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...