Ask Coach Sara: Is It Important To Train With Fins?

Your Twitter questions about swimming as a triathlete, answered by coach Sara McLarty.

Heading out the door? Read this article on the new Outside+ app available now on iOS devices for members! Download the app.

Your Twitter questions about swimming as a triathlete, answered by coach Sara McLarty.

Q: Is it important to train with swim fins? –@miniG_Tri

A: Training with fins is a great way to build strength and improve kicking technique. I recommend full-length, flexible, rubber fins. These fins help your legs move in the correct motion without putting too much strain on your shins and ankles. Use fins when working on technique and drills so that you can move through the water with little effort to stay focused on the details.

RELATED: Thre Drills Built For Fins

Q: I am just starting out and have my first tri in 5 weeks. Will I get better if I just keep swimming? –@Tbone08Tim

A: Yes! Swimming is a skill that requires practice and time in the water for improvement. Here are my three top tips for beginner swimmers: (1) Swim often, 3–5 times per week, for 30–45 minutes each time. (2) Have a swim set or workout with a purpose, don’t just swim laps aimlessly. (3) Work with a coach once or twice, in person, so you develop correct stroke habits.

RELATED: Become A Better Swimmer With Limited Training

Q: Is it better to do your C workout without intervals or bump up to the distance in a B workout? –@Scheck48

A: My C workouts (as seen every Friday on have “rest intervals” so people of all abilities can swim the workout at their own pace. If you are looking to increase your total yardage but cannot make the B intervals, use the B workout distances with C workout rest intervals. You can also double the distance of the C main set.

More “Ask Coach Sara” articles.

Pro triathlete and swim coach Sara McLarty has 25-plus years of experience and knowledge about swimming mechanics, efficiency and technique. Got a swimming question? Coach Sara wants to help. Just tweet your queries to @SaraLMcLarty.

Jan Frodeno Reflects on His Final Ironman World Championship

Immediately after finishing 24th place at his final Ironman World Championships, the Olympic medalist (and three-time IMWC winner) explains what his race in Nice meant to him.