FORM TO FOL­LOW

Triathlon Magazine Canada - - SWIM BIKE RUN TRANSITION - BY CLINT LIEN

FOR THE MA­JOR­ITY OF CANA­DIAN TRIATH­LETES IT’S POST RACE SEA­SON AND A PER­FECT TIME TO FO­CUS ON YOUR TECH­NIQUE. DUR­ING RACE SEA­SON I SHORTEN WARM-UPS SUB­STAN­TIALLY, BUT IN THE FALL AL­MOST HALF THE SES­SION WILL BE “WARM-UP” WHERE WE WORK ON TECH­NIQUE. When it comes to tech­nique there are two main ques­tions you need to ask your­self:

1. Are you flat and tight in the wa­ter? 2. Is your el­bow above your wrist and your wrist

above your fin­gers dur­ing your stroke?

I haven’t even men­tioned breath­ing or ca­dence, but if you can an­swer yes to these ques­tions be­fore the end of the off-sea­son, you’ll be set­ting your­self up for some dra­matic im­prove­ments to your swim­ming. Since most of us will have an­swered “no” to these ques­tions, here’s what you should be do­ing as part of your warm-up.

A sin­gle arm drill with a snorkel (so you can look at your arm) with the non-stroking arm sit­ting on a kick board is a good place to start. Do 25 me­tres with the right arm and then 25 me­tres with the left arm, then drop the kick board and swim 50 with both arms. If you’re in a 50-me­tre pool then put the board be­tween your legs and use it as a shark pull buoy. 3. Don’t rush this one. Enter the wa­ter fin­gers first and make sure the wrist is slightly cocked, which puts the fin­gers be­low the wrist and the wrist be­low the el­bow. Move through the stroke and make sure you’re main­tain­ing the rule. Don’t over­think it. Stroke strong and stay fo­cused. 4. Start with 3 x 100 and build to 6 x 100 with 10 sec­onds rest on each.

There’s an ex­cel­lent way to work on both is­sues with a sin­gle piece of equip­ment – that’s the dreaded band. My old coach used to say if you can swim with a band with­out any other equip­ment, you can swim.

1. Take a punc­tured tube and cre­ate a 4-inch rub­ber loop so it can se­cure your an­kles firmly. You don’t want to be able to kick with the band on. 2. If you’ve not used the band be­fore, you’ll prob­a­bly find your toes

drag­ging along the bot­tom of the pool be­fore you take five strokes. 3. Let your­self al­most fail – then en­gage a few dol­phin kicks to bring

your legs back up. Re­peat. 4. If you’re ab­so­lutely hope­less with this a snorkel will help, but also

see if you can find a set of small kids pull buoys then start with them. 5. Once you learn to en­gage your core and keep your hips up and you’re able to ef­fi­ciently pull wa­ter with a high el­bow and wrist, you’ll even­tu­ally have that magic moment and fig­ure out how to stay straight. I rec­om­mend start­ing with 8 x 25 and work up to 12 x 50.

The off-sea­son is a great time to work on your swim tech­nique. Use this time to work on body align­ment and an ef­fi­cient stroke. Keep it sim­ple and in­cor­po­rate these few drills and you’ll be set­ting your­self up well for the al­ways-on-the-hori­zon race sea­son.

Clint Lien is the head coach of Vic­to­ria’s Mer­cury Ris­ing Triathlon mer­curyris­ing­triathlon.com

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