Happy Tuesday! A couple of weeks ago I talked about my triathlon training plan so today I thought I'd delve into a class I took to prepare for the swimming portion of the triathlon, which will certainly be my weakest sport of the three.
I took years of swimming lessons as a child and grew up going to the lake so I am very comfortable in the water. However, all of my swimming has been recreational, so I decided to take a class to work on my endurance and swimming technique. I took a triathlon swimming class at my local YWCA which taught us the Total Immersion approach to swimming. I'm still new to it so I can't really succinctly explain what it means, but my take away is that it helps improves your efficiency and form.
Here are some of the main takeaways I got from this class:
1. I learned an efficient stroke technique for the front crawl. Since I took many swim classes as a child, I knew how to do the front crawl, but I can't say I was efficient at it. At this class the instructor gave us a lot of feedback on our stroke and helped us improve our technique. The class was extremely technique centric so the first 3 out of 6 classes were not exactly a "good workout" as we'd focus on one aspect of the stroke for 25 meters, get feedback, focus on another aspect of the stroke for 25 meters, get feedback, etc. She also took videos of us individually at two different classes so we could see what our stroke looked like.
2. More strokes doesn't necessarily = sustainable speed. In my mind I thought that I would get further by taking more strokes, but that is not really the case (at least for me - I am sure that it's different for strong/seasoned swimmers). By taking the class I learned that power/speed comes from using your entire body, especially your core. My goal is to get through the swim and have enough energy for the bike and run so it was helpful to learn that I could slow down my stroke, improve my form, and still finish in a shorter amount of time than I would have if I had just increased my strokes/minute.
3. The tempo trainer is my friend. For those unfamiliar with a tempo trainer, this is what it is:
The tempo trainer is basically a metronome that you can put in your swim cap. I HATED practicing piano with a metronome when I was a kid but it turns out that I love swimming with one. It makes me feel so much more calm and in control and it helps me control my breathing as I breath on the beeps. Plus it keeps me from rushing my stroke speed. You are allowed to use these on race day.
I'm so glad that I took this class as I feel much more prepared for the swim portion of the triathlon. And if nothing else, it motivated me to get into the water once a week in the early portion of triathlon training and since swimming is the least convenient of the three sports BY FAR, it helped to have that motivation!
Did you take swim classes as a child? Are you a strong swimmer?