Archives for category: Frontcrawl

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

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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,

Rob

Photo by Robert Baker on Unsplash

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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.

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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!

Rob

 

Photo by Mohamed Nohassi on Unsplash

Well done for all of your efforts last week in the fast-paced 100s.  I saw some more tired Triathletes last week than I have seen for a long time.  We will calm it down this week a bit with an aerobic main set of 150s.  We will also do a golf-stroke set to work on stroke rate and pursuit swims to keep your speed and work on your drafting and race tactics.

Golf stroke is also all about getting a good balance between stroke length and stroke rate.  It is a simple mathematical fact that your swim speed is just the product of your stroke length (distance per stroke) and stroke rate (in strokes per minute).  So you can swim faster by increasing either stroke length or stroke rate so long as you increase one by more than you decrease the other (if at all).  So measuring your golf stroke is a great way to see what works best for you to achieve this.

Most of us do pretty well with stroke length (distance per stroke) so this week we will work on stroke rate.  I find most people are better at increasing stroke rate, without significantly reducing stroke length, by focusing on either a faster push (i.e. back-end of the stroke) or faster leg-kick.  The alternative – rushing the catch – is usually a sure-fire way of reducing your distance per stroke.  So when we do golf stroke this week please try either the faster legs or faster push at the end of your pull and see what works best for you to get your arms spinning faster.

See you Saturday!

Rob

Please accept my apologies for two mistakes I made last week – for mucking up my blog post and for giving lane 4 too short a session.  Well done, however, for coping with my mistakes (as all good triathletes cope with mishaps) and all of your excellent efforts during the very high intensity USRPT set we did.  I saw some of the most tired triathletes after that session that I have seen so far this year.  What was even more pleasing, though, was that most people did the set as intended – swimming at 5s intervals and missing out 2 or 3 50s when their time dropped off – rather than doing the “I’m a tough triathlete thing” of ploughing all the way through the set without missing any out.  Given I hadn’t got my blog post published to remind you that was great to see!

My post last week was all about patience, which you can see here, and I want to continue the theme this week with the drills we will be doing before the main set.  We will be doing hip-connector drill again as well as reverse catch-up to give you the chance to practise being patient with the catch.  When doing hip connector drill aim to only practise the timing of the catch and not to get any propulsion whatsoever (that will all come from your legs).  Do the same with reverse catch-up and focus on getting all of your propulsion from the push at the end of your stroke.  Then transfer that into the full stroke as well.

The main set is the revised version of the Brownlee main set we tried in the late Summer last year with progressively-paced 100s of progressively shorter turnaround times.  As you do this main set please try to keep your patience with the catch and focus on getting the extra speed all from the back-end push part of your stroke and faster stroke rate.

 

See you Saturday!

Rob

 

Photo by Chris Coe on Unsplash

Well done for all of you efforts last week with the quicker breathing.  I saw some excellent improvements in stroke tempo and heard that some of you also felt the increase in power in the stroke.  This week we will be doing a little bit more on the quicker breathing as well as done some work on the legs.  Using your legs well has a similar benefit to good breathing and really helps with the rythm of your stroke (as well as removing the brakes if your kick is poor and affecting your body position).

In the kick set this week I’d like you to think about the following:

  • When kicking try and keep your legs straight, with toes pointed, and kick from the hips. Your knees will naturally flex a bit when you do this but you should resist letting this happen as it almost always results in excessive bending of the knee which just increases drag and slows you down.
  • A great way to check your legs is when kicking on your back without a float, but always remember:
    • Never, ever, kick on your back with your arms by your sides – always keep your arms above your head in a streamlined position
    • Keep your knees under the water at all time – the only part of your legs to break the surface should be your feet
  • When doing full stroke your legs set the tempo for your arms. Hence, a great way to avoid over-reaching on your pull is to focus on keeping a steady tempo with your legs which will make it impossible to pause on your arms stroke.  A pause in your arm stroke is almost always accompanied by a pause in your leg kick.

We will also be doing some sprints at the end of the session this week and this is another great opportunity to work on your legs.  Again, the legs set the tempo for your stroke so focusing on a really fast, hard leg kick will naturally increase your stroke rate without you feeling the need to rip your arms through the water and start slipping water.

See you Saturday!

Rob

This week we will be doing some new drills to focus on breathing and especially the timing of the breathing.  This is really important to try and get right as it really affects the quality of your EVF catch every time you breathe, which is one of the improvements that many of us could make.  Please watch the following video for details of some of the drills we will be doing this week:

This is one of my favourite videos that Chloe has done as it is so packed full of excellent drills and some great examples of both what it looks like when you get the timing wrong and what it should look like when you get the timing right.  I see quite a few examples of the errors in the catch caused by slow breathing on Saturday mornings week so please do play close attention to this video and especially the drills demonstrated on breath timing as we will be doing them this week.

See you Saturday,

Rob

 

Well done for all of your efforts in the pool leading over the last few weeks.  I know many of you found some of the front crawl drills and different strokes challenging but I have seen some excellent improvements from many of you with the hard work you have put in.

Normally in January we start the build-up to the new season by starting some speed work.  This year, however, I plan to delay the start of the speed work until February to give us a bit more time to to focus on the technique improvements we’ve been working on over the Winter.  We will do a bit more work practising an early vertical forearm – since this is the one thing most of us could do more of to improve our speed and efficiency – but also do a bit of work on other aspects like head and body position.

We will stick with the usual pattern of doing time trials every 2 months – on the last Saturday of the month – and the next time trials will be at the end of January.  We won’t be doing any speed work before then so any improvement in your performance is most likely to come from technique. So please focus on your technique over the next few weeks by getting a good lever, with an early vertical forearm, to push yourself forward from a strong core rotation.

See you Saturday,

Rob

Well done for all of your efforts last week with backstroke.  I saw some excellent efforts and good-looking backstroke, especially when some of you took your time a bit more on the drills.  This week we will be doing some breast stroke and I have another excellent Chloe Sutton video for you to watch here:

“But breast stroke is so unlike front crawl – how on earth can it make me a better triathlete!?  You are just having a laugh!”,  I hear you all cry (especially Juliet…!)  My three answers to that question this week are:

  1. A good breast stroke pull has the same key feature as a front crawl pull – a high-elbow and vertical forearm (watch 4:30 into the video for a great demonstration).
  2. Doing different strokes give you a different way of developing your feel for the water – and makes you a better all-round swimmer – and better all-round swimmers usually swim faster at front crawl due to their improved feel for the water.
  3. It’s fun to try and learn new things!

When we do the drills this week we will be following a similar pattern to the drill progression Chloe talks about in her video – kick then pull then timing.  So please do enjoy doing the breast stroke this week alongside our more familiar aerobic-paced front crawl sets.  And remember – bring your feet to your booty on the kick!

See you Saturday,

Rob

This week we will be doing the first set of time trials of the Winter season to give you a chance to set a baseline to measure your Winter swimming progress.  It will follow a similar format for previous years with a long warm-up followed by a 400m and 100m time trial.  Those not swimming will be counting strokes and taking your split times so you will get numbers informing you how how well you pace the swim together with measures of your distance per stroke, strokes per minute and an estimate of your critical swim speed (the pace you can sustain for very long swims).

Many of you have been doing some excellent work on your stroke over the last couple of months – especially getting an Early Vertical Forearm – so this is a great opportunity to practise maintaining this good technique under the pressure of a race-like situation.  To do this, why not take some inspiration from David McNamee, who came 3rd at the Kona Ironman World Championships this year, who recently tweeted ‘Race the first two thirds of the race with your head and the last third with your heart’ – un…

I think it’s a good way to think about pacing your 400m time trial as well, as it is for an Ironman, the only think I would say to adapt it is to say “Race the first 300m with your head and the last 100m with your heart”.

See you Saturday!

Rob

Great work again last week on the Early Vertical Forearm.  It was terrific to see the improvements many of you are making with this and to hear that many of you are feeling the difference, too.  We have one more week of doing drills to practise this before we do our first time trials of the Winter next week.  We will be doing similar drills to previous weeks but this time swum as 50s rather than 25s before we get into the main set.  In the main set we will also be doing some EVF drills to remind you to keep that beautiful EVF throughout the set.

For those of you that have taken advantage of the underwater video recording over the past couple of weeks you will have a pretty good idea of how much of an EVF you are currently achieving.  You can see a fantastic example of EVF in the short clip of Rebecca Adlington below:

Now we are all unlikely to reach the level of EVF that Rebecca did but even small improvements are likely to make a positive difference so please do try your best at this.  And we will have the video camera again this week so if you do want to try and see what you look like underwater please ask Chrissie or myself.

See you Saturday,

Rob

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