Every year in February, Team Amazing Day hosts a swim challenge. The rules are simple: whomever swims the most distance in the month wins.
Although swimming is the shortest distance of a triathlon, it is definitely not the least important. Each discipline feeds into the next. The fitness you build in swimming carries over into cycling and running – you only have one engine! Swimming allows an athlete to build low-impact fitness without the pounding of running, it can be an excellent recovery workout from tougher sessions of the week, and for run- or cycling-focused athletes, swimming is a terrific cross-training exercise.
Want to become a faster swimmer? It’s time to focus on form. Inefficient technique makes you tire faster in the water and can even lead to injury long-term. Improvements in form = faster swimming, but also less energy expenditure prior to the bike and run legs of a triathlon. And the best way to focus on form is to swim as often as possible. For some athletes, a short block of swimming with as little as 15-20 minutes per day can have a huge impact on their swim times.
When is the best time of the year to schedule a hefty swim block? Early in the season, when the bike and run workouts are shorter and fitness is in early stages. Mix it up to keep it interesting in the water: challenge yourself to swim bands-only for a stronger core, to add sculling and drills to your warm-up as form focus, to add paddles for strength development, and fins because going fast is FUN! If swimming is your weakest discipline, now’s the time to tackle it. You will be rewarded all year long.