**side note** i would like to start off by thanking my clients who did not schedule with me this morning. although its not the best thing for the bank account sometimes a morning off is the best thing for my mind. thank you for canceling.
so i had a rare opportunity to swim this morning- not at 6am- but at 8am!?! sleep in and get a swim in before work! besides saturday mornings i do not get to workout in the mornings because i am usually coaching or training clients. i thrive on a morning workout. i think getting up and getting active is the ideal way to start the day. the workout gets the ball rolling.
i went to the ymca knowing i had 45 min. to swim. the goal was 3000 yards. i shared a lane with a nice man- who seemed annoyed, at first, when i asked to split the lane with him- who just kept to himself and did not swim near the middle.
it was fun observing the people that have the opportunity to swim at 8am for a morning workout. take my lane buddy for example (we will refer to him as LB)- i noticed right off that he was wearing an ironman branded swim cap. an older guy, a little bigger of a guy in my mind to be super competitive ironman athlete but hey- whos judging? i got started on my warm up and then into my main set. granted i am not swimming super fast but i can hold a 1:15 per 100base with an aerobic effort so not super slow here either. LB- proceeds his swim both fins and paddles on at the same time. he motored past me! meanwhile i was doing my continuous 10x 100 @1:20, LB stopped every 1-2 laps (from my observation) to be re-adjusting and changing up his equipment.
i have seen it all- the toys, equipment, gear, the stuff, whatever you want to call it. this goes for not only the pool but the gym, cycling, etc. the GEAR and ALL of that STUFF is not going to make you a faster swimmer. i am not posting this to be a miss nancy know-it-all- BUT to explain what i see everyday as a trainer and coach. LB next to me has on all the gear but meanwhile has poor technique and on top of that is so worried about the adjustment on his fins that he does not keep his heart rate up for any more then 50 yards. that is not going to help in his next 2.4 mile ironman swim.
from 10 years of competitive swimming, including at a level of div.1 ncaa, i can count on ONE hand how many times i have been allowed or asked by a swim coach to use BOTH fins and paddles at the same time. the sole purpose of using both would be to sprint- as in ALL OUT effort for 50-100 yards at the most. paddles and fins on their own serve a much better purpose.
start with paddles- if you wear paddles or a buoy in order to 'keep up' with your lane (i see ALL of the time at masters) you are in the WRONG lane. do not wear equipment to stay afloat. paddles allow you to feel the water and have more resistance from the water. the resistance in turn makes your pull underwater harder to do- ie. you become stronger at pulling. the buoy is for you legs- not to keep you afloat- but to keep you from kicking. again to make it harder on your arms so you become stronger.
fins. i see it again all too often at masters- swimmers put on fins to help them kick faster. yet they do not try to kick any harder or faster- they simply use the extra 6-12 inches of plastic to move them down the lane. i challenge some of you to do a kick set without fins... just see what happens. OR the next time you use fins for a kick set kick hard enough where your legs are actually burning. and yes- you will be much faster and will be using the fins to make your legs stronger at kicking!
try my 3400 yard workout next time at the pool. very straight forward way to build endurance. if you are ironman training you can do the main set twice.
warm up 400 easy
12 x 100 on base (where you only get 5 sec. rest at a threshold/aerobic effort)
3 x 400 pull (paddles and buoy) descend 1-3 on base
300 + 200 + 100 swim, kick or pull- BUT stay with one for the entire set- 15 sec. rest
avoid being the GEAR geek- get your b*tt in the water- and start swimming.