Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Swim Drills and Accomplished Goals

Somehow amidst a 32hr training week last week, I only swam about 5k. Well, the remedy for that is 5x swims this week starting with today. You know, maintaining motivation for three sports is tough, so with the lighter week of swimming last week, I am all re-jazzed for some serious swimming now. Plus, with help from Trevor Glavin (Training Bible Coaching's newest coach), I identified some big areas for improvement in my swim stroke with my "catch" and "finish". I feel a plateau break through on the horizon once I improve on these things.

With the end in mind, check out the stroke of this world champ:

Here are a couple of drills that help with both, compliments of Crucible Fitness and Endurance Nation:

PROBLEM: Dropping Elbow on Catch

DRILL: Fist Drill

Swim regular freestyle with a closed fist for a half length, then open your hand and feel the increase in power.

Use normal to fast arm speed and do not use fins. Concentrate on pulling with the forearms.

PROBLEM: Short Finish

DRILL: Flicker Drill

Aggressively accelerate the hand at the end of the stroke, brushing your thumb against your thigh. Hand exits explosively and "flicks" water behind you. Do half lap of Flicker, half lap swim.

Keep the acceleration and thumb-to-thigh, lose the flicker.

Finishing your stroke, every stroke is critical. When swimming, always brush your thumb against you thigh. This is adds 3-4 inches to every pull, but requires more tricep endurance.


I had mentioned numerous "mental toughness" achievements that I experienced during the Desert Classic Duathlon. While these are super important, at the end of the day, the finish clock is what counts. With the results from the race officially posted, I was able to definitively say that I not only improved in all areas year-over-year, but more importantly exceeded my targets, or goal times that I set out at the beginning of the year for each leg of the event, except on Run #2. Having only done three transition runs all season, all of which were last week, I am cool with not having crushed the run off the bike. It is extremely satisfying and motivating to achieve goals. If you have questions about setting goals, check this a simple explanation of setting S.M.A.R.T. goals.