kdw wrote:"But when the gun goes off, your 1:15 swimmer does not loose 5 minutes, but 5 minutes on the swim, 10 on the bike and 20 on the run (due to a lack of swim fitness)."
You are assuming that the additional time invested in swimming would be added to the athlete's workload. In many cases (mine), any additional swimming requires a reduction in running/biking due to the time they have available.
Kyle, I think what Rappstar and Trevor Wurtele were saying earlier is not that you will apply the training time to bike and running. The point is that for the slower swimmers, not only are they losing time in the water, but they leave more fatigued. This has an impact on the bike times and the run times. Did you ever notice that at the top end of the sport at long course, many of the guys are former swimmers.
For yourself, since you only do half Ironman, you can fake it on a 30-35 min swim, but spending 1:10 in the water has an exponential impact on the bike and run in an Ironman compared to a half IM. You might think you got it all sorted out with your N=1 example at half Ironman and less (and you probably are pretty accurate). But the equation changes substantially when you double all the events and the athletes enters T1 completely trashed in an Ironman.
It does not have to be an "either or"....and I think this is why Rappstar forwarded Paulo's tweet, where one of them (can't remember which one) said it is the time of year to ramp swim mileage. As Fleck says, nothing wrong with reallocating some bike and run time to attempting to make a breakthrough in swimming if swimming is the weakness of an athlete, and then reallocating it back to bike and run later.
I remember having a discussion with Thomas Hellriegel several year ago about training in Germany in the winter....he basically said that he parked the bike and only used it on days that he could get out without freezing too badly as he hated the cold and spent the winter focusing on a ton of swim and run volume. Then he'd fly to Lanzarote or Mallorca for breaks through the winter, ride till he dropped and then come back to Germany and focus again on swim and run.
Having said that, I appreciate that for many of us, pool access alone makes swimming a sport that is very difficult to train for, but at least if we ignore swimming, we're doing so with our eyes open, knowing that better results could be achieved by treating swimming more seriously.
Lot's of guys who chose to focus on the run and bike keep brainwashing themselves, with statements like "swimming is a waste of time". Well, maybe if you focus on shorter races that are always wetsuit, these guys have a point, but every so often they end up in a non wetsuit race and it's a complete disaster. Even though I don't put in a ton of swim time NOW due to life constraints, I always look forward to the no wetsuit swims, because I don't get stupidly slower with no wetsuit, because I did what these guys suggested 18 years ago, which was invest in a few 6 month blocks of 20K per week of swimming....the result was 54 min swim at Roth (short) and 56 min at IMC. Unfortunately some shoulder and neck injuries took away some of those gains (mobility), but the main reason for my current slowness is lack of swimming. The point is that most of the speed at those races was simply from better swim fitness....when I was swimming 56 at IMC, I could not even swim a single 100m in 1:20 (no wetsuit), yet I could hold a 1:28 pace all day in wetsuit. Most of it was fitness.