Saturday, April 12, 2008

Candy Angle and Andrew Noble Swim Clinic Wrap-up

It was quite a learning experience for old wiggly - and that was the goal today. 7 swimmers joined World Champs Candy Angle and Andrew Noble today at Suburban Swim Center near Philadelphia for 4 hours of instruction of techniques for a perfect swim stroke to make us faster. The idea was to show us what and what not to do, videotape us, critique us, show us dry-land practice drills, then send us on our way to practice, practice, practice and embed these new-found skills in our brains. We received a DVD of everything we learned today, laminated drill sheets to take along to the pool, and tons of insight from two very talented swimmers. A summary:

  • Head - forehead in the water, not the entire head. You should be able to see your hand enter the water all the time. Think of a "V" at your forehead - like the hull of a boat.

  • Elbows up - makes you naturally turn on your side and be thin in the water. Think small space to glide in the water. No big bodies in the water.

  • One goggle in the water to breath. Move your head to breath as little as possible -- only enough to the mouth just barely out of the water for a breath.

  • The pull - think of your arms around a barrel and pull the barrel back along your side.

  • Arms entry - in front of you -- not across the front of you. Always keeps your arms straight in front. Across the side will make you wiggle.

  • Timing - Pulling arm pulls as the entry arm enters. This is harder than it sounds

Dry land drills -- one of them is pictured above. Surgical tubing on a paddle-like board to practice pulls. Another is lying on your side on the floor and "zipping" up the side of your shirt. Wall touches - reach to the wall like you are doing a stroke, then pull back (correct form) with the other arm. The focus is keeping the arms straight in front of you to eliminate the crossing over the center line. When you cross over, you wiggle and lose the straight line and forward moments. I'm a BIG wiggler. (ha!). Candy and Andy are incredible athletes and I couldn't help but be impressed with not only their knowledge of the sport, but their genuine interest in helping people. It was obvious they enjoy what they do and were the bestest of instructors. I learned tons and can't wait to get in the pool on Tuesday and practice.

Prior to the Swim clinic, Candy and Andy gave a talk in the morning on Xterra racing in general. They spent a lot of time on training ideas and suggestions. I thought it was interesting that THEY put an emphasis on Swimming (they are swimmers), contrary to Melanie McQuaid's emphasis on biking (she's a biker). Hmmm... Here's a summary of the AM talk and training for Xterras:

  • They never do weight training. It's all sport specific training
  • Bike training is 80-85% on the road.
  • Quality training, not quantity.
  • Running - no need to log miles upon miles. Train for time. Maybe its only 30 minutes, but if good, quality interval training, that's all you need. One endurance run a week - doesn't have to be super long (an hour for Xterra races).
  • 3 workouts on the bike, 3 workouts on running and 3 workouts swimming is all that's really needed in a week.
  • 3 weeks training, 1 week cut back and resting a little.
  • Swimming in the AM is fine, bike or run in the evening is good too. (two in one day ok).
  • They always do a day of swim/bike/run together.
  • They seldom train in open water - all swim training is in the pool.
  • They use perceived effort for training - not Heart Rate monitors. Too many folks get fixated on what the HR monitor says and worry about that rather than the training.

And some side notes - bike style (hard tail vs full suspension) is personal preference. Pressure is personal preference.

The race promoters from Xterra Trimax (RB Winter) was there, as was the PA Xterra Trail Run series guru, Don Morrison. 13 folks in all attended the AM talk. Special thanks to Xterra Ambassador, Sue Ann Clarke for pulling it all together.

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