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What to Measure with Your Waterproof Fitness Tracker

Le 21 juillet 2017, 03:12 dans Humeurs 0

So you made the plunge, and threw down some sweet cashola on a fitness tracker than you can use in the pool. Cool beans. But where to start? What to track? What to measure?

Here are some different things you can do with that fancy new waterproof fitness tracker to help you become a faster swimmer, err, faster:

Overall distance.

One of the measures most competitive swimmers use to judge their training is weekly volume. While this can be a handy metric for judging overall training work, it doesn’t necessarily account for variances in intensity and speed.

For instance, doing 25% of your regular volume, at 50% more intensity would yield a very different training adaptation than doing 100% of your training at low to moderate intensity.

Regardless, knowing weekly training volume helps you to better plan future training cycles and training.

Stroke count average.

One of the secrets to swimming faster is in being more efficient. It’s why the fastest swimmers in the world make it look easy—over thousands of hours of training they have been able to manipulate their technique in order to swim across the pool at a dizzying speed with minimal effort.

One of the ways to become more efficient is with the awareness of how many strokes you are taking per lap.

Fortunately, a waterproof fitness tracker can automate this never-ending series of counts by measuring it for you, and producing an average stroke count as well.

Strive to steadily decrease your average stroke count over time in order to maximize the benefits that come with greater efficiency and mastery of the water.

(Note: a sudden increase in stroke count average can be a handy sign that you aren’t recovering enough between your swims/sets. The first thing to go when swimmers are fatigued is distance per stroke, with their stroke count increasing accordingly.)

Use it as an interval timer.

Remember the Beep test that you had to do in school? The one where everyone would line up in the gym, wait for the beep, run across the gym, wait for another beep, the time between beeps steadily decreasing until you were a lactate flushed mess on the floor of the gym? Yeah. That one.

While the memory of that was scarring for just about all of us who had to do it, you can set up your own little beep test with most waterproof fitness trackers. Pick an interval of, say, :45 seconds, and do as many 50’s as you can at that interval.

A couple weeks later, try to best that number. And so on. It’s an old school and simple way to measure and encourage improvement in the water.

Use it for Fartlek training.

Beyond being incredibly fun (in a childish sense, I assure you) to say, Fartlek training is super good for you and your training.

The concept is simple, you intersperse long, easy swimming with short and random bursts of speed (usually at a ratio of around 1:5 or so).

The goal isn’t to destroy you, but rather to keep your fast twitch muscles alive and growing while you grow that big aerobic base of yours. Set it to go off every 90 seconds, push off, and do 15 fast strokes every time you hear that beep.

The best part will be the speed play at random parts of the pool, meaning you will be working something different (streamline, flip turns, finish, mid-length explosiveness) each time around.

Better plan your training.

There are a ton of benefits that come along with measuring and tracking your workouts. The handy thing with fitness trackers is that it removes the whole “having to remember stuff” aspect of logging your workouts.

For the most part these devices come paired with software and apps that allow you to easily visualize your training over time.

This is important for a few reasons: it helps you see how hard you are actually training, gives you the opportunity to see where you need more rest, and can better inform your planning and training moving forward. Giddyup!

3 Things Swimmers Need to Know About Buying a Racing Suit

Le 18 juillet 2017, 00:08 dans Humeurs 0

Thinking about picking yourself a brand new racing suit for yourself or for the competitive swimmer in your life? Here are three things to keep in mind when shopping for a new tech suit:

1. Each racing suit has varying amounts of compression. One of the big features of the racing suits is their compression benefits. What happens is this: the suit squeezes your skin with varying degrees of pressure, helping to circulate blood to specific areas. The reason for this? When we are swimming at top speed in competition, and our leg muscles are dying for more oxygen, the compression helps to push more oxygenated blood to areas that need it most. While there are recovery benefits to compression (actually—the evidence supporting this is more robust compared to the performance benefits), the reasons swimmers should seek a suit that is tight is that it will help you maintain a better body position in the water. One of my favorite tech suits, the Arena Carbon Pro jammer, for instance, has “stiffer” compression that makes my kicking feel border-line effortless. A good rule of thumb for swimmers looking to buy a new jammer: the more compression the suits offer, the shorter the events and the less turns you want to have to perform. High amounts of compression are better suited for sprint events, while a lighter compression squeeze is more suitable for longer events.

2. It’s made of fragile lycra. One of the banes of the life of a competitive swimmer is the short shelf life of the average racing suit. Depending on how well the suit is cared for, swimmers can expect to get about 20-30 races out of a racing suit. The reason that they degrade so quickly is that one of the main fabrics used in their construction is lycra or spandex. Racing suits vary in their amount, from around 30-40%, while the rest of the suit is usually constructed of nylon. Lycra is sensitive to chemicals, particularly solvents, and guess what pools are almost always treated with? Chlorine, a world-class solvent. In order to lengthen the life of your racing suit, rinse it out with cold water after each of your sessions of competition. Don’t throw it in the dryer, or even hang dry it. (These things are that sensitive to wear and tear.) After rinsing it out, wrap in your towel and air it out when you get back home or to your hotel. The suit dries quickly, and unless you leave it wrapped up in your bag will dry out within a couple hours.

 

3. Do your research. Even though almost all racing suits are made of the same core materials, and while they may look the same, the cuts and fit of each suit vary by manufactoruer and even line of suit. The Arena Carbon series, for example, have a line of three different suits that all have different features. They don’t even fit the same. While the Pro is a stiffer and tighter fitting suit, the Flex and the Air are both designed for greater range of motion. (Hint, hint: breaststrokers and individual medley specialists should stick with the Flex or Air.) Fortunately, there is a ton of jammer reviews and information online from fellow swimmers who have purchased and raced in the suits you are thinking about picking up. Search the swimming forum in Reddit, and the reviews from sites like SwimOutlet to give you an idea of what to expect with the suit. Doing some research is especially key if you live in an area that doesn’t have a swim shop where you can try on your prospective suits. 

3 Pieces of Gear Every Swimmer Should Be Using

Le 8 mai 2017, 19:16 dans Humeurs 0

There is a ton of different swim equipment out there for both the novice and competitive swimmer. From paddles to pull buoys to swim fins there is a never-ending pile of equipment to choose from when we hop in the water.

As a long-time competitive swimmer I have had a chance to play around with most of them. Here are the three essential tools swimmers need in order to swim faster:

1. Tempo Trainer Pro.

One of the coolest pieces of swim gear out there is the FINIS Tempo Trainer Pro. Simple in design and water-proof (obviously), this little device clips onto your goggles. There are two main uses that you can use the Tempo Trainer for:

First, it can be used as a way to track intervals. Set it for :30 seconds, for instance, and it will give you a quick beep every time thirty seconds elapses. This is helpful for pools that don’t have pace clocks, or for open water fartlek swimming.

Secondly, it can be used to help you maintain a specific stroke rate. As a sprinter I have found this especially helpful as hitting those high stroke rates is difficult. Similarly, you can use the Tempo Trainer to help lengthen out your strokes during long course swimming to help you improve your distance per stroke.

For beginner swimmers pick a stroke rate you want, attach it to your goggle strap, and simulate some arm pulls on dryland to help you develop the motor patterns that you want to achieve in the water.

2. A swimmer’s snorkel.

My next favorite tool in my swim bag? Your front-mounted snorkel. This thing has become a bit of a crutch in my training in recent months, and with good reason.

They are wildly effective at helping you to balance out muscle imbalances in your back and shoulders, allow you to simulate bilateral breathing, allow you to focus on technique and stroke corrections, and force you to kick with a fuller freestyle kick.

Perhaps my favorite reason for using a swimmer’s snorkel is that you can get a really good rhythm going when swimming freestyle. As a result of breathing relentlessly to one side over the years I developed a gallop in my stroke which left my freestyle unbalanced.

Putting on a snorkel, having your face to the bottom of the pool, gives you the opportunity to swim with a balanced, rhythmic freestyle, which is especially enjoyable when doing laps in the long course pool.

3. A log book.

Journaling out your workouts has many benefits, not the least of which is that it will help you perform more consistently over the long term in the pool. Tracking your workouts will help you to pinpoint connections between training and lifestyle (sleep, for instance).

You will be able to better plot your training, by setting training goals, both for the week and for the session in the pages of your log book. And you will provide your swim coach with a wealth of information that will better inform their training of you (something Katie Ledecky did with her swim coach in the lead-up to the 2012 Olympics where she won a gold medal in the 800m freestyle).

Writing out your swim practices is a bit of a lost art these days, with swimmers looking to stick to the apps and web-based software to track their workout data. There is something about pen and paper that helps swimmers connect and

 

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