Saturday, April 24, 2010

Swim Coach: Out of the Brain Rut

When you go to the pool, do you swim the same workouts? How about the same intervals? Do you always start at the same end of the pool, use the same kickboard and pull buoy, bring the same water bottle? Is your workout in a brain rut? Remember that exercise is a mind-body connection and if you're only exercising the body half of the equation, you're missing half of the workout. Just like your body, parts of your brain can become lazy with inactivity. We know that exercise helps improve brain function and actually protects against cognitive decline, and so does changing up your mental stimuli on a regular basis, forcing the old gray matter to forge new neural paths.

When I plan workouts for myself or my swimmers, I like to throw in the occasional curve ball, change things up a bit. I don't always include intervals that end in :00, :15, :30, etc. We don't always end up on the same end of the pool, do the same drills, or use the same pool toys. Today some of my swimmers complained about the odd intervals, I am forcing them to do mental math at the end of each set to determine the next send off, plus every other set ends up at the other end of the pool. But I guess I figure if my swimmers aren't complaining about something, I'm not writing good enough workouts up.

So here's today's Saturday Master's workout.
You can see the drill here . This is one of my favorites, and if done correctly can halt the lazy drift into the catch that many swimmers unconsciously perform.

SKILL: Catch on surface, high elbow
DRILL: S2CC  (Shoulder to Cheek Catch)

Warm Up
300 Swim
4 x 50 S2C Drill
4 x 50: S2CC Drill
2 x 100 Kick IM Order

Main Set

200 – Moderate @ 3:10
2 x 175 – Neg. Split @ 2:55
3 x 150 Descend @ 2:20
4 x 125 Descend @ 2:00

5 x 100 Drill S2CC on EZ interval 1:45

6 x 75 @ 1:10  Descend x 3’s
7 x 50 @ 50     Descend x 3’s and hold last fast
8 x 25  @ :30 Descend x 4’s, last 4 EZ

Total: 3900

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