Aug 262012

Reading on my iPad, I stumbled upon this article on dynamic warm ups for athletes using Yoga. Now I should warn you that I am not a Yoga person. Tried it years ago, and it just wasn’t something that worked for me. Perhaps it was the class, the instructor, the time in my life, a host of injuries, whatever. It left me worse than when I started, so I abandoned it after about 5 classes.

That being said, I am very open minded about Yoga and think it can be a terrific aid to our daily lives. After seeing this article, I have to admit, I hope to try Yoga again. I’ll be on the hunt for a class and an instructor that fits me, with all my silly injuries and limitations. For now, I’m going to try incorporating these 6 simple exercises into my morning routine to accompany some of my core work and back exercises.

What struck me about this article, and video, is that these are do-able exercises for me! I really like how she tells you what each exercise will do for you. We adults often desire the “why” behind what we are asked to do. They supply this!

Here’s the video. The link to the full article can be found below. I do recommend you read the article – it is short. 🙂

Article Link: Yoga For Everyday Athletes Women’sHealth

Aug 252012

I am in the midst of coaching at the USMS High Performance Camp. This is just amazing! I’m sure I’m learning as much as the swimmers. Here are the workouts for this upcoming week Aug 26th through September 1st.

#81 – Distance Free

#82 – Stroke & IM Sprint

#83 – Backstroke

#84 – Sprint Free

#85 – Distance Free

Aug 182012

Here’s a great drill for mastering flip turns. It comes from our friends over at GoSwim. This drill uses the concept of a waterfall to teach the move where you drive your head to your knees. Pretty cool, and definitely something you can do on your own.

Step by step instructions that go with the video are:

Why do it:

Making sure the set up for your turn is direct, helps improve the speed into and out of the wall. Using the water as a substance, and your momentum to help you through the turn also saves energy and eliminates extraneous movements.

How to do it:

1) Push off the wall underrwater with your hands held down to your sides.

2) Very soon after your push, tuck your chin so the water hits you on the back of the head (like standing under a waterfall and leaning forward).

3) Allow the water to push you around without using your legs or arms. If you donapos;t make it all the way around, thatapos;s fine, this is just to teach you the initial sensation.

4) Move to directly on the surface, pushing off the same way, and tucking your chin to allow the body to flip around.

5) Finally, swim into the wall to gain some momentum, stop swimming a bit sooner than normal to allow both arms to be behind you, tuck your chin and roll into a flip turn.

How to do it really well (the fine points):

Make sure you never pop up prior to the turn, but submerge into the wall on each turn. Make sure you are not lifting your head as you approach the wall, but practice looking at the bottom to start building an awareness of turning without seeing the end. Most of all, when learning this, donapos;t muscle the first couple of steps, stay soft and slow, and feel the water pushing you around.

Coach Cokie’s note:

I would add one more “fine point”. When you flip, be sure and flip straight over, not off to one hip. On  the video, most of the swimmers do flip straight over onto the wall. However, a few flip slightly to one side and come out on one hip. When really trying to master flip turns, get yourself to flip straight over. You’ll use your dolphin kicks (or flutter kicks) to corkscrew you onto one hip and your first breakout stroke finishes straightening out your body. That comes in a future lesson!

Aug 112012

I’m heading off to North Carolina this week to coach at the USMS High Performance Camp in Greensboro the week of Aug 25-29. Should be a blast! Hope to bring back new ideas for the team. Meanwhile, here are your workouts for the week:

#71 – Hypoxic Kick Sprint

#72 – Fly & Free

#73 – Distance Free & Stroke Mix

#74 – Free & Stroke Mix

#75 – 100s Pace Training


Aug 042012

Has been great to get some time in the pool with some Swymnuts this past week. And, I am so looking forward to a long course swim meet with my Pirate compatriots this upcoming weekend Aug 10-12 in San Mateo.

Here are your workouts for the week of Aug 5-11, 2012

#66 – Stroke Sprint

#67 – 100 Day

#68 – Distance Free 3 x 300 Set

#69 – Leg Work

#70 – Short Yard Set

Aug 042012

Wow, have those Olympics been exhilirating! I have caught every swim race, often sitting on the edge of my seat and jumping for joy when they come to the final wall. What an amazing collection of swimmers from all over the world. Any of us who swim for fitness or competition, can understand and appreciate the huge amount of work these athletes put in to get on that big stage.   Thousands and thousands of hours in the pool and in the gym in the hopes of shaving seconds, tenths  or even hundredths off their time.

I can guarantee you that these Olympic swimmers are infinitely familiar with their pace clocks back at their training centers. That pace clock is a terrific tool for both fitness swimmers and competitive swimmers. Swimming mindless sets with no time reference is okay once in awhile, but to improve, you must work with the clock. Note that I say “with” not “against”. 🙂

There are lots and lots of ways to work with a pace clock. For today’s post, I’m going to talk about using the clock to establish your base or baseline in freestyle for the purpose of interval training, which can be key to finding speed, increasing endurance, and building your confidence in pushing yourself. There is a new coach posting to the USMS workouts (open water training) and I got the idea for this write up this week from her introductory post. Thank you Coach Anne Cleveland! You can follow Coach Cleveland’s workouts here.

What you’ll see with many online workouts is a reference of B+5, B-5, B+10, etc. The “B” stands for your Base. Right. So…what exactly is that? Base is your 100 time plus about :07 seconds of rest. Again, right….

To establish your base/baseline you swim a 100 free (no fins) at a comfortable pace from the wall (no dive start). Comfortably means about a 75% effort. Since that figure can be hard to quantify, think of it this way. Swim a 100 free with just a slight push, but enough where, when you come to the wall, you aren’t breathing all that hard.

Let’s say you come in at 1:23. Adding :07 seconds makes that 1:30. (I like easy math.) Wah lah! You have just discovered your base.  Your base is 1:30, not 1:23 – remember, build in those :07 or :08 seconds.  If you see a set that says 5 x 100 on B+:05 that would mean you would swim your 100s on 1:35 (your 1:30 base plus 5 seconds). If that set reads 5 x 100 on B-:05, your 100s would be on 1:25 (your 1:30 base minus 5 seconds).

What’s cool about this, is that you can use that base for any set of freestyle. If the workout reads B+:10 on something like 8 x 50 free, then you do some quick, easy math. Using the 1:30 base figure from our calculations in the previouus paragraph, the 50 base time would be 45 seconds. Your set would then be on :55 (your :45 base plus :10).

Let’s say coach says you are going to do 4 x 200 with a changing rate like this:

  • First 200 B + :20
  • Second 200 B + :15
  • Third 200 B + :10
  • Fourth 200 B + :05

Using the 1:30 base we’ve set hypothetically, your 200 base is 3:00 and your set would proceed like this:

  • 200 on 3:20
  • 200 on 3:15
  • 200 on 3:10
  • 200 on 3:05

To improve your speed and/or stamina, find your base and go to work! Changing the intensity of your swims and your intervals is one ticket to do so. Our bodies adapt to routines. If you always swim your 10 x 100 set on 1:30, or always swim 3 x 500 at the same pace, chances are you aren’t going to improve much. If you challenge yourself to change it up, your body will respond. Push your comfort zone once in awhile.

Final note – baseline training can work for any stroke, even IM’s. Just find your 100 time – remember it needs to be at an aerobic pace of about 75% (breathing comfortably). Then, go from there.

Happy Swimming ‘Nuts!