i'm signed up for my first ironman (and triathlon for that matter) and it takes place in sept '06. my biking is fine. i'm confident i can bring my running up to speed to get me through. my swim is horrible though. i've been in the pool now for 2-3 months, and i don't feel like i'm making the progress i should be.
currently, i do anywhere from 800-1200 yards in increments of 100 yards. i've only tried going farther than 100 yards once and it was ok, but anything beyond that feel like it'll be impossible. my form feels efficient and like i'm not wasting energy. it takes me 17-19 strokes to travel a length of the pool and i take a breath every five strokes. i don't kick as hard as i could, but i feel i should train this way because that's how i plan to do it in the ironman. i think my biggest problem is thinking too much, because when i start thinking in the water, my breathing gets out of whack. it feels like i don't exhale my entire breath either. after awhile, it starts to take its toll.
any suggestions? i'm not sure if i should be doing long, slow training, or focusing on breaking things up - mixing up long and slow with fast and intense.
alright, i'll leave it at that. thanks for reading.
As for a practice, do a search in here - there are pages online that other topics have linked to that have workouts.
Here are some pointers on your swimming:
Breath every three.
I hardly kick as well (I turn it on depending on the distance of the event), but you have to (at least) kick enough to keep your hips up. You "should" have a six-beat kick.
If you are male, make sure you are wearing a speedo (not the brand, slang for the small suit). You are going to compete in one - get used to it. They are actually pretty comfortable.
Like I said in your triathlon post, breathing every 3 is good. There's no need for a 6 beat kick. Many distance swimmers use a 2 beat kick and sometimes switch up to a 6 beat kick during the last 1-2 minutes of a race.
heh... I fall into the: "Many distance swimmers use a 2 beat kick and sometimes switch up to a 6 beat kick during the last 1-2 minutes of a race." I consider it being lazy, but my legs are too inefficient to keep up a six beat kick for long.
As for "what" you should be swimming, practice-wise. The more I think about it, join a Master's program or any other swim team... you will get much more out that than doing your own thing.
If you do do your own thing... I am not a triathlete, and I am not going to pretend to know what you should do. I will give you what I do and others... I swim between 3k-4k meters a day with the team I am on... I would do more, but... you know... real life and all gets in the way. Anyway, the lifeguards that practice for their competition usually do 2k-3k meters with us (but a lot slower, and they get out early). The few triathletes that swim with us swim in the afternoon and do something else at night... so I do not know what to tell you there.
I'm a triathlete. You need to build up your endurance first, then speed. Your main focus should be going long, but don't cut out all speedwork. I'd suggest doing 1 long slow session/week-continuous swimming for up to 2hrs; 1 quality session/week including a 24x100m set w/10-15 sec recoveries; and a drill session/week to build form-stroke counting and reducing, catch-up, fist, etc. As your endurance builds you can add drag or paddles to your endurance sets to build muscular endurance. The winter is great for getting in some serious swim time if you're more north than south as biking becomes less enjoyable and frostbite licks your cheeks. The best single thing you can do to improve your swimming is to get a coach/instructor. Some masters practices offer these services but many do not. A couple hundred bucks for some 1 on 1 or small group instruction can save many hours flailing in the pool, and shave many minutes off your 2.4mi.
I don't think the practice of using a 2 beat kick during long swims is lazy at all. To maintain a 6 beat kick for a mile or longer is not usually efficient. Some can do it, but for the majority of people, overuse of the legs will tire you out quickly.
"To maintain a 6 beat kick for a mile or longer is not usually efficient. Some can do it, but for the majority of people, overuse of the legs will tire you out quickly."
I completely agree with you...
And if I was not so lazy, I would work on increasing my efficiency and keeping a six beat kick for any distance.
We have a different definition of lazy.
There is a principle to employ here. Train your weaknesses and race your strengths. Don't neglect your kicking even though you will most likely not kick much during the race. Use fins to strengthen your kick; they also give added aerobic benefit to your workouts, not to mention some variety.