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Tip of the Month - 1998

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.

1. Kick, kick, kick!

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.

P. Hutinger--100 choice-1:35; 200 choice-3:30
M. Hutinger--100 choice-2:44; 200 choice-5:40; 100 IM-3:00

2. Warm Up for Meets

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.
Include 50's and 25's of each stroke, gradually building up to race pace. Get acquainted with the starting blocks by doing several starts for each of the strokes you are swimming. Sprint as you plan to do in your race, because your body needs to get used to swimming fast. Do turns for your events, and if the meet is outdoors, note how the wind is blowing the backstroke flags. Observe how that changes the number of strokes you need from the flags to the wall at each end of the pool. It's a good idea to practice the warmup you will be doing at the meet in your training sessions, especially the week before the meet. Preparation for the meet also includes eating whatever foods work well for you. Do this before workouts, so your body doesn't have to adjust to new foods. Get to the meet on time and you won't be rushed. Check the heat sheet to know your events and lane assignments. Do a short warm up and stretch your muscles for each event. Cool down after each event to reduce the buildup of lactic acid in your muscles. Mentally prepare for each event. Think about the event and visually go through your race-- step up on the block, go through each stroke, turn and the touch out at the finish. Program your meet so you will be on
automatic and you will make fewer mistakes, be more relaxed and enjoy the thrill of the competition, whether it's your first meet or umpteenth.

3. Training with Heart Rate

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:

A1---115-129--aerobic low
A2---130-139--aerobic high
AT---140-149--anaerobic threshold
V02--150-159--above threshold
LT---160+-----lactic acid tolerance

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.

4. Goal Setting

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;
Issue #5. Set a goal of improving one of your strokes, such as breaststroke. Use a systematic approach. Refer to articles about the stroke techniques and work on distance per stroke for efficiency. Utilize special strength and flexibility exercises. Use any special training techniques that you can read about. Find another swimmer, such as an age grouper or life guard, skilled in that stroke to help you. Viewing a video of breaststroke will give you visual clues to improve your
technique. Swim that stroke for several months, in meets, to improve your performance.

5. Finning

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

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