Archive for the ‘Swimming’ Category

Looking for a solid season of swim training in the Triangle area?  Join the TAC-OSB Cary Masters swim team at the Triangle Aquatic Center (TAC) in Cary, North Carolina.  All workouts take place at TAC.

This is a year-round program open to all 18+ athletes.

Practice times are:

  • Monday 545-715 AM distance
  • Monday 730-845 PM distance
  • Tuesday 545-700 AM core strength and technique
  • Wednesday 545-700 AM mixed stroke
  • Wednesday 730-845 PM mixed stroke
  • New Thursday 600-700 AM distance and mid-distance
  • Friday 6-7AM speed & anaerobic endurance
  • Some Saturdays 7-830 AM coaches choice

The fees:
$52.50 per month for all swim workout times, or $6.50 per session.

Click here for all the details.

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One Step Beyond and FS Series present a mid-week summer swim-run series to the Triangle area.

Each Aquathon will take place on the first Wednesday of each month in June, July, and August at 6:30 PM.

Dates and locations:

Season pass sign up by May 29!

June 1 – Harris Lake County Park: 800m swim – 3 mile run

July 6 – Vista Point @ Jordan Lake – 300m swim – 1mile run done 3 times (5 transitions).

August 3 – Harris Lake County Park: 400m swim  – 3 mile run – 400m swim.

These events are low-cost and a great way to check your fitness against your local training partners!  Bring some grub and hang out after.

Entry into all 3 races is $50, or $20 per event.
2-person relays are welcome for $60 for the series or $25 per event.

Read all the details at www.oldschoolaquathon.com.


One Step Beyond offers three different types of swim clinics throughout the year:

Beginner Swim Clinics focus on breathing patterns, comfort, and the key freestyle techniques for swim training & improvement.  Beginner to Early Intermediate level.

Powerstroke Freestyle Technique clinics are in-depth classes on swim mechanics and methods for speed and power improvement.  Includes videotaping and feedback.  Early Intermediate to Advanced level.

Open Water Training clinics are conducted at lakes, oceans, and bays and cover all the tools, tips, and tricks you need to improve your ability and confidence in open water.  All levels.

Our upcoming clinic schedule:

May 21 – Beginner Swim Clinic -100-330PM in Cary

June 4 – Open Water Clinic – 800-1100 Jordan Lake-Apex

June 25 – Open Water Clinic – 800-1100 Kure Beach

July 9 – Open Water Clinic – 800-1100 Harris Lake-New Hill

July 16 – Powerstroke Technique Clinic 1100-530 PM – Cary

If you want to become a better triathlete or runner, you have to have a willingness to suffer. The word suffer does not need to have a negative connotation. Although the official definition is to undergo or feel pain or distress,  it can also mean allowing yourself to push beyond your comfort level. Our comfort level is just that – comfortable. It’s working hard, but not hurting too much. It’s breathing hard, but not uneasily so. Willing to suffer can help you break through those barriers.

But how do you do it?

Train yourself to suffer

You have to suffer in training. There is no way around it. We all have goals for the season (at least, I hope we all have goals for the season), and these goals need to be at the forefront of your mind when you need to make it hurt. Training with others can also help push you past places you haven’t been, or don’t usually go by yourself – the hurt locker.

Every training session should not be a suffer-fest. Key training sessions, breakthrough workouts, and workouts that your coach marks “Do not miss this one!” are the ones where you need to focus and be willing to suffer.

Growing up, there was a very well known high school running coach in my area. I remember reading an article about one of his best athletes who had just had an amazing race. When asked how she had such a breakthrough performance she said, “Coach told me I needed to run with PAT today. Pain, Agony and Torture.” Now that seems a bit extreme, but the idea of it has never left me. Be open and embrace the discomfort – yeah, okay PAT, I’m ready to run with you today.

Suffering takes experience

Experience is needed to know how and how much to suffer. Everyone’s perceived pain tolerance is different. I was once told that if something hurt, that was your body’s way of telling you to slow down. I was completely baffled by this idea – how will you ever make any athletic gains if you don’t ever allow your body to hurt? But my hurt and your hurt may be completely different. Training at different effort levels, at different paces and heart rate zones can all help us develop our own internal guide. All of this will help when you get to your races, but pure racing experience is tough to simulate. So get out there and sign up for some races!

Suffering in races

Suffering in racing can be easier for some folks, but here’s the thing – you can’t expect to show up to a race and put up with racing discomfort when you have never put yourself in that type of discomfort in your training. Magic doesn’t just ‘happen’ on race day. You wouldn’t show up to a race and expect to swim fast if you haven’t swum fast in training, right? Aha – caught some of you. It’s time to go throw in some really hard intervals on short rest in the pool! 😉

As mentioned above, every race does not need to be a suffer-fest. This can lead to burnout very quickly. That’s why it’s good to have ‘B’ and ‘C’ races where you may be dialing down the effort, working on something specific, or just not worrying about your finish and simply having fun. When you toe the line for your ‘A’ race, though, you’ll be ready to go to that proverbial well.

Check your ego

This is an interesting quote:  “Every act of conscious learning requires the willingness to suffer an injury to one’s self-esteem. That is why young children, before they are aware of their own self-importance, learn so easily…” I can relate this quote to many aspects of training, but it also resonates with racing. Have you ever gotten close to the end of the race and seen another competitor up ahead? You can dig really deep and try and beat them to the line. It’s going to hurt and, and – gasp – what if you fail?! It would be so much easier to just sit back here in this comfortable position and finish. But, so what if you don’t catch them? You have shown yourself that you’re not done racing until you cross that line, no matter what the outcome may be.  And of all the outcomes that could happen…failing to try your best is definitely NOT going to be one of them.

Mental Tricks

There are many different ways to handle suffering other than just telling yourself to suck it up. If fact, telling yourself, “suck it up,” is so intangible it may not help at all.
Remove yourself from the situation. I don’t mean in a way that causes you to lose focus on the task at hand, but in a way that you can put some of the discomfort your feeling toward the back of your mind.

I remember reading that when Shalane Flanagan won the bronze medal in the 10K at the Beijing Olympics, she imagined she was doing one of her hard runs on the Tobacco Trail. There she was, vying for a medal in arguably one of the most important races of her life and she’s mentally putting herself on a trail where she knows she’s had fantastic runs and can stay relaxed, rather than getting wrapped up in the high pressure moment.

Focus on specific form cues. Having short mantras you can repeat can get your mind focused on something that will enhance your race, while also alleviating negative self talk. Here are couple of examples I will use. During the swim: “Reach…and pull” During the run: “Quick feet, elbows in.”

Develop some of your own form cues to concentrate on

Come up with small goals. Sometimes you may need to resort to bargaining with yourself: you can walk at the next aid station, or, run 3 more light poles, walk 1, run 3 more. These little goals can help break the race and/or training down into doable parts when you’re having a particularly rough time.

Draw confidence from some of your hard training sessions. “I got through that horrible bike workout where coach had me do multiple 20min rounds at Z4…I can get through this!” or “Remember those mile repeats you nailed? You were strong then and you can be strong now.”
Run with PAT.

Finally, I need to stress that when I’m talking about suffering and pain, I’m referring to workout discomfort, NOT injury pain. There is a big difference between pushing your body to make physical gains and knowing when to stop because you’re going to hurt yourself. As an endurance athlete it is extremely important to understand when to say when…and when to not say when. Sometimes this only comes through experience, but often times it comes from listening to your body and responding appropriately.

Coach Bri Gaal of One Step Beyond is certified with USA Triathlon and USA Track and Field.  She has suffered a lot over her athletic career, in a good way.

Master’s Swim Instructional Programs:

PR Coaching is offering a range of swim programs during the month of March and April at Triangle Aquatic Center.  All programs consist of 4 x 60 minute sessions starting on March 22nd and running until April 14th. You can choose from three unique programs, tailored to your individual needs.  Whether you would like to learn how to swim or are looking for ways to swim faster, one of these programs will work for you. The learning begins in the pool but doesn’t stop there. Each swimmer is provided with a swim workout to practice on your own during the week (via email). The swim workout is intended to support the work you did during each coached session. In addition, you have unlimited access to me should you have any questions or issues that need to be explored.

After deciding which program suits your needs, please bring a pair of goggles and a swim cap (to protect your hair from the chemicals – although swimmers with very short hair can go without the cap) to the coached sessions. Men should wear jammers or a tighter fitting suit (no board shorts please- they create a lot of drag and slow down your learning).  Tri shorts are also acceptable, but be aware that the chlorine breaks down the fabric quickly. The cost of each program for one session/week is $80.  If you wish to attend two sessions/week the cost is $150.  Drop in fees are $25.  Swimmers must be 16 years or older.  Exceptions can be made.

Beginner Program:
This swim program is designed for the true beginner in mind. If you have always wanted to learn how to swim for fitness or triathlon but never learned how, this program is for you. Participants in this program are typically not able to swim the length of the pool when they begin.

Start Date: March 23
Session Times:  Wednesday  11-12 am.

Advanced Beginner Program:
This program benefits the swimmer who is capable of making it across the pool without stopping but still has some fear and breathing issues that are mostly due to a less efficient swim stroke.  Swimmers in this program will learn how to become more comfortable in the water and be provided specific drills to help promote a better ‘feel’ for the water.

*Start Date: March 23, or March 24
Session Times:  Wednesday 12-1, Thursday 6-7am
*Please choose on session, or you register for both

Intermediate Swimmers:
This program has the swimmer who can complete 100 yards in about 1:50-2:15.   This swimmer has been working at his or her stroke for a while but can’t seem to make any improvements.  Each swimmer will get individualized drills to key in on stroke inefficiencies that might be slowing progress.

*Start Date:  March 22 or March 24
Session Times:  Tuesdays 6-7am, Thursday 7-8am.
*Please choose one session or you register for both

Advanced Intermediate Swimmers:
This program has is for the swimmer who can swim 100 yards in 1:30-1:50 and is looking for ways to become faster.  This program runs at the same time as the In
Intermediate Swim Program.

*Start Date: March 22 or March 24
Session Times:  Tuesday’s 6-7, Thursday’s 7-8
*Please choose one session or you register for both

Please copy and paste the Registration Form below into another document and fill in the information.  You can email your document to prcoaching@nc.rr.com or send it in the mail with your check to PR COACHING, 305 Palace Green, Cary NC, 27581.  Please also include your Informed Consent which is attached to this email.  Space is limited – registration is first come first serve basis.

PR Coaching Instructional Master’s Programs Registration
Name:
DOB:
Contact Phone:
Emergency Contact:
Program:
Session Start date:
Session Time Slot:
Total Amount Enclosed:

February 12-13, 2011

Saturday- Sunday
1:00 PM – 6:00 PM
5-10 USAT CEU Credit Course
Human Performance Consulting
Athletic Lab – Cary NC
1823 Northwest Maynard Rd Cary NC 27513
Minutes from Raleigh & Durham & RDU Airport

Saturday – February 12, 2011
Core Training for the Triathlon – Sage Rountree
Considerations for Coaching Youth Triathletes – Stacey Richardson
The High-Yield Minimalist: Lower-Volume High-Intensity Training – Eric Bean

Sunday February 13, 2010
Running for Triathletes – Andrew Allden
Swim Training for the Triathlon – Marty Gaal
Cycling’s “T’s”: Technique, Testing, Tempo, Threshold, & Time Trialing – Eric Bean

Registration fee:  $150.00 USAT Certified Coach; $100 for General Public (each day counts as one session) or $25.00 discount for USAT Coaches signing up for both sessions ($275.00)

Registration:  Register at SPORToften.com
Or mail check:  Andrew Allden, 77 Lily McCoy Lane, Pittsboro NC 27312
Include Name, Address, Email, Home and Cell Phone and USAT # if applicable.
Questions? Contact: Andrew Allden, aacoaching@aol.com  919-619-3426 or visit Athletic Lab

INSTRUCTORS

ANDREW ALLDEN, M.Ed., is the head coach of endurance events for the Human Performance Consulting Elite Team.  He joined the HPC staff following a successful 20-year collegiate coaching career in track and cross country at the Division I level.  As a college coach, Allden served as the cross country and distance coach at the University of North Carolina, the University of South Carolina, and Tulane University.  He also served as head track and cross country coach at Tulane University and Coastal Carolina University. Allden has been a successful coach of elite runners for a number of years.  His current top charge is the #5 ranked 800m male in the U.S. (outdoor, 2009). Allden has coached athletes ranging from an Olympic 4 x 400 silver medal winner to a top-10 U.S. Olympic Marathon Trials finisher. Road running athletes coached by Allden range from a state masters marathon record holder to an ultra marathon national champion.  Nationally known as a USATF Level I Coaching Educator for the endurance events, he has directed and instructed in 20 USATF Level I coaching schools in the past dozen years. As a cross-country coach he earned coach-of-the-year honors in North Carolina, South Carolina, and Louisiana. While at Coastal Carolina Allden was the Southeast Region coach of the year and a finalist for national coach of the year. Allden was the men’s distance coach for the U.S. men’s track and field team at the IAAF World Indoor Championships in Budapest, Hungary, in 2004. At the 1996 Atlanta Olympics, Allden directed the distance practice facility. Allden currently serves as men’s long distance running and coaching education chairman for NC USATF. A 1986 graduate of Emory University and he has a master’s in sport administration from the University of Georgia (1991).

ERIC BEAN, M.S., is a professional triathlete and the coach of the Fast Forward Triathlon Pro Development Team presented by Inside-Out Sports. Prior to founding FFT (a coaching service that mates Bean’s training system to local coaches who are themselves elite athletes) Bean was the head coach of the Stanford University Triathlon Team, the USAT Collegiate National Champion, and is frequently seen on the pro podium in ITU and Ironman racing. Bean’s breadth-upon-depth understanding of triathlon training is guided by his athletic background as an NCAA swimmer and runner, and masters national champion cyclist. A nerd at heart and proud of it, Eric holds a BS in Aerospace Engineering, an MS in Biomechanical Engineering, and is currently spreading his final year of medical school over two years to race Ironman Hawaii for the fifth time. Practicing what he preaches, he used his high-intensity, lower-volume approach to endurance training to race to an 8:29 Ironman personal best. After residency in anesthesiology he plans to unite his medical, athletic, and engineering interests with clinical practice in anesthesia, insightful sports physiology research, and coaching. He splits his residence between North Carolina and the Midwest. You can reach him at eric@fastforwardtriathlon.com

Marty Gaal, CSCS, is a USA Triathlon coach who lives in Cary, North Carolina.   He and his wife Brianne coach triathletes through their company, One Step Beyond OSB Multisport.  Marty has been swimming in ocean competitions since 1986 and racing triathlon since 1989.  He is also the head coach of the TAC-OSB Masters swim team at the Curran Aquatic Center in Cary.  One Step Beyond recently produced the  Powerstroke®: Speed through force and form freestyle technique DVD, intended to help new to intermediate triathlon swimmers become faster and more powerful in the water.

STACEY RICHARDSON, is a professional triathlete and certified mulitsport coach. Her coaching certifications include:  USATF Level I, USA Cycling Level II with distinction, USAT Level I, and WSI Red Cross.  In the Triangle Stacey has been the event coach for the Carrboro Classic Duathlon for 2007 and 2008 as well as co-coach of the Fleet Feet Raleigh Marathon program.   She is also part of the TriangleMultisport coaching team that founded North Carolina’s first kids’ triathlon team in 2008 and continues to work with youth triathletes on a daily basis.   She is currently coaching both youth and adults.  Her coaching experience includes more than ten years of coaching kids in age-group swimming as well as three years of multisport kids’ coaching.   One of her specialties is youth athlete development and bringing skilled and balanced kids into the world of multisport training and competition.  With her guidance, two of her youth athletes took first and second in the female 15-16 age group this year in the NCTS.  Another stellar youth athlete achieved his personal goal of leaving kids’ tris completely and (at age 11) racing sprint triathlons against adults.   The ranks of her adult athletes, include two National Age Group Champions in 2010, and her top male athlete again won the NCTS State title for Open Men.

SAGE ROUNTREE, Ph.D., is an Experienced Registered Yoga Teacher and USA Triathlon level 2 certified coach. She holds coaching certifications from USA Cycling and the Road Runners Club of America, as well. Rountree is author of The Athlete’s Guide to Yoga (VeloPress, 2008) and The Athlete’s Pocket Guide to Yoga (VeloPress, 2009); creator of The Athlete’s Guide to Yoga DVD (Endurance Films, 2008); and a contributor to USA Triathlon Life, Runner’s World, and Yoga Journal. She has competed for Team USA at the Short-Course World Triathlon Championships, run the Boston and New York Marathons, and completed Ironman Coeur d’Alene last year. She coaches athletes at all levels, including elites who have competed at the duathlon long- and short-course World Championships.  Rountree leads workshops, at the Kripalu Center for Yoga and Health and at ZAP Fitness, an elite training facility for post-collegiate runners. She trains, teaches, and coaches in Chapel Hill, NC.

By Gale Bernhardt

I completely agree that doing form drills to practice good swimming technique is critical to the process of becoming a faster swimmer. That written, you cannot expect that slow and purposeful drills will increase your sustained swimming speed if you never swim fast.

Certainly, a beginning swimmer can make significant gains in speed because they are starting with a baseline of limited to no fitness and skills; but after a few weeks, they will reach a speed plateau. They cannot improve their average speed for long swims. Even intermediate and advanced distance swimmers can hit a speed ceiling.

These more advanced swimmers can often be found churning out set after set of repeat 100s to 500s with very short rest intervals. These swimmers also like long and steady open water swims. Managing a certain level of discomfort for a long period makes them feel like they accomplished something in the workout.

But, what if you are stuck at your current speed and can’t seem to get faster?

One answer seems obvious: You need to swim faster in order to get faster. Swimming fast and experiencing a load of lactate is not a feeling long-distance swimmers or triathletes enjoy. They would rather swim 1,000 or 2,000 steady than swim six all-out, fast 50s—even if there is generous rest between each 50.

Speed It Up
Let’s save the fast 50 workouts for another column. For this column, I’ll have you sneak up on some speed with shorter efforts. These workouts come from Masters swim coach Scott Allen. He is a former USA Swimming staff member and helped Susan Von der Lippe qualify for the Olympic trials this year. As well as Olympians, he has coached many triathletes and age-group swimmers of all ages.

He believes, and I agree with him, that you need to swim fast early in the workout, before you have any accumulated fatigue. You need to begin with short distances and then build the distance of fast swimming over time, in a progression.

To get you started on the path to faster swimming, try to do one of the sets outlined in this column after your warm-up swim, but prior to the main set.

For all the sets, the 25s are on a swim interval that gives you around 15 seconds rest. The 50s and 100s are done on an interval that gives you 20 to 30 seconds rest. If you swim in a long course pool, get creative about modifying the workout to achieve the goals in the set.

Option 1
Repeat the following set two to three times:
2 x 25 Build speed throughout the 25
2 x 25 Swim half the distance as fast as you can, it doesn’t matter if it is first half or last half. Swim the other half easy.
1 x 25 All-out fast
1 x 50 Very relaxed and easy

Option 2
Repeat the following set two or three times:
1 x 25 Steady swimming
1 x 25 Build speed throughout the 25
1 x 25 Swim half the distance fast
1 x 25 Easy

Option 3
Repeat the following set two times. Wear fins for the entire set:
2 x 100 Do 25 kick, 25 swim, 25 kick, 25 swim
2 x 25 Kick fast
2 x 25 Swim fast—really fast
1 x 50 easy

Include one of these fast swimming segments between your warm-up and main set at least once, and preferably twice, per week for the next six to eight weeks. On your other swim days you can include form drills between the warm-up and the main set.

At the end of your experiment, answer this: did it gradually get easier to swim fast on the short sets? Were you able to swim faster in some of your longer sets too? Did you bump your overall speed? Think about your experience, and how it can impact your swim in future events.


Gale Bernhardt was the 2003 USA Triathlon Pan American Games and 2004 USA Triathlon Olympic coach for both the men’s and women’s teams. Her first Olympic experience was as a personal cycling coach at the 2000 Sydney Olympic Games. Thousands of athletes have had successful training and racing experiences using Gale’s pre-built, easy-to-follow training plans. For more information, click here. Let Gale and Active Trainer help you succeed.

This article originally appeared on Active.com—your source for event information, training plans, expert advice, and everything you need to connect with the sport you love.