Tag Archives: swimming

Fantastic Finish Foto Friday – Steel Bike Declan

Welcome to Fantastic Finish Photo Friday. We want to bask in the awesomeness of your finish photos. A finish photo captures a moment in time, where you overcame the challenges of the race and training, and reached your goal. The feeling of elation as you cross the line is what keeps us pushing our own limits. Please consider sharing your own photo to inspire others who are working toward their own finish.

This week’s photo is from Declan Kenny:

getting-medal

This is me getting my medal as I crossed the line for my first half ronman, the ‘Ireman Triathlon’ in Northern Ireland, 27 Sept 2015.

Read more about Declan’s first HIM on his blog: http://unironedman.com/

If you are a new or beginner triathlete and would be interested in coaching, please email me at firsttimetri+coaching@gmail.com.

Please consider sharing your own photo to inspire others who are working toward their own finish. It doesn’t have to be from a triathlon, just any race that has special meaning to you. If you are interested in sharing, please send a message to firsttimetri@gmail.com.

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Workout Wednesday – Be a Torpedo

Welcome to Workout Wednesday. Every Wednesday I will post a new Triathlon specific workout. If you like the workout, fit it into your training plan for the week. If you don’t like the workout you’re crazy, all of my workouts are brilliant pieces programming. (kidding)

Torpedo

The most important factor for swimming fast and efficient is body position. For maximum speed and efficiency your body should be straight and level, like a torpedo flowing through the water. Sounds easy right? Not really. Anyone new to swimming will tell you, their legs are constantly sinking, and their heads are popping up. Maintaining good body position requires core strength, and body awareness. The problem is good body position doesn’t come naturally, and takes some effort and practice.

Body position training is time well spent. You will see instant improvements in your speed and efficiency. Your position can always be improved, so this work is suited for swimmers of all levels.

To maintain good body position keep slight pressure on your chest, a neutral head position, and hips elevated. Think of your body as a seesaw in the water. As your head rises your feet sink, and conversely as you press down with your chest your feet will rise. Core activation is key to keeping a level body. To activate your core muscles, imagine pulling your belly button up toward the top of the water. You ever notice great swimmers have awesome abs?

Check out this video from Triathlete.com explaining good body position.

On to the workout,

Body position training:

Warm up 200 meter Freestyle (FS)

5 min – Torpedo drills

50 meters – Superman glide

100 meters – Smooth Freestyle – Focus on good body position

50 meters – Superman glide

100 meters – Smooth Freestyle – ”

50 Meters – Superman Flutter – Arms extended forward using a light kick to move forward

100 meters – Smooth Freestyle – ”

50 meters – Torpedo Flutter 

4 X 100 meters Freestyle – Focus on using best body position possible for each 100 meter repeat.

Did the 100 meter repeats at the end seem faster and easier? I do at least a few of these drills as a warm up for every swim session. It reminds my body of the correct position, and it is great core work as well. As you get fatigued it gets more difficult to hold the position, so keep your focus.

Thanks for reading. I hope this workout helps your swimming. For more swimming tips check out:

Intro to swimming Part I

Intro to swimming Part II

Photo Credit

The Definitive 10 Tips For New Triathletes

Are you ready to take on a triathlon? Fantastic, let’s get you started. Below are top ten tips to have a great first race. Check out the links embedded in the tips to dig deeper into each topic. Happy training, and I hope you have great first triathlon.

1. To get started, Sign up for a race

Close up of sign up form

Signing up to the race sounds kind of obvious, but  is very important. First, signing up tells your brain it’s go time.With that race day looming in the near future you will be more committed to train. . Second, choose a race that gives you the proper amount of time to train, but not lose your motivation. A training cycle of 8-12 weeks works well for new triathletes. Lastly, after you sign up, tell your family and friends. They will know you are serious about your new goal, and be your support system.

7 Tips for Selecting Your First Triathlon

Continue reading The Definitive 10 Tips For New Triathletes

Three Steps to Overcoming Swim Fears.

pool

The number one fear of new triathletes is swimming. Unless you learned to swim as a child and have been around water your entire life, learning to swim as an adult can be daunting. It is perfectly rational to have this fear. As humans we can survive in water, but its not our natural habitat. Did you know the average dolphin is 80% efficient moving through the water, and an world class swimmer is only 12%.

The key to learning to swim and overcoming your fear is to become more comfortable in the water. If you can learn to relax and not fight the water, you ability to swim will increase quickly.

Here three steps to get you more comfortable in the water, and eventually swimming. You have to get comfortable first to make progress in your swimming:

Continue reading Three Steps to Overcoming Swim Fears.

Fantastic Finish Photo Friday – First Triathlon, an Ironman? No Problem.

Welcome to another edition of Fantastic Finish Photo Friday. We want to bask in the awesomeness of your finish photos. A finish photo captures a moment in time, where you overcame the challenges of the race and training, and reached your goal. The feeling of elation as you cross the line is what keeps us pushing our own limits. Please consider sharing your own photo to inspire others who are working toward their own finish.

This week’s Fantastic Finish Photo is from Richie Gardiner:

 

Fi

Continue reading Fantastic Finish Photo Friday – First Triathlon, an Ironman? No Problem.

Workout Wednesday – 5 Tips for Better Open Water Swimming in the Pool

Happy Wednesday! Welcome to another edition of Workout Wednesday. Every Wednesday I will post a new Triathlon specific workout. If you like the workout, fit it into your training plan for the week. If you don’t like the workout you’re crazy, all of my workouts are brilliant pieces programming. (HAHA)

Today’s Workout – Open Water Swim – Pool Style

Pool Lanes

The number one fear for new triathletes is the open water swim. The thought of jumping in that dark water with arms and legs churning everywhere, causes some serious anxiety.

I have good news and bad news about open water training. The bad news, to get good in open water, you need to practice in open water. You may not have access to open water, or you may be too intimidated right now. Here’s the good news, you can work on some skills in the pool that will translate to open water.

Here’s 5 tips to improve your open water swimming in the pool:

Continue reading Workout Wednesday – 5 Tips for Better Open Water Swimming in the Pool

Fantastic Finish Photo Friday – Lisa

Welcome to another edition of Fantastic Finish Photo Friday. We want to bask in your awesomeness from your finish photos. A finish photo captures a moment in time, where you overcame the challenges of the race and training, and reached your goal. The feeling of elation as you cross the line is what keeps us pushing our own limits. Please consider sharing your own photo to inspire others who are working toward their own finish.

This week’s Fantastic Finish Photo is from Lisa Freeman:First time triathlete Lisa

 

From Bodiam Castle Tri

Lisa:  I was so nervous for my first tri but I needn’t have been. The atmosphere was great, the people were supportive & friendly. I had an epic feeling of fun the whole time. My lasting thought?..that was amazing, when can I do it again?

Awesome job Lisa! How many times do you get to swim in a moat?

Do you have a photo you would like to share? Don’t be shy, send it to firsttimetri@gmail.com, Please add a quick paragraph of what the photo means to you. Please share and be an inspiration to others.

Fantastic Finish Photo Friday

Welcome to another edition of Fantastic Finish Photo Friday. We want to bask in your awesomeness from your finish photos. A finish photo captures a moment in time, where you overcame the challenges of the race and training, and reached your goal. The feeling of elation as you cross the line is what keeps us pushing our own limits. Please consider sharing your own photo to inspire others who are working toward their own finish.

This week’s photo is from Jim Barke:

Jim's First Triathlon Finish
Jim’s First Triathlon Finish
Here is a picture of me finishing my first triathlon.
 
The journey to be a triathlete began two years ago while I was cheering my kids on in their swimming lessons.  As they progressed I quickly realized that it was time for me to put my lifelong fear of water behind me.  I began with basic group swimming lessons, private lessons and everything in between.  I was ready to give up about six months ago.  Then something started to click and family, friends and others encourage me to continue.  This long journey was tough but I am so glad that I finished the Chaska Triathlon and will be doing my second one in September. 
 
Hear more about Jim’s first triathlon here on Jim’s blog.
 
Awesome photo Jim. Overcoming your fear of water must have been no easy task, but you persisted and made it to the finish line. Best of luck on your second race.

Do you have a photo you would like to share? Don’t be shy, send it to firsttimetri@gmail.com, Please add a quick paragraph of what the photo means to you. Please share and be an inspiration to others.

 

 

 

 

 

No More Controlled Drowning – Intro to Swimming Part II

In Part I, we discussed Body Position and Breathing. Those two skills are very important, but don’t get you anywhere. You need oars to get the boat moving. Your stroke is your oars, and that is what we will cover in this post.

This post in not meant to be the definitive post on stroke technique. The goal here is to master the fundamentals and set a good base for refinement as your swimming progresses. A perfect freestyle stroke, if there is really such a thing, takes years to develop. With a good fundamental stroke you will be able to cover longer distances with better efficiency.

The freestyle stroke can be broken down into four parts:

  • Entry
  • Catch
  • Pull
  • Recovery

Continue reading No More Controlled Drowning – Intro to Swimming Part II

No More Controlled Drowning – Intro to Swimming Part I

Do you get winded swimming one length of the pool? Do you legs feel like they are always sinking? Or do you just flail your arms and legs and hope you get somewhere?  I call this controlled drowning, and that is how I swam my first race. It was a long and difficult swim, and made me quickly realize, I better work on my form.

Learning to swim correctly is the number one reason I hear from people why they can’t race a triathlon. To be honest, unless you learned to swim as a child, learning to swim as an adult is challenging. The best way to learn as an adult is to break down swimming into fundamental skills that can be combined into an effective stroke.

The first two fundamentals of swimming are Body Position and Breathing. These are the first two skills to develop efficient swimming.

Body Position

The most effective way to move through the water in freestyle swimming is to keep your body streamlined. Your body should be extended, just below the surface of the water. Try to keep your legs up and together. Think of your body as a see-saw, with your hips as the pivot point. Your legs are usually more dense than your torso and will want to sink. Your job is the press down and forward with your chest to keep your legs up.

Here’s a great demonstration of balance from Total Immersion. Notice in the beginning of the video the difference in body positions. Next the clip show some drills for practicing good body position. The superman glide drill shown is very effective to imprint good balance. I do this drill before every swim session.

In this video from Speedo UK, you can see some nice graphics that explain proper body position.

Good Body Position = Neutral head position + Streamlined body + Legs up

Drills – Superman Glide, One arm Glide

 

Swim Breathing – Intro

Breathing in freestyle swimming can be challenging to learn. Once you to get the hang of it, like riding a bike, you will not forget how. The issue most new swimmers have with breathing is holding their breath. If you are holding your breath, or breathing shallow, you can’t swim long distances. Try and take a breath every ten seconds while running, and your heart rate will spike quickly. It’s the same when you are swimming. When you start to breath correctly ability to swim more distance will increase dramatically.

Proper breathing in the freestyle stroke involves two things. First, when your face is in the water breath out completely. You can breath out from your either nose or your mouth, your preference. Be sure to breath out the entire time your face is in the water. This keeps water from entering your breathing, makes sure you are breathing deep enough.

Second, rotate your body and take a breath. While the arm of the side you are breathing on is out of the water, rotate your body and take a breath. You want a quick bite of air, and go back to breathing out. Ideally you should only have one goggle out of the water when you breath. If you are looking up when you breath, you are over rotating. A good cue to remember is to act like you are laying on your side with your arm stretched out like a pillow.

Below is a video from Bob Bowmen, Micheal Phelp’s coach on swimming breathing. He gives some great insights into proper freestyle breathing.

In this video from USMS, they do a great job explaining common mistakes in freestyle breathing:

 

Good Freestyle Breathing = Breath out face in the water + Rotate your body to breath.

In Part II, we will go over the stroke and catch. Now get to the pool and practice that good position.