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Newbie training
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Hi,

I'm training for my first sprint tri, and if I enjoy it, I'll get more formalized (join a club, get a coach, something like that) before I do a longer distance. But for now, I'm kind of winging it.

I've trained for running events before, and I feel comfortable with my riding, but most of the online plans seem to have a lot of detail in their swim training: 100m front crawl, then 100m pull, then 100m flutter board, then free style, then....

Is that really necessary? I've been doing a 50m flutterboard warm up, then just doing 1000m of front crawl, trying to minimize rest times, and increase efficiency. Am I missing some crucial training effect involved in doing different strokes, since I'm only going to do the front crawl in the tri?

Thanks,
D.

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Island Geekette
7 half marathons, 30k Around the Bay, Philadelphia marathon, 2 Gran Fondos
....and then I got bored. Why not do a tri?
Last edited by: IslandGeekette: Feb 24, 17 10:02
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Re: Newbie training [IslandGeekette] [ In reply to ]
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Hi IslandGeekette, welcome to triathlon and to the Womens.

We have true swimmers in this forum who will likely chime in but I'm going to give you the perspective of someone who learned to swim to race triathlon just in case it's helpful. Hey, it's internet advice anyway :D

1) Doing different Strokes

My understanding is that different stroke variations target different muscle groups and variation helps avoid overuse injuries.

2017 will be my second season racing triathlon and I have been swimming for ~15 months. Prior to that I could "Get Myself to Safety" swim and had done * a lot * of aqua-jogging as an injured runner (likely why I avoided swimming). So, n of 1 but... I have only done the front crawl and focused solely on increasing efficiency and improving my technique. The only time I've used another stroke is when I used to freak out and do the backstroke. True story, it took my three races to stop doing that.

Good technique and cross training has helped me avoid any swimming overuse injuries so far.

2) Doing Intervals

With a handle like yours my guess is you already know how to swim. 500M was the length of my first race and I had to build up to it -- I'd swim for as long as I could until something went sideways. Until I got comfortable, just swam continuously and tried to work up to swimming 500M, then swimming 500M better/faster every session.

After a few months of lessons and regular ocean swimming, I got very comfortable and then I started to do intervals. Intervals helped me get used to swimming at a faster pace which increased my overall speed. Intervals took me from "JUST GET ON LAND where you're fast" to "PR your swim and don't leave the water exhausted." Two days a week my swim workouts are a mix of 100/200/400/600 repeats plus 50/25 hard efforts on decreasing rest. I still only do the front crawl. I also started to do some drills to improve my kicking (single arms sidelying kicking) and my pull (the "fist drill" where you close your hand and get the sense of a bigger paddle). But at least one time a week, I swim for distance (how far can I swim in one hour OR how fast can I swim 3000M)

Again, n of 1 from a new swimmer but I've taken myself from a back of the pack swimmer to a very respectable triathlon swimmer doing only the front crawl and swimming often.

TLDR; I swam a lot to get better at swimming but front crawl focusing on efficiency and technique.

Real swimmers ought to chime in now and tell it to you straight.

Happy training and good luck!
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Re: Newbie training [IslandGeekette] [ In reply to ]
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Good for you for getting into tri! I really like the sprint distance - it will give you a good feel for the sport. Your fitness won't matter as much for the sprint as long as you have some foundation in swim/bike/run. And even then, you can pretty much wing it in the bike and run if you had to. The swim is where newbies tend to struggle, so you're way ahead of the game for being proactive about that.

I swim a lot with a Masters group and swam competitively growing up. I taught my husband (a total non-swimmer) to swim for his first sprint triathlon last year, and he's since come a long way. My strategy for teaching him was to refine his technique, then focus on volume. And by volume I mean aiming for 2,000 yards at least three times a week (I do about twice that). At first, he just wanted to make sure he could do the distance, so he would swim 800 yards straight - which is fine, but it's not going to help your fitness. All my practices are intervals - 5 x 200s, 10 x 100s, pyramids (400-300-200-100), and various iterations on that theme. Check out the Guppy challenge or the Fish threads on the main forum (tigerchik posts there with all her workouts, which are great).

I'd also do a search of the forum for swim advice - there is a lot out there.

In sum:
- Focus on technique first, volume second
- Intervals are the best way to improve your fitness (do these on your "base" pace - so do 5 x 100's and see where you come in, so let's say you're doing them on the 1:45, then try to do 5 x 100's on the 2:00).
- Don't bother with the other strokes for now. Maybe toss in some backstroke to give your shoulders a rest.
- Drills are okay but not great if you don't have anyone reinforcing what you should be doing - Masters is great for this if you have access to a team.
- Kick sets provide minimal gains in my opinion but others may disagree
- Learn to do a flip turn because, well, you're asking a swimmer for advice ;)
- Make sure you're comfortable in a wetsuit before you attempt an open water swim

Hope this helps!
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Re: Newbie training [IslandGeekette] [ In reply to ]
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Thank you both for the feedback.

I've found a masters swim programme near me, and I'm going to use their meetups to improve my technique.

I've been able to swim 1500ms without much resting, which is twice the distance of the sprint, but it'll be a while before I can do 2000m 3x per week!

Wish me luck!

D

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Island Geekette
7 half marathons, 30k Around the Bay, Philadelphia marathon, 2 Gran Fondos
....and then I got bored. Why not do a tri?
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Re: Newbie training [IslandGeekette] [ In reply to ]
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Are you familiar with swim workout "language"?


Like 10 x 100 on 1:45?
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Re: Newbie training [jimatbeyond] [ In reply to ]
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No, I'm not, which is why I thought the masters programme might help! 😊

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Island Geekette
7 half marathons, 30k Around the Bay, Philadelphia marathon, 2 Gran Fondos
....and then I got bored. Why not do a tri?
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Re: Newbie training [IslandGeekette] [ In reply to ]
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How long have you been swimming with them?
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Re: Newbie training [jimatbeyond] [ In reply to ]
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I start tomorrow! ;-)

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Island Geekette
7 half marathons, 30k Around the Bay, Philadelphia marathon, 2 Gran Fondos
....and then I got bored. Why not do a tri?
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Re: Newbie training [IslandGeekette] [ In reply to ]
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You are going to learn all about what 10 x 100 means!

In a few years when you start thinking about doing an Ironman, you can do a set of 43 x 100.
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Re: Newbie training [IslandGeekette] [ In reply to ]
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How did it go with the masters swim group, IslandGeekette? Sending good thoughts your way ><(((('>
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Re: Newbie training [SoCalTricurious] [ In reply to ]
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Thanks for the good thoughts! I start the swim group tonight, and I figured I'd do my run this morning, so I can be well rested for the swim.

I hadn't done any swimming between when I was 13 years old, and two months ago, so it'll be interesting to see how tonight goes.

In other news, it's been unusually snowy and cold here for the past couple months, so I haven't ridden my bike -- I've been relying on a spin bike to get some bike time in. Hopefully, I can get some real rides in starting next weekend, when I'm in Australia -- need to rent a bike there!

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Island Geekette
7 half marathons, 30k Around the Bay, Philadelphia marathon, 2 Gran Fondos
....and then I got bored. Why not do a tri?
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Re: Newbie training [IslandGeekette] [ In reply to ]
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Keep us posted and enjoy the snow!

And don't worry, I didn't do any swimming for more than three decades and it turned out fine <wink>
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Re: Newbie training [IslandGeekette] [ In reply to ]
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Welcome IslandGeekette!

I started swimming other strokes in training partly just for laughs - breast stroke was my "rest" stroke when I was building swim endurance as I got started in tri, then I later taught myself flip turns and butterfly just for kicks to keep things interesting over one winter. I'm not terribly good at either of them, but mixing in a bit of fly or IM makes for some good high-intensity work for the cardiovascular system with low chance of injury. I still do a bit of drill and stroke when I swim these days, which is basically just for general fitness & recovery since I've essentially given up tri to play in the woods instead (ultrarunning).

Out of curiosity, is that Around the Bay 30k in your signature line the one I think it is? As in "older than Boston" ATB30K?

__________________________________________________________
ill advised racing inc.
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Re: Newbie training [mistressk] [ In reply to ]
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Yes, it is!

Ultra running is hardcore. I have friends who've done Comrades. Craziness! :-)

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Island Geekette
7 half marathons, 30k Around the Bay, Philadelphia marathon, 2 Gran Fondos
....and then I got bored. Why not do a tri?
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Re: Newbie training [mistressk] [ In reply to ]
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mistressk wrote:
I started swimming other strokes in training partly just for laughs - breast stroke was my "rest" stroke when I was building swim endurance as I got started in tri, then I later taught myself flip turns and butterfly just for kicks to keep things interesting over one winter. I'm not terribly good at either of them, but mixing in a bit of fly or IM makes for some good high-intensity work for the cardiovascular system with low chance of injury. I still do a bit of drill and stroke when I swim these days, which is basically just for general fitness & recovery since I've essentially given up tri to play in the woods instead (ultrarunning).

Hi! Lifelong swimmer turned lazy here. As you increase your swim distances the other strokes do help keep your body in balance and make you a faster freestyler.

It is funny because as I've gotten older I've become increasingly lazy with my swim workouts and done less and less stroke work and non-freestyle stroke. Now, I'm also using breaststroke as my rest stroke. I've completely ditched the kickboard now. I wish I had done that two decades ago. I rarely do butterfly anymore. I've just simply turned lazy because I have so much work to do on my run and quite a bit to do on my bike. So, I fake it on the swim most of the time... bad bad.

If you find me on the bottom of the pool it is because I was doing backstroke. Hate that one. I refused to do it in high school and my coach would substitute it with butterfly to try and break my attitude. It didn't work. I'm very stubborn.

Happy training and let us know how you are progressing! It is fun!

Hillary Trout
San Luis Obispo, CA

Born a swimmer, borrowed a bike, laced up some runners, and the rest just fell into place for a solid MOP life.
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Re: Newbie training [IslandGeekette] [ In reply to ]
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IslandGeekette wrote:
Yes, it is!

Ultra running is hardcore. I have friends who've done Comrades. Craziness! :-)

Haha, ATB is basically a local race for me - just seemed strange someone in BC would have run it, though I know it gets a lot of hype.

I'm not really hardcore; I just like farting around in the forest and finding the occasional buffet table under a tree.

__________________________________________________________
ill advised racing inc.
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Re: Newbie training [mistressk] [ In reply to ]
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I completely understand -- I run, bike, swim, kayak etc not just because I enjoyed t and I get an endorphine rush, but because I like gelato a little too much. 🙄

I moved to BC from Niagara-on-the-Lake two years ago, so I've done most of my running in that area. That's why I've done ATB. 😀

Masters swim club was postponed, so I'm going to see if I can get into tonight's class.

Have a great Wednesday, everyone!
D

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Island Geekette
7 half marathons, 30k Around the Bay, Philadelphia marathon, 2 Gran Fondos
....and then I got bored. Why not do a tri?
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Re: Newbie training [IslandGeekette] [ In reply to ]
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Heh, ok that makes sense - I live in KW & Ran ATB a couple of times but I'm rather over road racing. It's not so much that I run to eat; the buffet table comment was more about ultra aid stations, which are often the most ridiculous smorgasbord you can imagine. I do really quite enjoy running / hiking / paddling in the wilderness.

Good luck with the masters class!

__________________________________________________________
ill advised racing inc.
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Re: Newbie training [mistressk] [ In reply to ]
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I just read your post about the ultra buffet tables -- now I get it!

Thanks!

D

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Island Geekette
7 half marathons, 30k Around the Bay, Philadelphia marathon, 2 Gran Fondos
....and then I got bored. Why not do a tri?
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Re: Newbie training [IslandGeekette] [ In reply to ]
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Hi. It's Kebby with Coeur Sports. Adding our welcome and congratulations on getting into the sport. We hope you have a great race! Some great answers here, so I'll just add that for many people (in addition to injury prevention) mixing up the strokes seems to make the workout go faster.

Plus, it helps develop a back up stroke if you need to switch things up for some reason during a race (i.e. you may switch to a version of breast stroke or back if something happens to your goggles).

Here's a free training plan (link below) that we paid a company called Rising Tide to create for us. In case it's helpful, the plan doesn't specify the stroke. Again, have a great race and welcome to a great sport!

Kebby

https://www.coeursports.com/...ns-from-coeur-sports
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Re: Newbie training [IslandGeekette] [ In reply to ]
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Hi

I started out not too many years ago in the same boat. I have since joined a tri specific swim group (similar to masters group) but we still do all strokes. Beyond the keeping balance etc - I also found that mixing it up with kick/drill/speed/distance swims one keeps it entertaining and a little less staring at the black line and 2. similar to running the only way to get better is to work on the small stuff.

No doubt you will be able to get through the sprint swim!

Keep up the hard work!
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Re: Newbie training [IslandGeekette] [ In reply to ]
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So I started with the masters swim nights, and it gets me into the pool, but I think it's geared to those who are interested in competing in masters swimming competitions, rather than in tri.

I'll be joining a tri-specific swim group soon.

In other news -- I feel much more confident in the pool now, and I've successfully proven to myself that I can swim 1500m -- so the 700m for Sunday's tri should be good. I finally found a used road bike (I'd been using my hybrid), so that's coming together as well. I haven't been running as much as I used to, but at this point, I'm looking to complete my first tri with a smile on my face, rather than setting an unrealistic time goal.

Onward to Sunday!

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Island Geekette
7 half marathons, 30k Around the Bay, Philadelphia marathon, 2 Gran Fondos
....and then I got bored. Why not do a tri?
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Re: Newbie training [IslandGeekette] [ In reply to ]
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Hope it goes well! Let us know how you get on.
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Re: Newbie training [Scheherazade] [ In reply to ]
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Just a couple strange questions:
I have a tri suit, but I'm having second thoughts about wearing it in a cooler-weather pool triathlon. I'm thinking of just wearing my swimsuit, then layering bike shorts and running pants over it for the cycling, and just running pants for the run. I'm concerned that the chamois in the tri suit will stay wet and make me cold. Anyone have feedback?

Also, does anyone put their sports bra on overtop their swim suit, after the swim, rather than wearing it swimming?

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Island Geekette
7 half marathons, 30k Around the Bay, Philadelphia marathon, 2 Gran Fondos
....and then I got bored. Why not do a tri?
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Re: Newbie training [IslandGeekette] [ In reply to ]
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I'm a guy, but I would think that you would wear your sports bra under your swimsuit.

It would be fastest to do the whole race in only your swimsuit. No need to put anything else on.
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