Ask Coach Sara: Building Swim Stamina And More

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

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

Q: I want to start swimming. Should I build my stamina on my own or join a program first?–@SydneyWard24

Work with a knowledgeable swim coach early and often in your swim development. Build correct muscle memory and stroke technique from the start. Fixing mistakes is the hardest part of swimming fast later in your career.

Q: I’m at a plateau. What is going to help me break the 1:20 [per 100] barrier?

It’s time to add speedwork two times per week to learn how to swim at a faster pace. If your goal is 1:16 per 100, try 10×50 on a :50 interval holding goal pace of :38. Eventually, this speed will carry over into your longer swims.

Q: What is proper breathing technique?

Don’t hold your breath while swimming. Exhale slowly and continuously through your nose while your face is in the water. Try humming if you find this difficult. Then inhale quickly through your mouth while your face is above the water.

Q: I am a poor swimmer training for long distance. Volume or intensity first?

Technique comes first! You can get the most benefit from improving your efficiency. As your stroke improves, slowly increase total weekly volume but include 1–2 sets per week that are at a higher intensity.

Got a swimming question? Coach Sara wants to help. Just tweet your queries to @SaraLMcLarty.

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