COACH FORUM: Questions about Return to Swim
Team, We know know many athletes are preparing to resume their swim training in the coming weeks. We have released the Return to Swim plan but want to clear any questions around getting back in the water to ensure success. Cheers, The Purple Patch Team
The return to swim program was included in the Sunday special as a linked article which contains a PDF with all the sessions. Found here: https://education.purplepatchfitness.com/hc/en-us/articles/360049137454
It is also available to drag and drop in TP. The important thing to remember there is you need to let the baseline plan load for the week and then drop the return to swim week on top of that.
Now that the weather and water is starting to warm up, I might start having more/easier access to OWS options. Still no access to a pool for the foreseeable future, though. Are there any recommendations around how to execute the intent of the swim sessions in open water? I still want to advance my fitness as closely as possible to the coaches intent (day-by-day, week-by-week, etc), but trying to remember and execute all of the intervals, pacing, rest, etc in the middle of a lake could be tough! For example, when I jump in the lake, how would I modify and do warmup that is written as:
Great question as I think there are quite a few people in a similar situation. While you certainly will be able to adapt much of the swims to open water, you certainly won't be able to copy them exactly. Longer intervals are a bit easier to do by glancing at your watch to see distance, the shorter 25 and 50 yard intervals are more difficult. For anything over 100 yards you can look at your watch to see distance and don't worry about being spot on. For anything under a 100 I would simply count strokes. If the set calls for a 300 smooth and 4 x 25 fast, I would use your watch to see the distance for the 300 and then do 4 x 20 strokes fast. It can be difficult to remember an entire session while your out in the lake, for that I would suggest simplifying the warm up and pre and focus on the main set. A 500 yard warm up or just 10 minutes of easy swimming, some drills and short builds for the pre and then hopefully you can remember the main. I wouldn't worry about toys in open water, particularly the snorkel. Paddles and pull buoy/ eney buoy could be integrated if you have the right set up. If you're using a wetsuit the buoy may be a bit overkill. To modify the warm up example you gave, as I believe in that session there is no pre set, I would do 500 easy swimming, 300 mixing in some closed fist drill or one arm swimming, 2-3 x 50 strokes building the effort from smooth to hard.
Hope that helps!
There aren't new band sessions at this time but you can certainly progress the sessions that you've been doing. With that, I wouldn't add length to the intervals (as in the number of pulls you are doing straight at one time) but rather add to the number of intervals or increase the number of sets that you're doing. As we're getting back in the water, I would also recommend using the bands as a way to work on form. It's much easier to practice a proper catch and pull when you're on dry land can really focus on what you're doing by watching yourself or using a mirror. For instance, you can practice just the catch portion of the stroke, demonstrated nicely by Matt Dixon himself here: https://youtu.be/JqiBlJyv3DA or you can practice a nice straight pull and finish, making sure you are pulling all the way through your stroke, past the hip. The bands are great for continuing to work on your swim specific strength as wall as proper form
Would you recommend any specific frequency for ongoing band work? I was surprised how much they helped. I got back into the pool last week and while my resilience in the water was lacking, my swim-specific strength was unchanged. The bands are portable and time-efficient. I can see using them in situations when I can't swim - travel, a missed swim session, etc. For now, I can swim 3 times a week, an hour each session. So not sure how much to add the swim bands on top of it.
HI! A few questions for ya:
- Eney bouy half filled - which direction is the "filled" side?
- Ramping back up the swim in the pool and noticing two things right away: 1. Legs want to sink (core gets tired engaging), and 2. feel like I'm losing water at the beginning of the catch. I have been doing swim band workouts, so what are some body cues and drills that I can think about and use to work on these while swimming?
- I'm a visual person so wondered - can you point us to videos online that show ideal form and also break it down into slow-mo to really see it in detail?
- I've been getting cramps in my calf on some swims lately. Other than general dehydration any thoughts on cause? And what are recommended pre and post swim stretches to do for that?
There are a couple of different ways you could approach this. One is to try and integrate the swim bands into your swim sessions, particularly as you're just getting back into the pool and you may not be ready to swim for the full hour quite yet. 10 - 15 minutes of band work before you get in the pool could help you practice proper form and get you warmed up. Depending on your time available, you could also add some band work to your strength sessions. Best case scenario is you are able to use the bands integrated with one or two swim sessions per week and also able to keep doing at least one stand alone swim band session per week. And as you said, the bands are great to have handy for travel or for those days your pool may be closed or all booked up
Great questions! I'll try and answer point by point
- Eney buoy half filled, the half filled side is on the bottom. Having the top empty gives you enough buoyancy to bring the hips up but the bottom chamber being filled creates an element of drag which forces awareness around keeping the hips up
- That sinking feeling, oh yes, that's part of the ''feel" we talk about when getting back into the water and it has a lot to do with rotation. We've been strengthen our core on the dry land but know we need to remember how to use that core strength when swimming, not just in staying taut but also in helping the body stay balanced and rotate. The bands are great at replicating swim strength in the shoulders, arms, and back but the force us to do the exercise in a not ideal swim position. We try and stay flat with a stable upper body. When swimming it's the opposite, the only time we are somewhat flat is a brief period when we are rotating from one side to the other, and even then you should not be perfectly flat in the water. Things to remember, push the shoulder forward when entering the water, this help with shoulder rotation. Also be sure you are finishing your stroke all the way through and getting that hip rotation. Think of it like as your hand pushes past your hip, your hip is rotating up and out of the way so your hand can get by. A great way to focus on the things I mentioned above is to do Purple Patch Drill https://youtu.be/de7WqPPP-Ho
- There aree a lot of videos out there if you search things like Early Vertical Forearm. This is a great one of Katie Ledeckey https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kDvwIukP-pY and the first part of this video helps demonstrate it as well https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kDvwIukP-pY
Hi John. I sort of did my own return to swim as our pools opened very early here. I'm up to and happy with time starved straight off the plan. Been sustaining 3/week of those in with everything else (including back at work) for about 3 weeks now. The full sessions still look a bit much but I'm finishing some of the time starved versions with plenty in the tank and a bit wanting more. How would you increase the sets without fully doubling them? I keep wanting to double just the warmup / bridge lol. Partly so I don't blow a gasket but also I'm at beginner level probably and off-season so wonder if the tech work has more value than speed anyway? My usual sets prior to PP would be mostly around 1.5hrs. PPF time starved taking me 50 -60mins but I think 2 hr sessions will tip fatigue over the edge. Been loving ur on demand bands. Thanks. Trix
Oops, also meant to ask.. I don't have paddles. Actually I'm reluctant as I've a very colourful shoulder/neck injury history! Plus I sometimes feel I can get hold of more water than I can move anyway. When it calls for paddles I've been swapping in fins and focussing on hand/elbow position/pull path and core, alignment/rotation etc. Your thoughts on swapping in fins? Thanks Trix.
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