Swim Smooth has teamed up with our favourite charity Level Water to offer you Half-Price Dart 10K tickets! It's a 10km downstream swim in the River Dart, one of the most beautiful stretches of river in the UK. This is more of an experience than a race, and finishes with a festival on Dittisham Green.
Tickets go on sale to the public for £98 very soon, they usually sell out in minutes. However, this year Level Water are the charity partner for the event. They have tickets for half price (£49), so you can secure your place right now!
Find out more and sign-up here: events.levelwater.org/order-1766069017729259
Your Swim Training Shouldn't Vary Too Much Year RoundIf you live in the northern hemisphere you'll be very aware that the days are getting ever shorter and the temperatures are dropping ever lower. Christmas is on the horizon and you might have starting thinking about next year and planning out your season - what events to do and how to structure your training over the winter.
- Forget open water swimming - it's way too cold!
- You need to be performing key fitness training sessions to develop your swim fitness (more on this below). Not swimming these sets means your aerobic fitness will go backwards and will take a long time to re-develop in the spring when you could be using this time to be moving ever further ahead.
- You need to develop a stroke technique that you can consistently perform over longer distances swimming at a fast pace. Swimming short technique swims can easily take your stroke down a complete cul-de-sac (particularly if you focus too much on overly lengthening your stroke).
- You can easily work on your open water skills in the pool with friends over the winter. These skills are so vital they're arguably worth just as much time to your performance as your stroke technique and your fitness.
A Far Better Approach
The truth is that unless you are swimming 25km a week or more, or you are a pool based sprinter, then the sort of training you need to be doing doesn't need to vary that much whatever the time of year. You can alter your focus slightly but you fundamentally want to keep the same routine rolling along week-in week-out.
In order to improve, a key thing is to get the balance right between fitness training, stroke technique work and open water skills. Over a 1500m swim each of these elements is worth at least several minutes to you and so if you've been focusing exclusively on one you are leaving large chunks of time on the table:
So important are Technique, Fitness and Open Water Skills that we call them "The 3 Keys" to great swimming:
To maximise your performance you need to have all three elements in your training every week and the best way to achieve that is to devote a session to each. This is the weekly structure used by our squads in Perth and our Certified Coach's Squads around the world:
- 60 minute session with CSS training sets
- 60 minute open water skills session in the pool
|SS Coach Julian Nagi's squad (Action, London) practising|
their open water skills during the winter - loads of fun!
If you are wanting to include a fourth or fifth session, here's three possible options (in order of difficulty, easiest first):
- An aerobic endurance session featuring long continuous swims.
- A tough Red Mist training session to really work your speed endurance.
Not Boring At All!
You might be thinking that keeping the same sessions rolling through is boring but far from it. Each week will contain a large variety of training stimuli to keep you focused and on your toes. Unless you start to over-train (see below) it's unlikely you will start to feel stale.
In terms of pushing you continuously forwards, although you're focusing on a specific element of your swimming in each session, they can be configured in lots of different ways and each set type progresses to a harder level as you become faster. Through our process of CSS testing and tweaking (see here) the paces get progressively faster too - perfectly matching your increasing speed:
Seeing the improvements you are making is hugely motivating and you simply won't want to change anything when you're in that "sweet spot" of preparation!
Actual Training Sessions
Of course the Swim Smooth Guru is packed with all these types of sessions to follow - and they're also collated into full training plans for any race distance. Here's some links (PRO subscription required):
Technique sessions: www.swimsmooth.guru/sequence/ks/pure-technique-sessions/
CSS sessions: www.swimsmooth.guru/sequence/tc/css-sessions/
Open water skills sessions: www.swimsmooth.guru/subsection/ctZ/session-library/
Aerobic endurance sessions: www.swimsmooth.guru/sequence/Ia/long-aerobic-interval-sessions/
Red Mist sessions: www.swimsmooth.guru/sequence/HG/red-mist-endurance-sessions/
|The Guru is not just about developing your technique but fitness training and open water skills too.|
"Consistency" Doesn't Sound Sexy But Is The Magic Ingredient
The key to improvement is to keep this regular routine rolling week-in, week-out and that means training slightly within yourself, giving yourself some capacity to cope with whatever life throws at you.
You want to push yourself at the right times (for instance during a key CSS set) but taking your training week as a whole you don't want to be living on the edge of fatigue and turning up to every session tired.
Over-training like this is a particular risk for triathletes who are managing their training across three sports. Try and balance out your training energy between each and make sure you are turning up for your key sessions feeling good and ready to go.
Train consistently week-in and week-out and the improvements will keep coming for a long long time. Go through a boom-and-bust cycle of over-training and enforced rest and you'll go nowhere or even regress.
Some recommended reading on over-training and consistency: