Archives for the month of: May, 2018

After the quick start set we did last week we are going to do some work focusing on your legs this week.  Using your legs for selected periods of a swim is a great way to generate a change of pace if you want to bridge a gap and get on someone’s feet, or to make a quick gap to get someone off your feet.  However, using your legs can be very tiring so practising using them in a session is a great way to both improve your leg fitness and get a good workout.

splash of water

Photo by Noelle Otto on

This week the main set is based on one of Jess Learmonth’s favourite sessions that includes several 100s kick alongside some race pace swims.  We will do this after a steady-paced subset of pull with paddles so you will be getting a chance to exercise your full body very well this week!

See you Saturday,


Have spent some time working on quick breathing over the last two weeks I’d like to move onto fast starts.  Fast starts in triathlon are important to help you get the most benefit from positioning in a mass start and are the opposite of how you would swim a normal swimming race, where a negative split (swimming the second half slightly faster than the first half) is usually the way to swim your best time.  So this week we are going to practise our race starts with some positive split 200s – meaning you swim the first 100 fast and then drop back into a steadier and sustainable race pace.


Please do try and keep the quick breathing going that you’ve been doing well over the last couple of weeks.  But combine the concentration on quick breathing with having a bit of fun as we vary the pace in the main set.  A good way to practice this is to leave a 5s gap and try and get on the feet of the swimmer ahead during the fast 100 and then hang onto their slip stream, without any annoying toe-tapping.  Similarly you can try and few different tactics, such as varying your pace a bit to try stay away from the swimmer behind if there is space in the lane, as you may need to sometimes in an open water swim.

Just a quick update about the fast the session tomorrow to help you get a bit more value from it.  Tim quite rightly pointed out that knowing the physiology of the your different energy systems may help you get more benefit from trying different ways of doing quicker starts in the positive split 200s.  For a really fast start you will be using your alactic anaerobic energy system which will allow you to go fast for the first 25m or so without any real downside physiologically but you will then need to back off a bit to ensure you don’t go too fast and fade for later.  However, in an open water start you may still want to go hard for more than 25m to get into a drafting position with a pack to trade off the greater fatigue for the added benefit of some drafting.  Have a play around with different tactics tomorrow to see what works best for you in different situations!

See you Saturday!


Photo by Nicolas Hoizey on Unsplash

Well done for all of your efforts last week with the quicker breathing and keeping it going through the main set.  There were occasions where I saw people slipping back into their normal slower breathing patterns but I was really pleased to see the efforts you put into keeping what you practised in the drills going as much as possible through what was quite a long main set.

The person I saw with the best breathing was Elisa in lane 2 during the second session.  If you get a chance please do watch how quickly and well she times her breathing.  She has worked really hard at changing her breathing over the last year since we first did these quick breathing drills and you can really see how well she times her breathing now.  She has also managed to knock 43 seconds off her 400m time trial time, too!

Changing any aspect of your technique requires persistence and effort but with time improvements can be made.  Changing breathing is a challenging change since it is one of those changes that doesn’t feel better when you start.  The problem is that you usually get less breath when you first try it, because you are more tense than usual as you concentrate on making a change and have less time to actually breathe, which can’t be good, right?!  Right!  Getting less breath is not good but quicker breathing usually also helps improve your stroke rate and helps your head position mean you get a stronger catch when starting the first pull after the breath.  So the challenge of making a change to quicker breathing permanently requires you to find a way of getting the benefits from stroke rate and catch but without the drawbacks of getting less breath.  My advice for how to do this is 3-fold:

  • Keep trying and practising and you will get more comfortable and less tense so getting more breath
  • Try explosive breathing – doing a quick exhale before you turn to breathe – to maximise the amount of breath to get each time
  • Think about your breathing especially towards the end of the main sets when you are most tired as this is often when you can get the most benefit and you naturally relax to conserve energy


This week we will be doing some of the same quick breathing drills we did last week before going into a set of fast ultra-short race-pace training (USRPT) 50s.  The quick breathing fits really well with USRPTs where you will need the faster stroke rate it helps you generate and stronger catch to keep your speed going.

Late breaking news: Did you see Katie Ledecky break the 1500m world record this week with an amazing 15m20s?!  If not you can watch it here.  See if you can manage her splits of under 31s per 50m for some of the USRPT 50s this week to understand what it feels like to swim that fast!

See you Saturday,


Photo by Robert Baker on Unsplash

There really were some great efforts in the pool last week with our extra long session.  Lane 3 wins the “hardest of the hard-core” prize with 4 swimmers doing the 3-hour double session (Jerome, Jon, Anita & Sheila), followed by lane 1 with 3 swimmers (Simon, Iain & Edda) and completing the podium lane 4 with 1 (our very wonderful Club Chair, Jo).  After talking about Resilience in my post last week I have to say we saw it in spades in the pool last week so really well done to everyone.


This week we a taking a breath after the intensity of the last few weeks with some steadier swimming and a chance to think about good breathing again.  Please watch the video from my previous post to remind yourself about good breathing technique and see some of the drills we will be doing this week.  The main set is steady-paced swimming so please do the most important thing you can with good technique and try and keep the good breathing you will be doing in the drill set going all the way through the main set.

See you Saturday!



Photo by Mohamed Nohassi on Unsplash

I was really impressed by your resilience last week when I reduced the turnaround times for the final set of 100s in the second session.  After only a brief dirty look from a couple of you (mentioning no names, Selina and Simon) everyone just got on with it and swam the final set really well on the tougher turnaround times.  You need to be pretty resilient to be a triathlete, especially in open water events, so well done for dealing with the unexpected change so well.


This week we have the pool for 3 hours so will split the session into two hour and a half sessions as we have done before, so the second session will start at 8:30am and finish at 10am.  You will need your resilience again as we will be doing long sets in both sessions – 5km in lane 1, 4.5km in lane 2, 4km in lane 3 and 3.5km in lane 4.  So I strongly recommend:

  1. Preparing well, by bringing a drink and being on time
  2. Swimming well, by focusing on a good high-elbow technique, and
  3. Collaborating well, by working well and considerately with your lane-mates

See you Saturday!


%d bloggers like this: