Swim faster without spending more time in the water
Discover the 4 most common swim killers and how to fix them so that you can shave minutes off your swim time.
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BRAD BROWN: Welcome back onto yet another edition of The Kona Edge, I’m Brad Brown and it’s awesome to have you with us and today we’re chatting swimming and we head back to Singapore for returning guest Roger Hastie.
Roger, welcome, thanks for joining us today. It’s good to have you on and thanks for your time.
ROGER HASTIE: Yeah, good day Brad, good to be back.
BRAD BROWN: Roger, you mentioned in our first chat, when you were playing golf you started swimming as part of your training and just overall fitness regime. Would you say swim is one of your favorites of the three disciplines? You also said you don’t have a particular weakness out of the three, which would you say if your strongest, if you had to pick one?
ROGER HASTIE: That’s a tough one, you’ve got me there. I’d probably say the run, only because I’ve had a bit more of a background in running. The swim, I’ve developed over time, it’s taken some work to get there. Now, I feel confident and I’m towards the front of the age group, but certainly not at the front, so it’s a handy asset to have, but it’s certainly not a weapon.
BRAD BROWN: In your opinion, what’s the key to getting better in the water, long term? I’m glad you mentioned over time, because I think a lot of people try and get quick gains and swimming is one of those, that if you’re consistent, over time, you tend to improve?
The secret to improving in your Ironman swim
ROGER HASTIE: Yes, certainly, the descriptions are certainly consistency. I think to take that a little bit further, it’s awareness of what you’re doing in the water and that’s developed just with time in the water and just trying to be conscious of what it is that you’re doing in the water. And I think for me, the big one is, certainly consistency, but there’s turning up to do a swim session and there’s turning up to do a swim session and it’s really committing to the session you’re doing and getting that right balance of a typical athletes.
The threshold work you need to do, the speed work you need to do and that volume and body of work that’s required. So, for me, it’s definitely committing and turning up and giving it your best. Often there are people that can turn up and part way through a session or they leave early in a session and what-not. I really think you’ve got to allocate and dedicate your time. Swimming, until you get to a certain tipping point, it’s probably, the issue is discipline, just sort of side-step so just really committing to that schedule and that session.
BRAD BROWN: I find it interesting you talk about the awareness because that’s one thing too, that a lot of people swim and they think they’re pretty efficient in the water. But it’s only until you really start analyzing and figuring out and often it’s small little things that can make big differences.
What are some of the awareness things that you’ve done in your swim, where you’ve become more aware and sorted issues out, what would you suggest someone does?
Become aware of your technique in your Ironman swim
ROGER HASTIE: Well, certainly having someone stand on the side of the pool and video you, or in the pool with a GoPro and videoing you. It doesn’t have to be a professional, but just having an external person take footage of you and using that to see what it is you’re doing, that it is what it feels like. I think that’s part of it.
Obviously if you have the benefit of a swim squad or a coach on the pool deck, that’s obviously advantageous, but not everybody does have that luxury. I have had the occasional swim lesson which I found invaluable, including using one of those harmless tools. If one has access to one of those, I’d highly recommend using it, cause that really does reinforce exactly what it is you’re doing or not and then from there you can always tweak and adjust things to see if that actually has a positive, negative or neutral impact.
BRAD BROWN: As far as gains that you’ve made in the pool, can you put it down, is there one thing that you think has given you the biggest gains over your triathlon career in the water?
ROGER HASTIE: I think it’s back to having a plan with your swimming. That can be a training plan off the shelf, it can be part of a training club and that plans got to have periodization in it and it’s got to have a specific purpose to it.
Just turning up and swimming for the sake of swimming or just swimming, it’s not going to get you faster, so by having structure around what you’re doing and having access to others to support that, I think has been the big thing.
That’s not always available, certainly for myself, I swim in a squad once every two weeks, but I do a lot of my swimming myself, hence the necessity of the fallback to the plan and that’s just a structure that I’m prepared to back and if it’s not working, we can always refine it. If it is working, you certainly keep going with it. That’s the sort of structure, for me, is really important.
BRAD BROWN: Roger, as far as workouts go, what do you love doing in the pool, what really fires you up?
ROGER HASTIE: I am partial to the open water swim, but there’s not a lot of alternates around here, funny enough, so yeah, there is a beach that is available and that’s about 450m, so that’s always good, and fun to do. It’s not that accessible, I enjoy a good ladder, a multi paced ladder, or the typical 40 x 1’s or 20 x 2’s, I love the repetition, getting into a comfortably solid rhythm and just keep on going at a sustainable pace, I sort of love those sessions.
BRAD BROWN: Brilliant, Roger, thank you so much for your time once again, here on The Kona Edge, much appreciated, we look forward to catching up again soon.
ROGER HASTIE: Good Brad, thanks.
Brad Brown is a 40 something age grouper that dreams of one day qualifying for and racing on the big island (He may have to outlive everyone in his age group though).
Morbidly obese in 2009, Brad clocked in at 165kgs (363lbs) at his heaviest.
He's subsequently lost a third of his body weight on the way to a half Ironman pb of 5:06 and a full Ironman pb of 12:21.
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