London Triathlon Training Guidelines: Swim
Production Editor, Adam Hurrell will take on the swim leg of the London Triathlon in 4 weeks time. Coached by Phil Mosley, here’s a look at his training as he prepares for his 1500m swim in the Royal Victoria Docks.
“I can swim 1km in the pool, but I need to stop for short rests every few lengths. I also benefit from getting a good kick off the wall, which I obviously won’t get at the London Triathlon! My swimming feels very hard from a cardiovascular perspective, and I only seem to have one intensity – hard.
“I’ve never swam properly in open water before, but I’m a qualified scuba diver so at least I have some experience of swimming in a wetsuit, even if it’s with flippers.”
Coach Mosley Says:
Swim training isn’t like cycling and running, where you can quickly improve by simply doing more training than before. There’s a skill element to it that can’t be ignored as well as the prospect of swimming in a wetsuit in murky open water, with hundreds of other swimmers in close proximity. Taking all this into account, there are three main things that Adam needs to focus on leading up to the London Triathlon swim:
Before we worry about improving his fitness Adam needs to work on his swim technique. So I’ve arranged for him to attend a coached tri-club session once per week and I’ve asked the coach to help him out. He doesn’t need to worry about completing the entire 1-hour session each time and he can take rests whenever he needs them. The most important thing is that he gets some stroke feedback, which he can then focus on during his mid-week swims. He should also ask the swim coach to show him some technique drills, which he can practice in his solo swims.
- Open water experience.
No matter how much Adam’s swim stroke improves over the next few weeks, he still needs to get some open water swimming experience. Otherwise he’ll be in for a shock on race day. Open water swimming can be quite scary at first, so he needs to build up his confidence slowly. It’s also an opportunity to practice sighting skills, get used to swimming in a bunch and get a feel for swimming in a wetsuit.
I’ve advised Adam to do four swims per week, in place of some of the gym training he was previously doing. The more he swims, the fitter he will become and the more time he can spend refining his stroke. I’ll gradually progress his training so that he gets to a level where he can swim 1500m in a pool. I’ll also progress the amount of time he trains at race-pace, so that he becomes accustomed to the speed as well as the distance. At the same time, it’s important that we include some kick, breaststroke and backstroke. This will allow him to maintain his fitness whilst reducing the strain on the front of his shoulders that can be caused by swimming frontcrawl all the time.
Aside from a swimming costume and goggles, he’ll need a kick float (hold it out in front of you and kick) and a pull buoy (stick it between your thighs and swim without kicking). Depending on the outdoor water temperature, he’ll probably need a swimming wetsuit too.
You can view Adam’s training plan here.
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