Improve Your Triathlon Swimming by Swimming Less

You would never come across the term “relax” in the standard triathlete bible – which says you basically train and train until you’re be able to continuously move for anywhere from 2 hours (Sprint) to sixteen hours (Ironman).

Training normally means just one thing: mile upon mile (or kilometer upon kilometer) of swimming, running, and cycling.

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At first glance that method might make sense, but looked at more critically, there’s good evidence to suggest that time-consuming endurance training is much less helpful for swimming-and may even hurt your performance

As a result, you may want to reduce the distance of the weekly training volume you thought you would require for a credible swim leg.

Reason one would be that the swim comes first in a triathlon. A lot of competitors are finished with the quarter-mile or half-mile swim in 20 minutes or less in a sprint triathlon.

But you may not be dismounting your bike until ninety or even more tough minutes have passed, and many new triathletes will still be out there on the running course 2 hours or even more after they started.


When is a serious energy shortage most likely to develop? Obviously it’s later in the race.

So cumulative fatigue-and the need to train yourself to resist it-is clearly much greater in running and biking compared to swimming. Think also of the limited work your swimming muscles do compared to your cycling and running muscles.

The swimming event is the shortest part of the 3 events, it typically lasts just one-third to one-quarter as long as the running and cycling events.


The 2nd reason to cut back on your swimming training time is the fact that swimming, when compared with running and cycling, is essentially an unnatural activity, in which practice without instruction can be unhelpful.

More training distance in water is a total waste of time for most people, compared to running or cycling, where mechanical efficiency is so much higher, and more training distance does make a good difference.

You are more likely to practice your mistakes than refine your technique. You are not becoming a far more efficient swimmer; you are just improving at swimming inefficiently.

Triathlon swimming is about efficiency.

It is how easily you finish the swimming event, and not how fast you finish it. Saving energy might be the most essential thing that you can do in the water in order to help your overall finishing time, because you’ve got a lot of work ahead once you’re back on land.

Standing behind the starting line on race day, think about what you are about to do in the water after the gun goes off as merely a way of getting to the real race start, the bike. Triathlon swimming and triathlon swim training must be more about race management than about racing.

Good Luck!

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