Wednesday, April 8, 2009

How to get the most out of your swim workouts

Most of us are not Michael Phelps which means we do not have access to some of the greatest coaches, pools, and instruction to help improve our swim speed, efficiency, or simply our ability to get from one side of the pool to the other without drowning.

If you are like the rest of us mortals, then I have a few ideas to share with you that might just turn your efforts in the pool (or open water) in to the aquatic masterpiece you've been looking for. The key is to start looking at the way you swim rather than how hard your swimming. Volumes of information have been written on this subject so I've summarized a couple of topics that are prevalent in what I've read. Just know that everyone started swimming slowly and grew into what the are now, even Michael Phelps.

  1. Find a coach
  2. Search online for swim workouts that fit your fitness level
  3. Hit up the local bookstore for books on swimming
  4. Use the internet to find tools like swim logs, pace calculators, etc...


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Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Treadmill Training in 20 Minutes

Is it really possible to get a great workout in just 20 minutes? The answer to that is yes. I've spent 20 minutes swimming and have ended up with an excellent full body workout. But how about 20 minutes on a treadmill? Do you really get much out of running for 20 minutes? Probably not. But if you're like me and your gym puts a 20 minute maximum on the exercises equipment during peak hours, then you've got to get creative and that's where 20 minutes on the treadmill can be GREAT!

The trick to getting the most out of your 20 minutes is to spend at least 15 minutes doing some other type of cardio to get your heart rate beating at a good fat burning pace. You can get on the stationary bike, or the row machine, just make sure you're heart rate is pumping a good bit fast than at it's resting state.

After you've had a good warm up, transition to the treadmill and crank up your pace to your normal distance running pace. This could be at 7mph or even 8mph. Just make sure it is a comfortable pace you can keep up for 20 minutes.

For your cool down, stop the treadmill after 20 minutes and walk while you are cleaning the pool of sweat off the machine. Then after you've cleaned up, walk around the gym and stretch as needed.

20 minutes on the treadmill is not the best workout of your life, but you can make it count by adding a 15 minute warm up on one of the cardio machines that are open. If you've got time, and a suit, try your 15 minute warm-up in the pool!

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Sunday, April 5, 2009

How to Turn a Training Plan into a Training Habit

Let's face it, we are all busy. Busy raising a family. Busy trying to find a job. Busy trying to keep a job. With all the distractions it is not to shocking to hear that people are unable to keep up with a consistent training plan. I am certainly one of those people. I end up making a new training plan every month because I find by the end of the previous month I just haven't been able to keep up.

Well, over the past few weeks I've come up with a new focus. Based on some of the things that I have been going through, I think it is important to set goals, but not to set them too high. This probably isn't the first time you've heard this, but I am guilty of setting a huge goal that I end up missing and then my entire plan falls apart. It is okay to set a goal a bit lower than what you know you can hit. Just hit that first goal and then reset to your new goal once you've completed it!

Now, in order to make your training plan into a training habit you need to keep the goals within reach. These can be daily or weekly goals. If you set your goals to far out in the future it is easy to get off track. Instead, if you have a goal race that is 3 months away, set a series of 12 goals to hit along the way. This way, the actual training plan will turn into something that you keep up with daily and weekly and by the time you reach your training goal, you just might have created a training habit!


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Morning Run

Got out this morning, again, for a morning run through the hills. They are not as daunting as they were when we first moved to the hill cou...