Archives for posts with tag: stroke rate

With the Jess Learmonth inspiration from last week it seems only fitting to follow this week from some Alistair Brownlee inspiration from his silver in the 70.3 World Championships.  You can see a nice race summary below if you missed it.

This gives us a great excuse to do the Brownlee set of progressively paced 100s this week.  I really like this set as it’s a great workout, at a variety of different speeds, and for me captures well the combative and attacking style of racing that both of the Brownlee brothers have brought to triathlon.  To prepare for it we will be doing some higher stroke rate drills to remind you about the importance of a good stroke rate, which is more efficient than trying to keep your stroke too long over the longer distances that we race in triathlon.

See you Saturday!

Rob

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Well done for everyone who made the effort to do the time trials last week.  You should now have some excellent data on your stroke rate (in strokes per minute) and distance per stroke (in metres).  If you missed the time trials then you can measure these variables yourself in a public session by counting and using a stopwatch.  Or come along to the next time trials at the end of March.

As most of you will know, swimming fast is all governed by a very simple equation:

speed = stroke rate x distance per stroke

So those of you doing 60 strokes per minute and averaging 1m per stroke will be going 60m per minute, which is 1min 40s pace per 100m.  This equation tells you that increasing either stroke rate or distance per stroke  will make you go faster (while holding the other variable at a similar level).

We’ve been thinking a lot about technique improvements that improve your distance per stroke so far this winter and now I want to focus more on stroke rate as we pick up the pace towards race season.  So this week we will do some drills to get you swimming at a higher stroke rate.  Don’t worry about your distance per stroke when doing the drills but do try and carry the faster stroke rate into the following swim sets at a similar distance per stroke that you usually swim.  Try and think of it like spinning in an easy gear on the bike.  Getting used to a higher cadence on a bike can often be more efficient and make you go faster overall, as many of you know, and a similar thing can true for many of us when we swim.

See you Saturday!

Rob

Well done for all of your efforts on the 50s while I was away.  It is a bit quieter in the pool now we are into race season so please make use of the extra space and leave 5 second intervals between each other.

This week we will be doing a main set consisting of blocks of 100s off a short turnaround with some extra rest in between each block.  Please try and swim these with a fast stroke rate.  Use some quick breathing to help with this.

See you Saturday!

Rob

I will be away on holiday for the next two weeks so will be leaving the sessions in the Tri Club box at the pool.  Chrissie had kindly offered to coach the 7am session but then has to leave to coach the Juniors.  So please do take advantage of Chrissie’s excellent coaching and I hope you enjoy the sessions.

We will be continuing the theme of picking up the pace with some speed-endurance 100s this week followed by the Will Clarke set of fast/steady 50s next week.  The drills will all be around working on your stroke rate as we started to do last week.

Please work on your stroke rate and search for some “easy speed”.  Often I find “easy speed” can come when trying to swim fast off a short turnaround – so knowing you need to keep some energy back for the next swim as the rest between swims won’t provide enough.  A higher stroke rate, without dropping too much length in your stroke, is often the result of this focus so enjoy practising over the next two weeks.

See you soon!

Rob

I hope you were all as impressed as I was by all the action in Rotterdam last week – from both the Elites, Age Groupers, Para and especially members of our club that raced and Don has recently written about.  Inspired by their efforts I thought it was only fitting to do a set this week like the training they do themselves.  So we will be doing the Brownlee main set of progressively-paced 100s that we have done before.  This time, however, we will be making them 1-3 progressive, rather than 1-5 progressive as we usually do, to make it more of an action-packed set like the action we saw on from Rotterdam last week!

In the technique subset we will be doing some head-up front crawl and straight-arm recovery front crawl to help you focus on getting your stroke high for the main set.  Really think about a getting a quick catch when doing this – keeping it short and fast at the front of the stroke.  Then keep this going with a nice quick catch when you get into the full stroke swimming.

See you tomorrow,

Rob

Well done to everyone for your efforts last week during the longer sessions.  And special kudos to Alex, Simon and Edda who did a the full 3 hours (I hope I didn’t miss anyone else that did the full monty)!  This week is back to normal with our 7-8 and 8-9:15am sessions and we will be doing some aerobic paced 150s as the main set.

For technique this week we will be working on stroke rate after several weeks of focusing on the high-elbow underwater pull with a pause.  This is especially important when swimming in open water where a slightly higher stroke rate, and straighter-arm recovery, is often more effective (and efficient) to help overcome the additional resistance in the shoulders from the wetsuit.  So this week there will be a chance to practice it in the pool with some head-up front crawl and straight-arm recovery drills.  Try and do these drills to increase the stroke rate above the water (and not worrying about how pretty or careful your hand-entry is) but keeping that good high-elbow underwater pull we have been working on over the last few weeks.

See you tomorrow,

Rob

The main theme for this month is all going to be about stroke rate as we build towards the next set of time trials at the end of the month (see my previous post about stroke rate).  So the aim is keeping that beautiful high-elbow pull we’ve been working on before Christmas and increasing the stroke rate to something closer to race pace.

For those of you at Tim’s session this Thursday morning we did some excellent work on this with the fast first 8 strokes of each 50 in the first set.  On Saturday we will be doing some more work on this with some head-up frontcrawl, straight-arm recovery and golf stroke.  Key things I’d like you to think about on each of these are:

  • Do short-fast strokes when doing head-up front crawl and kick your legs strongly to help keep them afloat.  A slow, long stroke is really hard with your head up.
  • On straight-arm recovery let your hands splash into the water quickly, as they will want to do if you’ve kept them straight and high during the recovery, before you do your usual high-elbow underwater pull.
  • For golf stroke remember to add your time to your stroke count for each 50 to determine your golf stroke.  Try to reduce your golf stroke by increasing your stroke rate to swim faster while keeping your stroke count pretty similar.

See you Saturday!

Rob

We will be doing some more fast-paced, USRPT 50s this week where the target is to swim at a faster pace than you can sustain for the whole set without missing some out.  Remember, leave 5s intervals between swimmers and take your times for every 50.  As soon as your time drops by 1s or more miss the next one out and take the extra recovery.

We will be continuing with a mix of fast and speed endurance sets for the remainder of September to help you keep your race speed going until the end of the season.  From October we will drop back to more technique and steady-paced aerobic swimming as the first part of winter training.

If you like numbers, are enjoyed the Swim Smooth Olympic analysis video I posted last week, then you may also be interested in the follow-up analysis Paul Newsome has published on stroke rates and stroke lengths from the Olympics, which you can find here.  The trade-off between stroke length and stroke rate is particularly important and is one of the reasons we measure both of these when we do the 400m time trials throughout the winter.  This is a theme I will return to again when we get into the Winter training.

See you Saturday!

Rob

After the steady paced swims last week we will start picking up the pace a this week and do some work on stroke rate as we build towards the next set of time trials at the end of the month.  So we will be doing some head-up front crawl to work on increased stroke rate as well as some golf stroke swimming to help you try and find the right balance between stroke rate and efficiency.  Please see my previous post on stroke rate if you have forgotten about why this is important or how to measure your golf stroke. Knowing your golf stroke will require you to know your times when swimming each 50 so hopefully you are well practised now after my post last week and the session on Saturday!

A natural reaction from many of us when asked to increase stroke rate is concern that either your stroke length with shorten or you will need to increase your effort and hence reduce efficiency.  However, this is often not the case and a higher stroke rate can often be more efficient.  This is because most of your propulsion comes from the second half of your underwater pull so doing more of these parts of the pull every minute can make a big difference in your speed. It’s a bit like spinning in an easier  gear on your bike and one that enables you to go faster for less effort overall.  The best way to find out is to try it so play around with your stroke rate over the next few weeks to see what works best for you.

See you Saturday!

Rob

Happy New Year everyone!  I hope you had a good break over Christmas and New Year and are looking forward to 2016.  So with my first post of the  year I wanted to talk a bit about the plan for the next few months and what I’d like you to focus on this week.

We will be doing the the usual pre-season build-up over the next few months which means a gradual introduction of some more faster-paced swimming to get ready for the start of the main triathlon season in May.  There will be two more time trials to help you track progress, at the end of January and the end of March.  And I will be introducing a type of fast-paced swimming set that I think is particularly effective at getting you used to race-pace swimming.  However, it does require you to know the times you are swimming for each rep.

I’d really like you to start getting into the habit of knowing your times starting this week.  I have written about this before but as a reminder I think there are a number of very good reasons to do this:

  • It’s a great objective measure on your progress on a far more frequent basis that you can get from doing time trials
  • It ensures better lane discipline, and hence better training for everyone in the lane, as you will be going on more regular intervals (ideally 5s intervals but 3s intervals if the lane is crowded)
  • It will be essential to do some of the sets I have planned
  • Knowing your time will avoid the embarrassment of having to say “I don’t know” when I randomly select you to ask what times you are swimming!

The other key thing to think about as we pick up the pace is technique.  Before Christmas most of the technique work we did were drills to help with your body position and pull but done slowly so really helping increase your distance per stroke.  As we pick up the pace we will be doing some more drills focused on increasing your stroke rate.  Both stroke rate and distance per stroke are essential for fast swimming so play around with varying both of these over the coming months to see what combination works best for you.

See you Saturday!

Rob

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