Training

How important is the swim anyway?

February 13, 2017

My triathlon journey started because of my Dad, he automatically became my training partner and coach if you like – basically I just tagged on all of his training sessions and took his advice as gospel because he had done an Ironman in a pretty decent time.

It has served me well so far, but the only down fall is that my Dad hates the swim, and will do everything he can to not swim (if you’re wondering if you can get through an Ironman swim with VERY little time in the pool, he is living proof that you can!)

The swim is the smaller part of the ironman, what’s 2.4 miles next to 112 or even 26.2?! That’s the approach I was guilty of taking (and still can be) but my last race showed me how important the swim can be! My dad as previously mentioned is a very good athlete; he is much stronger on the run and the bike then me and could easily beat me by a significant time. Unfortunately (for him), at our Ironman race last year, despite me being slower on the bike and the run, I still managed to beat him overall, thanks to his significantly slower swim (non-wetsuit swim thanks to heat!) which goes to show how important the swim actually can be, and how much it can affect your time.

Being ‘swim fit’ and having good technique is actually so important to stop you working too hard and going anaerobic on the swim. Burning through glycogen for 60+ minutes is going to be too much for your energy systems to recover from, and you will feel it by the time your on that bike, and really be suffering by the run! So basically, get in the pool and start doing some drills!

The swim training is also not something to be overlooked from an injury perspective – swimming is a non-impact sport, which can build your aerobic capacity without putting the stress on your body. I don’t know one runner who hasn’t had an injury and unfortunately the bigger the mileage and training hours, the bigger the risk for injury!

Swimming is a really productive way to get your essential core training in. You need a good, strong core to maintain form during the bike and run, swimming allows you to build core strength, which means you don’t have to spend as much time doing crunches!

It seems like a natural response from most triathletes to ditch the swim and prioritise the other disciplines first – the general feeling that you get more bang for your buck when you’re running or biking! Hopefully this blog encourages you to get more water time, otherwise, your daughter might beat you too!

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Em x

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