The first discipline of a triathlon is the most challenging for most athletes: Swimming. Why this is the case and how I approached this challenge, will be explained in this blogpost of my #RoadTo-Triathlon series. If you’ve missed the first part of this series, here’s how I started preparing for my triathlon: #RoadTo: Triathlon – The Beginning
Most of us have learned to ride a bicycle at a young age and have probably traveled several times, even longer distances, by bike. Running is also a natural part of our childhood and adolescence, whether playing in the park, at school or maybe later on athletic motivation, you are certainly familiar with running in one way or another.
It is different with swimming. While you have probably been to the pool many times and maybe even swam a few lengths comfortably, you probably have no experience in terms of sportive swimming at longer distances. Many do not know how to properly crawl as well, which is an additional challenge. So you can expect a very technical sport in an environment that you probably are not used to: In the water!
I was fortunate to have learned the basics of swimming at school, but that’s been some years ago. For me it was clear: I have to work on my crawling technique and get used to the water. Since the head is underwater while crawling most of the time, I quickly became aware of the importance of a correct breathing technique as well.
While I only managed a few lengths in the beginning and worked with intervals in my swim training, I made very fast progress with each swimming-session. Due to the intensive study of a correct technique I quickly noticed, where I could improve and felt more comfortable in the water. After about a month of swimming, I was able to crawl 2km at a time and felt pretty good about my technique and my breathing.
Now that I’ve created a base, I need to refine my technique (there are certainly many more aspects to work on) and improve my swimming time. Specifically, I will spend a few hours working with a swim coach to further optimize my technique and prepare for the triathlon. And not to forget: Spend countless more hours in the water and swim many kilometers!
Swimming only for the triathlon?
While preparing for the triathlon I realized, although I was always convinced of the benefits of swimming as an efficient full body workout, that I should have paid more attention to swimming before. Whether for balance, for active recovery or as an intensive interval training, swimming provides you with an unique package, you can get only from few other sports. Even if I should not be training for a triathlon in the future, swimming will definitely keep its place in my weekly workout-routine!
Do you have any questions about swimming or my triathlon preparation? Let me know in the comments!
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