I’ve gotten a lot of emails and comments from Newbies like this great comment from Heather:
“Longtime lurker, first time poster, tri newbie. As someone who's just starting out and did a couple of sprint tri's this summer, the swim is currently my nemesis in terms of etiquette. I can't swim the full half-mile distance freestyle yet without switching to backstroke occasionally for brief recovery times. To this end, I try to start off to the side and stay the heck out of everyone else's way, but in both my open water swims I kept getting swum over/under/through by other newbies as well as running into people during my backstroke sections. I want to be nice to people and not choose a swim spot above my skill levels, but I also want to finish the race without getting clocked in the face repeatedly. I promise to work on my swim over the winter so I will be able to face forward all the time by next season, but I'd sure appreciate any advice you have for newbie swimmers who want to do the right thing and still finish.”
So here’s the Everyman challenge I’ll throw out to anybody who wants to get over the hump of feeling uncomfortable in the water.
Everyman Triathlon Newbie Swim Challenge
Swim three times a week (at least 1000 to 1500 yards) for a month. (That's about an hour or so in the water three times a week...depending on how fast you swim). The most important part of this challenge is to not miss a swim. (Three times a week…you pick the days).
In classic fashion most of us will train our strength and forget about our weakness…especially if that weakness is swimming.
As I’m sure you know by now every workout should have a specific goal. So just going and swimming by yourself for an hour three times a week is a) very boring and b) not all that productive.
I would highly recommend that you find a good masters class to attend at your local swimming hole. But if you can’t find a class, or they don’t work with your schedule here are two good resources that you can use to make that swim a bit more productive.
Click HERE for 50 mostly easy and moderate workouts that you can cut in half for your 1000-yard swim.
Click HERE for a great description of some of the best swim drills by my friend Mat at About.com.
I would highly recommend that you try some of these drills in your three weekly swims as a warm up. There is no reason to reinvent the wheel.
As Mat would say, Good Luck and “Swim On”