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How to Swim

How to Swim: Improving Your Triathlon Swim

“Helpful tips on how you can improve your Triathlon swim. Read it now!”

How to Swim

How to Swim

Does this sound familiar?
You’ve done your laps at the pool diligently all winter long and have gotten into rather good shape; the best shape you’ve been in, in years! Sure your swim technique may not be the best, but still, you’ve done the work and can confidently swim a mile in the pool with no problem. You’re looking forward to your first Tri of the season. The gun sounds…

• Scenario #1. Fifty yards into the swim… “Oh my God the water is cold. Crap, my goggles just fogged up. I can’t see anything except the blinding sun. Oh, God, there is a lot of thrashing going on around me! That jackass just kicked me in the face. OMG the water is cold, even in this new wetsuit, which by the way is tightening around my throat. I can’t even extend my arms. The Velcro strap is tearing away my flesh. I can’t breathe! I need air… #*!#%*…. I’m going to drown. PANIC. Where’s the life guard? Get me out of here.”

• Scenario #2. Fifty yards into the swim… “I am so glad I warmed up. I fixed those foggy goggles and readjusted my wet suit; I got my heart rate up and my blood flowing. I am really feeling the buoyancy of this new wet suit. I am flying by all the rookies out here. There’s the first buoy. It’s time to churn.”

#1. Avoid panic by warming up.

Panic, a frequent complaint in open water swims, happens to some of the strongest and ablest of swimmers. The best way to prevent panic is to get an adequate warm-up. The swim warm-up is the most disregarded of the essential pre-race activities. Unfortunately, the nature of the venue or the size of the field sometimes prevents triathletes from warming up, but if at all possible, get in, get moving and get acclimated to the cold. Not only will you get your cardiovascular system ready for the impending start, but you can test your goggles and wetsuit for mechanical problems.

#2. Swim horizontally in a streamlined manner – Water presents incredible resistance. To minimize this resistance (drag) you need to be as straight as an arrow. Your toes should be pointed and legs should be high in the water and close together. Keep your knees and ankles bumping each other while they float behind in the slipstream created by your head and torso. #2. Swim horizontally in a streamlined manner – Water presents incredible resistance. To minimize this resistance (drag) you need to be as straight as an arrow. Your toes should be pointed and legs should be high in the water and close together. Keep your knees and ankles bumping each other while they float behind in the slipstream created by your head and torso.

# 3. Don’t kick so furiously. Please stop kicking, especially with bent knees (bicycle kick). A powerful kick will certainly help good swimmers swim faster, but without good technique, kicking will slow you down, deplete your oxygen, and, ultimately, make you hate swimming. I tell struggling swimmers to stop kicking altogether and to practice with a pull buoy to improve your horizontal position and to eliminate your legs from the equation. Almost immediately, you will notice that it’s much easier to swim without the added resistance of thrashing legs and with the extra oxygen normally lost to them. Once the proper horizontal position is achieved, try to develop a proper kick which begins at the hips with propulsive forces traveling down the leg like a whip. It’s OK to use fins, but I recommend the longer fins rather than the short ones. Your knees will bend some, but the less so the better.

#4. Rotation – Just as in swinging a golf club or baseball bat, the power stroke in swimming is driven by rotation of the hips and is transmitted through the entire body from toes to fingertips. In addition to making it easier to breath because your head rotates with your body out of the water, the hip (and shoulder) rotation powers the underwater stroke where propulsion originates. When your right arm begins the pull, your right hip and shoulder should rotate out of the water powering the stroke. If you are swimming “flat”, without rotation, you will have less power and your body will naturally bend sideways at the hips to assist arm recovery creating more drag.

#5. Eliminate the arm crossover – An efficient “catch” initiates the power stroke. It should begin directly in front of your shoulder, not in front of your head, or worse, in front of your opposite shoulder. First problem: crossing over causes lateral movement of the hips which destroys your streamline, and 2nd, during the power stroke with a crossover, you push water sideways rather pulling and then pushing water from directly in front of you to directly behind you. The opposite problem, equally bad, is pulling too wide. During a proper pull, the path of your thumb should trace your midline. Do this with a slightly bent elbow, fingertips pointing down, but do not cross over the midline.

#6. Keep your head aligned with your spine. Triathletes who struggle with swimming complain that their legs sink. And they do! To overcome this, work on proper head position and use a pull buoy. Push your chest down. Your eyes should be looking straight down at the black line, not where you are going. (Open water swimming requires some additional visual skills – see below). The water line should be on the crown of your head, not on your forehead. Keep your forehead in the water at all times and keep one goggle in the water during the breath. More at The Top Ten Ways to Improve Your Triathlon Swims

Check out this video for more tips on How to Swim faster:

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Swim, Bike, Run, Laugh!: A Lighthearted Look at the Serious Sport of Triathlon and the Ironman Experience

Most books written about the sport of triathlon are pretty serious-Triathlon 101, Triathlon Training for Women, or Triathlon Training on Four Hours a Week.

Swim, Bike, Run, Laugh!: A Lighthearted Look at the Serious Sport of Triathlon and the Ironman ExperienceWhen I began training to become a triathlete, I looked for books that related to my life situation but could find nothing like Triathlon Training for the Married, Sleep-Deprived Father of Three or How to Do an Ironman without Training at All.

When I decided to write a book about the sport of triathlon and the Ironman experience, my goals were simple:

1. Provide myself with another excuse to skip some long training runs.

2. Address significant questions that a triathlete contemplates when sitting in a porta-potty before an Ironman race: Is it really necessary to put Vaseline on my nipples before the run? How can I tell if my kidneys have failed? What should I say to the people just coming out of T2 as I’m finishing the race?

3. Give something back to the sport, which has given me an appreciation for the delicate art of leg shaving, the joy of getting up at 5:00 a.m. on a regular basis, and that persistent feeling that no matter how much training I have done, I haven’t done enough.

Triathlon tips

Top 10 Best Triathlon Transitions You Shouldn’t Forget

“Top 10 Tips for Stress-Free Triathlon Transitions… What are they? Read on!”

triathlon transitionsPracticing triathlon transitions requires more than just jumping off your bike and going for a run. To zip through transitions, you need to make them automatic, otherwise you’ll burn up valuable time and energy on race day fretting over what to do and where to go.

For best triathlon transitions, do your research

  1. Make a list: Write down what you’ll need for the swim-to-bike transition and the bike-to-run transition. Put everything on the list you can think of; you can eliminate unnecessary items later.
  2. Write down race-day logistics: Are you able to walk to the transition area(s) from where you’re staying or is there a drive involved?
  3. If there’s a drive: Can you park near the transition area(s) or do you need to pack all your gear and walk, catch a shuttle, or ride your bike?
  4. Find out if your T1 and T2 areas are assigned or if it’s first-come, first-served setup. If it’s the later, you should probably plan to arrive early.
  5. Will you lay your gear out on the ground or do you put it in specific transition bags? Most World Triathlon Corp. (WTC) Ironman races and some 70.3 races give you specific bags for your bike and run gear. Note: If there are bags then make sure you tie them securely, yet in a manner where you can easily slip them open during the race.
  6. Practice setting up a transition area at home: Figure out how much time you need for setup. This might include pumping tires, and laying out your bike and run gear. Note: Be sure to give yourself some fudge time to account for unexpected delays.
  7. Determine if there is a single transition area: Sometimes T1 and T2 are in different locations.
  8. Visualize: Take note of all entrances and exits for the swim, bike and run legs of the race.
  9. Plan ahead: Find out where body marking takes place and decide if you will you do this step before or after you set up your transition area.
  10. Figure out how long it will take to get to the swim start from the transition area? At big races it can take 20 to 30 minutes just to funnel everyone over the timing mats.
Below is an informative video about triathlon transitions:

Areas for triathlon transitions are frantic places on race morning. If you leave your plan to chance, and follow the “I’ll just wing it” approach, that usually increases the craziness factor as you wander around stressing over where everything is. This wastes valuable energy as you pile on more anxiety to an already edgy situation.

When you use the tips above to create a transition strategy and take the time to visualize your transitions in the months leading up to the race, you’ll show up on race morning with the extra peace of mind that comes from knowing you’re prepared and ready for the day’s challenges…. More at 10 Tips for Stress-Free Transitions | Active.com

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