Ironman Swim Workout – Taking your Ironman swim to the next level
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.
BRAD BROWN: Welcome onto another edition of The Kona Edge. I’m Brad Brown. It’s good to have you with us today and we’re going to chat about an Ironman swim workout. It will be really interesting, chatting swimming with our next guest. He’s a returning guest, but he doesn’t come from a particularly great swimming background. He took it up fairly late in life. We head back to Norway now to catch up with Lars Petter Stormo. Lars Petter, welcome. Thanks for joining us today.
LARS PETTER: Thank you.
BRAD BROWN: I asked you what’s the one thing you would have changed in your triathlon career. You said you would have started swimming a lot younger. It’s something that you’ve worked really hard at, to get good in the water.
Don’t lose time on the bike because of your Ironman swim
LARS PETTER: Yes, especially in the last couple of years. I see that’s the way I can gain a lot of time and just be in the mix and delete from an earlier point of view. Earlier, I lost some time on the bike, and now on the Ironman swim. Then I have to use all of the Ironman bike leg to get back in the lead and that’s really hard.
So, if I can get bigger and better on the Ironman swim, I will be there from the start and I can take it a little bit easier on the bike. Especially the last couple of years I have worked really hard to get better on the swim part.
BRAD BROWN: What are some of the things you had to work on? What are the key aspects of your Ironman swim that you have tried to improve.
Once a week in the pool won’t improve your Ironman swim
LARS PETTER: When I started out, I was doing one Ironman swim workout a week and I thought that was enough. But of course, it’s not. Reached the ok level but then the progress stopped, and I was stuck on the same level for 3 or 4 years. Swimming once or twice a week and just staying at the same levels.
Now, the last couple of years, I do more than one Ironman swim workout per week. I’ve increased the workouts to 4 to 6 times a week, and that of course, helps a lot. So, I worked on more my Ironman swim.
And of course when I started to work harder on it, I was on this swim course to get some proper guidance from a trainer, to work on the correct stuff because you never feel yourself what you’re doing wrong. I had someone look at my Ironman swim who told me what I had to work on.
Now I just swim more. In my Ironman swim workout I worked on my line and of course on the catch. That has helped me a lot in the last year I think, getting a better catch. So, that’s the main thing.
BRAD BROWN: Is that what you’re working on right now? Is there something you’re specifically focusing on?
Ironman Swim Workout – Work on a good swim kick
LARS PETTER: Before I went to Ironman Kona last autumn, I knew it was a non-wetsuit swim. As a typical biker, I always gained from swimming in a wetsuit. I had to work a lot on my Ironman swim without the wetsuit. I worked on my line and I worked on my kicking, because my kick is very bad.
That helped me a lot at Ironman Kona because then I swam much better there than I had hoped I would do. And now, it is working on my catch. To get the catch combined with a good kick. I think I’m getting there and this winter I swam a lot and my level has got better.
BRAD BROWN: Fantastic. Looking at your favourite Ironman swim workout in the pool, what do you love doing?
LARS PETTER: It’s a couple of sets that I love to do. I like to do the long end drills together with a friend that’s pretty much on the same level. And now we can do any drills from 400 to 1000m and we switch halfway depending on who’s setting the pace.
Make your Ironman swim workout fun
I think that helps a lot because it’s like biking, you get a little bit of active rest when you’re behind, and then you can push just a little bit harder when you’re in the front. That’s a great set to do, 4 x 800m and do half 400m each. I think that’s a lot of fun.
The other set is just 100m. 4 x 5 x 100m with just 10 seconds’ rest. A great set to work on speed. It’s a lot of fun to do actually.
BRAD BROWN: You mentioned getting help and going on a course to work on your technique. That played a big part. It’s difficult to figure out what you’re doing on your own. Tell us a little bit about that process and how you went about it.
Invest in a coach – It’s hard to feel your Ironman swim mistakes
LARS PETTER: After being stuck on the same level for some years, that was the way to go and there was a beginner’s class. I knew the trainer who did the course. He was a good swimmer, so I went to that. Being pretty good there were issues with my line or with my catch, that I could work on.
He gave me some specifics that I should work on and that helped a lot. I think everyone should do a course just to get some new eyes on how you’re doing it. As you say it’s really hard to feel it yourself.
BRAD BROWN: Yes, and we all think we swim like Michael Phelps until we actually see the way we swim.
LARS PETTER: Yes, it’s funny. You feel like 100% until you see the video. It’s oh crap, a lot of work to come.
BRAD BROWN: You go, That’s not me.
LARS PETTER: I know.
BRAD BROWN: Lars Petter, thank you so much for your time here on The Kona Edge today. Much appreciated. I look forward to chatting about your bike next time out.
LARS PETTER: Thank you.
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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