Swim Training, Continued

This morning I hit the pool before work for a one-on-one session with my coach, Tim Denyer. I have trained with Tim and Red Top Swim since late 2011, and since that time have improved my swimming enormously – including 12 minutes off my previous 5k personal best! I think this is due to both a focus on technique as well as a focus on using the pool for interval work. These days I never “just swim” unless it is either for fun or in a race. Every session has a purpose. The sets we do vary, with different phases to each session – warm up, drills, main set, subset, cool down.

Coach Tim on deck!

Swim Sets – Some Tips and Training Plans

I was asked recently by a few people (including you godson!) for some tips on pool sessions to get faster.

When I started triathlon I was lucky enough to have a triathlete mentor who took me swimming. He shared with me his swim sets, which came from his brother (my former triathlon coach Terry). Then I started with Red Top – my philosophy was that I needed to swim with swimmers to get better with swimming. So I really haven’t had much experience using “ready made” plans or training myself in the pool.

That said, I do keep an eye on and read avidly about training, and the following offer some good plans and tips when it comes to swimming:

1. Active.com — Active always has articles about how to improve swimming, swim tips, and the like. Here is the link for their beginner 12 week 1500 meter swim plan. It is fairly basic but will take you from swimming to completion.

2. BeginnerTriathlete.com — When I started using Twitter to find tips for triathlon back in 2009, I was referred to this site so many times. They have a wide variety of standard off the shelf training plans.

3. EnduranceNation — my friend from university Elizabeth (who blogs at Triathlon Obsession) was one of my first cheerleaders when I decided to step up and do an Olympic distance triathlon. Elizabeth has used the Endurance Nation plans to take her to her multiple half iron distance finishes. You can see what EN has to offer here.

4. H2Open — H2Open is the best (only?) open water swimming magazine in the UK. When they launched I was super excited as I love the idea of “free swimming” throughout the rivers and lakes in the UK. H2Open also offers a one mile open water swim plan if you sign up for their newsletter. They are a great resource, really entertaning reading, full of tips.

5. Elite plans — I have mentioned before on my blog that Karen Pickering (a former GB elite swimmer and world record holder) offers online coaching. I also saw in a mail shot yesterday that SwimforTri, with whom I did my very first open water familiarisation with back in 2007 in the Serpentine in Hyde Park, is now offering online coaching.

6. Coach Cox Swim Sets — My current triathlon coach Russ Cox posts the swim sets that he uses with the Bristol tri squad over on his Instagram, Pinterest, and Blog. These are simple photos of the white board sessions he does twice a week as well as a written explanation – and are a really great resource. My advice is to print out the photo, stick it into a plastic sleeve, and take it to the pool with you. You can’t go wrong — the sets are designed by one of the best tri coaches out there. Up on his blog every Thursday, the link is to the latest one (with related posts and other sets tagged at the bottom of the post).

7. Swimathon 5k Training Plan — as a part of being on the 2014 #Swimathon #Blogsquad I was sent three training plans for the 5k swim, a plan appropriate for the time target I have. Due to technology constraints I can’t post the PDFs on this post, but if you are after a 5k swim plan I am more than happy to share the resources sent to me. Please just email me: donna@beatinglimitations.com

Speaking of the Swimathon…

As a part of the #Swimathon #Blogsquad I was sent a bunch of swim goodies by Zoggs, the official swimathon partners. I am a Zoggs convert, and already wear their Predator Flex for all my open water swims, and the Fusion Airs or Predator clear for indoor training.


Zoggs kindly sent lots of things I already have or don’t use. If you would like any of the kit listed below, please just drop me an email to donna@beatinglimitations.com and let me know. I am more than happy to send it to you and to share the Zoggs love!

– Nose Clip
– Ear Plugs
– Easy Grip Pull Buoy
– Racespex Mirror goggles

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