General Discussion Triathlon Talk » Swim coach or triathlon coach? Rss Feed  
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2013-07-21 4:31 PM

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Subject: Swim coach or triathlon coach?
Hey everyone!

I've been a runner for a decade, including two years of working with coaches, and several other years following written plans.

Now I'm getting into this triathlon thing, with Ironman aspirations. I know that the swim is going to be my weakest sport, so that's what I'm really focusing on now, to 'get it right'.

What I'm trying to decide is if I need a triathlon coach, or if I'd be better off getting a plan (like Ben Greenfield's Triathlon Dominator) and just a swim coach. My thought is that I don't really need a coach to help me for the run, and I know I'm diligent enough to follow a generic plan (or modify it if need be based on knowing my needs for recovery, etc). So the coaching I'd be getting would really be focused on my weak spot.

On the other hand, I'm guessing that triathlon-oriented swimming may be slightly different than swimming on its own.

Any suggestions?


2013-07-21 4:38 PM
in reply to: afhill

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Subject: RE: Swim coach or triathlon coach?
Well my tri coach is an excellent swimming coach as well, a good tri coach should be good a teaching all 3 disiplines or have access to someone who is in most cases they will have a number of them.
2013-07-21 6:53 PM
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Subject: RE: Swim coach or triathlon coach?
The swim was also my weakest discipline of all 3 and, in my case, getting a swim coach has been the best decision I ever made. I put a lot of work on my swimming and it is paying off, not only I am faster, but I also have a lot more energy and I feel better prepared to take over the bike and the run, after the swim. Before, I just feel exhausted right out of the water and, as a result, I couldn't bike and run to my potential.

I think that with your running background and if you are discipline enough to follow a plan (do not neglect the bike if you want to do an Ironman), you may get the most benefit from a swim coach. Also, remember that they are not exclusive, you can start with a swim coach until you feel confident with your swim or he/she helps you enough with your stroke and then get a triathlon coach.

I never had a tri coach, but I am planning on getting one for next season as I am starting to plateau on the run and I am being more serious about triathlon training.

Edited by davidfedez 2013-07-21 6:55 PM
2013-07-21 7:10 PM
in reply to: afhill

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Subject: RE: Swim coach or triathlon coach?
Masters swim program first, tri coach later if you want/need it.
2013-07-22 8:29 AM
in reply to: afhill

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Subject: RE: Swim coach or triathlon coach?
If swimming is the weak link, especially since you are new to swimming, I would go with a swim squad with a coach on deck if at all possible. FWIW I have most of my athletes swim with a masters or tri group if possible; generally swimming with a group under the supervision of a coach is preferable to swimming alone.

As to programs, I would steer clear of Greenfield's offerings and instead look into some programs from this website. The gold and silver level give you access to training plans written by Mike Ricci and his team at D3. In my experience, these plans are very well written and provide solid guidance for an athlete getting into the sport.

Shane
2013-07-22 1:23 PM
in reply to: afhill

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Subject: RE: Swim coach or triathlon coach?

Originally posted by afhill I know that the swim is going to be my weakest sport, so that's what I'm really focusing on now, to 'get it right'. What I'm trying to decide is if I need a triathlon coach, or if I'd be better off getting . . . just a swim coach. . . . So the coaching I'd be getting would really be focused on my weak spot. On the other hand, I'm guessing that triathlon-oriented swimming may be slightly different than swimming on its own. Any suggestions?

First and foremost get a GOOD coach. There are good and bad swim coaches and good and bad triathlon coaches. Make sure that whomever you use that they address your swimming as it relates to you specifically. There are many different ways to swim well and if you are going to pay to be coached privately, make sure they aren't just giving you a generic swimming plan. In addition, I think that it's also important that the coach has experience coaching open water swimmers, and not just pool swimmers.



2013-07-22 1:37 PM
in reply to: afhill


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Subject: RE: Swim coach or triathlon coach?
A GOOD coach of either >>> not-so good coach, regardless of discpline.

However, given equal quality of coaching, a triathlon coach will be a lot better than a swim coach for triathlon.

Finding the correct balance between swim/bike/run is one of the hardest and most important things, and an experienced tri coach will tell you whether you need to nearly altogether focus on swimming, or keep a balanced approach depending on your weaknesses.
2013-07-22 2:07 PM
in reply to: yazmaster

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Subject: RE: Swim coach or triathlon coach?
Where are you located?
2013-07-22 2:33 PM
in reply to: switch

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Subject: RE: Swim coach or triathlon coach?
Originally posted by switch

Masters swim program first, tri coach later if you want/need it.


Thanks Switch!
Some friends here have mentioned the local masters program (Boulder Aquatic Masters even does a few open water sessions a week!), but I guess I feel like perhaps I need some personal training first? I guess in my mind a masters class is just a class, not really anything specific to my weaknesses? Am I not giving these programs enough credit?
2013-07-22 3:20 PM
in reply to: gsmacleod

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Subject: RE: Swim coach or triathlon coach?
Originally posted by gsmacleod
I have most of my athletes swim with a masters or tri group if possible; generally swimming with a group under the supervision of a coach is preferable to swimming alone.
Shane


Thanks Shane! I never would have guessed group swimming would be better than swimming alone.. although I guess come race day I'm going to have to deal with others, right? Plus, you always push a little harder when you have others around.

thanks again!
2013-07-22 3:32 PM
in reply to: La Tortuga

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Subject: RE: Swim coach or triathlon coach?
Originally posted by La Tortuga

Where are you located?


I'm in Boulder. So there are plenty of people to choose from!


2013-07-22 4:07 PM
in reply to: afhill

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Subject: RE: Swim coach or triathlon coach?
Originally posted by afhill
Originally posted by switchMasters swim program first, tri coach later if you want/need it.
Thanks Switch!Some friends here have mentioned the local masters program (Boulder Aquatic Masters even does a few open water sessions a week!), but I guess I feel like perhaps I need some personal training first? I guess in my mind a masters class is just a class, not really anything specific to my weaknesses? Am I not giving these programs enough credit?
Masters swimming comes in many different flavors...I bet there's a good triathlete flavored version in Boulder. I know there is. Most Masters groups will let you swim with them a few times before committing. Just make sure you click with the coach. They'll absolutely be able to help you with your issues (and without seeing you swim a stroke I'm guessing they'll be body position/sinky legs and getting a feel for the water/good catch to start). They'll have multiple lanes, grouped by speed, and you'll fit in one. Promise:)
2013-07-22 4:22 PM
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Subject: RE: Swim coach or triathlon coach?
Originally posted by afhill

Originally posted by La Tortuga

Where are you located?


I'm in Boulder. So there are plenty of people to choose from!


I'm pretty sure BAM has some beginner focused sessions- maybe start with one of those and see how it goes.

ETA - I can't get their web page to open- but I think they do stroke clinics too. They have some great coaches.

Edited by Moonrocket 2013-07-22 4:24 PM
2013-07-22 5:41 PM
in reply to: Moonrocket

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Subject: RE: Swim coach or triathlon coach?
Their website is back up again http://www.bamswimteam.org/w/page.cfm?pagetitle=Schedule

The Longmont Master's also has beginner sessions.

I would go to one and ask the coach what they think is the best progression path for you.
2013-07-22 7:09 PM
in reply to: Moonrocket

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Subject: RE: Swim coach or triathlon coach?
I feel the same way about a master's swim program like you. I do plan to join one after my IM to work on my swimming on the off season but I didn't want to go to one just starting swimming due to the "masters" part If you're just starting out, you might just want to take some lessons first. That's what I did and it helped a lot. Well I just learned to swim last year, so anything is an improvement over what I did day 1 I think a tri coach would be overkill for just starting out. If you have a deep wallet, then go for it, but a $200 10 week class may be a better bet for starting out. I also recommend the Easy Freestyle dvd (Total Immersion). It gave me some good starting tips but I still have a long long ways to go and I think a master's swim program is next on the list. I need someone to watch me at this point.
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