Feeling tired after a morning session and want to get a recovery swim with a bit of benefit ? Check this session below :

Warm up – 300 easy choice
Main Set – 4,3,2,1 (1,750m)
4 x 100, 4 x 50, 4 X 25
3 x 100, 3 x 50, 3 X 25
2 x 100, 2 x 50, 2 X 25
1 x 100, 1 x 50, 1 X 25
200 cool down as 25 lick 25 backstroke
100’s are easy, 50’s are moderate, 25’s are fast All with 15s rest NO shorter !
* All with buoy (optional)

The intervals are short enough not to overload your aerobic system. The fast 25’s helps to keep good form while work on speed a bit.

The buoy will minimize kicking so it keeps HR low (good if you have done a aerobic demanding set in the morning).

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Doing a triathlon is like being the CEO of a company. It’s your responsibility to put in place everything you need to perform at your best. Get the most out of your triathlon training by listening to an expert: Chris “Macca” McCormack has raced triathlons professionally for almost two decades and has four world championships and countless wins to his name. Let Macca’s tips guide you through your next few weeks of training.

Become a confident swimmer.

I think for most people who come into triathlon, the swim is the biggest fear, without question. To overcome a fear of anything, it’s just to get confident, and swimming is a confidence thing.

Confidence in the water comes from doing more and more swimming, so do whatever it takes to keep you in the pool — if that means swimming with fins, with paddles, with pullbuoys, with snorkels — to try and get more and more mileage. You walk away from the session not feeling intimidated and nervous, thinking ‘I got nothing out of that except a horrible time at 5:30 in the morning’. Instead when you go for a session, you go, ‘Wow, I swam one mile today and felt great. Maybe I’ve done that mile with fins, but I did that mile’ and then you get back doing it again and again. Before you know it you’ve done two or three months of consistent swimming. That confidence in the water starts to come with just basic time in the water.

Swimming is very much a technique-based sport, but you gotta do technique with fitness, so spending time doing it is key — but doing it right is important. Get a good coach, someone to look over you. Technique first built with a lot of time and fitness in the water is the only way to improve your swimming.

In open water, sighting becomes important, there’s no black line when you go out into the open water, there’s a completely different feel, suddenly you’ve got people around you. If you’re not a confident swimmer, I would encourage you to get in the open water to get a feel for it, but it’s not imperative if you go through some key drills that will help you, understanding what those drills are, and why you do them.

Your bike saddle is not supposed to hurt.

This is something I learned later in my career because I figured being a professional triathlete and putting in lots of miles, your butt was supposed to hurt. But then I spent some time with one of my sponsors and they explained to me there’s many different types of saddles and many types of sit positions, and there’s a saddle out there that’s for you. Just because your friend has a saddle they think is the greatest saddle in the world does not necessarily mean that saddle is great for you.

Spend your time with a good bike fitter: someone who can really look at your sit position on the bike, and then recommend the correct saddle for you so you can log those much-needed miles pain-free.

Don’t do all your bike training indoors unless you have to.

I do a fair bit of indoor bike work. There’s a lot of benefits around structured training on a CompuTrainer or an indoor trainer. The indoor trainer is a tool, but I wouldn’t encourage an athlete to do all their work on an indoor trainer unless they had to. Of course in the winters, you have to, a lot. If you are, be specific in the workloads — a lot of the things that need tidying up like pedaling issues, strength issues, position issues.

I think there’s nothing like getting out on the roads. You learn skills, it’s a completely different feel how you move your bike around, you understand more how your body reacts with wind. Personal preference, I’d rather go ride in the rain or the kind of heat we have in Phuket.

Practice running off a bike.

The bike leg tends to be 50 percent of any triathlon you do, regardless of the distance. Fifty percent of your time will be spent on the bike, and the position you have on the bike is a shortened hip flexor and hamstring position — you never fully extend your legs. It’s just a very, very different feel.

I came from a running background and this was a transition I had to make personally. A lot of runners come across to triathlon and think this is something they’re going to dominate but they tend to lose a lot of time in the early stages of the run while they try to find their “run feel.”

As triathletes we learn to run very efficiently in a fatigued state. That’s an adjustment that comes with brick sessions running off the bike.

Find a coach you work well with.

I’ve been very, very lucky with the people I work with, but if I were looking for a coach I would look for someone who understands me physically as well as mentally and has good communication. I think great coach-athlete relationships are built over a long period of time. When you see athletes jump from coach to coach, they’ve lost faith in themselves. A lot of times they’re looking for answers in other places. The pros are reknowned for that.

The most successful professionals have long-term coaches. When you’re looking for a coach, just make sure you get on well, you communicate well, and they can understand your goals, your objectives, and your psyche as a person as well as your physical strengths. But be part of that process with them. Be the “CEO of your own company.”

Anybody can be a triathlete.

I think the great thing about triathlon is the challenge of it so people often question whether they’re up for that challenge. I think that’s what draws people to the sport in the first place: trying to answer the unknown for them. A lot of people I’ve seen come to the sport say, ‘There’s no chance I could ever complete one of these’ and sure enough, I’m talking to them at the finish line and they’re going, ‘This is addictive.’

It’s just a matter of committing to an event, saying ‘Yes I will’, and going and doing it.

You do not have to be a lifetime athlete to be a triathlete. People come in all shapes and sizes for all different reasons to do a triathlon. Primarily most people I’m meeting on triathlon finish lines around the world have come in for health purposes. They’ve said, ‘I was at a point in my life where I’ve looked at myself and thought I need to do something where I am in my life’. They came to lose weight, a lot of them are giving up cigarettes or a certain lifestyle and they really embrace this triathlon lifestyle. For many of them, they came from non-sporting backgrounds. Many of them started off doing fun runs and saw triathlon as the next challenge. While it looks to be the most physically demanding sport in the world, I think people can relate to those three disciplines and I think they believe the challenge is something that’s attractive and they can do it. Whether you’re a good athlete or not, that’s the beauty of triathlon.

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by Sergio Borges

Here’s another great SWIM workout I coached this morning that you can use all year round:
1 – Speed
2 – Technique (Short and Fast intervals “force” your body to be mechanically efficient)
3 – Strength – KEY component of open water swimming
4 – Endurance – Like I say “It comes with the package”
Warm up (500) – 300 yds/m choice broken or straight swim, 4 x 50 kick build easy to fast with fins (great core work as well)
Main Set :
Speed (1,000)
16 x 25 as 3 easy , 1 fast w/ 10s rest (no gear)
12 x 25 as 2 easy , 1 fast w/ 15s rest (no gear)
8 x 25 as 1 easy , 1 fast w/ 20s rest (no gear)
4 x 25 ALL FAST w/ 25s rest (no gear)
Strength / Endurance (1,600)
400 easy with paddles and buoys, 20s rest
2 x 200 easy with paddles, buoys and ankle bands 15s rest
400 easy with paddles and buoys, 20s rest
4 x 100 easy with paddles,buoys and bands
200 easy cool down
Enjoy !

The “High elbow” most coaches ask you to do can ONLY be possible if you have a horizontal body position, otherwise (like the pic shows) you require a level of flexibility most of us don’t have. That’s why I suggest instead – straight arm recovery that does not require same level of shoulder mobility and allow you to reach the entry further. Use big or even two pull buoys if need it to achieve the horizontal, because only then, you will know what swimmers feel and talk (catch!) Happy Training !

Check out Triathlon training plans from Sergio here.

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The slowest parts of a triathlon swim leg are at the swim start and at the turn buoys (or “cans” in Aussie). That’s the part where you’re most prone to being swum over, dunked, punched, and involved in a brawl. Don’t be a victim! In this video taken at Thanyapura Supercamp, Macca and Ben educate the camp participants on tackling buoys and swim starts:


Macca: The key to swimming around a swim buoy is, usually you’re coming up and lots and lots of people around. It’s the most anxious part of the race, it’s where you’re most vulnerable — the start, where you’re vulnerable and coming around the buoy, you’re looking up and your legs start to sink. People behind you start pushing your feet down. So the worst thing you could possibly do is make yourself vulnerable, so as you come to a buoy you start kicking and bring your feet to the surface.

This is pretty much a swim bunch. If you start lifting your head, your feet sink. Your feet sink, I can come on the back of you, push you down. You know? So if your feet are up, I’m back here, I can’t touch you, I’m gonna get kicked. So always bring your feet to the surface. If you don’t, you’re screwed. Don’t be a victim, I say.

So just prior to the buoy, kick. As you come to the buoy keep your left arm extended and take two strokes with your right…

(Ben demonstrates.)

Macca: You always kick into the buoy, you kick out of the buoy. So if you don’t kick at all, the only time you want to kick in the race is that section here.

The biggest mistake you can make is you see the buoy out here, you start kicking [too far away from the buoy]… This is the place where you’re gonna get hit the most.

Ben: Quick question. Has anyone ever swum around a buoy like this? (Breaststrokes around the buoy.) Tim, jump in the water.

Macca: Show him what happens when you do that.

(Tim breaststrokes around the buoy and Ben swims over him and dunks him.)

Macca: The minute he stops, his feet sink. Your bum’s down, once your bum is down, people move closer to you. So I can get on top of you. That is where you do not want to be.

So it’s the same at the start of a race. Most people start a race like Ben is right now.

(Ben is treading water, with his body vertical.)

Macca: Deep water start. So the person behind you is right up behind you. The best position to start a race is that. (Points at Tim.)

(Tim is nearly horizontal on his belly, his arms sculling to keep his head above water and his feet flutter kicking behind him.)

Macca: Otherwise, if you’re not, you’re standing up like most people like that, they’re right there behind you. Ready, go! It’s just natural to grab.

The slowest parts of a race are the start and the swim buoys. The slowest parts of a race are where you’re most likely to get hit. Most or a lot of the beginners, they struggle. In the camps we’ve held around the world, people tell me this is always a major anxiety point, coming to a swim buoy, and the anxiety really is your fear of getting hit. So learning how to go around the swim buoy is one thing, knowing what to do when you come to the swim buoy… all you need to think is “Feet on the surface.” When your feet are on the surface, it is so difficult to push someone down who’s floating like this [on his belly] than someone [floating vertical]. When you breaststroke, you’re basically vertical in the water. Feet on the surface.


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