Making the Most of Training in the Open Water
Following the initial thrill and uniqueness of swimming in the open water, the idea of simply putting your head down and swimming can become boring. And perhaps more importantly, doing this on a regular basis, won’t really aid in your training progression. Outside of pure enjoyment, it can become a waste of time.
Below, I’m going to offer 6 ways you can make the most of your time training in the open water.
Are you just getting back into swimming and thinking of making your return to open water? Well, if you haven’t swam in a while, I definitely recommend getting in the pool first – before making a splash in the open water. This is mostly because the pool is a much more controlled environment. However, I realize this is not always possible.
Whether you are a little intimidated by swimming in the open water or if you simply haven’t been in the open water for a while, I’m going to start by offering steps to (re)acclimatize to the open water and then follow it up with additional ideas to consider whether you’re a total beginner or a more experienced triathlete.
Ready to get back into swimming? Returning to the pool following an extended break can be exciting, but also daunting.
Whether it was “forced” time away or on your own terms, here are 5 things you should consider as you hop back in.
Becoming a better swimmer is a process. It takes time and it usually doesn’t happen over night. However, there are definitely a few ways to speed up the process.
We regularly get the question, “What and how long will it take… for me to learn how to swim (or improve my current swimming ability)?”
To help answer this question, we thought it would be fun to highlight one particular athlete whom we have been working with most recently. We’ll discuss the stroke improvements made, speed gains earned and the time it took to accomplish this.
Learning to Breathe Properly While Swimming
Have you ever tried to swim laps in the pool and felt completely “gassed” after only 1 or 2 lengths? If you answered, ‘yes,’ you are not alone. This feeling is likely NOT indicative of a lack of fitness, but rather an undeveloped breathing rhythm.
Learning to breathe properly while swimming freestyle is one of the most difficult things for new triathletes/swimmers to master. It takes time to master and the time it takes is different for everyone. Frequency (not duration) in the pool (i.e. 3, 4, 5+ days per week) and working with an experienced coach will help speed up the process. However, it’s important to be patient and not become frustrated. Once one gets the hang of it, their “swim curve” takes off!
Below are a few helpful tricks I have learned while working with triathletes over the last decade who are trying to learn how to breathe properly while swimming.
How To Overcome Open Water Swim Anxiety
Open water swimming is a unique experience. For many, it may feel like the only thing similar between swimming in the open water and a pool is that the water is wet.
There’s no black line to follow and often you’re staring down into a dark bottomless body of water.
All of this and a long list of additional reasons is why we regularly help athletes who struggle with open water nerves overcome anxiety. Most of the time, it’s about learning proper open water technique and building up the athletes confidence. It’s all about guiding them along their journey as they become more experienced and comfortable in this environment.
Below I will walk through a proven progression that has helped a countless number of triathletes overcome open water swim nerves.
How Many Times Will You Get Back Up?
Rohit is new to triathlon. Like many overachievers, he has a “go big or go home” mentality. He signed up for his first triathlon, IRONMAN Atlantic City 70.3 and contacted us soon after.
Rohit had a decent understanding of triathlon, but he didn’t know how to swim and wasn’t sure how to best prepare for the race. However, he understands the value of professional guidance and proper preparation. He’s also determined to be successful and he’s willing to put the work in.
Despite all of this, the reality was Rohit had a massive goal. Like any BIG goal in life, the journey to his finish 70.3 finish line would likely have a couple bumps in the road. And it did.
Triathlon SWIM Case Study: Jim Williamson
RTA Triathlon coached athlete, Jim Williamson, recently slashed 1:00 minute off of his 500 yard swim test. This equates to 0:12 seconds per 100 yards AND a time SAVINGS of 4:14 over a 1.2 mile half IRON-distance swim or 8:28 minutes over a 2.4 mile IRON-distance swim. Needless to say, this is SIGNIFICANT!
Jim did this in only 8 weeks.
Here are the 5 things he did and what you can do to SHAVE TIME off of your next triathlon swim split.
How is Your Swim Pacing & Control?
Swim Technique for Triathletes
The swim portion of a triathlon can be daunting. It’s also then number one reason people decide against signing up for a triathlon.
This is because swimming is highly technical and often difficult for adults to learn later in life. However, with proper guidance it can be mastered.
Below I will cover 3 common swim techniques we see while working with athletes and how you can fix them.
It is very important to note, in in order to permanently correct any of the elements below, it will take many reps of focusing on the one thing you are looking to improve. If you try to do more than one thing at a time, you will not accomplish anything. Stay patient and remain focused. Before you know it, it will become second nature.
3… 2… 1… BANG! The gun goes off and your race begins. Your adrenalin soars. It’s time to swim! You know how to swim, but this time it’s a little different. There’s other athletes all around you, no black line to follow and you can’t put your feet down.
Open water swimming – especially on race day, can cause a lot of athletes stress and anxiety. However, with a little practice and a few tips and tricks you can boost your confidence and shave minutes off your open water swim.