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Old 09-10-2015
s.sciame s.sciame is offline
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s.sciame
Default Tune up and warm up

One of the Favorite Practices and Sets which I think can make all the difference: a good warm up or, as TI calls it, tune up.

Tune up, as far as I understand, is something more than a warm up in that you not only raise your metabolism, but also tune your stroke to perform at its best (eg you tune your best stroke length/stroke rate combo).

How much does a good tune up impact on your swim? Today I tried to measure it: I just replaced my usual tune up (about 700 to 900m including easy fs, some drills and some fast lengths to get ready for an high intensity swim) with just swimming at moderate pace in the first 400m and then trying to go to a quite challenging pace. The result was that I was consistently 5 to 8s per 100m slower than usual, no way to fill that gap anymore, having skipped the tune up at the beginning.

Now my question to those who participate in open water races: since it is not always easy to do a proper warmup/tuneup before an open water race, how do you deal with this problem? Sometimes you get to do an early swim but then you cool down again before the race actually starts. I read that a dryland warmup should be enough to raise your metabolism, but you don't tune your stroke in dryland...


Salvo
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Old 09-10-2015
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CoachStuartMcDougal CoachStuartMcDougal is offline
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Hi Salvo,

Good questions.

When doing tris or open water races, often they will let you in the water for a short swim. If this is the case, I go through my top 3 focal points that I will rotate throughout the race as a 'tune-up', as well as get the blood moving and calming nerves.

If there's no opportunity for short swim before race (i.e. race start is jumping from a boat), warm up in place to bring up core temp. Also, use swing rehearsals, tucking belly button, and rehearse a dryland version of the focal points (i.e. reach/lead with elbow, hip drive, neutral head, etc)

Stuart
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Old 09-11-2015
s.sciame s.sciame is offline
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Thanks Stuart.

Interesting to read about tucking the belly button: I know it's a good habit, but isn't it in contrast with belly breathing, which is another good habit too?

Salvo
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Old 09-12-2015
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Hey Salvo,

Belly breathing may work for some, but sometimes comes with belly sag and an arched back. One can easily fill lungs, gently tucking the belly button toward the spine without a belly breath.

One other in water warm up I forgot to note is changing gears. I usually run through three gears, easy loping tempo, moderate, and race tempo - swim through short version gear change as if you were swimming to the first buoy, and ability to pick a tempo timed with heavy chop if conditions are lumpy.

Stuart
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Old 09-12-2015
CoachEricDeSanto CoachEricDeSanto is offline
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Another Belly Breathing alternative, I teach box breathing. I believe it is a yoga technique. that is where I learned it. But you can intentionally direct your breath into the belly, the kidneys, the chest, the shoulder blades, and every combination of those. While swimming I am for kidney breathing to get the space for breath and this naturally flattens the low back with very little effort for better posture.

Side note, I teach my triathletes to breathe into the shoulder blades because that is the only space you have in aero position on a bike.
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Old 11-30-2015
s.sciame s.sciame is offline
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Quick update: since the first post of this thread it seems that I currently don't need that perfect warmup/tuneup anymore.
I recently noticed a fast guy who swims early in the morning just like me. He just jumps in the water and starts swimming quite fast with a good rhythm, attacking the water as if he was already warmed up. I like to be able to do the same but I also don't want to get injured, so I introduced the good habit to do a brief dryland warmup (5 minutes or less) before getting in the water. I do some basic stuff like arm rotations, thoracic and pelvis rotations, dynamic stretching etc. Just try to get the whole body loosen and awake.
Then I jump in the water and start swimming with purpose. I only check balance in the first pushoff (I make it a bit longer with a flutter kick to feel the core well engaged) and that's enough: I don't look for a perfect stroke or fine tunings. The result is that the stroke takes care of itself and I'm straight into good rhythm and good DPS, so my times also are quite close to my 1500m pace, without trying.
I still do long warmups (1km) before entering the main set, anyway I like to be able to hold a good (almost race) pace from the beginning: it gives me confidence in case of open water races where you don't get to warmup in the water, or just for any open water swims (maybe in rather cold water) where you just want to dive and go for a long swim without spending much time in tuning/drilling etc.

Salvo
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Old 12-01-2015
terry terry is offline
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Salvo
I don't think you necessarily need a long tuneup. In my case I can't do too much because I generally start getting calf and foot cramps after 100 pushoffs, or 2500y. I've found that the more consistent the quality of my tuneup, the quicker I'm ready for something a bit challenging.

A note on that single pushoff Balance focus you mentioned. You can make every pushoff a balance and stability exercise by kicking as little and as late as possible in the pushoff. I keep my legs streamlined until just before I break the surface. Then I do a really brief flutter--maybe 3 kicks--to send me through the surface with a bit more momentum.
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