  Pull-back sprints are a fun exercise to see how well you can hold the catch and water when towing someone behind you.  See you Saturday!

Rob

Well done for all your efforts last week trying out the new drills.  We are going to do the same drills again this week to give you another chance to practise your early vertical forearm and really feel the progression as you go through them.  The theme this week is patience.

The 4 drills we are doing again are as follows (see the video from last week if you want a reminder):

  • catch-kick
  • sideline kick with quarter stroke to catch
  • catch-catch-pull
  • catch-up

One of the great things about the progression through these drills, if you do them well, is that they really help you think about being patient with the catch.  This is because the first two of these drills generate no propulsion from the arm at all.  Catch-kick relies completely on the legs and sideline kick with quarter stroke to catch should not either – it is all about practising getting your arm into the catch position but not generating any propulsion.

The second two of these drills, though, start to add in power through the propulsion phase.  This should feel great as you go from the hard work of just relying on your legs to now get the benefit of your arms using your powerful core and back muscles.

This relaxed progression from no power at the catch smoothly through to the power generated later in the underwater pull is a great thing to aim for and one of the things that I see will help most people swim faster and more efficiently.  Rushing the underwater stroke – either from the catch or even later in the stroke – can feel like a good thing and fits well with the triathlon psyche of “work hard and put the power down to go fast”.  However, being impatient with the catch typically makes you swim slower and more inefficiently. It is important to be patient with the catch – putting no power to press downwards on the water – and only starting to build the power gradually when your forearm is vertical.  Your maximum hand speed should not be reached until the end of the underwater pull.  I like to think of it as squeezing yourself past a fix point in the water rather than a more impatient grab for the water and trying to throw it backwards.

Try to use the drills this week to be practise being patient with the catch and take this through into the main set of 75s and 125s.  I will put some more drills in the middle of the main set this week to give you chance to reset and think about it again for the final part of the main set.

See you Saturday!

Rob

Before we do the first set of Winter time trials at the end of November we are going to focus on a good catch from an early vertical forearm (EVF).  And to do this we are going to do some new drills together with some of our old favourites.  So please watch the video below to learn about catch-kick drill and catch-catch-pull drill.  The other key thing I would like you to notice in the video is the importance of a high shoulder position to get a good catch and EVF.  Please think about this throughout the session this week.

After the EVF drills this week we will be doing an aerobic pyramid main set where I would like you to focus on keeping a good high shoulder to help with a good catch before doing some 25m sprints to finish.

See you Saturday!

Rob

I think this time of year is really special.  Not only do we have some wonderfully inspirational performances to inspire us from the Ironman World Camps in Kona (and the bonus last weekend of seeing the world’s first sub 2-hour marathon) but also the golden opportunity to take some time to plan what improvements we want to make over the winter to take into the race season next year.  For many of us making improvements in our run or bike way well take precedence over swim improvements.  It will be for me, too, as my run is the area I am keen to try and make the biggest improvements on over the Winter.  However, almost everyone should and will have a swimming goal for the Winter even if it is only to maintain their current swim performance or efficiency while improving in other areas.

My swimming goal is to improve my 800m time in the pool and 1km open water time by 20s ahead of my A-races in June 2020.  I plan to do this by working on three key areas – core strength and mobility out of the pool, increased stroke rate technique in the pool and weekly open water sessions from April onwards.  So please do take advantage of this golden opportunity of this time of year to plan your Winter swim goal as it will really help you make tackle the sessions we do each week in the right way.

Working towards your goal may mean you move to a different lane to give you time to work on your technique on an easier turnaround time.  Or perhaps coming along to more sessions, especially the technique sessions.  Or perhaps even coming along to fewer swim sessions – and being more selective in the type of swim sessions you do – to give you more time to focus on the bike and run.  Whatever it is, I am very happy for you to adapt how you tackle the Saturday swim sessions to fit with your goal as long as you are respectful to your fellow lane swimmers and fit in with without disrupting the session for others in the lane.

This week is the final week of training before the National Short Course Champs in Sheffield so the 7am session in lane 1 will be doing speed work in preparation.  All other lanes, and the 8am session in lane 1, will have a session where I would like you to continue working on the push part of your underwater stroke.  To help you work on this the session will be as follows:

  • Some pull with paddles to help you focus on the gradual acceleration through the push phase of the underwater stroke
  • Some drills to give you some time to focus on rotation combined with the push
  • An aerobic main set where you put in all together, with a little kick thrown in just to remind you about keeping a good rhythm
    with the legs!

See you Saturday!

Rob

 

Photo by Aaron Munoz on Unsplash

We have the pool for 3 hours this week so will be splitting the session into two 1.5 hour sessions starting at 7am and 8:30am.  For those Lane 1 swimmers racing at the National Masters in Sheffield please come along to the 7am session as this will be a race pace session.  For all other lanes, and lane 1 at 8:30am, it will be a longer version of our regular Saturday morning session.

For most of you doing the regular session I would really like you to think about your underwater stroke this week ands making it really effective.  The 3 sets after the warm-up to do this are as follows:

  1. A pull set with paddles where I would like you to think about being very patient at the catch and focusing on the push and back-end of your underwater stroke.  Paddles are a great to give your a bit more time and feel to do this.
  2. A technique set where I’d like you to focus on getting into that nice high EVF position even as you rotate your body.  We will be doing some Unco drill to help you do this.
  3. A second main set of aerobic 100s where I would like you to focus on EVF and the push at the back-end of your stroke on alternate lengths.  The turnarounds will get short at times so don’t stress about the turnaround and focus on being as relaxed as possible by working on your technique so you won’t need much rest after each.

At the end of the session will be a few different stroke for fun after all the concentration on improving your underwater pull during the session.

See you Saturday!

Rob

Most people have now pretty much finished their race seasons so we will be starting Winter training this week for most lanes.  However, I know quite a few lane 1 swimmers will be competing in the National Masters in late October so I will keep the faster sessions going for lane 1 until then.

The technique work for lanes 2, 3 and 4 will be starting with sideline kicking before going into an aerobic main set of 75s and 125s.  I would really like everyone to take their time over the drills and aim to swim them as comfortably and relaxed as possible.  The drills we are doing this week, and for most weeks, are best swum with your head down and breathing as little as possible.  You can only do this in a relaxed way if you are rested and take your time to have good enough rests after each 25.  So take your time, relax and try to take advantage of the time to work on a great high-elbow pull, with excellent early-vertical-forearm (EVF), and combine this with a rotation as you build through the drills.

The main set for lane 1 will with USRPT fast 50s – which is ideal 200m race pace training – so aim to swim all of them at your 200m race pace and miss some out as soon as you drop off this pace.

See you Saturday!

Rob

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