Triathletes - What to do Without Access to a Pool
by Tom Manzi -
UltraFit.comLately, many of the athletes
I coach, who are in the midst training for a triathlon, must travel for
vacation or business to an area that has open-water swimming available, but no
pool access. Open water is a great place to do long endurance-type swims, but
there are also other skills to work on. Below is a list of some of the workouts
Ive suggested for my athletes:
- Sighting: During a long swim,
sight on a stationary object that is on land. If available, it is also good to
sight on a buoy that is out in the water.
Practice counting strokes. Count 10
right-hand entries, then sight on an object, and repeat this a few times. (If
you breathe only to one side, count the hand entries on your breathing
Next, sight on every fifth hand (sixth
for single-side breathers) entry. Repeat this a few times, then try for every
third (fourth for single-side breathers) hand entry.
- Fartlek: After an easy warm-up, do
5 to10 x 60 seconds hard with an easy two- to three-minute steady swim in
between each pick-up. Try to swim the hard part at sprint triathlon pace.
For those that use T-time, your average
100 pace for 1,000 yards or meters, complete the pick-ups at faster than T-time
pace. When doing these hard fartlek repeats, focus on good form and sighting by
- Beach starts and beach entry:
Practice getting into the water with a running start from a flat beach. If
there is surf, practice getting through the surf and swimming a straight line
for about two minutes away from beach.
Turn back to shore; swim in hard, as if
ending your swim in a triathlon. Swim until it is too shallow for you to use a
normal catch on your stroke, then get up and run out of the water.
Run with your feet going out to the
sides a bit to clear the waves. Repeat this two to three times.
- Run - swim - run - swim: A fun
workout on a flat sandy beach is to start out running aerobically for about
three minutes along the beach. Enter the water easy, try to drop your heart
rate a bit and then swim for three minutes. Repeat this sequence a few times.
You can carry your goggles along with
you; but I wouldnt recommend a wetsuit for this workout.
It is important to do any of the
open-water workouts or drills Ive mentioned at a guarded beach. Be sure
to be familiar with the depth, currents and condition of bottom. Its a
good idea, and more fun, to do these workouts with a partner.
Tom Manzi is a competitive age-group
triathlete and USA Triathlon certified Elite-level coach. His clients include
professional and amateur triathletes, duathletes, and runners. Tom may be
reached by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.