New season, workout, and goals

Wow… 2013 already! There are races coming up, and goals to reach for… clinics to host, and training days to work through. One of my goals is to work on my core and strength, and to keep enjoying this sport. That said, Redlands Spine & Sport is going to be hosting a new workout: Tuesday night core. This free 30 minute workout will be at 6pm and focus on group motivation and reaching our own new bests. Hope to see you there!

In the spirit of group motivation and accountability, let’s share some of our goals so that we can keep each other on track. Comment and share your goals for your 2013 season.

FREE Magic Mountain Man Oly Tri entry

As mentioned at the club meeting today, we have a FREE entry to the Magic
Mountain Man OLY race on Sunday, Oct. 9th (1.5k swim, 40k bike, 10k run). The
race is at Castaic Lake. For full race details, check
out the race website

To be eligible to win, you must be a current member of the Redlands Tri Club,
and you must have an account on this forum. You must also be available to race
on Sunday, Oct. 9th so that the prize doesn’t go unused!

To enter to win — comment in this thread in our Forum¬†by Friday at
. You’ll be entered in a drawing to win the entry, and
we’ll announce the winner this weekend.

If you need help getting an account created on this site, please email Kylie.

Race reports please!

We’d love to share race reports through our club blog! Any members can log in and write up their race report, and then an admin can make it live. Share your stories in your words, and get your name in print as an author!

Email Kylie with questions — or log in and write one today ūüôā

August Club Meeting

Join us at Redlands Spine & Sport at 6:30pm tomorrow for our August Club Meeting!

The guest speaker will be one of our own, Andrea Saavedra. In Redlands Tri Club, a lot of members are new to the sport, learning how it all works, and seeing their own progress. Our club is about learning and growing and sharing triathlon knowledge and experiences, progressing through first races to new distances and challenges. Andrea is a great example of really embodying the purpose of the club. She joined as one of the founding members when new to the sport, and at the end of last month she successfully raced Barb’s, a half iron distance race. Andrea will be sharing what she did to get to where she is, including changes in training, nutrition, and mental approach. She’ll also talk about some of the surprises she hit along the way, both in training and on race day. Come hear her experiences and share in her success.

See the full announcement.

Swim Clinic Details

As we mentioned in our meeting earlier this month, tomorrow will be a swim clinic at the University of Redlands! The clinic begins at 8am and we have the pool reserved from 8am to noon. We’ll be starting with about a half hour of on-deck instruction (classroom style, not in the water) and then we’ll jump in the pool. Although you can leave early if you need to, please be at the start so that we can be ready to get in the pool. In the water, we’ll have a group workout (with sets for all paces and abilities), and at the same time Mike will be working with each and every participant to provide some one-on-one instruction to help you improve your stroke, and thus your swim times.

The day will include both in and out of water instruction by Mike Donia. Mike was a collegiate swimmer, and has been an assistant coach for his college, a master’s swimming coach, and has also taught private swim lessons for adults. As a triathlete, he raced professionally when younger, and now continues racing as an age grouper. He has done¬†8 Ironman races, including two in Kona.

Click here to get directions to the U of R pool. It is located on Brockton between University and Grove, right next to the main stadium. Please use the main entrance on the west end of the swim complex (the left side of the pool area as you are facing it from the street).

Please see our post on Swimming Workouts 101 for some basic information about swim workouts and their terminology. We will be there to help you understand the workout at the clinic, but this will give you some time to think about what the structure and lingo mean.

Email Kylie if you have any questions.

Due to insurance reasons, this clinic is for members only. However, we will be accepting new members at registration for the clinic. See Membership Info for pricing information and other details.

Swimming Workouts 101

You might have a friend who has some swimming experience, or you might be trying out a new swimming group. But as triathletes, many of us do not have swim backgrounds, and the workouts look like some foreign language. 3×100 on 1:30? 4×50 descending? This is a quick primer on language commonly used to present swim workouts.

But before we even get into the details of the workout that was in the book, or on the board, let’s look at some terminology:

  • A length: crossing the pool a single time. You end up on the opposite edge from where you started.
  • A lap: crossing the pool twice, returning to the side where you started.

However, understanding “length” and “lap” doesn’t help us with the distance we are going as we swim. To determine the distance you are swimming, you need to know the length of the lane you are swimming in, measured from where you start to the opposite wall of the pool. In Redlands, these are some of the sizes of the main pools available to us:

  • Redlands YMCA: Currently has a 20 yard lap pool. The pool coming summer 2012 will be 25 yards.
  • Drayson Center: 25 yards in the lap areas.
  • University of Redlands: 25 yards in the main pool area. 20 yards in the shallower entrance part of the pool.
  • Crafton College: Olympic size pool, so 25 yards if the short direction is used, 50 meters if using the long direction.
  • LA Fitness or 24 Hour Fitness (most in the area): 25 yard pool

Some additional pool size details: Olympic pools are 25 yards by 50 meters. If in an Olympic pool and the lanes are set up going the short direction, it is 25 yards per length (50 yards per lap) — this distance is often referred to as “short course” (even if not in an Olympic pool). If instead the Olympic pool is set up with the lanes going the long direction, it is 50 meters per length (100 meters per lap) — this distance is often referred to as “long course” (even if not in an Olympic pool).

Knowing the size of the pool, we can figure out how to swim 100 yards (or meters). In a 25 yard pool, each length is 25 yards, and each lap 50 yards, so 2 laps is a 100 yard swim. That means you would swim down the lane and back twice to swim 100 yards.

If you are at the Redlands YMCA pool, or another 20 yard pool, a 100 will be 5 lengths of the pool, or 2.5 laps.

Now that we know how far our pool is, let’s look at the distances often presented in a swim workout. These will almost always be multiples of 25 since most pools are either 25 yards or 50 meters. So when a workout says to swim a 25, a 50, a 100, or even a 500, the workout is referring to a distance. If you are in a pool that is measured in yards, read it as 25, or 50, or 100, or 500 yards. If you are in a pool that is measured in meters, read it as 25, or 50, or 100, or 500 meters.

In swim workouts, use either yards or meters for the sets given based on the measurement of the pool you are in. The difference between the two is minimal, and using round numbers that fit in your pool will make the sets easier to follow. In this article I will use yards, but if you are at the Crafton pool and it is set up long course, you will be swimming meters.

If you are at the Redlands YMCA pool, or another 20 yard pool, you will want to use 20 or 30 yards when a workout calls for 25, and 40 or 60 yards when the workout calls for a 50. When you swim a 100, it will be 5 lengths of the pool, or 2.5 laps.

Now we are ready to jump in, so to speak, and understand the pieces that makeup a swim workout. Some examples of what a workout might list, along with a translation, are listed below:

200 wu wu = warmup, so swim 200 yards to warm up. Start out nice and easy, and mix in some backstroke if doing so helps you warm up.
200 cd cd = cooldown, so swim 200 yards to cool down. A relaxed pace, and mix in some backstroke if doing so helps you stretch a bit. Many triathlete sets are almost all freestyle, so the backstroke helps stretch out the chest and shoulders.
4 x 100 Swim 100, and do so 4 times
4 x 100 on 2:00 Swim 100, and do so 4 times. For each 100, you get 2 minutes. That means if it only takes you 1:45 to swim the 100, you will have 15 seconds of rest before you start again.
4 x 100 in 2:00 Swim 100, and do so 4 times. For each 100, you get 2 minutes. That means if it only takes you 1:45 to swim the 100, you will have 15 seconds of rest before you start again.
50 drill Swim 50 yards, and during them, instead of using a normal swim stroke, work on a drill to focus on a particular part of your stroke.
4 x 100 descending on 2:00 Swim 100, and do so 4 times. You will have 2 minutes for each 100, but the goal is to swim it faster each time. For example, if the first 100 you swim 1 minute and 55 seconds (1:55), you then have 5 seconds of rest. On the next 100, swim 1:52 and have 8 seconds of rest. Swim the third 100 in 1:50 and have 10 seconds of rest. And the fourth and final 100 should be in 1:48.
9 x 50 descending 1 -> 3 Swim 50, and do so 9 times. For the first three, you will do each one a bit faster. Then you will reset, and do the same within each set of the 3. Sometimes I think of this as easy, medium, fast when it is three. The first 50 is a “normal” effort. The next is a bit harder, and then the third is a strong one. Repeat this three times.
3 x 100 build Swim 100, and do so 3 times. Within each of the 100, you will build into a stronger and stronger pace. So you push off the wall, and start out at your normal swim pace. Gradually throughout the 100 you increase your effort so that by the final 25 you are swimming much stronger than when you started.

In the table above, some new terms were used. Let’s just define those again, with a bit more detail:

  • Drill: Instead of using a regular swim stroke, work on a drill that focuses on a particular stroke weakness. Some examples include catch-up, fist swim, and swimming wide. The best way to know what drill to work on is by having a coach watch you swim and then give a recommendation based on your particular stroke. At our swim clinics, Mike or other coaches provide drill suggestions to address your individual stroke.
  • Descending: each repeat will be done faster than the one before it. You swim a constant pace within the repeat, increasing your speed/effort level on successive repeats.
  • Build: within each repeat you increase your speed/effort level. Your pace is changing during a single repeat, and resetting at the start of the next repeat.

These sets bring us to a tough part of swimming: counting and keeping track, both of time and of distance. Some suggestions on keeping track of time include the following:

  • Wear a stop watch, and press the button as you do your laps. Be careful of adjusting your stroke to facilitate hitting the button, or spending time looking at your wrist as this will change your position in the water.
  • Learn to use a pace clock. These are especially useful when analog (and there are hands showing seconds). You can use the placement of the seconds hand to help you keep track. For example, if you are swimming 4 x 100 on 2:05, start when the second hand is at the top of the clock, and swim 100. You will need to start again when the seconds hand is on the 5 (since that will be 2:05 since you last started). For your 3rd 100, you will leave when the second hand is on the 10. And for the 4th and final 100, you will leave when the second hand is on the 15. The tricky part of this is when you are swimming repeats on 2:00, as that doesn’t give the same counting help. And at 1:30 again, it is tough since you only get to know if you are on an odd or an even numbered lap (based on if the seconds hand is at the top or bottom of the clock).

To keep track of distance, there are again a couple of approaches:

  • Know the distance on each piece of your swim workout, but don’t worry about the total. For example, if you are doing 4 x 100, don’t try to count to 400, but instead focus on counting each 100, and doing so 4 times.
  • Use the clock: if you know it takes you 2 minutes to swim a 100, and you have been swimming for 3 minutes, you are at 150 yards.

As you start swimming, don’t worry about the details of building and descending. Your first goal is to get comfortable doing a complete length, then a complete lap, and then a 100. Once you are comfortable with that, then mix in some sets of 25s, 50s, and 100s. From there you can then add more distances. Once you are really comfortable swimming, then it is time to start really working on different paces and effort levels (for example, by incorporating sets with building and descending). Of course, through out, you will be working drills to improve your stroke, and building your endurance. And of course, remember to have fun in the water! Swimming is just another playground for triathletes to explore their fitness and ability.

June Club Meeting

Monday June 13th — 6:30 pm at Redlands Spine and Sport

You’ve been going to the pool, and getting in some laps. But sometimes you wonder… how can¬†you get the most out of¬†your time in the pool? Have you heard¬†about swim sets, but¬†aren’t sure how to structure one? Wonder no longer! Come hear¬†Mike¬†Donia talk about planning¬†that part of¬†your training, and make the most of¬†your swim times instead of just doing laps.

Mike has an Ironman swim personal record of 53 minutes, 70.3 swim PR of 26 minutes, and experience coaching age groupers to improve their swims. He has structured workouts for himself and other athletes. He has raced 8 Ironmans, including 2 at the Ironman World Championships in Hawaii. He was also previously a pro triathlete at shorter distances. Although not from a swim background, Mike worked hard at improving his swim and understands what the improvement requires, as well as the benefits.

May Club Meeting

Come see a new super training center! The Energy Lab offers classes (including spin & core strength) along with personal training to get your body tuned and ready for race season.  There will be the option of participation and trying out some of their techniques so come ready to play and move! Or just come to check it out and hear some of their favorite training drills.