The following "Tip of the Month" columns were written by Dr. Paul Hutinger and published in the Maverick Lane Lines newsletter. Our first edition of "Tip of the Month" was in 1997.
Kicking provides a special segment of your total training program. Many swimmers believe they accomplish this by doing a set of easy kicking. In one program, the coach sets kick intervals impossible for most swimmers. They resort to fins, zoomers or force fins in order to kick easy thru the sets or, do continuous kicking. Two examples from my training as a 60 year old: I swam a 100 yard IM in 1:06.3. My kick sets (no fins) included 5 x 100 IM @ 2:15 with avg. times of 1:35. I also swam 28.6 for the 50 yard fly. Kick sets included 4-8 x 50 @ 1:15 with avg. times of :42 and 4-8 x 25 on :45 with times of :20. Both times remained National records for ten years. Speed kicking on the clock is important for sprint performance. Do some cool down kicking and leg stretching to keep your legs in shape. I recommend a strength program of 10-20 repeats on flexion and extension exercises and bike riding at high rpm and higher speeds (20 mph). Use the kick challenge for motivation to check your own progress, and send me your times for recognition.
If you have a warmup that has been successful for you in the past, use
it. If you normally swim about 2000 yards in your training, you should swim
about 500 yards for your warmup. Concentrate on technique, be relaxed and
loosen up. Pace 50's will help on your distance events.
There are three energy systems that need to be trained as represented by various heart rate levels. A standard formula is your age subtracted from 220 HR. A 60 year old would have approximately a 160 HR max. Your maximum heart rate declines as you get older. The five levels of HR training (for a 60 year old) are represented by the following:
Check your pulse at the wrist or on the carotid artery at the neck (pressing lightly). Count beats for six seconds and add a zero for beat/minute. Do a set of pace 4 x 50, checking your time and HR for each swim. Take longer and shorter rest intervals to understand how your HR responds to different repeat swims. The longer the rest, the faster you can swim repeats. Set a goal time for a 200 m swim, such as 4:00 Pace your 50's @ 1:00 and do sets with various rest intervals. Do 4 x 50 @ 2:00 and hold your 1:00 pace. Do this on 1:15 intervals and try to hold your pace. Check your HR at end of the 4 x 50 set.
Set personal goals this fall for next year. Use your past year as a critique
of your training and performance. This is an excellent time to build an
aerobic base, leading into the hour swim in January. Swim short rest repeats,
such as 10 x 100 with 10 sec. rest; 5 x 200 with 20 sec. rest; or 3 x 400
with 30 sec. rest. Each week, do a long swim, starting with 1000 yds. and
building to 2000 yds., with emphasis on pace. Refer to the article, Training
for the Hour Swim, in Vol. #1;
Use fins to improve your technique, streamline, flexibility, and to take stress off your shoulders. Fins help you perform drills, properly. In practicing the wave breast stroke, they supply the thrust needed to learn the rhythm. The faster you swim with fins, the more you become aware of the lack of streamlining. They amplify the errors you make, such as elbows bent on your pushoffs. Swimming starts with the kick. Initiate each hip roll on free and back stroke with the kick. You will build strength, agility and flexibility in your legs, necessary to get more propulsion from your kick. Basic swim fins or Zoomers (short fins) also add variety and fun to your training sessions. Do not use Force Fins, as the force is only generated in one direction. The other fins give propulsion in both up and down movements, which gives a balance to both sets of muscles. Some swimmers do 50% of their training with fins, and are successful.
Workouts getting boring? Looking for new ideas? Needing suggestions on training for meets, tapering, open water swimming or stroke improvement? Tell me how many yards you swim, how often, your 50 yd. times on each stroke and daily workout yardage per week. -Coach Paul Hutinger