Andrea Gabba reveals how to prepare swim in triathlon.
Today we will discuss how to include swimming in your bike training with Andrea Gabba, the italian national triathlon coach. If you miss the first episode of the interview we suggest you to read it.
Swimming is usually the greatest obstacle
"If you immediately go from cycling to triathlon, swimming is probably the discipline that most frightens you, especially when you have to swim in open water (a lake or the sea) alongside other triathletes. Nevertheless, swimming can be a valid ally in your training even if you do not intend to race."
Is it necessary to swim many miles?
"Absolutely not. Many newbies wrongly think that they need to swim a lot of miles and maybe even in one session. This approach is not beneficial. To be able to swim efficiently you need good technique; only this way will you be able to swim at a good pace, for a long time and without wasting energy. The key is to get help from a swim coach, carry out specific exercises and brake the swim session down into smaller sets. Who comes from cycling should immediately make this mental switch. While on the bike the workout is continuous, in swimming this training concept does not exist. In the pool the workouts are broken down in smaller distances to be able to better manage pace and technique."
From technique you move to training.
"This is a valid concept, especially for those who have competitive objectives in triathlon. Once you have learnt the right technique, you can start working on your endurance. To start with triathlon, sprints and olympic distance races are the best. They include respectively 750m and 1500m of swimming. Nothing that can’t be managed but you need to prepare well. Start by swimming the race distance broken down into smaller sets. For example, if you need to swim 1500m start by swimming 30 times 50m and then move to 15 times 100m, etc. You should separate these sets by a few seconds of rest. Only when you feel confident should you try to swim longer distances before arriving at swimming the compete distance a few times before your race."
Variation of pace also in the pool?
"Absolutely yes, as you would do on the bike. Cycling at the same cadence doesn’t help you much. The same goes for swimming! To improve you shouldn’t swim at the same pace. For a newbie I advise to work with three paces: slow to warm up, technique and endurance, speed in sprints and short sets to get stronger and race pace to improve your time in your race distance."