Monday, December 31, 2007

HAPPY NEW YEAR!!!


I want to wish everyone a Happy New Year. I hope 2008 is your best year yet!

Things are back on track in Madtown and I am getting ready to "fly"....ok, DRIVE south. I am leaving in 4 days to what feels like my second home in Clermont, FL. Thanks Graham and Stacy! I will be there for about 8-1o weeks, before heading west to Arizona for most of March and part of April.

On the training side, things are good..."WOW, seems like a while since I have said that!" :) I hit 77km of running last week, which felt great. Today marks 12 weeks since my stress fracture and I finally feel like I will soon be at 100%. All I have to say is I will be avoiding those at all costs in the future!

When I am down in FL, AZ & CA...I will keep everyone in the loop with regular training updates.

More to come from the Sunshine State!

BB

Thursday, December 13, 2007

To Drill or To Drill It?



We are now getting into the colder months here in the northern hemisphere, or what some call the "off season." It provides an opportunity to work on our weaknesses, which for a lot of us is swimming.

Ok, that gets us to the next question; How do I improve my swimming? Do I just do drills? Do I swim long....or hard? Do I swim more frequently? Which one is it coach?

You will talk to some who will tell you that swimming is 70%+ technique and 30% pure fitness, so most of your time should be spent perfecting your technique......ok.

Then there are those that like the phrase "more is more." They will tell you that if you want to swim faster, you have to swim MORE. More meaning; longer, faster, more often.......ok

So which one is it? BOTH

I argue that to swim faster, you need to do both. You need to include drills at the beginning of your workouts, you need to swim hard during your main-sets and you need to swim more often.

You hear it all the time: "The best way to swim faster is to swim like a pure swimmer."

Do you see swimmers excluding drills from their training?....no. Do you see them just out there drilling and swimming steady?.....no. They do both.

Here are a few ideas for you:

1) Swim as often as your schedule allows, but don't forget about riding, running and your strength work. Keep these other disciplines in maintenance mode.

2) Structure your week around 2-4 key swim workouts, these workouts should have a warm-up with drills, a transition set(prepare you for main-set), a main-set and maybe a pull-set.

3) In your key workouts, ALWAYS include drills in your warm-up. Then focus on speed and strength. This includes HARD intervals(sprinting), pulling and paddle work.

4) Focus on drilling and aerobic sets during any extra swims that you add each week.

5) Get your stroke looked at every few weeks by a GOOD swim coach. When you are swimming easy, at race pace and fast (sprinting). Most people's form changes significantly.

So if you are looking to bump up your swim this coming season, you need to keep the drills mixed in, but you also need to JFT...or SWIM HARD!

Off to the pool...

BB

Monday, December 03, 2007

GOLFing in the Pool


I am about 5 weeks into my swim block and am making some great progress. I will share some times and number in another week or two, but first I wanted to share a great drill that I have learned and seem results using(in both myself and my athletes).
Over the course of the last 5 weeks I have learned a lot from those that have spent their entire lives in the pool. One "drill" or "game" that I have learned is called GOLF. No, there are no clubs or balls used in this game. It is easy, yet VERY effective. The goal is to swim fast with as few strokes as possible. The sets are usually made up of descending 50's.
To get your score, you add the number of strokes it took you to complete the 50, to your time. For example, if you swam a 50 with 32 strokes in 40 seconds, your score would be 32 + 40, or 72.
The purpose of this drill is to keep you "long" in your stroke. Most triathletes have a tendency to have a short choppy stroke(especially when swimming fast) and this can be a fun way to work on improving that.
So, the next time you are at the pool, add in a set or two of "4x50 descending GOLF" on 15s rest in to your warm-up. The goal would be to get a lower score for each 50.
Try it, give it some time and let me know what you think.