Many triathletes assume that just because the swim is the shortest discipline you don’t need to spend as much time working on it, however the truth is quite the opposite. Time losses in the water can be the greatest out of all the disciplines and technique in the swim is key to having a successful race. But don’t let this discourage you, confidence going into the swim can set you up for a great race.Many triathletes assume that just because the swim is the shortest discipline you don't need to spend as much time working on it, however the truth is quite the opposite. Click To Tweet
Why do triathletes struggle with the swim?
Swimming not only pushes your physical but also your mental ability, especially in open water swims, this combined with the hundreds of other nervous athletes around you can make the swim quite daunting.
A great example of why swimming is so important is professional swimmer Lauren Brandon who switched to triathlon in 2009. After swimming competitively for nearly 20 years Brandon swim career ended in 2008 after have shoulder issues. Brandon completed her first triathlon a year later finishing 7th using a borrowed wetsuit, and only having ridden a bike a few times beforehand, she then set herself then goal of getting her pro card within a year, after getting hooked on the sport. Brandon met her goal at the end of 2010 and 3 races later she received her pro card.Embed from Getty Images
But how much should we be swimming?
Most of us can’t manage the lifestyle of the pros, who often swim for 5-7 hours per week or sometimes more. Swimming consistently is the key to developing good technique and becoming a better swimmer, but this doesn’t mean you should swim consistently once per month, 2-3 time per week is ideal, but if can only manage 1 per week, it would make a great start.
Your local tri club is also a useful resource that you should make use of, they’ll most likely run 1 or 2 swim sessions per week and many have open water swims in the summer months. It’ll also give you access to coaches and more experienced athlete who can give you great advice, and developing a relationship with your local club will also keep you motivated to swim and train more often.
For a beginner any swimming is going to be beneficial but the more often you can consistently swim the faster you’ll improve, and if you can dedicate more time to swimming, then go for it, but don’t overdo it and don’t forget about the cycle and run.