Archives for the month of: July, 2014

I found it really interesting to watch people doing the 50m flat out sprints we did as part of the main set last week – especially how little most people changed their pace despite the obvious increase in effort that was put in.  I think doing some fast-paced swims like this are really useful for a variety of different reasons.  Firstly, they are great high-intensity swims that increase your fatigue levels for the rest of the sets when working on your speed endurance.  Secondly, I think they are a good way of increasing the range of speeds you can swim at – so making “normal” race pace feel more comfortable.  Finally, many top triathletes seem to get a lot of benefit from them and I have heard both Will Clarke and Mario Mola talk specifically about the value they have gained from doing fast swims as part of their swimming training.

We will be doing some more sprints this week to give you chance to work on top-end speed and I will be making it easier by just doing 25s after the usual aerobic and progressively paced swims.  When sprinting 25s please remember three key things:

  1. Keep your head down and breathe as little as possible (you should not really need to breath at all on a 25m sprint but I will accept once if really necessary!)
  2. Kick your legs REALLY fast! This sets the tempo for your arms even though they don’t provide much propulsion.  Only one person in the pool last week was kicking at anywhere near the speed required for fast swimming.
  3. Keep a really strong catch – don’t try and rush the underwater pull – just squeeze the water a bit harder.

For a great example of sprint freestyle watch Ben Proud win the gold for England in the 50m freestyle at the Commonwealth Games in the following video: http://www.bbc.co.uk/sport/0/commonwealth-games/28553648

You can see Ben, and all the others, doing a really good job of the 3 points I have mentioned above.  The underwater shots are the best and really show a strong catch and the speed of their legs.

See you Saturday!

Rob

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Especially watch the strong catch, with high-elbow, and outboard-motor kick from the legs from Fran Halsall on the BBC.

 

This week our main set will be working on top-end swim speed and VO2 max with a mix of 100s and 50s.  To get the most from this set you will need to focus on doing all of the 50s at 100% effort.  This should help improve your VO2 max, top-end swimming speed and help improve your speed endurance when you are still looking to swim at 1500m pace for the 100s after the 50m sprints.

When you are swimming the 50s flat out the most important thing to do is put in 100% effort.  However, you will get more benefit and swim faster if you can also hold your technique together when putting in this effort.  When sprinting try to focus on kicking really hard and fast and getting your speed by pressing harder underwater on each stroke rather than trying to increase your stroke rate.  Your stroke rate will increase naturally as you kick faster and you should be able to keep hold of the water better rather than slipping water as you try to rip your hand through the water too quickly.  For a short video of Roland Schoeman doing some sprint freestyle see the following video.  Especially note the speed of his leg kick!

See you Saturday!

Rob

We’ve been doing some pretty intense sets over the last few weeks so this week we’re going to take a step back a bit and give you chance to think about your technique and do some more aerobic-paced swimming.  If you are in the middle of competition season then now is probably not the best time to consider big changes in your technique but I think it is always good to spend some time thinking about technique and making any small changes to any bad habits that have crept in.  We will also be doing some breast stroke for a bit of variety.  Breast stroke is also a great stroke to help practice the important first part of your front crawl pull.

You’ve heard me talk a lot in the past about the importance of the catch by keeping your elbow high and pressing with your hand.  This often gets called the “early vertical forearm” and there are many videos talking about this you will be able to find doing a search on the web.  One particular one I like you can find here.

See you Saturday!

Rob

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