Weekly Swim Session Plan 17 October 2017

Download and print this session plan here: session plan 141

This week, we are working on transferring an effective catch into the most propulsive stroke element – the pull.

Warm Up:

2 x 100m, the first easy, the second, steady.

Technical set:

200m as head-up life-saver (Tarzan) drill, going up the pool, swim back normal freestyle

200m as 1-finger drill going up the pool, swim back

200m as doggy paddle to halfway, swim to wall

Main set:

400m stroke count with pull buoy (use a powerful pull off an effective catch, to increase stroke length)

400m – 1200m zone 3 tempo / sweet spot swimming

Warm down:

100m – 200m     Easy to very easy

Total Volume:

1700m – 2600m

Coaching Points:

 

Keep the head still during lifesaver – look straight toward the end of the pool.

How many strokes per length are you pulling when focusing on a strong pull?  More, or fewer than your standard swim length?

Focus on effective catch and a pull that has purpose, throughout your tempo swim reps.

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Weekly Swim Session Plan 9 October 2017

Download and print this session plan here: session plan 140

This week, we are back to volume but just to keep it interesting, we will use this as an opportunity for some back-to-back testing for comparison with previous swims, consistency in the session and future tests (perhaps at the end of the off-season transition?).

Warm Up:

2 x 100m, the first easy, the second, steady.

Technical set:

100m as ‘high swingers’

Main set:

T20.1 swim test – count / measure the distance swum in 20 minutes.

2 minutes rest

T20.2 swim test – count / measure the distance swum in 20 minutes.

Warm down:

100m – 200m     Easy to very easy

Total Volume:

2000m – 3000m

Coaching Points:

This session takes time, so if your pool access is constrained to 1 hour, get in and get on it – not too much time for socialising today!

During the T20 don’t set out too hard. I’ll always pace a distance swim by feeling easy at the start, steady in the middle and hard at the end.  If you feel yourself tiring, really hone your technique focus, to maintain your swim pace.

Make a note of your performance for past / future reference.

All Roads Lead to Kona

It’s taken a while to reach the end of the 2017 season and on reflection, it’s been one of mixed results both for the people I’ve coached and for my own season.

Actually, ‘mixed’ flatters my own season.

Unwinding the season, from most recent memories, Paul ‘Bear’ Machin, just this week having been leading Deca Ironman UK during day one, came off his bike on day two, which landed him in A&E. The good news is though, his new TT bike is OK (I know you all worry about such things).

Jane’s DNF at IM Barcelona, largely attributable to her bike accident before travelling out to the race was disappointing for her but is set on a backdrop of an outstanding race in Dublin 70.3 and a solid season opener at Staffordshire 70.3. Copenhagen awaits for her in 2018.

Nicola produced a solid 3rd place at Brutal Full, backing up her performance earlier in the season at Celtman ultra triathlon.

Dan was outstanding in Hamburg, with a sub-11 Ironman debut and looking forward to carving to 10:30 in Kalmar next season (he didn’t say that, I did).

Helen, rounded out the season with an impressive ultramarathon after her excellent swim-bike at IM UK, her performance only softened by digestion issues during the run.

Jenny completed her second Ironman at UK and almost skipped through the run, with what some might consider almost too much energy….hummm. IM Nice and Col de la Madone await in 2018.

Carl ‘Team Riptide’ Jennings roared over the finish line in IMUK, having not made the swim cut-off in Lanzarote. There’s unfinished business to tend to.

Monika rounded out the season with her first middle distance race at Yorkshire Sundowner, after a tough race at the Alpe d’Huez and takes forward many of her lessons learned into 2018.

Gabi was a DNS having not travelled to Alpe d’Huez, despite winning two early season races in Lanzarote.

My last mention, goes to Tanja, the fastest, hardest working athlete on the roster. She didn’t miss a planned session all year and became German Duathlon Champion having made incredible gains in her run performance. From all the races of the season, there were no Kona age group qualifiers to touch her. Having a 20-minute lead on the bike in her qualifying race, she approached the city of Hamburg for the final time, crashing out on a railway crossing and breaking her collar bone in two places and the entire left side of her rib cage, as a result. She’s just now on the verge of being able to train again, having swum her first few strokes of freestyle.

So here we are, a week out from Kona and looking forward to the live streamed coverage of Ryf, Vesterby, Cheetham, Frodeno, Sanders and Kienle. I’ll enjoy watching the best in the world in the greatest triathlon spectacle in the world but my mind will be on a relatively unknown German and the thought of what might have been.

2018 starts here.

Paul

GI Tri Coach

Weekly Swim Session Plan 2 October 2017

Download and print this session plan here: session plan 139

This week’s session continues our off-season alternating sessions or one week, technical, the next, high volume. This week we shift our focus to the front of our stroke, with hand entry and catch technique, over a fairly low volume session.

Warm Up:

4 x 50m, each faster than the last

Technical set:

200m as Finger trail drill

200m as Pause drill (hand entry pause)

200m as Sculling to halfway, swim to wall

200m as Doggy paddle to halfway, swim to wall

Quick catch

Main set:

400m or 800m Z3 tempo pace – use front end mental focus throughout

Warm down:

200m     Easy to very easy

Total Volume:

1600m – 2000m

Coaching Points:

Off finger trail, allow the hand to slip into the water, fingertips first (no splash).  Use a variant of pause drill, where the recovering arm is paused just before hand entry (the leading arm should be in catch position, not mid-pull).

Sculling video demonstration

Pause drill and quick catch video demonstrations

Weekly Swim Session Plan 25 September 2017

Download and print this swim session plan here: session plan 138

This week’s session begins out off-season alternating sessions of one week, technical, the next, high volume. This week encourages the swimmer to experiment with higher pace swimming during a volume set, in order to break the tendency to always fall back to ‘sweet-spot’ Z3 efforts.

Warm Up:

4 x 100m, 10 sec rest after each, gradually increasing in pace. Use an efficiency focus to swim faster.

Technical set:

4 x 50m as kick (no board) to halfway, swim to wall

Main set:

100m Z3 tempo pace 10 sec rest

200m Z3 tempo pace 20 sec rest

300m Z4 threshold pace 30 sec rest

200m or 400m Z5 VO2 (swim test pace) 2 min rest

300m or 500m Z3 threshold pace, 1 min rest

400m or 800m Z3 tempo pace, 1 min rest

Warm down:

200m     Easy to very easy

Total Volume:

1600m – 2400m

Coaching Points:

When kicking (without board) remember to engage your core and glutes, kick from the hip, with toes pointed and feet rotated slightly inward.  Maintain a ‘head down’ position taking a freestyle breath when required.

Novice swimmers, or those training for sprint distance races, use the shorter volume options.

Weekly Swim Session 19 September 2017

Download and print this session plan here: session plan 137

 

This week’s session reverts back to more technique content, as we seek to make gains through the off season by improving alignment, balance and propulsion.

Warm Up:

200m easy pace

Technical set:

3 x 50m as skating drill to halfway, swim to wall.

3 x 50m as 6-3-6 drill up the pool, regular freestyle coming back

3 x 50m as 1-finger drill up the pool, swim with full palm coming back

3 x 50m as head-up life-saver going up the pool, regular freestyle coming back

Main set:

1 – 3 X 400M (timed) – aim for consistency and compare to your previous 400m timed swims

Warm down:

200m     Very easy

Total Volume:

1600m – 2400m

Coaching Points:

Use the video links to become really familiar with how each drill is executed, for greatest impact and swim technique improvements:

Skating drill

6-3-6 drill

1-Finger drill demonstrated as closed fist drill

Head-up life-saver or Tarzan drill

All Change – Mind the Gap

I haven’t blogged in a while, well, save for the weekly session plans, as I only tend to write when I feel I have something to share, so after a hiatus of many weeks, here it is:

Last Tuesday was a sad day for me. I delivered my last session at New Chiswick Pool in West London.  It was a good session with attentive and committed swimmers as always.  Actually, they were extra attentive on that particular week, as we’d been told the pool would close early, allowing us just a half hour.  Deciding to make the best of it, they really put in the effort, red-faced and gasping after the intense sets and only just recovering after the easy ones.  It wasn’t until 35 minutes after the session start, that the pool advised us that it would stay open after all, leaving them to swim on a further 25 minutes, wringing out the last juice from whatever my presence meant for them.

We were accompanied that week by Louise, who’d watched from the viewing area for around four months, before finally deciding to make contact and come along.  I worked with Louise on her stroke and as easy as she was to coach, she made great strides in the time we had.  Oh, how I wished she had taken advantage of all four months of attendance since she first noticed our sessions as she waited for her kids to prepare for the squad session that followed us.

I had some of the regulars there, including Vicki, who’d returned having taken the Summer off, so it was good to see her before I left. Missing that week, was Sarah, who had attended almost all of the 136 session I delivered at the venue.  Lane one stalwart and the most determined swimmer I know, Gabi and her competitive buddy Monika were also there.  Noteworthy by his absence, Dan, working away in German, or Russia, or wherever last week had taken him.  Having just knocked out his first Ironman in well under 11 hours, the one thing I was certain of, is that wherever he was, he’d be doing the session in a hotel pool, or venturing out into the local community to find a public pool that was open and accessible.

After the session, we said our goodbyes. It’ true to say, that I’ll be back, at some point, perhaps for work, or just for a social visit, so I may get change to see some of them again, perhaps at Chiswick, Richmond Pools on the Park, or the lake at Shepperton?  It was with a heavy heart though when I drove away – the end of an era.

The reason for my departure isn’t anything to do with coaching but for the day job. My last working day was Friday, which was a final handover and demobilizing from my London flat.  With no time to spare, I had a presentation to give and a viva to sit, for my Level 3 British Triathlon coaching accreditation, back home to pack and now, Sunday afternoon, I’m beginning my mobilization.  No rest for the wicked!

I’m starting an international assignment of an indeterminate period, where I’ll be working for a buddy of mine out in Erbil, the capital of the Kurdistan region of northern Iraq. As I write, I’m on the train, heading for Manchester airport, then overnighting in Istanbul, before travelling  on to Erbil tomorrow.

It’s never certain how things will turn out but I’m told there are training facilities and a pool nearby.  I’m hoping to have more time to train while I’m away, to focus on a strict diet and take advantage of longer session when I’m home on leave.  Well, that’s the plan.

I intend to complete and publish the weekly training plans for those that follow them, including the Chiswick cohort and for my 1-1 athletes, Sunday morning should still see your training plans dropping into your inbox.

Once I’m there and have the lie of the land, I’ll post again and let you know what Ironman Erbil might look like!

Mind the gap.

Paul

GI Tri Coach