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Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Develop Your Brain, Number Crunch While Swimming

In the pool, open water swimmers and triathletes can multi-task in different ways that can ultimately help them improve their level of concentration in open water swims and triathlon swim legs.

While open water swimmers like Doug McConnell and Terry Laughlin stay focused doing repetitive counting while stroking along their marathon swims from the Catalina Channel to around Manhattan Island, swimmers can also practice concentration by doing pool swimming sets on irregular intervals.

For example, instead of 10 x 50 @ :45 or 10 x 100 @ 2:00, going off a pace clock, you can try to mix it up with prime number sets or odd intervals. Try 10 x 50 @ :42.5 or 10 x 50 @ :42.5 with every third 50 on :37.5. As you push off the wall, you need to maintain your pace as well as quickly calculate the next send-off.

This morning, the Open Water Swim Club did several sets of decreasing intervals in the following pattern:

10 x 50 @ :45 with every 3rd 50 on :37.5
10 x 50 @ :42.5 with every 3rd 50 on :35
10 x 50 @ :40 with every 3rd 50 on :32.5
10 x 50 @ :37.5 with every 3rd 50 on :30

It took some thinking to start each 50 on the right interval. Swimmers had to number crunch at the same time the intervals were quick enough that the swimmers had to maintain their proper arm stroke and a strong kick. Sometimes, these kinds of sets are a nice balance to the typical 10 x 200 or 5 x 500 long distance freestyle sets.

Stack published an article on how and why Athletes Need to Train Their Brains. Z Altug writes, "...your brain accounts for 20% of the energy your body uses. That might not seem like a lot, but it's the same amount used by your skeletal muscles, which comprise 40 to 50 percent of your body weight. If you want to perform at your best, you have to train your brain."

That is definitely something to think about.

Copyright © 2013 by Open Water Swimming

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