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Excited All Over Again: Getting Back Into Swimming Workouts
Robert Watson

So, Triathlon is on your mind again, and you're revving up your training to prepare for the next racing season. Swimming has been on the backburner during the off-season, and some of you may be a bit disoriented about how to begin. No need to fear. You're in an enviable position to re-discover your swimming with a clear and open mind. You have the opportunity to refine your swim technique and develop good habits for those oh-so-many pool laps ahead while you initiate your base training.

Here are a few tips for getting back into the swimming pool:

  1. Write out a specific swimming workout agenda before your workout. It should be specific and realistic and that includes two technique emphases of the day and sets that focus on improving your technique. No intervals here and no swimming to exhaustion. Enjoy!

  2. Enroll in a reputable swim technique class OR take swim technique training sessions with a quality swim instructor. After class, take notes on your instructors' feedback. If it is one-on-one, insist that your trainer take notes and have him or her provide a summary of your stroke and body position mistakes as well as prescribe specific drills to alleviate them. Underwater video feedback is an excellent teaching tool; try to find instructed classes the provide this service.

  3. Count your strokes. After you are warmed up, swim sets of easy 100s in as few strokes as possible, counting your strokes for each length. The second, third, and fourth lengths (assuming you're swimming in a 25-meter/yard pool) are the more realistic lengths to count strokes thanks to the initial push off the wall. Ask yourself: Is my stroke count increasing within the 100 or on subsequent 100s? If so, why? Maintaining low stroke count is an excellent way to zero in on your base fitness and technique. Take a peek at the pace clock, but don't swim faster until you can maintain stroke efficiency.

  4. Do prehabilitation shoulder exercises after your workout. Now is the ideal time to begin gentle and therapeutic exercises to strengthen rotator cuff musculature and improve shoulder strength imbalances. Get out those therabands. An ounce of prevention is better than a pound of cure!

These tips should help you refine your technique and develop good habits for those oh-so-many laps ahead while you initiate your training.

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