2011 New Year’s Resolution: Get your swim on!
Author: Kristen Avioli
As a former collegiate swimmer, I tend to let the swimming side of my training fall by the wayside to focus on my not-so-fabulous biking and running skills. This year, my 2011 resolution is to get to the pool and work hard… because my goal is to rock out on race day! Nation’s is a fast course, with huge buoys every 100 meters telling you how far you’ve swam (check them out in the photo!). The buoys allow you to maintain a consistent pace and not spend so much time searching for where the swim course goes or how much further you have to go. My philosophy is that anything I can do to get faster on an already quick course will only improve my overall time.
This winter, when it’s hard to get motivated, let’s channel some Dory from Finding Nemo and “just keep swimming.” Find a pool that works for you, and go! Swimming is one of my favorite things; it gives me the time to put everything aside, to daydream, and to focus on what’s important to me: what’s for dinner (this usually takes up most of my swim), what are my plans for the weekend, why is that person wearing a faded swim suit, etc.
Here are some things to keep swimming enjoyable and productive in the off-season:
- Get in the mix! If you are looking for tips and techniques to improve, join us for our Tri Clinic Series taking place from January to May. We’ll go over triathlon basics, but also tell you how to get lightning fast transitions, improve your open water swim technique and enhance your cycling and running skills. Come alone, or bring your friends, and meet some potential training partners!
- Go back to the basics! Drills are critical to proper swim technique, and now is the time to do them. The more we practice the fundamentals of swimming, the more refined they become and the less we have to concentrate to perform them perfectly. This means that down the line you can focus more on your speed, strength and stamina.
- Control your breathing. The biggest issue I see with beginner and intermediate swimmers is their challenge with proper breathing techniques. Make sure that, one, you ARE breathing, and two, that you maintain a rhythm. You should be inhaling when your face is out of the water, exhaling as your face enters the water, and exhaling again just before you take a breath.
- Keep at it! Remember the longer you stay away from the pool, the more often you should swim when you finally get back to it. The more you swim, the better your endurance and speed will become. Don’t give up after a lousy swim – come back the next time and start fresh.
- Set goals. What do you want to accomplish this week? What’s your swim goal for the long-term, come race time? Once you set your goals, plan your weekly workouts according to those goals.
Now…grab your friends and get to the pool! To get in a solid workout that all of you will enjoy, encourage each person to make up a set and get movin’! The more people you have waiting for you at the pool, the less likely you are to bail on your workout.
Last but not least, always remember to follow the rules of the pool, so swimming is safe and enjoyable for everyone. If you are a slower swimmer, if someone taps your foot stop at the next wall, and let the person pass you. Some pools even have designated speed lanes—slow, medium, and fast. Choose appropriately. When circle swimming, always keep the black line on the bottom of the pool on your left. Be considerate to those around you.
Next time you are snuggled in bed, and ready to hit the snooze button, picture yourself in your wetsuit on the banks of the Potomac, shaking the nerves out of your arms and feet, as you wait for the officials to blow the starting horn for your wave. Will you be wishing you had squeezed in a few more swims or will you be ready to attack the course?
See you in the Potomac!
A former Division One collegiate swimmer and record holder, Kristen completed her first triathlon in 2008 and fell in love with the sport immediately. Never a runner or cyclist and only running short distances to entertain her sister Natalie during marathons, she decided to get crankin’ on the tri train. Since 2008, she has completed 12 triathlons, including a half iron man, 8 half marathons, and two marathon, and now loves to run! She is a USAT Level 1 Certified Coach, Swim Coach, and Adjunct Faculty Member at George Washington University.
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