If you've made it your winter goal to improve your swimming, you don't need to spend hours and hours in the pool each week to do so. Here are the top five easy ways to improve your swim this winter.
1. Pull more
One of the best and least expensive pieces of gear you can buy is a pool buoy for building stroke efficiency and strength. As a triathlete, the majority of power in the swim should come from your stroke so you can save your legs for the bike and run. Once you get comfortable with the pool buoy, add in paddles to get even stronger. Once you get comfortable with pulling with a pull buoy, try band swimming and work your way up to a 1K band-only swim.
2. Learn to flip turn
If you don’t already know how to flip turn, make 2018 the year you learn. Flip-turning ensures you don’t lose the momentum of your set when you reach the wall, translating into smooth swimming with consistent technique. By learning to flip turn, you’ll keep your heart rate elevated for your set and will be less likely to stop and take unnecessary breaks at the wall. It’s a great way to mentally push yourself through your entire workout.
3. Swim with faster swimmers
Most people have the tendency to push harder in a group setting than in a solo workout. If you’re happy with your technique and your goal is to get faster, swim in either the fast lane of a lap swim or with a group of faster swimmers. A master’s swim club or tri club will have lanes divided according to speed. Talk to the coach about moving up a lane in the new year. It’s important to make sure you have good technique before you think about increasing your swimming volume or speed too drastically. If you have poor form, you’ll increase the likelihood of an injury.
4. Swim more
While triathletes should spend less time swimming in comparison to cycling and running, consider adding a swim session to your week in 2016. One more hour in the pool each week could be the difference between being a good swimmer and a great swimmer. If you do add a swim workout, make sure each has a different purpose. Have one workout to swim long, one to work on your speed and one that combines short and middle-distance effort or IM.
5. Swim in the morning
If you avoided early morning swim workouts all year, change your habit this winter. Morning practices with a team tend to be quieter than those in the evening, so you’ll get more one-on-one time with the coach and less bodies in your lane than at the lunch hour. Finally, swimming when you’re fresh means you can put more effort into your sessions and avoid the fatigue that sometimes takes over after a long day.