Fast swim starts is our training tip this week! A LOT of athletes get to race day feeling prepared, a little nervous and excited about what lies ahead for them. You get in what warm up you can and then gather up with those who have the same color swim cap as you. Toeing the line you are eager for the start of the race. The horn sound and off you go and then…200 meters out… you are exhausted! But all that training? Why? Most likely you went out either kicking too hard OR or stroking too slow and thereby overtaxing your cardiopulmonary system forcing you to stop and regroup. Let’s chat about the two scenarios.
Too fast. How often do you jump in the pool for a swim workout and go all out? How about never! The problem with a hard start isn’t how fast you move your arms its your over kicking. You heart and lungs can handle your arms flailing around pretty easily, they are made up of small muscles. But once you add in an over zealous kick from those gigantic leg and butt muscles you redline. Solution: Go to the pool with plan to do some drylands warmup then hop in and do a hard 300 to 500. Focus on a quick turnover and a light or nonexistent kick. It’s not easy but practice will make perfect.
The other scenario, too slow a stroke, seems counter intuitive. How could you go to easy? Well, going back to your practice at the pool, your body has been accustomed to a certain stroke rate and a certain respiratory rate (since every time you stroke you breath). If you suddenly try and swim with a respiratory rate less than normal, your C02 will rise and, to put it in medical terms, you will freak out! Solution see above!