FirstTimeFinish Series: Swim Tips for the First Time Ironman Athlete

Coach P

FirstTimeFinish™ Program logoThis is an excerpt of the first chapter of Endurance Nation’s upcoming eBook Crossing the Line: Everything You Need to Know About Racing Your First Ironman® But Were Afraid To Aska new resource for first time Ironman® competitors. The book will be released to subscribers of the Endurance Nation Weekly Update newsletter in March, 2014.  Sign up for the newsletter using the form below to receive your free copy of the eBook. 

6:59am — music blasting, kayakers herding swimmers, and nearly 2500 Ironman® athletes treading water or standing on the beach of the Ironman® swim start, waiting pensively to start a very, very big and long day.

7:00am — BOOM! And so begins perhaps the most unique spectacle in all of endurance sports — the Ironman® swim start. Nearly 2500 bodies and 5000 arms and legs churning the water to start a 140.6 mile day.

Below are our tips for getting your mind right about how to train for the Ironman® swim, as well as some additional resources to help you on your journey towards T1 in your first Ironman!

Ironman® 140.6 Swim StageSwimming is 70% Technique

So you’re a lean, mean, Ironman-to-be, banging out your laps in lane 3…when an 11 year old girl in lane 2 absolutely smokes you, followed shortly by the 67 year old dude in lane 4. WTH his going on!

The swim is 70% technique and therefore fundamentally different than the bike and run. In fact, we recommend you adopt the mindset that you’re learning to play a musical instrument first, and then developing the fitness to apply your best piano playing technique for the duration of your Ironman® swim.

Leverage Local Technique Resources

For this reason, your best use of that local master coach, until you’re about 12 weeks out from your race, is as a local technique resource first, workout prescriber guy second. That is, rather than simply using the masters workout as an opportunity to turn your head off and play wall tag, book that coach for some quality, one-on-one swim instruction, preferably with underwater video assessment. And exit those technique sessions with a prescription of drills and tips you can implement to improve your form.

If you’re ready to take advantage of the Endurance Nation First Time Finish™ Guarantee, Apply Now for membership to Team Endurance Nation.



Coach P

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