Poolside with Coach Amari: Tackling Triathlon Specific Short Course Swim Workouts

Poolside with Coach Amari: Tackling Triathlon Specific Short Course Swim Workouts

There are three major problems I see with triathletes, at the pool, as they train through race season:

1- One Speed Wonders - Those with a lack of responsiveness and fitness specific to the demands of the course and other athletes.
2- Fooled by Swim “Equipment/Toys" - Swim toys are fun and build incredible strength when used properly throughout workouts. It is about the timing of the tools and why an athlete is using them. There is never a "bad workout” BUT there are better options.  Holding pace, finding new limits and fitness benchmarks should not be littered with the use of swim equipment.  In my experience, throughout the season, the athlete should be focusing more on holding pace and building tolerance to the "burn" without the use of external equipment that will not be used in the race.
3- Simply Chasing the Black Line - Many athletes lack technique and open water specific tools, in race pace. Yes they may be fast in the pool, but they can't maintain it in open water because they never practice the tools necessary for open water.  Many athletes work drills during their warm up, but forget that these drills will be demanded of them in open water, under intensity and speed. For example: Sighting, breath control with pace, drafting off other swimmers, and high turnover for chop and or to move through athlete pile ups efficiently without wasting energy or time.
Here is one my favorite short course workouts that tackle speed change, building tolerance to the swim speed desired without the use of equipment, and utilizing open water specific technique while maintaining high pace.
Swim Workout Notes:

1- The first set is done with a "Deep water start" - simply start on your belly head out of the water, small kick, keeping body on top of the water, simulating race day starts,

2- The second set demands the athlete to push off the wall as hard as possible with the pushing pace on the back half to simulate response and pace in open water.

3- Reminder, always include a cool down of at least 10% of the total workout time, when finished with the 45 min set. 
Dry land warm up for at least 10min and then immediately jump in and get started.

MAIN SET- REPEAT the whole set for 45min:
200: 15 sprint- no breath/ 35 moderate- rest 10sec
150: 25 sprint- focus on high arm turn over and looking down/ 25 moderate- rest 10sec
100: 35 sprint- sight at least 2x's forward/ 15 moderate- rest 10sec
50: SPRINT! - everyone rests 1min
200: 35 moderate/ 15 sprint- no breath- rest 10sec
150: 25 moderate/ 25 sprint- focus on high arm turnover and a strong kick- rest 10sec
100: 15 moderate/ 35 sprint- sight at least 2x's forward- rest 10sec
50: SPRINT!- everyone rests 1min
For more triathlon specific questions or comments, please email: Amari@playtri.com