I am sure like most of you we are all pretty new to this swim run training. We (my friend Andrew and I – Team Shag racing) completed Breca Wanaka this year and have just signed up for Breca Bay of islands. I thought it might be nice to share some tips from our training that might helpful. We are both triathlon coaches so I thought I would share part of our training plan. The thought of swimming 8km+ with hand paddles and a pull boy may seem daunting and realistically while it is a challenge it is also a case of being prepared
So this is essentially how I evolved our Friday swim program to help prepare us for the load and reduce our injury risk. A couple of points of caution:
Hand paddles clipped to our race belts
Warm up –This was pretty much a standard 400 meter swim with drills focusing on body position and hand entry but essentially it’s about just getting ready for the main set. In a Breca build up its more about managing the shoulders with the load so we kept it at about the 400-500 mark.
Main set – this was built around 2.4km as the key component and then loaded up around that based on the fact that the longest swim in the Wanaka race is about that distance (more as it turned out on the day the way most of us swum) and I could break it down into manageable chunks.
So to start with 12 x 200 as 4 times through as 1 swim 2 pull (hand paddles and pull buoy)
Then we transitioned to 3 times through 3 x pull 1 x swim and added 500 swim at the start and 500 at the end so it now looked
500 swim, 12 x 200 as 3 times pull 1 swim then 500 swim
As we adapted to the load the next progression was changing the 500 at the start to 500 pull then also building the end of the session with an additional 500 so it became 1km broken down. So the main set now looked like this.
500 pull, 12 x 200 as 3 times through 1swim and 3 pull, 500 swim 500 pull.
The next evolution was to increase the pull and back load it more towards the end of the session. I also started to add in some 100’s at pace with pull gear on at the end of the session. The key here is not to overload the shoulders but focus the loading through the last part of the swim stroke where the shoulder stress is less. We added in some 50 easy sections to loosen the shoulders and often this was double arm backstroke (both arms at the same time) or breast stroke. We also changed the 12 x 200 into essentially 4 x 600 broken into 400 pull and 200 swim
So now the main set was, 500 pull, 50 easy, 4 times through (400 pull, 200 swim) 50m easy loosen then 600m pull 50 easy and then 4 x 100 pull going on 1minute 30 = 1minute 45 depending on how smashed we were – you may need to modify that time to suit but the focus was more about efficiency than raw speed.
Then the main set evolved to became, 500 pull, 50m, easy, 4 x (500m pull 100, swim,) 50 easy. 200 swim, 8 x 100 pull going on 1:30 – 1:45 then an easy warm down.
So that was last Friday session before the race. The next phase would have been the 2.4km as 2 times through 1km pull 200 swim followed by 10 x 100 pull going on 1:30 but we essentially ran out of time in this build up and it is always a tradeoff regarding load versus being broken.
We just went super easy and lots of double arm backstroke to ease the shoulders
Hopefully this has given you an insight on how to evolve your training (this was over 11 weeks of training) specifically for a Breca race and hopefully help get you to the finish
Husband, father, athlete coach and either really busy or really tired :)