We often meet people who are fit, active and are always looking for the next challenge. It’s usually only a matter of time before we ask the obvious question:
‘Why don’t you do a triathlon?’
Now, very occasionally we get an answer that we’ve not heard before, but nine times out of ten the answer is – ‘the swim’.
What’s Stopping You?
If you are fit, healthy and can manage the run and bike components of a triathlon, why let something like poor swimming ability stop you from completing a triathlon? Unless you have a deep rooted phobia of the water, in just a few weeks you could be comfortably swimming 3, 4 or even 5 times further than you can now. What’s more, it will feel easy!
1. Don’t Train – Practice
One of the biggest mistakes made by those new to long distance swimming is to treat each session in the pool as a fitness session. Though training your pool fitness will probably increase your swimming speed over a few lengths and maybe increase the distance you can swim by 100 metres or so, improving your technique is far more effective.
Obviously, the best way to improve your technique is to receive instruction from a good swimmer. If that’s not possible, there are loads of brilliant resources which will drastically improve your stroke efficiency. During the first few weeks of your swim training, go to the pool to practice not train. Don’t push yourself to your physical limit. As soon as you feel yourself getting tired, stop. This will ensure that you are always improving your technique without picking up bad habits.
2. Go Swimming
Painfully obvious right? If swimming is the weakest of your three components you should be looking to swim at least 3 times a week. Simply by going swimming on a regular basis, you WILL improve. Once you are happy with your technique just gradually increase the distance. Once you can swim 1.5km without too much bother, start building in some interval sets.
3. Enjoy it!
This is a crucial, and natural, part of becoming a good swimmer. It’s very unlikely that you will be able to sustain your improvement if you don’t come to enjoy swimming. Once you improve your technique and begin to take fewer strokes to complete each length of the pool I’d be surprised if you don’t start to enjoy it. Embrace that enjoyment, and if you find it fading away do something to get it back. If you do find your enthusiasm waning, why not try some open water swimming?
Is your swimming stopping you from signing up for a triathlon? Why let it be a barrier?
What are your experiences? Is swimming your weakest leg?