Weekly swim session 24 May 2016

Session Introduction

This week, we replicate a pre-race acclimatization, sprint start and long duration of continuous swimming required by open water events.

Warm-up

4 x 50m as 50 easy, 50 steady, 100 sprint

Main set:

40 minutes of continuous swimming, at race pace (for your race distance).

For sprint distance athletes, break out at least 2 x 750m continuous efforts as intervals, taking just a few seconds for composure between each.

Warm down:

200m – 400m Easy, down to very easy

Total distance (average) 2200-2800m

Coaching Points:

Observe lane etiquette

Having finished the warm-up with a sprint effort, start the main set after just a few seconds rest, focus on exhale as you bring your heart rate back down for race pace / distance effort

If you feel rising anxiety as the lengths mount up, check that you are exhaling properly into the water. As a secondary measure, ease off the pace but only slightly.

Have a drink on hand, in order to not become dehydrated.

Mojo Rising

This article reaches you, wherever you are in the world, from the pit of despair.  Yes, I have lost my training mojo.  If you see it lying by the side of the A316 somewhere between Chiswick and Feltham, do let me know, as I really miss it.

It’s not the first time I’ve lost my training mojo.  The truth is I’m relatively careless with it, often misplacing it for days at a time and sometimes barely noticing its gone.

As a coach, I often deal with athletes who’ve lost their mojo; but with a little joint effort, we usually find it again. A good few words of advice, to either enjoy the rest and rebuild from there, or a swift and certain reminder of “what we’re doing here” and they’re back on it.  Why then can’t I, with my years of experience and all the coaching tools in my box , not snap out of it and hit the road running?

As a write, I’m hoping that in explaining this situation to you, I’ll have an out of body experience and see myself sitting here, almost inactive, slowly gaining weight, with race dates rapidly approaching for the penny to drop. That moment of clarity when the plainly obvious presents itself and I spring into action….I’ll let you know if and when it happens…

When does missing the odd session become multiple sessions then back to back sessions and finally stubbornly refusing to train for just about any reason you can think of?  I’ve had a few niggling injuries over the last twelve weeks: time commitments that meant I couldn’t do my key weekend sessions, some late nights, some early mornings, a few headaches, mechanical issues (I think), something of a chest infection that didn’t really amount to much, a cold snap in British springtime weather, a hot spell in British springtime weather, friends visiting, family commitments, medical appointments, vehicle trouble, the spring classics to watch and now the Giro, not to forget to mention Gwen Jorgensen’s fantastic return to form in Yokahama. I had naps to take, errands to run and my daughter to ferry somewhere or other.  You see where this is going?

Some of these things have genuinely prevented me from training but in the end I just started to look for any reason that would prevent me from training today. I am really good at finding them.

Reading this, those athletes I coach will no doubt recollect countless ‘no excuses’ or ‘better time planning’ or ‘suck it up’ conversations we’ve had, and which have kept them on track.

A quick Google search tells me that mojo is “a magic charm, talisman, or spell.”  I’m not really one for promoting the reliance on magic objects or supernatural proclamations in the furthering of athletic performance but I need something.  Simply the motivation to train.

What motivates me? That’s a question that I’d ask of an athlete and I’d expect a fairly instant, clear response that can be easily identified, labelled and put to work.  Instead, like a petulant teenager, I feel myself inwardly shrugging “I dunno.”

If you’ll stand still long enough for me to tell you, I’d say that based on no objective data whatsoever, last summer, I was the fittest I’ve ever been in my life.  While I like to believe it, that statement is unlikely to be true and I should probably qualify it by saying that last year, I made the biggest year-on-year fitness gains I’ve ever made.  I didn’t do anything particularly startling or unusual, other than eating natural food and train consistently.

A few years ago, I was coached by Joel Jameson, now of TEAM JAMESON.  The one thing Joel would always tell me, in his laid back, easy going, I’m a pro triathlete, with all day to train, kind of way, was to use his C – word. Consistency! Right now, the only thing I’m doing consistently, is missing training sessions!

Here’s a motivational update. This moment of reflection has at least inspired me to do the following:

  1. Spend a little longer thinking about my motivation
  2. Develop a new training plan that is realistic, based on my lack of recent activity
  3. Set myself up for success in each session
  4. Find my mojo….. it’s somewhere along the A316, I’m sure of it!

Paul

The Gi Tri Coach

Weekly Swim Session 16 May 2016

Session Introduction

This week, we practice open water skills in the pool, as other sessions transfer to open water

Warm-up

200m easy building to steady pace

Technical Set:

4 x 50m steady swim as breathing to the right on the way up, breathing to the left on the way back.

4 x 50m ‘deep’ water starts practice

4 x 50m sighting after every three stroke cycles

Main set:

6 – 8 x 200m (8 lengths of the pool) as 50m sprint, 150m easing down to race pace no wall touch at the deep end of the pool!

Warm down:

200m – 400m Easy, down to very easy

Total distance (average) 2200-2800m

Coaching Points:

Observe lane etiquette

Hold a flat pre-start body position by gentle sculling in the water

Set out hard – focus on exhale as you bring your heart rate back down for race pace / distance effort

Sight during the stroke before you breathe (think ‘crocodile eyes’ over the water – don’t lift the head any higher than you need to)

Weekly swim session plan 10 May 16

Session Introduction

This week, we practice holding a steady pace over longer distance using multiple 400m reps.

Warm-up

200m easy building to threshold pace

Build:

2 x 50m focus on high stroke rate

Main set:

4 – 6 x 400m (timed) 1-minute rest after each rep

Warm down:

200m – 400m Easy, down to very easy

Total distance (average) 2100-3100m

Coaching Points:

Observe lane etiquette

Set out swimming ‘easy’ for the first couple of reps, ‘build’ for the next couple and ‘work’ for the latter reps to produce a consistently paced swim.  Don’t go out too hard, busting the times, only to find you can’t complete the session.

Weekly Swim Session Plan 3 May 2016

Session Introduction

This week, we practice holding a ‘race’ pace, where a race might be a 70.3 or full 3.8KM Iron distance.

Warm-up

200m easy building to threshold pace

Build:

2 x 50m focus on high stroke rate

Main set:

5 – 7 X 300m (12 lengths of the pool) at CSS + 10 seconds 30 seconds rest in between each rep

Warm down:

200m – 400m Easy, down to very easy

Total distance (average) 2000-2800m

Coaching Points:

Observe lane etiquette

Set out swimming ‘easy’ for the first couple of reps, ‘build’ for the next couple and ‘work’ for the latter reps to produce a consistently paced swim.  Don’t go out too hard, busting the times, only to find you can’t complete the session.