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Intelligent Triathlon Talk, Issue #012 -, Improve Your Open Water Swim
June 18, 2013

Intelligent Triathlon Talk

7th June 2013, Issue No 12.

Welcome to Intelligent Triathlon Talk.

In this issue:

  • News Update
  • Training Advice: Consistency and Open Water Swimming
  • New On The Site: Interview with coach Joel Filliol

Mark's Squad News

(Mark is Performance Coach for British Triathlon’s High Performance Centre in Loughborough.)

First of all, some non-triathlon news, and the reason for the delay in this newsletter: our first baby arrived towards the end of March! Mark has been taking her swimming since she was 9 weeks old; no doubt he’ll have her on a bike soon….

In triathlon news, race season is well and truly under way for Mark’s British Triathlon Squad.

Adam Bowden had his best result to date against a fully stacked field in the San Diego round of the World Triathlon Series. The race was won by Alistair Brownlee, with Adam finishing 6th. He followed this up with 8th place in Yokohama. Great results which are testament to the dedication and focus he has put into training this winter. It clearly shows that having single mindedness and clarity of purpose has helped him to get into the best form of his life then deliver in a race.

The rest of the squad are doing well, with Mark Buckingham setting the 5th fastest run time in the Yokohama race, just 48s slower than the fastest of the day, Jonny Brownlee.

Training Tip Of The Month

Consistency of training is key.

This can often be misinterpreted as doing the same thing over and over again. However what we mean in this context is that your training is reliable, regular and planned.

So set your plan out, and have patience that by consistently being able to train, doing suitable sessions, over a long enough period of time, you will make significant gains in fitness.

Get-fit-quick plans are a bit like faddy diets. You might get a sharp increase in fitness (or lose the weight) however to do this you normally have to do something that is unsustainable for long periods of time and it can often take you backwards instead of forwards.

A good example of this is many age-groupers’ training camps, where people decide to go and do four times as much training as they would normally in a week then come home and are unable to train for 2 weeks because they are injured, ill or knackered.

You may have had a good time on the camp, which is fine, however in three or four weeks time you probably won’t see the benefits of it, certainly not as much as you could have done.

Typically we won’t increase training volume or load by more than 10 – 15% of normal weekly mileage on a training camp - bearing in mind the athletes already maintain a fairly high volume, so for your average club athlete you could probably take this to 30 – 50% over and above what you are used to – not the 200% that is sometimes seen!

A Session To Try: Open-Water Swimming

Now that in the northern hemisphere the weather is starting to improve and the race season is upon us, so it is a good time to get used to swimming open water, using your wet suit, and getting used to swimming in packs, and to practice the skills of small things such as sighting.


3 x 300m, in a straight line, at slightly faster than race pace – so not flat out. Ideally with other people around you doing the same thing. Take the opportunity to practice sighting and navigation whilst swimming hard.

Recovery is an easy swim back to the start point.

If possible, choose a different buoy or navigation point for each rep. In some races you can’t see the buoy so you have to use other cues behind it to guide you (eg a tall building, a tree etc), so practice looking for such things. Also practice swimming on feet to find out how much faster you can go or how much easier it is than you might have thought.

New On The Website

A popular recent addition to our site is an interview with Canadian triathlon coach Joel Filliol, who coached Simon Whitfield to his Olympic medals. You can see the interview here.

Ask the Coach

Since our last newsletter we have answered lots of questions. Got a question for us? Submit it to the website and check out other people’s questions - and our answers.
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Comments? Ideas? Feedback? We’d love to hear from you. Please contact us.

See you next time!

Rhona & Mark

© 2013, Intelligent Triathlon Training, published by Rhona Pearce. Reproduction of any material from this newsletter without written permission is prohibited.

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