Swim training advice

I've done several marathons, and am currently training for FLM, but have also signed up for the London Triathlon after trying a mini-triathlon in La Santa a few weeks ago.

I'm currently spinning and swimming once a week to try and get my hand in with the other disciplines on top of the marathon training.

The swim is my weakest point. Today I swam 3 x 500 and am trying to work up so that I can do the 1500 non-stop. What should I do next? I'm planning to have some lessons once the marathon is over as I know I have to work on my technique. Is there any point in me doing drills, etc, if there's no one to watch me and tell me whether I'm doing them right/wrong?

Any suggestions on where to go next gratefully received.


  • Hi SuperShifter. I did the London tri last year. It is lots of fun.

    Three suggestions for swimming
    1) join a tri club or swim club to get some professional coaching.
    2) buy 'Total Immersion' book. It seems to be the bible for swimming and definitely helped me get more streamlined and efficient.
    3) read articles and forum stuff on tri websites. I like trinewbies.com or tritalk.co.uk

    Good luck with it.
  • Swimming is all about technique though doing the drills until you get someone to look at your stroke would benefit, in that it will stop you getting bored from just going up and down the pool aimlessly.
    At the same time you will benefit from becoming swimfit.
  • Definitely get a lesson or two. Going up and down a pool if you think your techniques not great will only make your "bad technique" into habit....

    And it'll be a lot more fun when you feel like you're doing it right!
  • I'm rubbish at swimming as well. It takes me 11 minutes to swim 400 metres. I bought Total Immersion but just can't get the hang of it. It's kind of sickening really as I slog my way up and down the pool while others effortlessly glide by me.

    The funny thing is I'm not really all that bothered. I exercise for myself and know I'll never really be competitive in a running or triathlon race. So by being slow at swimming it will mean when the Summer Tri's come round I'll be last out of the water and I'll have loads of folk to try and chase on the bike and run legs.

    The biggest problem is I'm so slow that if I ever do step up the distance for UK Half Ironman (next years plan) then I'll have to improve otherwise I won't make the time cut off. So I'll have to get lessons at some stage.

    Keep plugging away Supershifter and remember you're not alone.

  • I'm in the (VERY) early ironman training stages, and reckon i have crappy technique too. Hence I am off to club la santa on wednesday for running and hopefully some swim coaching too. It is frustrating when you;re aerobically fit enough to run for 3 hours, but swimming for more than 20 mins at a time is really hard!
  • Drills

    If you are fit enough to run a marathon you are fit enough to swim for extended periods. As has been said swimming is primarily about technique and the way to improve technique is to do drills.

    Drills are sets of exercises that isolate a small part of the stroke and help you perfect than one small part – doing lots of various drills helps you improve your whole stroke and when you get it you will find that as you are already fit you will be able to do length upon length upon length …

    Find an instructor that can teach you the drills you need to do, to help improve your technique, then include drill sessions into your visits to the pool and over time you will notice how much better your straight swim has become

    PS _ I went on a Total Immersion weekend – not cheep but good

    Good Luck

  • Will's absolutely right. Our tri club training sessions always start out with drills, sometimes with paddles, sometimes flippers, but mostly without any aids. We do stuff like
    one-arm swimming
    closed fists
    trailing fingertips over the water
    'zippers' when you pull your arm right up your side from thigh to armpit
    'flipping' the water out behind you on each stroke.
    Alternate breathing - breathe every 3rd then 5th then 7th stroke (if you're over 50 then just do 3rd and 5th).
    But you really need to shell out for a couple of coached sessions, or better still join a tri club that has regular coached practices.
  • as every one says get some training in by finding a decent coach . Try Steve Trew (olympic coach) who does weekend camps, is a lot of fun and is cheap.
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