Swimming – some of us love it – some of us not so much – but as triathletes it is something that we have to embrace. So here are some simple tips to make sure you make your time in the pool as productive as possible.

Mix it up: Whilst there are pros/cons for swimming with a group (club, masters or coach led session) versus swimming on your own – I am firm believer that the swimmers who progress the most are those who do a mix of both. This is because on your solo sessions you can focus on your technique/pace and then in a group set – you typically push yourself more to keep up/get away from your nemesis.

Know/apply pool etiquette: This applies equally to swimming in a group or solo. This covers simple rules such as placing yourself correctly in the lane based on your pace/ability, giving people space, drafting correctly etc and if not adhered to results in tense eyeballing battles as you either are slapping the toes off or holding up another swimmer. More importantly, if not followed you will end up swimming at the wrong pace (either too fast or too slow) and reduces the benefit from your session.

Use your resources wisely: When swimming in a coached or masters session – make sure you ask questions. Politely asking the coach what is your biggest limiter before the session. This should allow them to take note of your stroke and feedback post session. Once you have that issue prioritised – get drills to fix it and build them into your warm up session. In a few weeks once you feel on top of the “limiter” – ask Coach to review and hopefully you move onto next item to fix. Rinse – repeat …as there will always be something to fix.

Have a plan: Particularly applies to people doing a solo set – do not just head down to the pool and make it up – you will most likely spend a lot of time chatting at the wall. Get your coach to outline a specific swim set and either write it down or print it off (small plug: all of the sets in my pre built training plans come with an easy downloadable print friendly option).

Once on paper see below for a cool trick I use to make sure I don’t have to think too much during a set (not great at multi tasking!)

Step 1: Print off or write down your swim set (you will have enough to be thinking of in the pool!)
Step 2: Gently dip back of paper in pool to wet it
Step 3: Now your swim set will stick against the pool signs making it easy to remember what your coach wants you to do
Remember to bin it at the end (peels off easily too) No one likes a litter bug!

Keep a count: For me my biggest problem in swimming is my mind wandering. So this usually results in mild panic mid set of “was that the 3rd or 4th one”. So to keep me on track I have invented the pool abacus (patent pending) – all you need is two pieces of swim kit (paddles work best!) and a pool grill – see below

Step 1: Pack your trusty swim equipment
Step 2: Line up swim grills at start (you can see why paddles are the best as they “slot” in nicely – so this would be the start point of 10 x 100s for example
Step 3: During your rest – move out the paddles to keep count – so in this example I would have completed 3 of my 10 intervals and sigh ….. 7 to go … but hey no chance of miscounting now

Cool down correctly/appropriately: Even if time crunched take time to cool down correctly and for swimming this is not only about getting your HR down. It is vital to ensure you have some backstroke/breast stroke (if you don’t know how to – take time/lessons to learn) to ensure you are not overloading your freestyle muscles.

And Remember People – SWIMMING IS JUST …. FABULOUS!

Steven Moody has starred in the corporate rat race but found his greatest source of satisfaction came from his 15 years of endurance racing including numerous FULL DISTANCE finishes and world championship qualifications

Realising this fact, Steven abandoned his cubicle and moved into full time coaching. Steven is now FULL DISTANCE U, ITU and Training Peaks level 2 certified and in 2017, was awarded Triathlon Ireland Coach of the year.

Browse his pre-built training plans by clicking here or if you have triathlon queries you can contact him via info@smartendurancesolutions.com