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Swim Like a Champ!
The Ultimate Swimming Video
Using the same teaching and drill progression taught at Multisports.com camps, this video is easy to understand. for both beginner and veteran swimmers


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Training for Speed

Roch Frey

So what is speed training?

There are several different definitions, but most people equate this to longer, harder, faster intervals in the pool on the bike and running. While this is true, and needed to a certain extent to get faster and gain more speed, there is another way that is easier then only performing the regular 10x 400s on the track and another mindless set of 20 x 100 in the pool.

First of all, to get faster in your next triathlon, you need to understand that the basis behind faster swim bike and run times is to increase the speed and efficiency at which your muscles will contract (greater neuro-muscular facilitation). You need to be able to recruit all available muscle fibers to go faster. Whether you are training for a sprint tri of under an hour or for the Ironman, you need speed and it is best to do some type of speed training year round. Its already July so whether you have been doing regular high quality training sessions or not, the following sessions and drills in each sport will get you going a lot faster at your next race. These workouts are not overly taxing therefore should, and can be easily fit into your weekly training schedule along with your quality workouts.


Explosions are short, fast swimming for only 12 yards of the pool. A set of 6-12 towards the middle or the end of one of your easier workouts really gets the arms going and gives you the feeling of swimming much faster than normal. Try a set of 6-12x 50 on an interval that gives you 20-30 sec rest. Swim the first half-length (12 yards) very fast off the wall and then cut the speed down dramatically and swim the remainder of the 50 easy. You may initially feel that these tire you out, but the efforts are short enough that they won't wreak an easier workout. After you perform these sets for 3-4 consecutive weeks you will notice that your regular swimming speed seems easier and when you perform your harder sets you feel more comfortable and accustomed to fast swimming.


Spinning drills on the bike are the single most important training technique in helping you becoming a faster rider. Efficiency at a higher than normal cadence translates into greater speeds making harder or faster riding less stressful. After performing spinning drills at greater than 110 rpm's a cadence of 90 to 100 feels effortless and smooth. Best performed on a turbo trainer in your smaller gears with little resistance, short 30sec to 1min bouts of faster than normal spinning greatly increase your efficiency on the bike. Maintaining even pressure throughout the entire pedal stroke helps develop fine motor control, which translates over to greater efficiency during hard training sessions. A typical set would be 6- 10 x 30 sec fast spinning with 1 min easy spinning between. As with the explosions in the pool, you should perform this set some where in the middle or towards the end of an easy training session. The goal of this session is to increase speed and efficiency so don't be worried about your heart rate or a high level of perceived exertion. Your heart rate or effort may go up briefly, but due to the short duration of the effort you will be anaerobic alactate (very little excess lactic acid will be produced). If a turbo trainer is not available, find a quiet, flat section of road to practice on.


An easy way to gain extra speed on the run is to weekly perform some simple strides or accelerations. Almost everybody has performed these either before a track workout or race to warm-up properly. Once again the purpose of this workout is to increase speed through teaching your running specific muscle neurons to fire as quickly as possible and efficiently. Towards the end of one of your easy run sessions, find a flat section (smooth grass field or hard pack trail is best) of about 100m in length. Each acceleration consists of running 60-100m at a faster than normal speed and then walking or lightly jogging back to allow you to fully recover between. Start with 3-4 the first time out and increase your speed throughout each one so that the last one is the fastest. Concentrate on proper form (visualize you favorite runner) and build up to about 200m speed while making sure you don't start to flail. Think "control" and "quick" during each repetition. This is not something that should be difficult anaerobically. You may feel briefly winded but should allow complete recovery before starting the next one. Each week add 1-2 to a point where you can comfortable perform 8-10 accellerations at the end of an easy run.


So are these short additions to your easy training sessions going to make you faster? You betcha! Don't get caught in the rut of thinking you always have to go extremely hard in order to gain some speed. Short fast bouts of exertion in all three sports help increase your efficiency without taxing your system and tiring you out. Performed throughout the entire year you'll notice that you can easily maintain speed year round and increase your overall speed.