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Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Leap Day Workouts For Open Water Swimmers

Today, February 29th is the leap day in the Gregorian calendar.

29 is such a nice prime number that the Open Water Swim Club thought an explanation of the benefits of prime number sets is appropriate on this leap day.

Open water swimmers are athletes well-suited to deep thought - or just zoning out. The mental aspect of competitive open water swimming or tactical marathon swimming cannot be downplayed.

Not only do competitive and experienced swimmers have to think about the elements - winds, waves, currents, tides, sun glare - but they also have to strategize about feeding, pacing, positioning, drafting, turn buoy placement and the odd surge relative to their competition.

The tactical skills of the the world's best open water swimmers are always something to see.

When swimmers interested in competitive open water swimming ask the Open Water Swim Club about what it takes to improve, reach their potential or compete at the highest echelon, we recommend a focus on the Pyramid of Open Water Success: Base Training + Speed Training + Distance Tolerance + Race Specific Training + Skill Training + Open Water Acclimatization + Tactical Knowledge.

Whether in the pool or open water, we encourage competitive open water athletes and triathletes to train their minds as well as their bodies. Some of the pool training sets that we recommend are based on prime numbers ... like 29 (e.g., 2, 3, 5, 7, 11, 13, 17, etc.). So instead of doing traditional pool training sets on easy-to-calculate intervals like 1:00, 1:10, 1:15, 1:20 or 1:30, we occasionally do prime number sets where the intervals are 1:03, 1:17, 1:23, etc. Alternatively, intervals on 37.5, 42.5, 47.5, etc. seconds are also mentally challenging.

As competitive pool swimmers can imagine, calculating the next send-off on a 42.5 interval for 50s or a 1:23 interval for 100s is not easy for most people. And those who are mathematically inclined will enjoy the mental calculations. As a result, the athlete is constantly thinking and calculating in addition to maintaining proper stroke mechanics, trying to make the interval and getting their swim times. These prime number sets can be taxing both mentally and physically - precisely what swimmers will face in competitive open water situations.

A few simple prime number sets for pool swimmers might include the following:

Hit the Primes: 8 x 100 @ 1:30, swim exactly at a 1:23 pace for #1, 1:19 pace for #2, 1:17 pace for #3, 1:13 pace for #4, 1:11 pace for #5, 1:07 pace for #6, 1:05 pace for #7 and 1:03 pace for #8. Teaches precise pace control.

Beat the Primes: 8 x 100 @ 1:30, swim faster than a 1:23 pace for #1, a 1:19 pace for #2, a 1:17 pace for #3, a 1:13 pace for #4, a 1:11 pace for #5, a 1:07 pace for #6, a 1:05 pace for #7 and a 1:03 pace for #8.

Descend Down: 10 x 50 with descending intervals. 1 x 50 @ 50 + 1 x 50 @ 47.5 + 1 x 50 @ 45 + 1 x 50 @ 42.5 + 1 x 50 @ 40 + 1 x 50 @ 37.5 + 1 x 50 @ 35 + 1 x 50 @ 32.5 + 1 x 50 @ 30 + 1 X 50 @ 27.5

It is not easy at first, but athletes find their abilities to work hard physically and think deeply improve over time. This mental work is valuable for help sharpening the mind which is an asset used craftily and creatively by the open water swimmers.

Copyright © 2012 by Open Water Source

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