Distance Swimming for Triathlons

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  • Mark1960Mark1960 Frets: 275
    One tip I was taught was to not hold the fingers of each hand together, just let the hand stay relaxed in it's natural position. Apparently the energy required to keep the fingers together is disproportional to the aditional water displacement it acheives. So I tried it and although it feel a little odd initially, I did not notice any reduction in forward thrust. There you go
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  • jonevejoneve Frets: 999
    Necro bump.
    On Sunday I did a Sprint Triathlon (750m river swim, 23km road bike, 5km run)
    I haven't been training much but I felt I'd be able to get through it.
    And I did. The swim was really pleasant, I just took my time and got into a rhythm. Coming out of the water feels weird so I took my time to peel the wetsuit off and get my cycling shoes and helmet on, by that time I felt steady enough to jog and jump onto the bike before blasting past a few who obviously prefer the swim leg.
    I felt good all the way and finished with a rapid spin of the legs to prepare for running. Despite not being a fan of running, and it was starting to get hot in the sun, I managed to do a 5k PB (23:00).

    I enjoyed it. I am actually looking forward to my next one.....maybe September. And I think I'll go for a longer distance next year.

    The official photographer caught this beauty of me.
    Wonderful stuff! well done sir! And now begins the slippery slope of Triathlon-ing....

    Allow me to tell a story....

    I did my first Sprint in 2014, enjoyed it over all, but found it jolly hard work and audibly said "how on earth do they do double that in the Olympics??????" 

    Fast forward 3 years and I did the London Olympic Distance Triathlon with my mate. He was using it as a warm up event for Middle Distance (half ironman) event later in the year.

    "FUCK THAT" says I. "you're a nutter! I'll do the Bristol Half Marathon with you and THATS IT. How the fuck do people do an IRON MAN too???? absolutely insane"

    Fast forward another 12 months and I'd been persuaded to compete in and completed the Cotswold Classic Middle Distance (half ironman). I also enjoyed that, and was buzzing to get a sub-6 hour time. 

    Fast forward 11 months to the present day....and I did my 2nd middle distance event back in june and I'm now 5 fucking weeks away from doing a fucking IRON MAN in Copenhagen. WHAT THE SHIT AM I THINKING??????????????????

    What an idiot. 

    I'm retiring after Copenhagen though (if I complete it - nursing a leg injury currently :(

    The feeling wobbly after the swim is normal, especially in open water. Apparently increasing your kick intensity for the last 100m helps (although I've not found that it does) as do ear plugs (wouldn't know as never wear them), as it's something to do with your equilibrium (or so I'm told). 

    Best just to take your time and compose until you're ready to go. 

    I'll probably have complete sea legs after swimming 3.8km in the lagoon at Copenhagen...should be interesting :D 

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  • roundthebendroundthebend Frets: 537
    @joneve ;
    that's the kind of pattern that I tend to follow with these things too, but I'm under orders to not let it take up too much of my life. I think standard or Olympic distance will be enough. But....we'll see.

    I think I'll continue to enjoy open water swimming in its own right, and I've been into cycling for a while so think I'll do some touring and endurance events like C2C and LEJOG.
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  • jonevejoneve Frets: 999
    @joneve ;
    that's the kind of pattern that I tend to follow with these things too, but I'm under orders to not let it take up too much of my life. I think standard or Olympic distance will be enough. But....we'll see.

    I think I'll continue to enjoy open water swimming in its own right, and I've been into cycling for a while so think I'll do some touring and endurance events like C2C and LEJOG.
    This sounds all too familiar. :D

    My wife has been an absolute saint this year. In fairness, I've tried to keep the impact on home life to a minimum and until my injury, all of my runs were incorporated with dog walking, so that sorted that out...

    Cycling was some commutes a few times a week and a longer ride at the weekends where I could fit (now it's closer to the event I'm in panic stations so every weekend I'm doing at least 4 hours in the saddle). 

    And swimming I'm "ok" at, so have been very sporadic, but try and get a 3km swim done at least once a week. 

    Truth be told, I could have done more training, but I wanted a decent life/training balance, without it impacting too much, especially with an 18 month old. 

    I had a bit of a mental wobble yesterday and it dawned on me that I only have 6 weeks (or less than) and I'm nowhere near ready (doesn't help that my running has been hampered after doing SO much work on it over the winter)...went into proper meltdown mode on the train to London Paddington full of commuters! 

    I can only do what I can do now, and see what happens on the day. whatever happens, I'll be grinding it out until they tell me I've missed the cut off. 

    But it's a bucket list thing for me, I want to hear the words as I cross the finish line, then I'm done with exercise forever (or at least until I get a place in the London Marathon :D )

    Basically, what I'm saying is, it's definitely doable working around family life, especially if you can commute on your bike and do some early morning/late night runs as that takes out over 60 % of the training. 

    You'd be able to do a 70.3/113 on minimal training for sure. But I'd definitely do an Olympic - there's some fantastic ones available too...but I can assure you, you'll want to challenge yourself with a 70.3 event after that :) 
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  • BeardyAndyBeardyAndy Frets: 329
    edited July 10
    Crawl is far more efficient than breast stroke, you just need to learn how. Biggest flaws in my technique was rushing it all, I rolled my shoulder out of the joint in the swim stage of a tri and after the race was out of the pool for a couple of weeks. On my return i had to take it easier and  i was breathing better because i had more time to between strokes so my times dropped. 
    Also, I would try and lift my head out to breath by pushing down with my hand rather than rotating, look up "catch up" swim drills as this one really helps slow you down (in a good way! :))
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  • roundthebendroundthebend Frets: 537
    I've been reading Total Immersion Swimming, watching related videos and talking to fellow triathletes who ALL say they were terrible swimmers. It's been a revelation, and the surprising things I've learned which have completely rewired how I try to swim.
    • Front crawl really is more efficient than breast stroke - I never believed that until now
    • It's not the arms pulling you, but the thrusting forward from the core that gives you most propulsion
    • gliding through the water is more efficient than churning away
    • leg muscles use up oxygen quickly, better just to gently flick them to prevent them becoming an anchor
    • getting out of breath is often caused by not exhaling enough, rather than actually being exhausted. It's CO2 build up

    I'm now confident that I could swim the distance for an Olympic triathlon, in open water with a bit of current. I wouldn't be fast, but I'd be comfortable. And I'd be able to get out and ride a bike straight after.

    My next swimming step is to use the local triathlon club to coach me into improving that technique and hopefully my pace.
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  • jonevejoneve Frets: 999
    I've been reading Total Immersion Swimming, watching related videos and talking to fellow triathletes who ALL say they were terrible swimmers. It's been a revelation, and the surprising things I've learned which have completely rewired how I try to swim.
    • Front crawl really is more efficient than breast stroke - I never believed that until now
    • It's not the arms pulling you, but the thrusting forward from the core that gives you most propulsion
    • gliding through the water is more efficient than churning away
    • leg muscles use up oxygen quickly, better just to gently flick them to prevent them becoming an anchor
    • getting out of breath is often caused by not exhaling enough, rather than actually being exhausted. It's CO2 build up

    I'm now confident that I could swim the distance for an Olympic triathlon, in open water with a bit of current. I wouldn't be fast, but I'd be comfortable. And I'd be able to get out and ride a bike straight after.

    My next swimming step is to use the local triathlon club to coach me into improving that technique and hopefully my pace.
    This is me. I could probably go faster if I really boshed it, but I'd be so caked afterwards, a bike leg would be a struggle. 

    Tri club is a good shout. My mate could barely swim 400m a few years ago. He's as quick as me now. And although I'm not quick, I was basically a good 400m quicker than him on a 1500m swim. 
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  • CloudNineCloudNine Frets: 3063
    I used to swim for my county many years ago, but the science has moved on quite a bit in terms of technique. As mentioned above, very little focus on legs nowadays, apparently accounts for less than 5% of your propulsion. Some of the top swimmers hardly kick at all. Just a little stabilising flick timed with every stroke, which is very hard to master after a lifetime of just kicking randomly. Also, after each arm enters the water, the quicker you get it into a position where you are using not just your hand, but the whole underside of your forearm as well, as a paddle to pull water directly backwards, the better. i.e. Don't waste energy pushing water in a downwards direction. Not sure if that makes sense the way I have written it... 
    # Previously Stevieb76 on the old Music Radar #
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  • FlametopFlametop Frets: 51

    Good luck @joneve. let us know how you get on.

    And congratulations @roundthebend. :)

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  • jonevejoneve Frets: 999
    Flametop said:

    Good luck @joneve. let us know how you get on.

    And congratulations @roundthebend. :)

    If you don't hear from me by around the 20th August, please send my wife condolence flowers! 
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  • BeardyAndyBeardyAndy Frets: 329
    edited July 12
    CloudNine said:
    I used to swim for my county many years ago, but the science has moved on quite a bit in terms of technique. As mentioned above, very little focus on legs nowadays, apparently accounts for less than 5% of your propulsion. Some of the top swimmers hardly kick at all. Just a little stabilising flick timed with every stroke, which is very hard to master after a lifetime of just kicking randomly. Also, after each arm enters the water, the quicker you get it into a position where you are using not just your hand, but the whole underside of your forearm as well, as a paddle to pull water directly backwards, the better. i.e. Don't waste energy pushing water in a downwards direction. Not sure if that makes sense the way I have written it... 
    i think leg kick is still drilled for swimming, it's just that so many people are coming to swimming for triathlon and whats the point of cooking your legs on the swim when you've quite literally got all the leg work ahead of you!

    When i was having swimming lessons we'd have to do things like 10 lengths of leg kick, i hated it!
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  • m_cm_c Frets: 521
    CloudNine said:
    I used to swim for my county many years ago, but the science has moved on quite a bit in terms of technique. As mentioned above, very little focus on legs nowadays, apparently accounts for less than 5% of your propulsion. Some of the top swimmers hardly kick at all. Just a little stabilising flick timed with every stroke, which is very hard to master after a lifetime of just kicking randomly. Also, after each arm enters the water, the quicker you get it into a position where you are using not just your hand, but the whole underside of your forearm as well, as a paddle to pull water directly backwards, the better. i.e. Don't waste energy pushing water in a downwards direction. Not sure if that makes sense the way I have written it... 
    i think leg kick is still drilled for swimming, it's just that so many people are coming to swimming for triathlon and whats the point of cooking your legs on the swim when you've quite literally got all the leg work ahead of you!

    When i was having swimming lessons we'd have to do things like 10 lengths of leg kick, i hated it!

    Leg kick is still a key drill, but for distance you only want the bare minimum to help keep you balanced.
    Arms is where the vast majority of your propulsion comes from, and is where technique is the difference between 20 plus strokes per 25 metre length, or sub 10 strokes for the same distance.

    I still go to the occasional swim lesson, and I hate kicking drills.
    I do like the arm optimising stuff though, as it reminds me how much of a difference a few relatively minor tweaks make, but you really need somebody who can tell you what you are doing wrong.
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  • axisusaxisus Frets: 14143
    Well done! I would still dearly love to do a tri. I have got my 1k swim time down to 18.12 recently, but my cycling is rather rusty. My biggest problem is that I can't do running training any more as my hip joint is failing. Having said that I can run a flat 5k in around 21.30 - although probably not after the bike ride! Not too shabby at 56 years old though!
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  • roundthebendroundthebend Frets: 537
    axisus said:
    Well done! I would still dearly love to do a tri. I have got my 1k swim time down to 18.12 recently, but my cycling is rather rusty. My biggest problem is that I can't do running training any more as my hip joint is failing. Having said that I can run a flat 5k in around 21.30 - although probably not after the bike ride! Not too shabby at 56 years old though!

    21:30 for 5k is impressive.
    Find a local triathlon and enter the super sprint distance. Typically 200m (pool), 10-15k bike, 2.5k run.

    I did the sprint distance - 750m river swim, 23k bike, 5k flat run. You'd have been fine on the run it was totally flat. Just take it steady on the first two legs with a target of finishing rather than posting a fast time. You'll feel great to have achieved it.
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  • JohnnyPlectrumJohnnyPlectrum Frets: 284
    What no-one seems to have mentioned is how addictive this triathlon nonsense can become. I started off as a cyclist going for a little jog for 'a change' and now I'm flying all over the world with my bicycle competing in IronMan events.
    Nutrition is the fourth discipline and get it wrong at your peril.
    Never underestimate the amount of time you'll spend having massages, visiting chiropractors and doing things like yoga and strength & conditioning.
    Honestly, it's a slippery slope...
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  • jonevejoneve Frets: 999
    What no-one seems to have mentioned is how addictive this triathlon nonsense can become. I started off as a cyclist going for a little jog for 'a change' and now I'm flying all over the world with my bicycle competing in IronMan events.
    Nutrition is the fourth discipline and get it wrong at your peril.
    Never underestimate the amount of time you'll spend having massages, visiting chiropractors and doing things like yoga and strength & conditioning.
    Honestly, it's a slippery slope...
    This is a man in the know. Haven't properly done my stretching this weekend as we were away, and can certainly feel it now!

    My nutrition (day to day) has been pretty horrendous, but I'm relatively "good" leading up to and on race day. 

    Oh and for the record, I mentioned it a few posts back :D 
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  • jonnyburgojonnyburgo Frets: 7333
    Haven’t read through all this but with swimming conditioning and technique is everything, I can jog 10k but a 25m length front crawl and I’m fucked.
    "OUR TOSSPOT"
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