A Year Out of the Pool. Where Do I Even Start to Get Back?

For so many triathletes, the COVID19 shut down of pools and swimming areas has thrown a huge wrench in training.  You’ve made do with dryland routines, alterna-sports, and upping the mileage on runs and rides.   The unfortunate side effect is that a lot of swimming programs have been left in limbo and the restart process has left many at a loss.

So… Where do you start?  Restarting your swim training starts before you even get back into the pool.  Check out your local pools for open/lap swim times that work within your schedule.  Many pools have online signups that must occur before you can even gain access to the facility.  This limits the number of people that can be on deck at any given time.  You may need to look at multiple facilities throughout the city to create a swim schedule that works for you.  The busier the facility, the more on the ball you may need to be signing up to get the time slots you want.

If you’d rather get back into the lakes and oceans for your swims check with your local open water groups, find a training partner or a friend with a boat/paddle board and then set yourself a schedule.  Remember that open water swimming is more than just completing a set distance as fast as you can.  Open water swims can be structured as well!

Touch base with your old swim coach, or find a new one.  Coaches offer structured training programs that will take you from where you are to where you want to be.  This includes technical changes to your swim stroke, as well as premeditated and progressing training programs that increase speed and/or endurance aspects of your swims.  SwimFocused offers Monthly Coaching Services that do just that.  Individualized training plans that focus on your paces, your stroke and your process/outcome goals.

Either on your own, or in conjunction with your coach, sit down and plan what you want to accomplish for the season.  Write out exactly what you want to achieve, when you’d like to see it done and how you’re going to get there.  These goals can be a performance, a technical change or even a thought process or mindfulness goal (maybe you just want to re-learn how to love swimming again).

Once you’ve set a goal, chatted with your coach and booked/find yourself a spot to swim it is time to get in and swim!  In those first few sessions take it easy, depending on how long you have been out of the water things are going to feel different.  Some triathletes quickly lose their feeling of the water (that ability to feel pressure against their hands and forearms), while others lose power or even endurance.  A year break is a long time!  Start with easy swims, some sculling and some gentle reminders on technique changes that you were working on prior to the shut down.   Sessions do not even need to be structured at this point, and going in on the first day with the most general outcome goals is totally acceptable!

Once you’re out of the pool and you’ve totalled up the total volume swam, try to avoid thinking about how few meters you swam relative to the last time you got in.  Instead, think about that volume as a starting point for future training sessions and think about future technique changes you’d like to make.  Send the coaches at SwimFocused a video.  Our Video Analysis will help identify current mistakes and we will offer up suggestions to make your stroke more efficient and faster.

Regardless of where you are in your journey, focused planning, focused practices and honest effort will result in seeing great gains in the swim portion of your races.

Yours in Swimming,