Monday, August 13, 2007

Swimming Technique

The most technically difficult of the three disciplines. Efficiency is paramount here and the biggest problem with triathletes is body position. Most triathletes mistakenly believe that their problems are kick related because their legs and feet are dragging on the bottom of the pool. They spend useless sessions flogging themselves though mindless kick sets. The single most important aspect of an athlete's swimming is balance. Most people who are not balanced well in the water will pull like mad with their arms and attempt to kick hard to keep their legs and hips from doing what they do naturally - sink. Let's start by putting the pull and kick on hold for a moment. Without correct balance pull and kick are just going to wear you out very quickly. Not what you need before you even hit the bike. Instead of sessions on the kick board, your problems can be corrected by redistributing your weight. Make the front of your body heavier by pressing your chest into the water towards the floor while swimming. Your hips and legs will float up where they belong. With a balanced body even the weakest of kicks can't drag down a good body position. The best way to train this is to do a drill of say 25 meters arms by side kick up the pool applying pressure to your sternum like someone is pressing between your shoulder blades. Every time you lift your head to breathe you will lose the balance point and sink a bit. But practise pressing again until balanced and continue along. Practise this for a good part of your session before trying to apply it to your stoke. When you think you have it down alternate with this drill and swim lengths concentrating on getting the pressure right. Be careful not to bury your head. After a while, you should get the feeling that you are swimming downhill - chest down hips up - this is what you are after. When you get it right you'll see that you don't need to kick like crazy to get a balanced body and your swimming will become much more relaxed and efficient. As you get better, practise swimming sets applying the force right though the stroke faze. As your body rolls though the stroke keep the pressure on the chest and you'll be riding high. Another drill you can try is to kick lengths while rolling a full 360 applying pressure towards the floor at the level of your chest. For example, when on your side apply pressure to your shoulder. Roll right through the 360 keeping the pressure and maintaining the high back end. When proficient you should be able to roll through without hip or leg drop. It's ok to do these drills with flippers to take the emphasis away from kicking. It is important to note that if you want to learn something well in swimming you have to do it slow and this applies to all your drill sessions. Fast drilling will just ingrain bad habits further.

I did exactly that this morning at 7.45am and was making concious effort to keep the chest/sternum area down.

Needless to say, i enjoyed the swim so much i felt less tired compared to my usual 30minutes swim. I think with enough practice, i would and should be able to swim properly.

5 Days to Desaru, might not be able to do a full 2km swim with freestyle, but i will try.

I figured out the problem with the run last Friday. My legs are tired. I gave both my legs a complete rub down with some ointment and was utterly suprised how much it hurts deep inside the calves and quads.

The lactic acid must had stayed frozen inside the muscle. I pressed and kneaded my legs until the veins in my arms pop out. Needless to say, i got a good upper body workout as well.

Anyone knows where to get a good massage? Sports massage to be specific.

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