Winter Swim Training Tips

The open water season is now well and truly over, but the off-season is a great time for making use of the pool. I’m using the winter months to become a stronger swimmer, and so I’ve upped my coached swimming sessions to twice a week to prepare for my first Olympic distance triathlons next year. 

Training with an experienced swim coach with a triathlon focus, has helped me to see quick improvements in technique and stamina. We work on endurance and pacing, as well as improving stroke efficiency with drills.

Here are my tips to keep motivated with swim training over the winter period:

1. Have a set schedule
Set aside time every week to go to the pool and make it a permanent fixture in your diary. Having a plan helps you to prioritise and structure your training- I know that my swim sessions are Tuesday evenings and Saturday mornings, I slot these into my weekly training schedule and make them a commitment. 

2. Join a club
Joining a swimming or triathlon club can be a great way to motivate yourself over the winter months, as they provide you with mentoring, coaching and support. Club sessions are structured and targeted with the aim of improving technique and stamina.
Most clubs have a social scene away from the pool (I know mine does!) with nights-out and events, which are a great chance to meet like-minded people.

3. Try a new technique or training aids
Pull-buoys, kick boards, fins and paddles are all fantastic for building strength, adding resistance and isolating your upper/lower body. Training aids are relatively inexpensive and can add a new dimension to your swimming. Eureka Cycles have a selection including this pull buoy and these fins.

4. Set a goal
Setting a goal can give you a sense of direction and purpose, plus a reason to keep returning to the pool. Whether your aim is to learn butterfly stroke, or swim a personal best time in a triathlon, it helps to keep the goal in mind and take small-steps towards achieving it. Review and re-evaluate your goals regularly to monitor progress.
I’m currently working on my bilateral breathing- it’s not easy when I’m used to two-stroke breathing! Here is one of the swim sessions I’ve done recently which focuses on breathing technique, and speed work: 

5. Reward yourself
Treat yourself to some new kit- now is a great time of year to stock up on swim essentials in the off-season sales. Eureka Cycle Sports have some great savings on wetsuits and swimsuits. I love the turquoise panels on this Blueseventy reaction wetsuit. Some new goggles are also on my shopping list for pool training, as mine tend to fog and mist up- I’ve heard that Aqua Sphere are a great brand for a water-tight fit.

6. Stay hydrated
It’s surprising how much you actually sweat whilst swimming without realising- it’s not as obvious when you are already drenched! I’m aiming to drink 1 litre of water with electrolyte tablets during a 1 hour swim session. I suffer with terrible calf cramps during my swim sessions- apparently caused by electrolyte levels. These saltstick capsules were recommended by my coach to replace sodium, potassium, calcium and magnesium lost through sweat. 

Eureka Cycle Sports contacted me for a collaboration post- all opinions are my own.

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