Sunday, June 18, 2006

Looking to train for triathlons?

Most people who compete in triathlons cite swimming as the weakest of their three race legs. Training to swim faster and more efficiently can be particularly difficult to do without help, but most people don't really know where to look for coaching. One viable option is to join a master's team. The coaches tailor workouts for a multitude of abilities and will place you with others of your ability. They are also typically available after workouts to help with stroke technique and training tips.

Masters swim programs available in most cities. The US Masters Swimming Organization has a resource for finding masters programs in your state as well as swimming facilities in your area. The best way to find a team is to contact a nearby pool and ask if they have a masters practice schedule.

If you are in Salt Lake, Steiner Aquatic Center near the University of Utah has a nice 50 meter outdoor pool (less turns for those who haven't yet learned to flip turn) with really flexible masters training schedule.

For those loner types among you, there are lots of good resources with example workouts and stroke techniqes, including:

  • Online Triathlon Training Swimming Resource: has a list of coaches in different areas and some swimming articles and tips

  • Beginner Triathlete: for information about the three events, and specifically this article comparing Olympic (sprint) versus long distance (triathlon) swimming styles

  • Triatlete Online: contains tips and resources for training

  • While books and articles can help, I find it particularly imprtant to simply have someone take a look at my stroke. The overall goal is to decrease the amount of effort required to go any specific distance during your swim. This usually results in the additional benefit of improving your race times not only in the swim but in the following run as well. Often, someone familiar with swimming and stroke training can spot weaknesses or inefficiencies rather quickly. So if you are afraid of joining a team- for whatever reason, keep in mind that your stroke is likely to benefit significantly from the attentive eyes of a good swim coach.



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