The swim

The most in­tim­i­dat­ing leg for many, but also the area where you’ ll make the big­gest time sav­ings through tech­nique. Com­mit to the crawl now–and in­vest in qual­ity gog­gles

Men's Fitness - - Features -

Train like a pro THE FOUN­DA­TIONS

For most peo­ple, the swim is the lim­it­ing fac­tor –but even if you can get the dis­tance done, bet­ter ef­fi­ciency in the wa­ter means you’ll save en­ergy for the other two legs. That’s why, in the early go­ing, tech­nique im­prove­ments beat raw car­dio prow­ess. “Find a group to train with, or get a few pri­vate coach­ing lessons,” says triathlon coach Ian Rooke. A ded­i­cated tri coach is a bet­ter bet be­cause tri swim­ming tech­nique uses less kick­ing than tra­di­tional front crawl, con­serv­ing en­ergy for the road.


End­less lengths aren’t the an­swer. “To im­prove on your speed I would sug­gest not swim­ming any more than 400m in one go,” says Rooke. “You need to main­tain good form and tech­nique through­out the whole dis­tance, whether it’s 100m, 200m or 1,500m. To work on speed I would sug­gest swim­ming 100m ef­forts us­ing a given ‘turn-around time’ – for in­stance, 10x100m off 1min 50sec means you’d aim to swim 100m in around 1min 20sec, rest for 30sec, and go again when the clock hits 1min 50sec. Aim to re­duce the swim time and in­crease rest time.”


If it’s tricky to get to the pool, top up your train­ing and build swim-spe­cific strength in the gym. You’ll want to work on your shoul­ders and core for full-body ef­fi­ciency, and you can use the rene­gade row to build both. Get into a press-up po­si­tion hold­ing a pair of dumb­bells on the floor, do a press-up, then row one weight up to­wards your armpit, keep­ing your core tight and body par­al­lel to the floor, then the other. That’s one rep. Aim for five sets of ten.

“Sighting, or fol­low­ing the buoys to stay on course, is as im­por­tant as tech­nique so prac­tise it a head of time”

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