Weekly Swim Session Plan 10 July 2018

Download and print this session plan here: session plan 178

Keeping your technique sharp through the entire swim requires drilling of the basics throughout the year. Today, we’ll rely on the top three drills suggested by 6 X Ironman World Champion Dave Scott, to focus on stroke timing, effective catch and a high-arm recovery, which can be useful in open water.  Be sure to watch the demo video in order to understand how to execute these drills properly.

Warm Up:

200m, easy

Technical set:

4 x 50m slow arm recovery

4 x 50m quick catch

4 x 50m high swingers

Main set:

4 – 6 x 400m (timed) – aim for good technique throughout and consistent times

Warm down:

200m – 400m     Easy to very easy

Total Volume:

2600m – 3600m

Coaching Points:

Don’t rush the execution of your drills.  Feel the difference the drills make to each part of your stroke and seek to replicate that during the 400m swim repetitions.

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Weekly Swim Session Plan 3 July 2018

With great weather in the UK over the last three weeks, all triathletes local to me have been making the most of open water swimming.  This week’s session aims to keep you sharp in the open water by pushing the pace over two quarter-distance swims, then a half-distance swim, aimed at Iron-distance athletes.  These volumes can be modified for athletes aiming for shorter race distances.

Warm Up:

Simple 50-100m warm-up to give yourself an all-over body-check, before you start your swim.

Technical set:

No Technical content this week

Main set:

600-900m timed at just above your normal race pace. 2 min rest

600-900m timed at just above your normal race pace (how did it compare to the first?) 2 min rest

1200-1800m holding the average pace between the two earlier efforts.

Warm down:

No warm down

Total Volume:

2400 – 3600m

Coaching Points:

Pushing your pace during endurance swims, rather than falling back into your comfortable zone 3 sweet spot, can really help to produce a race-day personal best.

If you tried this session – please post a comment and let everyone know how you got on!

Weekly Swim Training Plan 26 June 2018

Download and print this session plan here: session plan 176

During many of our technical sessions, we focus on the front-end of the stroke and creating propulsion.  This week, we look at body alignment and reducing the drag that slows the hard-won propulsion of your effective catch.

Warm Up:

200m, easy

Technical set:

2 x 50m kick with, or without board, ensuring glutes are engaged and the kick originates in the hips

4 x 50m, skating drill left, skating drill right up the pool, swim back freestyle.

4 x 50m, 6-3-6 up the pool, swim back freestyle

Main set:

6 – 10 x 200m focusing on balanced body rotation, engaged glutes, pointed toes

Warm down:

200m – 400m     Easy to very easy

Total Volume:

2300m – 3300m

Coaching Points:

Maintain focus throughout, using visualisation to see and then actualise a long, straight body position, with low-drag that slips through the water with each stroke.

Weekly Swim Session Plan 19 June 2018

Download and print this session plan here: session plan 175

A simple endurance session this week – over distance. If you’re an Ironman athlete, aim for a 5km set.  This is a solid session for seasoned athletes and a great confidence builder for novices, or athletes stepping up in distance.  Chose a session where you have ample time to complete your session (60 minutes will be too short).

Warm Up:

No warm up – just build into your reps

Technical set:

Technical focus is to aim for consistency or negative splitting your reps (depending on your goals and current level of fitness)

Main set:

3 – 5 x 1000m at target race pace 2 min rest in between each rep

Warm down:

No warm down

Total Volume:

3000 – 5000m

Coaching Points:

Use rhythm and technique checks to swim consistently through each rep and across reps.

The video has nothing at all to do with this session but I do like it. Hope you do too!

Weekly Swim Session Plan 12 June 2018

Download and print this session plan here: session plan 174

For most of us in the Northern hemisphere, open water swimming is well under way.  This week, we practice some useful open water skills in the pool, in order to be more effective when we are out in the open water

Warm Up:

200m, easy

Technical set:

4 x 50m, turning at the deep end of the pool, without touching the side, or pushing off.

4 x 50m, sighting practice, every 4-5 strokes

4 x 50m, drafting (if you have a swim-buddy)

Main set:

3 – 5 x 400m consistent target race pace, occasionally mixing in an open water skill

Warm down:

200m – 400m     Easy to very easy

Total Volume:

2200m – 3200m

Coaching Points:

Turning – choose either backstroke turn, or single arm stroke turning technique – see which works best for you.

Sighting – always sight on the non-breathing stroke, keeping the head low, in order to cause least disruption to your normal swim-stroke.

Drafting – stay right behind a faster swimmer to improve your usual swim pace, or swim behind someone of similar pace to discover how much easier life just became! Make a conscious choice on race day, which drafting tactic you’ll adopt – go faster, or save energy for later!

Weekly Swim Session Plan 5 June 2018

Download and print this session plan here: session plan 173

Back to a volume session this week, with a small amount of race-start practice.

It’s all too easy to go into the red at the race start.  Getting a fast, clean start is important if you want to be competitive, so swimming very fast (sprinting) at the start is commonplace. If that sprint leaves you breathless and anxious, the chances are, the rest of your swim may be compromised as a result.

Practicing the transition between the sprint-start and race-pace may help you become familiar with the sensations you may experience, when it’s time to settle into race-pace swimming.

Warm Up:

300m, easy

Technical set:

2 x 200 as 100m hard, followed by 100m average race pace (simulated race starts)

Main set:

4 – 7 x 400m at consistent race pace efforts

Warm down:

200m – 400m     Easy to very easy

Total Volume:

2500 – 3900m

Coaching Points:

Ease off your starting pace gradually, focus on exhaling into the water and try to not take huge gasps of air as you breathe.  As you settle into a sustainable race pace, understand and be confident that your heart rate will take a few strokes to respond to the decreased effort.  Stick with it.  A fall of just 3-4bpm (beats per minute) can make all the difference and allow your RPE (rate of perceived exertion) drop from a 9.5 to a 7 out of 10 and you are able to swim the remainder of the race.

Whether you find this practice difficult or really useful, consider modifying this session by doing slightly more technical reps and reducing the volume main set, if you feel that more practice will benefit you on race day.

Weekly swim session plan 30 May 18

Download and print this session plan here: session plan 172

All great swimmers exhibit excellent balance in the water.  Let’s look at what I consider to be the key drill for balance and alignment – skating drill and use an intermediate step (6-3-6) to carry that alignment into our freestyle stroke.

Warm Up:

200m, easy

Technical set:

6 x 50m as skate to halfway, swim to wall. Alternate left and right hand lead

6 x 50m 6-3-6

Main set:

4 – 7 x 200m focusing between alignment and balanced rotation.

Warm down:

200m – 400m     Easy to very easy

Total Volume:

1800m – 2400m

Coaching Points:

In skating, the leading arm should be straight out in front of the rotated shoulder.  The trailing arm should be ‘in pocket’ (straight down on the INSIDE of the thigh). Kick should not be so aggressive as to throw you off balance – consider a compact ad rhythmic kick.

6-3-6 is as simple as counting to three (strokes) then switching sides. Breathing on the second stroke or just after the third stroke, when you have maximum propulsion, works best.