Monday, March 23, 2009

You can accomplish a lot by doing nothing.

Swimming, biking and running. Anyone doing triathlons knows about these three disciplines. Ask a tri-athlete about their workouts and you going hear about the many hours spent in the pool, countless miles on the bike and the fact they have run the trail so many times they can almost do it with their eyes closed. You will hear how they follow their training plan to almost perfection and have guilt for days if they are forced to miss a workout. They know that to get better, you must train at each discipline and put their bodies through many vigorous workouts. They even figure out that nutrition is extremely important to their performance and they will study and experiment until they find the exact plan that works for them. The one discipline that tri-athletes sometimes forget about, which is unfortunate because it is just as important to their performance, is Rest.

For an athlete to reach the peak levels of their performance, they will need to discover a balance between training and rest. Rest is physically necessary so that the muscles can repair, rebuild and strengthen. Without the proper rest your body does not have enough time to recover and you will not be able to perform at your top ability. If you continue to train without rest you body can actually start to break down and you will become weaker, your performance will suffer, and you could even get injured. Allocating rest in your training program gives your body a chance to adapt to the stress of exercise, repair muscle damage, and allows your body time to replenish fluid and nutrients lost during the workout. The training doesn’t making you stronger, rest does!

A huge part of rest is sleep. There are many studies that show that Human Growth Hormone (HGH) is produced naturally during the later stages of night sleep. If you reduce sleeping time to five or six hours instead of eight or nine you are cheating your body out of a natural performance enhancer. HGH is the body natural way of fighting the aging process and helps repair damage cells. It also helps in lowing body fat, increasing muscle mass, bone density, improved immune system all the while increasing your energy levels. Sleeping eight hours a night should be a requirement for every athlete.

The next time you’re looking at your training plan and you see a rest day, don’t think of it as a wasted day, think of it as a workout where you don’t do anything. If you take a rest day each week and get eight hours of sleep a night, you should always be at the top of your game.

Monday, March 16, 2009

Swim Jargon

We receive a lot of questions during swim practice about how to read the workout -- what do all these letters and numbers mean (DPS, TPR, 6-3-6), how many sets am I supposed to do, does the interval include rest, do I stop in between sets, etc. Below is my attempt to tackle some of these questions for you guys...with a few general tips at the end!

Quick Drill Review:
DPS - Distance per Stroke (take as few strokes as possible, lengthen out and finish your stroke)
TPR - Touch Pull Roll (touch both hands at top - catch/pull - roll hips & shoulders)
BA - Bow & Arrow (work on rotation and pausing on each side - like pulling a bow & arrow)
Fist - Swim with Fists (working on your catch, feel the water with forearm)
Zipper - Drag thumbs through mid-section/up your side (work on rotation and high elbows)
10-10 Side Kick (10 kicks on each side, work on keeping hips and shoulders square)
10-10 ABS - Arms by Side (same as 10-10 side but arms are by your side - more resistance)
6-3-6 - Six kicks on one side, three strokes, six kicks on the other side (kicks same as 10-10 side)

Here are some examples of workout sets:

1 x 300 Swim (100 @ 85%/100 DPS/100 @ 90%)
This set is a 300 total (1 repetition of 300). Within the 300, you are going to change it up every 100 -- but it is still a continuous 300 (no stopping after every 100).

4 x 100 Swim (10 sec. rest)
Odd: DPS
Even: Swim at 90%
This set means that you are going to do a total of four 100's. The first and third 100's will be DPS, the second and fourth will be swimming at 90% effort. You will take 10 seconds rest in between each 100 (or go on the interval set by the coach). This set is sometimes confused with doing the whole set four times through (total 16 100's) -- remember that the first number (4) shows the total number of repetitions.

4 x 100 Swim (10 sec. rest)
#1 & #3: DPS
#2 & #4: Swim at 90%

The above set could also be written like this. This will end in the same result -- swimming 4 100's with the first and third as DPS and the second and fourth swimming at 90%.

4 x 100 Swim (10 sec. rest)
Odd: (50 DPS/50 TPR)
Even: (50 Swim 90%/50 6-3-6)

To make it even more confusing, we can also structure the set with different drills or pacing within each 100. This set is the same as the above -- 4 100's with 10 sec. rest in between -- but this time you are switching it up within each 100. So you will still be doing a continuous 100, but you will be doing something different for every 50 within the 100.

6 x 100 Pull (on interval - 20 seconds rest)
This set shows a total of 6 100's pulling (buoy & paddles) on a time interval. When you receive an interval from the coach, it DOES include your rest time. If you receive a 2:00 interval on this set, that means that you will leave every time the clock hits 2:00. The coach is going to set the interval based on the estimated 100m time for the lane -- in this case would be 1:40 to allow for 20 seconds rest. If you leave when the clock hand hits 60, then you will leave on the 60 every time you start another 100. Also, if you come in on the 1:35, you will get a little more rest. If you come in on the 1:45, you will get a little less rest. You will still need to leave on the 60 (or 2:00 interval) every time. The coaches will set the intervals based on the ability of the entire lane, so everyone does not always get the same amount of rest (should be close). Also, the coaches may set a faster interval to push the lane for that set, or a slower interval when more rest is your coaches :)

Swim Etiquette
Since not everyone has the same speeds for swimming, pulling and fins, there will definitely be times when you are in a lane and need to pass or be passed. It is a good idea for everyone to learn the basics about swim etiquette so that practice can run smoothly. Here are a few tips:

*Try to pass at the wall rather than mid-lane (if you see someone approaching you from behind or consistently swimming on your feet, stop at the next wall and let them through)
*Wait 5 seconds between each swimmer in the lane when starting a set (try not to start right on someone's feet)
*As sets get longer, the likelihood of needing to pass or get passed increases. If you are one of the slower swimmers in the lane, be courteous and try to finish up when the rest of the lane finishes. Ex. If you are doing a 400 swim and the rest of your lane is finished with the set, stop with the group and make-up the missed mileage (probably 50m) at the end (if time permits).
*If you are swimming with a faster lane and have trouble keeping up on longer sets (200+), you can always modify the set so that you can stay on pace with the lane. Ex. For a set of 6x200 Swim, you might want to do 2x200, 1x150, 2x200, 1x150. This way you can still push the effort with the group, but you have some limited rest within the set. You can always make up any missed mileage at the end if time permits.
*Most importantly, be considerate of your teammates -- let people by if needed and ask to move ahead if you are swimming on someone's feet. This will help the flow of the lane so that everyone gets the best workout possible!

Misc. Notes & Tips:
*PULL always means paddles and buoy -- we will specify if you only need one or the other (ex. swim with paddles (no buoy) or buoy only (no paddles))
*Swim Interval from coaches DOES include rest
*If the workout just says KICK, you can choose between (mix & match) any of the kick drills -- 10-10 side, 10-10 ABS, 6-3-6, kick on back, kick with board
*If the workout just says DRILL, you can choose between (mix & match) any of the drills -- DPS, TPR, Bow & Arrow, Zipper, Fist
*If you are choosing your own kick or drill, try to choose something that you need to work on (rather than just doing your favorite one every time...)

And as always, feel free to ask the coach at practice if you have any additional questions not covered! See you guys at swim practice!

Coach Suzanne

Sunday, March 1, 2009

Be Inspired & Take Action

I've been searching for the right words for this post. I could feel what I wanted to say...but the words to match didn't come out.

So, instead, I'm going to let some others' famous words do the talking -- in the hopes that it will help you become more inspired and take action.

...what can I say...I'm a sucker for a good quote! ;-)

"There are no shortcuts to any place worth going" ~Beverly Sills

"Watch your thoughts, for they become words.
Watch your words, for they become actions.
Watch your actions, for they become habits.
Watch your habits, for they become character.
Watch your character, for it becomes your destiny."

"Don't wait. The time will never be just right" ~Napoleon Hill

"You cannot change your destination overnight, but you can change your direction overnight" ~Jim Rohn