Planning For Next Season’s Training & Racing

This is a great time of the year to sit down and review how your 2021 season went and to start planning what you are going to do next season. It’s an ideal time to take a look at your technique in all the disciplines you race in, make any necessary changes and allow time for these changes to be embedded before you start racing. And, you should make sure all your little niggles and injuries are sorted before you start back into serious training.

First of all, considering the season you’ve just complete, think about what your goals are for the next season. Make sure you set goals that stretch you, but are achievable. Your goals should be one’s that you can control – e.g. don’t set a goal of winning the national championships – you can’t control who enters that race nor how well they race. Make sure you write your goals down – that makes them real!

Look at what went well last season and identify why – keep on doing those things! Examine what didn’t go so well – what can you do differently this year to improve on those things. These changes should start to form your training objectives for the coming season. Remember – you will race how you train, and if you keep training the same you will keep racing the same.

Prioritize the races you want to do next season. Your “A” Priority races are the ones where you really want to achieve your goals. These are the races that all your training is leading towards and are the races that you will aim to peak for. Ideally you should have 2 or possibly 3 “A” Priority races a season, this is due to the time it takes to recover from and then re-build fitness for an “A” race. Your “B” Priority races will be those that are important to you, that you want to do well in and that you may do a small taper for. You may aim for up to six “B” Priority races a year. Your “C” priority races will be used as training races, gaining experience etc. You wouldn’t typically look to peak (or taper) for these races, nor expect stunning performances.

Try to phase your training working back from your first “A” priority race. A typically annual training plan may look something like this – 12 weeks Base phase, 8 weeks Build, 2 weeks Peak, up to 3 weeks Race. Each phase can be split into 4 weekly cycles – 3 weeks hard training with the 4th week being a recovery week. The base phase is where intensity is (comparatively) low and volume increases to be highest during the last cycle. The Build phase increases intensity and becomes more specific to the planned races and the Peak phase is heavily focussed on final preparation for racing. The Race phase is totally focussed on race preparation and maintaining form if doing multiple “A” races. As a general rule, as you work through the training plan you build volume during the base period, then the volume of training decreases but intensity increases. As you progress your training it gets more and more specific to the race/s you are targeting, typically including brick and race pace specific sessions. 

Group sessions are great for motivation and camaraderie so plan your training to include club and/or group sessions. As you enter the more specific training phases make sure you are doing the training you need to do and not somebody else’s – don’t get sucked into a testosterone packed efforts if you are supposed to doing an easy session!

Don’t forget that training shouldn’t be 100% focussed on your specific sports – improving your core and general strength, flexibility and mobility are all important as is nutrition, hydration and mental wellbeing. Put some time aside to focus on these aspects as well when you pull your plan together.

Finally plan your training around what you enjoy – it makes things seem so much easier!

We are happy to help you where we can, by working with you to create a personal plan for your training and racing next season. Please feel free to contact us to discuss further.

Maintaining Swim Fitness – When You Can’t Go To The Pool

As the UK COVID-19 lockdown extends for a further 3 weeks how are you maintaining your swim fitness and technique?

To help maintain shoulder fitness and strength you can be doing push-ups, pull-ups and seated dips and you can use a stretch cord to perform the following exercises:

Lateral Arm Raisers – secure cord under feet, hold hands in front of belly-button, palms together, then raise both elbows to shoulder height, moving hands upwards and outwards

Lateral Arm Raise - Start Lateral Arm Raise - End

Internal Shoulder Rotation – secure cord to a solid object at elbow height – keep elbow tucked into side, forearm horizontal and move hand against cord tension from outside bodyline across the centre of the body

Start position for internal shoulder rotation End position of internal shoulder rotation

External Shoulder Rotation – secure cord to a solid object at elbow height, keeping elbow tucked into side and forearm horizontal move hand against cord tension from centre of body to outside bodyline

Start position for external shoulder rotation End position of external shoulder rotation

To help you maintain your swim technique you can use the stretch cord to practice the underwater phase of the freestyle stroke. Secure the middle of the stretch cord to something solid at about waist height, hold one end of the cord in one hand the other end in the other hand, bend forward at the waist and extend arms forwards then take a step backwards to introduce tension. You can then pull hands back and push past hips as in the freestyle stroke. Focus on keeping your palm facing backwards and elbow high (don’t let the elbow drop) – and keeping the hand moving back in a smooth straight line. You can do this pulling with alternate hands or do several pulls at a time with one arm.

.Stretch Cord Catch Stretch Cord Push Back Dropped Elbow

Good luck with the above and we hope these exercises help keep you swim motivated.

Swim Sessions Cancelled

Our Monday evening swim sessions are cancelled with immediate effect as a result of the latest advice from the NHS and HM Government regarding the avoidance of unnecessary social contact. There will be no session on Monday 16th March nor following Monday’s until further notice.

We hope everyone understands the reason for us taking this unfortunate decision and we wish you and your families the best of health over the next few weeks and months.

Autumn Swim Sessions

Our swim sessions are now back on as normal – Saturday afternoons at 4.00pm and Monday evenings at 8.00pm – both sessions are held at Archway School Pool – Stroud.

This is a great time of year to focus on your swim technique and make any changes to improve your swimming for next season. Our sessions will help you identify areas for improvement and make the changes needed to take your swimming to the next level.

We also provide a swim video analysis service which enables you to see yourself swim and, through use of computer based video analysis and voiceover technology, slow the action down and highlight areas for improvement. You will come away from the session with a DVD of your swim containing comprehensive feedback and examples of drills to practice. A great way to help you swim better next season.