If you are like most triathletes, swimming is a challenge right now, and by “challenge” we mean completely unavailable. Unless you are fortunate enough to have access to a private pool or a Vasa Ergometer, maintaining swim form is tough. Fortunately, there are some options to come out of this situation mitigating the damage to, and possibly even improving, your swim fitness.
Option 1: Replace your swim training with Cycling, Running, Strength Training, or Rowing
1. Replace approximately 50% of your swim volume with at-home strength and flexibility training or rowing. While there is very little evidence that strength training or rowing will help on the swim, lower body strength training will help you on the bike and run. Flexibility, on the other hand, will directly improve swimming.
2. Replace approximately 30% of your swim with volume with cycling.
3. Replace approximately 20% of your swim volume with running.
For example, a week with 3 hours scheduled swim might look like this to replace 2 of those 3 hours (the other hour still dedicated to dryland training in Option 2 below):
– 2×30 minutes strength and flexibility
– 35 minutes additional cycling (of which 7 minutes are at Zone 3 or higher)
– 25 minutes additional running (of which 5 minutes are at Zone 3 or higher)
Option 2: Replace your swim training with Dryland Training
Use this workout as an alternative to regular swimming. It can be used in combination with Option 1, where some swim workouts are replaced with cycling and running and the balance replaced with swim-specific dryland training. The only required equipment is a resistance cord such as the FINIS Dryland Cord. The workout consists of four exercises arranged in a circuit format. Complete each exercise once, rest for 30 seconds, and then repeat the entire circuit a total of 4 to 12 times (10-30 minutes).
To replace the swim workouts in your 80/20 plan, consider performing this workout 4-6 times a week, which would supplement 40-180 minutes of swimming. For example, if your 80/20 plan called for a total of 2.5 hours of swimming in a given week, performing this workout for 30 minutes a day for 5 days would meet that requirement.
Bent-Over Two-Arm Pull with Resistance Cord
Attach the middle of the resistance cord to a pole or other secure support at roughly waist height. Stand with your feet slightly more than shoulder-width apart with a slight bend in the knees. Hinge forward at the hips (not the waist) until your torso is at roughly a 45-degree angle to the ground and extend both arms directly overhead in line with your torso, one hand on each handle of the resistance cord. There should be light tension in the cord to begin. Contract your back muscles and draw both handles down to your hips, keeping your elbows high just as you would when executing a normal freestyle arm pull. Return to the start position. Continue pulling at a steady, unhurried rate for 30 seconds.
Prone Flutter Kick
Lie face down with your arms relaxed at your sides, palms on the floor. With a slight bend in the knees, contract your buttocks to lift your knees off the floor and begin to execute a tight flutter kick at a natural tempo. Continue for 30 seconds.
Bent-Over Alternating Single-Arm Pull with Resistance Cord
This exercise is identical to the Bent-Over Two-Arm Pull with Resistance Cord execute you pull with one arm at a time while keeping the other extended overhead. Continue alternating left-arm and right-arm pulls for 30 seconds.
Supine Flutter Kick
Lie face up on the floor with your legs fully extended and your arms relaxed at your sides. Tighten your stomach muscles, lift your heels off the floor, and begin to execute a tight flutter kick at a natural tempo. Continue to 30 seconds. To make the exercise more challenging, do it with your arms extended overhead, the backs of your palms two inches above the floor.