Coach Cokie

Jul 262014
 

8:30 workouts are back which means 5:30s aren’t as packed. So get back to the pool swimmers!

The workouts that follow are guidelines, primarily listed for our satellite swimmers who work out on their own. For actual team practices, each of our coaches has free reign to deviate and bring their own workout to the pool. So don’t let a workout you see below be your guide to whether or not you come to practice. Heck, you may not even see that workout. Just come swim! Any way you slice it, it will be good for you!

  • Tuesday, July 29: #273 Distance Free 600 Theme - Coach Cokie is on deck
  • Wednesday, July 30: Coach Susie is on deck – she’s got a great Fitness workout for you! If Satellite swimmer, grab #229 Speed Play from Dropbox
  • Thursday, July 31: #503 Fly & More (with a mini fly clinic) - Coach Cokie is on deck
  • Friday, Aug 1: #502 Sprint 1-2-3  -  Coach Susie is on deck 
  • Saturday, Aug 2: USRPT #6 - Coach Cokie is on deck. If you aren’t up for a USRPT workout (or don’t know what it is) try #255 Middle Distance Free

Upcoming open water swims:

  • Santa Cruz Pier to Pier OW Swim, Saturday, August 2nd. Event information and registration here.
  • Santa Cruz 2-mile OW Swim, Sunday, August 3rd. Event information and registration here.
  • Donner Lake OW Swim, Saturday, August 16th. Information hereEvent maxed out at 375 swimmers and they are full!
  • Whiskeytown Lake OW Swim, Sunday, September 7th.  Registration hereReg closes September 4th at 11:59 pm.
  • Keller Cove OW Swim (Richmond), Saturday, September 20th. Not yet posted. Keep an eye out here.

Upcoming swim meets:

  • FINA Masters Worlds, Montreal, Canada, August 3-9. Registration closed June 1st. Info here.
  • Davis Long Course Meters “End of Summer Splash” Sat Aug 9. Event info here. Registration hereReg closes Aug 7th at 11:59 pm
  • USMS Long Course Nationals, Maryland, August 13-17. Information hereReg closed July 9th
  • Modesto SCM Meet, Saturday, August 23. Event info here. Registration hereReg closes Aug 20th at 11:59 pm but don’t wait, sign up now as this meet maxes out. Cokie will be attending this meet. 
  • Mountain View SCM Meet, Sunday, September 28. Event info here. Registration hereReg closes Sept 26th at 11:59 pm
  • Sacramento SCM Sprint Pentathlon held in Davis, Saturday, October 4th. Event info here. Reg info will be hereReg closes Oct 1st at 11:59 pm
  • Pac Masters SCM Champs, Walnut Creek, Oct 10-12. Not yet posted. Keep an eye out hereTeam effort! We’d love to have you there, even if just for relays!
  • Southern Pacific Masters Short Course Meters Champs, December 5-7, tba. Not yet posted. Keep an eye out here.
Jul 192014
 

8:30 workouts are back which means 5:30s aren’t as packed. So get back to the pool swimmers!

The workouts that follow are guidelines, primarily listed for our satellite swimmers who work out on their own. For actual team practices, each of our coaches has free reign to deviate and bring their own workout to the pool. So don’t let a workout you see below be your guide to whether or not you come to practice. Heck, you may not even see that workout. Just come swim! Any way you slice it, it will be good for you!

  • Tuesday, July 22: #174 Free & Breath Control or hopefully, a USRPT workout (depends on # of swimmers in the pool) - Coach Cokie is on deck
  • Wednesday, July 23: Coach Susie is on deck – she’s got a great Fitness workout for you! If Satellite swimmer, grab whatever workout you’d like from Dropbox
  • Thursday, July 24: Breaststroke Mini Clinic & #259 Breast & Free Aerobic - Coach Cokie is on deck
  • Friday, July 25: #343 Stroke Mix & Kicking  -  Coach Cokie is on deck 
  • Saturday, July 26: A USRPT workout - Coach Cokie is on deck. If you are a Satellite swimmer, grab a sprint workout of your choice from Dropbox

Upcoming open water swims:

  • Santa Cruz Pier to Pier OW Swim, Saturday, August 2nd. Event information and registration here.
  • Santa Cruz 2-mile OW Swim, Sunday, August 3rd. Event information and registration here.
  • Donner Lake OW Swim, Saturday, August 16th. Information hereEvent maxed out at 375 swimmers and they are full!
  • Whiskeytown Lake OW Swim, Sunday, September 7th.  Registration hereReg closes September 4th at 11:59 pm.
  • Keller Cove OW Swim (Richmond), Saturday, September 20th. Not yet posted. Keep an eye out here.

Upcoming swim meets:

  • FINA Masters Worlds, Montreal, Canada, August 3-9. Registration closed June 1st. Info here.
  • Davis Long Course Meters “End of Summer Splash” Sat Aug 9. Event info here. Registration hereReg closes Aug 7th at 11:59 pm
  • USMS Long Course Nationals, Maryland, August 13-17. Information hereReg closed July 9th
  • Modesto SCM Meet, Saturday, August 23. Event info here. Registration hereReg closes Aug 20th at 11:59 pm but don’t wait, sign up now as this meet maxes out. Cokie will be attending this meet. 
  • Mountain View SCM Meet, Sunday, September 28. Event info here. Registration hereReg closes Sept 26th at 11:59 pm
  • Sacramento SCM Sprint Pentathlon held in Davis, Saturday, October 4th. Event info here. Reg info will be hereReg closes Oct 1st at 11:59 pm
  • Pac Masters SCM Champs, Walnut Creek, Oct 10-12. Not yet posted. Keep an eye out hereTeam effort! We’d love to have you there, even if just for relays!
  • Southern Pacific Masters Short Course Meters Champs, December 5-7, tba. Not yet posted. Keep an eye out here.
Jul 122014
 

8:30 workouts are back and Coach Cokie is back. Yippee, yahoo, awesome, fantastic, super-duper, and all those things!

The workouts that follow are guidelines, primarily listed for our satellite swimmers who work out on their own. For actual team practices, each of our coaches has free reign to deviate and bring their own workout to the pool. So don’t let a workout you see below be your guide to whether or not you come to practice. Heck, you may not even see that workout. Just come swim! Any way you slice it, it will be good for you!

  • Tuesday, July 15: #261 100 Free Experiment - Coach Cokie is on deck
  • Wednesday, July 16: #216 Sprint 5 x 100s  - Coach Susie is on deck 
  • Thursday, July 17: Backstroke Mini Clinic & #366 Long Axis Back & Free - Coach Cokie is on deck 
  • Friday, July 18: #305 Stroke Focus 200  -  Coach Susie is on deck 
  • Saturday, July 19: #387 Card Game Fun - Coach Cokie is on deck.

Upcoming open water swims:

  • Santa Cruz Pier to Pier OW Swim, Saturday, August 2nd. Event information and registration here.
  • Santa Cruz 2-mile OW Swim, Sunday, August 3rd. Event information and registration here.
  • Donner Lake OW Swim, Saturday, August 16th. Information here. Event maxed out at 375 swimmers and they are full!
  • Whiskeytown Lake OW Swim, Sunday, September 7th.  Registration hereReg closes September 4th at 11:59 pm.
  • Keller Cove OW Swim (Richmond), Saturday, September 20th. Not yet posted. Keep an eye out here.

Upcoming swim meets:

  • FINA Masters Worlds, Montreal, Canada, August 3-9. Registration closed June 1st. Info here.
  • Davis Long Course Meters “End of Summer Splash” Sat Aug 9. Event info here. Registration hereReg closes Aug 7th at 11:59 pm
  • USMS Long Course Nationals, Maryland, August 13-17. Information hereReg closed July 9th
  • Modesto SCM Meet, Saturday, August 23. Event info here. Registration hereReg closes Aug 20th at 11:59 pm but don’t wait, sign up now as this meet maxes out. Cokie will be attending this meet. 
  • Mountain View SCM Meet, Sunday, September 28. Event info here. Registration hereReg closes Sept 26th at 11:59 pm
  • Sacramento SCM Sprint Pentathlon held in Davis, Saturday, October 4th. Event info here. Reg info will be hereReg closes Oct 1st at 11:59 pm
  • Pac Masters SCM Champs, Walnut Creek, Oct 10-12. Not yet posted. Keep an eye out here. Team effort! We’d love to have you there, even if just for relays!
  • Southern Pacific Masters Short Course Meters Champs, December 5-7, tba. Not yet posted. Keep an eye out here.
Jul 082014
 

Muscle_CrampCalf cramps? Man those are just awful, aren’t they? I’ve gotten to hear some pretty choice words when one of our swimmers succumbs to a calf cramp. Let’s just say they surface and scream at the top of their lungs with phrases you might not want the young ones to hear. :-) Got some ideas for you on how to possibly prevent calf cramps and how to treat one if you are unlucky enough to have one seize you. Check out this write up on how to treat calf cramps by G. John Mullen of the Science of Performance.

I also like this article on dealing with Calf Cramps for Bodysurfers.

Common causes of leg cramps are:

  • fatigue
  • conditioning
  • hydration
  • loss of essential minerals from excess sweating
  • genetic pre-disposition
  • use of fins – especially those that keep you in a strong toe point
Jul 082014
 

The folks at Swim Smooth have a great write up (click here) on why stroke rate is such an important aspect of your swimming. Stroke rate is different than stroke length. There has been a lot of emphasis in the past with stroke length (I’m sure you’ve heard the term “distance per stroke”) but a better tool for improving your speed is to know your stroke rate. Stroke rate applies to all four strokes, but for the purposes of the Swim Smooth article, they are concentrating on freestyle.

Stroke length is how far you travel with each stroke. A longer stroke length means less strokes to the end of the lap. Stroke length does have a place in our swimming strategy, especially for newbies and beginner-intermediates, but stroke length can also work against you. If you have too much glide in your stroke it can leave you with some significant pauses where your forward momentum begins to stall out. That can create drag and a loss of balance for you as well as an increased use of energy needed to come back from the stall. It can look smooth and pretty but may not give you the efficiency or speed you desire in your swim.

Stroke rate is how many strokes you take, otherwise known as turnover. In a very simplified way of thinking about stroke rate, the longer the swim, the lower your stroke rate. The shorter the swim (think 50 free and its wild splash-and-dash approach) the higher the stroke rate. Stroke rate is measured in strokes per minute (SPM). In the Swim Smooth article they even have a tool you can use to establish your strokes per minute and see how that rate equates to reaching your goal in something like a 100m freestyle race.

There are a few ways to measure Stroke Rate. If you use a Finis Tempo Trainer Pro (the yellow one with the replaceable batter) you can go into Mode 3 and play with a range anywhere from 60-110. 60 is a slow, easy turnover. 110 is frenzied. Try several swims from slow, easy and comfortable to fast and furious. Where do you fall? What can you sustain for a 25? A 50? A 400? Use that knowledge and plan some sets around it.

If you don’t have a Tempo Trainer – well heck ya big goof, go get one – then you can have someone simply time you for 10 strokes. They would start the stopwatch with the first hand entry and each subsequent hand entry is a count, stopping the watch on your 10th hand entry. Have them do this for a few 10-second stretches so you get an accurate look at your stroke rate. You can also get video taped and then conduct your own stopwatch assessment in the same fashion.

Along with the Swim Smooth write up, I found a YouTube video (below) that shows how they took a swimmer, analyzed his stroke (which was too slow with too much glide) and improved his stroke rate so that he would be faster and more efficient. It is a long video (26 minutes) but worth watching. There are some good tips in there on how you can improve your own stroke rate in freestyle.

Again, knowing and working with your stroke rate encompasses all your strokes. Using the Finis Tempo Trainer Pro is one of the best tools you have at your disposal. Keep a log of your stroke rate and set some goals on how to improve it. Remember, you still have to have efficiency in your stroke so don’t sacrifice good stroke mechanics simply to flail yourself down to the other end of the pool. After all, it is about image, right? We want to swim pretty, right? ;-)

Jul 082014
 

Curious about the best way to fuel yourself for your swim workout? Check out this article from About.com specifically directed at swimmers and fueling for their workouts (note, not race day nutrition). Click the photo below to access the article. In essence…

These small changes in physiological parameters secondary to the GI of certain foods suggest pre-exercise intake plays a small role in performance or the physiological parameters tested in this study do not correlate with performance enhancements. The notion that the exact pre-exercise carbohydrate consumption is insignificant is rarely discussed, as the food and supplement industry spend large sums of money on marketing, but the bulk of the literature notes minimal benefits of performance, the best indicator for elite athletes. 

Whew! Guess that means I can have my banana and yogurt, or even a small bowl of oatmeal or cereal before I set off for my swim workout!

Yogurt banana

Jul 082014
 

Drag Trumps Power – Gary Hall Sr.

Great video clip on why you need to correct your pull in freestyle – especially if you are a swimmer that pulls with a straight arm or that pulls way under your body (to your opposite hip).  Gary walks you through why drag trumps power and what you can do to get the most out of your freestyle pull.

Click here to see The Race Club Secret Tip on How To Pull In Freestyle

Don't pull like this!

Don’t pull like this!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Instead, pull like this!

Instead, pull like this!

Jul 052014
 

Coaches Buffy, Susie and Nicole are on deck this week! Coach Cokie should return next week.

  • Tuesday, July 8: #264 700 Sets - no 8:30 workout! Coach Buffy is on deck. 
  • Wednesday, July 9: #180 Speed Work - no 8:30 workout! Coach Susie is on deck. 
  • Thursday, July 10: #164 Sprint Free - no 8:30 workout! Coach Buffy is on deck. 
  • Friday, July 11: #64 Focus on the Legs - no 8:30 workout! Coach Susie is on deck. 
  • Saturday, July 12: #242 Smorgasbord Speed. Coach Nicole is on deck.

Last week of no 8:30 workouts. They return on Tuesday, July 15th!! Download your workouts from Dropbox and keep swimming wherever you can. You are welcome in the 5:30 workouts too you know! Email me if you need the Dropbox link!

Upcoming open water swims:

  • Santa Cruz Pier to Pier OW Swim, Saturday, August 2nd. Not yet posted. Keep an eye out here.
  • Santa Cruz 2-mile OW Swim, Sunday, August 3rd. Not yet posted. Keep an eye out here.
  • Donner Lake OW Swim, Saturday, August 16th. Registration here. Event maxes out at 375 swimmers and will fill up! Reg closes Aug 14th at 11:59 pm.
  • Whiskeytown Lake OW Swim, Sunday, September 7th.  Registration hereReg closes September 4th at 11:59 pm.
  • Keller Cove OW Swim (Richmond), Saturday, September 20th. Not yet posted. Keep an eye out here.

Upcoming swim meets:

  • Clovis Long Course Meters, Saturday, July 12th. Reg and meet information hereReg closes July 5th
  • FINA Masters Worlds, Montreal, Canada, August 3-9. Registration closed June 1st. Info here.
  • Davis Long Course Meters “End of Summer Splash” Sat Aug 9. Event info here. Registration hereReg closes Aug 7th at 11:59 pm
  • USMS Long Course Nationals, Maryland, August 13-17. Information hereReg closes July 9th
  • Modesto SCM Meet, Saturday, August 23. Event info here. This meet will fill up and maxes out at 120 swimmers. Registration hereReg closes Aug 20th at 11:59 pm.
  • Mountain View SCM Meet, Sunday, September 28. Event info here. Registration hereReg closes Sept 26th at 11:59 pm
Jun 292014
 

Feeling frustrated because you’ve hit a plateau in your swimming, or for that matter just about any sport? Could be that you aren’t working hard enough or smart enough.  It takes both to improve. Working harder does not necessarily equate to putting in more yards. (I know, many of you are now off the couch and jumping up and down with excitement!) Granted, there are swimmers out there that love yardage and can handle monster 5000 and 6000 yard workouts on a regular basis. Gotta admit, I’m not one of them and neither are about 90% of the swimmers we coach in Masters swimming. Those swimmers that do heavy yardage workouts (and I have to admit I am envious of their ability to do so) may hold the same time year in and year out for various timed swims in the pool, perhaps even experiencing a moderate time drop. Again, cool! But, if you are a meet goer, or even a fitness swimmer that regularly times yourself in practice on certain events, and wants to get faster, then this posting is for you.

Talking to a couple of coaches this week (Kerry O’Brien and Stu Kahn – some truly amazing guys) we chatted about a common theme in Masters swim practices. Most swimmers swim our easy sets too fast and swim our fast sets too easy. To swim fast in a race, you MUST swim fast in practice. To swim smart in a race, you MUST swim smart in practice. That means executing with excellence in your starts, turns and race strategy. Whatever bad habits you have in practice WILL come back to haunt you in a race (one handed touches, sloppy turns, poor race strategy, inability to handle breath control, etc.)

Stu Kahn spoke about an article he had read from the NY Times, so I came home and did some research to locate the article. It is fascinating as it talks about a protein we have in our bodies – CRTC2 – and how that protein plays a role in improving our fitness and reaching our fitness goals. The gist of the article? There is some truth to the old saying, “No Pain, No Gain”. Check out the NY Times article here by clicking the title.

For Fitness, Push Yourself – NY Times

You are the master of your own destiny – in and out of the pool. You have to WANT something and you have to WORK toward it. There are a rare group of people who can seemingly crank out some pretty awesome sprint times without much work in the pool. I am soooo jealous! Sure wish I could. Every 100th of a second drop in time for me comes from working hard, swimming smart, and pushing myself in practice when I don’t necessarily want to. That seems to be the formula that works for the vast majority of us. In other words…

To get better, YOU HAVE TO GET OUT OF YOUR COMFORT ZONE.

Yup, I’m talking to YOU! You have to push your body. Ah, yes, I acknowledge that therein lies the challenge for us, ahem, aging Masters swimmers. We have certain frailties – cranky shoulders, wobbly knees, backs that don’t flex anymore – well, you get the picture. My response to that? Where there is a will, there is a way! Key things to consider:

  • Warm Up thoroughly (that means getting to workout on time!)
  • Cool down at the end of your workout (if you run out of pool time, cool down on deck)
  • Swim fast when and where directed (either by the coach or from the workout if swimming on your own)
  • Swim easy when and where directed (again from the coach or from the workout)
  • Challenge yourself. Set goals and work toward them. Set the big goals and the little goals that will get you there.
  • Strive for excellence in what you undertake! Swim smart. Work to minimize resistance and your ability to maximize propulsion will improve.
  • Listen to your body. There are days when you need to back off or even step away from the pool. Don’t push through your injuries. Get help and find cross training programs that strengthen your weak areas without damaging you.

And the final tip?

  • Throw away the concerns about “total yardage” in a workout. 2000, 3000, 4500, 6000?

Yardage really doesn’t have much bearing on the big picture. It just doesn’t matter unless you are training for some significant distances such as big open water swims. If you don’t believe me, then study up on Ultra Short Race Pace Training which is prescribed not just for sprinters but also for distance swimmers – even those doing the 1500m free events. Check out USPRT and you’ll see that this form of training is the big buzz spreading far and wide in the swimming community.

I’m currently studying everything I can find on USRPT. As I get a better handle on how it works with Masters swimming and the constraints we have with our older bodies, I’ll apply it to our program. In the meantime, get focused, set some goals, and swim smart. You want it? Go get it.

What the mind can conceive and believe, it can achieve.

Return to the pool with a whole new mindset. Whether your workout is 30 minutes long or 90 minutes long, use it to work toward some goals. Let go of measuring quantity and start measuring the quality of your workouts. Activate your catecholamines and watch what happens!

garfieldlazy-1-jpg

6-30-14

Found another article that is helpful on the mental and physical aspects of sprint training. See 5 Training Tips For Sprinters