LEG LUBE: Smart strategies are things that are important but don’t have any real place in the first three categories to improve your 1.5K swim (smooth, strong and sustainable). These smart strategies, however, will help you think about swimming and how to better plan your race. A good swimmer is constantly evaluating, tweaking, and planning.
Tip #1: The Warm-Up
Thou shalt warm up before the race. Try to time your trip to the port-a-potty early enough to allow yourself ten minutes of splashing around in the water before the race starts. Yes, a 1.5K swim is long enough for a warm-up to happen while you’re going, but you don’t want to do that. Your muscles will thank you for getting blood flowing through them before the mad dash of a mass triathlon start.
Tip #2: Your Kick
You don’t need to kick that much. What are you going to do as soon as you hit the shore? You are going to start cranking on your legs. The water is the only time you get to use your arms, so use them.
Tip #3: Self-Seeding
Most triathlons do some type of seeding, even if it’s just separating the men and the women. Big races might divide you up by age groups. Within your own starting group, it’s important to find a good place to start. Be it a beach or water start, should you be near the front, mid-pack or in the back? That depends on your skills and your goals.
Tip #4: Drafting
Drafting on the bike is illegal in most triathlons. In the water, however, it’s impossible to enforce. Hundreds of bodies all swimming the same direction at the same time equals plenty of chances to slip in on someone’s feet and go for a ride.
Tip #5: Sighting
Open-water swimming sometimes means getting lost. There might be a point where you pop your head up, look around, and wonder how you got halfway to Hawaii. A good drill to do during workouts, every once in a while, is heads-up swimming. Ocean lifeguards use this technique a lot. You swim normally, but every ten or twelve strokes pop your head up just a little during your breath and try to look at the same spot on the wall. In a triathlon swim you’re looking for a giant orange or yellow shape. You don’t have to have a clear view, just a fuzzy idea of where you should be going.
Tip #6: Positive Self-Talk
Don’t get down on yourself during the swim. If you are not a strong swimmer, it’s too easy to notice how many people are ahead of you and how many more have passed you and how much further there is still to go. If you become mired in those thoughts, the swim will become an adventure in pain and self-pity. Once you begin to go down that road, off ramps are few and far between. That mindset can follow you right out of the water and it’ll hop onto your bike with you. Stay positive.
Read the whole article by Doug Robertson at: http://bit.ly/18BTnaO