“The whole point is to be relaxed and centered during the storm” -Eney Jones
Forward breath, two beat cross-over, Chinese take-out and driving with a snorkel. What the heck are we talking about?
Swimming, of course. Actually, we’re talking about downright intelligence of technique and execution that is steeped in science and equals less resistance and more flow in movement through the water.
Eney Jones is our guest today and she is straight out of the box. In other words, she is intelligent. She has an ability to take data and information and create new concepts that yield results. She has produced innovative tools and techniques that have greatly improved the performance of many well-known athletes. Eney is always stretching possibility and she does this by remaining in a state of curiosity. She has what yogis describe as a “beginners mind”. Refusing to rely on her decades of expertise, she is open to learning and by not resting on her laurels, she has become one of the most sought after swim coaches in the world.
The daughter of an Olympic swimmer and world record holder, Eney was putting down 10,000 yards a day in the pool at the age of thirteen. She was literally born to swim and through a lifetime of being submerged, she is now living her purpose more than ever as she guides athletes, every day, to finding their most efficient stroke and movement through water.
Eney combines the principles of yoga and athletics to pull out the highest potential in each athlete and she believes, above all else, that we must enjoy what we do with our heart. Combining love and strength in our sport equals our greatest performance. By not giving the negative any energy she draws upon the unique strengths of each athlete to create their optimal body/mind connection in sport and life.
The clinic night will feature a local PT from Alta Physical Therapy. They will be discussing the common injuries seen in triathletes. Additionally, they will talk through the seemingly unconventional ways to assess injury, with the consideration that the location of the pain is often not the source of the injury. This amazing insight should be a great way to really understand your own body and how to provide feedback to any therapist, body worker, or trainer on what you are feeling. Understanding that the site for injury may not be the source of the problem will also help you keep an open mind to why therapists may treat other areas of your body which you may not have thought was the correct place to treat.
So join us for a great night of learning. Bring all your body and injury related questions so you can keep your body out of pain and achieve your 2017 goals!
Everyone works the bottom of their stroke, we reach, then push and propel ourselves forward. But we are dealing with two different elements while swimming, water and air. It is easy to be more deliberate underwater in a denser material, but rarely do swimmers work the “recovery” part of their stroke. They even hear the word recovery and they slow down and relax, and place their catch. Instead we need to speed up our airspeed as I call Split Tempo.
Having more speed and alacrity in the air will create a more deliberate forceful catch. Speed creates power. I have always found this helpful in Open Water but last week end watched it in Caeleb Dressel’s 40:40 100 relay split. In sprinting you want more length in the front of your stroke. The higher you can be in the water the easier it is to push yourself forward.
When you tell swimmers to speed up their tempo often they shorten their stroke. Working on Split Tempo will allow the stroke to be longer under water and faster through the air. In Caelebs’ 100 free split in the relay each arm underwater was .33 seconds. His left arm straighter and faster thru the air was .21 seconds and his right more arced arm thru the air was .23 seconds for a 1.1 second rotation of both arms. This is quite amazing because his is 6’3” inches tall. On a Finis Tempo trainer setting #1 set at 1:1 the beep is when his left arm hits.
Katie Ledecky’s overall Tempo in the mile is 1:37 ( she is 6 feet tall) but once again she is faster thru the air than the water. Usually the difference is not as pronounced as Dressels’, but that is why most people are looking at his feet or just feeling a wave go by.
There are a few ways to work this:
On land – Keep you upper thoracic mobile. Everyone uses cables to mimic swimming, but have the cables behind you and punch forward and down. Before a race rather than swing your arms around bend over and cross front and back ( think Phelps) .
In the water – Use shells, biscuit sand dollars, whiffle balls or tennis balls with holes: something that will fill up underneath and drain thru the air.
Drill – Grab paddles over the front end, slice thru the air, punch the catch.
Be deliberate and be fast thru the air and you will find your times dropping from easily from there.
Eney Joneshas achieved remarkably diverse success as a leading pool, open water and Ironman triathlon swimmer, and is also a yoga instructor.
Masters National Champion 100-200-400-500-1500-1650 5k freestyle 2009
Open Water 5k Champion Perth Australia, May 2008.
National Masters Champion 200-400-1500 freestyle Champion, Portland Oregon, August, 2008.
Overall Champion Aumakua 2.4k Maui Hawaii, September 2008
Waikiki Rough Water Swim 3rd place 2006, second place Overall 2009, 3rd place 2012
European Record Holder and Masters Swimming Champion, 2005. Records included 200, 400, 800, 1500 m freestyle
Over twenty time finalist in U.S. Swimming Nationals, including Olympic Trials 1980
Gold medal NCAA 800 yd freestyle relay 1979, silver Medalist 200 yd freestyle 1979. United States National Team 1979-1980.
Professional Triathlete 1983-1991. First woman out of the water in every Hawaiian Ironman participated (6).
Grant Holicky, head coach of Rallysport Aquatics (RACE) in Boulder, Colorado, has been working with elite open water swimmers for several years now. Two of his most notable athletes are Joey Pedraza, who finished third in the 5k at the 2014 Nationals, and Christine Jennings, who has been to both World Championships and the Pan Pacific Championships for open water.
With all this success, plus the success that Coach Holicky has with his pool swimmers, you would assume that he has some of the best facilities in the country. However, that couldn’t be further from the truth, RallySport Aquatics practice in a six lane, hotel pool. Oh and it is outside the ENTIRE year. In Colorado. That makes for some very cold morning practices…
One of the biggest issues I see today with Triathlon Swimming is one of intensity. It’s no secret that if you want to go faster in the swim portion of a triathlon, it’s going to take some focused higher-intensity swimming while training. As a Masters Swim Coach for the last 7 years, I find that when it comes to intensity, everyone has a different definition of “moderate” or “fast” and this leads folks to swimming every set at the same relative pace. I also see many folks who come to the wall after what was supposed to be a “fast” set who did indeed give it their everything (i.e. they’re definitely breathing hard) only to see their times only a small fraction faster than what their “moderate” set was. Furthermore, I’ve seen athletes who are fatigued, sick, or otherwise not recovered from previous days’ workouts who perform sets that are significantly slower than what is normal for them (which is completely understandable) but are disappointed that their times do not match their effort levels.
Issues like these led me to develop The Swim Pace Calculator (http://www.swimpacecalculator.com). This revolutionary tool serves to remove some of the ambiguity from swim pacing terminology (terms like “fast”, “moderate”, “threshold”, etc.) and assigns specific times to specific intensities so that swimmers can understand, not only race-day paces, but also to understand their growth as a swimmer and their fatigue levels.
The Swim Pace Calculator assigns a specific pacing time to the common swim terminology given in swim workouts by using an athlete’s test data to develop a matrix of times for various distances. The test is performed over two separate swim days with recovery in between and includes swimming at max effort, a 50, 100, 200, 400, and 800 (I’ll explain later about why this is the testing protocol). As you can imagine, these times are the “fast” times for each of the distances listed, but what is the split time for a “fast” 150, or even a “fast” 500? This calculator extrapolates all of those times for you in all of the common distance you’ll see in swim set. Next, this calculator takes a percentage of all of those max-times and assigns various zones. For example, if a max 100 is 1:25, then an “easy” 100 should be 1:40-ish. This calculator breaks the test data down into 5-zones.
Determining what type of swimmer you are:
The Swim Pace Calculator takes the test data from the 50, 100, 200, 400, and 800 and develops a regression curve. What does this regression curve tell you? By understanding how much your pace falls off for each doubling of distance, we can determine what type of athlete you are – a sprinter type athlete or an endurance type athlete. A sprinter athletic type has a relatively high regression rate (>10%) which means their pace will fall sharply as the distance increase (a regression rate of 10% means that an athletes’ pace will drop by 10% each time we double the distance), whereas an endurance athlete will have regression rates at or below 5%. For pure swimmers whose specialty is the 50m or 100m in swim meets, having a high regression rate does not hurt race performance. But put that same swimmer into a 750m sprint triathlon swim, and their endurance friends may finish minutes ahead.
The Swim Pace Calculator allows you to understand what type of athlete you are, and then apply specific training to get you where you want to be. Are you training for an Ironman but have a sprinter regression rate? Then you need more swim sets that focus on maintaining that speed later in the set, like performing sprint sets at the end of long workouts. Or, if you’re a swimmer that can already go forever, then it’s more beneficial for you to work on pure speed while maintaining that endurance athlete type. Mix in very high intensity sprint sets with relatively short rest intervals to increase overall speed.
Multi-Dimensional Performance Prediction:
The Swim Pace Calculator ultimately is used to understand the relationship between intensity (perceived effort) and the expected time for that intensity level for a given distance. Since we cannot monitor HR or other physiological markers during the swim portion of a triathlon, all we have is our perceived effort level. Learning what various intensities feel like in training will allow us to race at a specific intensity and have a reasonable idea of what time that will yield us.
The Swim Pace Calculator takes the regression curve from the test data and extrapolates out to the half-Ironman and Ironman swim distances for the various zones. Are you planning on going easy in your half-Ironman swim? If so then you can see what Zone 2 will mean with respect to time. Are you planning to crush that Ironman swim? Then you’ll be able to predict what the clock will say when you pop out of the water.
We can also easily identify when athletes are fatigued or otherwise not feeling well. Say for example I assign a set to one of my athletes that includes 5×200 at Zone4 with a Rest Interval of 20-seconds. In the past, she was able to maintain the 3:15 split for each of those, but on this particular day she reports that she had to work exceptionally hard to maintain those times (or she’s not even able to maintain those times), I know that she’s either fatigued or she may even be starting to get sick. I’ll likely prescribe lighter workouts for the next few days and then reassess.
When you plan your race or event season, do you ever sit down to think about why you are doing a race or event?
Often we might think, well, I’m doing a half ironman because it’ll help me get ready for a full-distance race. But the why should be a bit deeper than that.
And I think all athletes at some point in a race, especially when things get a little rough, think, “Why am I doing this?” Having a why will let you answer that quickly so you can get back to focusing on what you are doing.
Every race on your calendar has a purpose, a WHY. The WHYs will vary, but when you go to bed the night before a race, and wake up in race morning, the WHY will put your efforts into perspective.
Let’s look at some common WHYs.
It’s a “training race.”
But why is a training race? What are you training for? What aspects of the event are you testing out? The WHY should be specific: I am doing this race to test out my nutrition plan in a race situation for my A-race. Or: I am doing this race to push hard and work on my ability to work in a group.
I am doing this race because I’ve always wanted to and it will be a great accomplishment.
To honor others.
I am doing this race to bring awareness to those who no longer can. Having that additional motivation beyond just finishing can often push you when things get tough.
To win or go for a personal best.
No doubt, this is a WHY for many athletes. If you are a professional athlete, winning gets you your paycheck. If you are an amateur, you might be trying to collect points or qualify for a championship race. But as most of us don’t win, we’re aiming for a personal best. I am doing this race to push my limits as an athlete.
Because I love the sport.
Hopefully this WHY is in all your races or events.
Can you have multiple WHYs? Absolutely. One will likely be your main focus, but other WHYs can help motivate and drive you as well. No matter the level of event, local fun run 5k, IRONMAN triathlon, or charity ride, there is a WHY.
Know the real reason why you have a race on your calendar and you’ll be more motivated for your training, and come race day, knowing that WHY will help you achieve your best.
What does a triathlete do when racing IRONMANs isn’t as exciting as it used to be? Try something different…way different. Couple of weekends ago I was one of the lucky few to participate in the inaugural Casco Bay Islands SwimRun race up in Portland, Maine. This was North America’s first ÖTILLÖ-style SwimRun – consisting of a series of swimming and running legs between several islands. In this particular race the approximate distance covered was 4 miles of swimming and 11 miles of running. The caveat – you have to carry and/or wear all your gear for the ENTIRE race. No transitions. No changing tents. No SAG support.
Sounds like fun, right? Well, hold your horses. Entry to this race was via merit or lottery applications. Merit entries required each 2-person team to submit a summary of past achievements. Lottery entries required proof of verifiable race results with swim splits under certain. 20 teams were selected by merit consideration and 80 by lottery. Teams could be same gendered or mixed and teammates had to stay within 3 meters of each other throughout the entire race, hence the use of tethers during the swim portion by some teams.
Was it easy? Not particularly. This course definitely favored stronger swimmers. From the very beginning, you had to overshoot your landing point because of the tidal currents in the water. Some sections there were 4-5 foot swells in addition to wake from nearby boats. As if that wasn’t already enough, there was seaweed…everywhere. At times an entire wig-full of seaweed would get caught on our tether. I would look back and see what appeared to be cousin It (from the Addams Family) getting dragged behind me.
Some of our water exits and entries were off sandy beaches, but more often than not we had to navigate through fields of thick seaweed and scramble over rocks. One island in particular was quite the challenge – Vaill Island. The approach took us through a bunch of seaweed, then scrambling over boulders around the entire island since the interior was covered with poison ivy. Once we made it around, we had to figure out a safe place to jump back in the water…and into the seaweeds.
The longest swim crossing measured just over 1,600 yards, and by far the toughest. Other teams we talked to after the race averaged about 1 hour for this crossing. The tide was going out when most of us reached this point in the race. Swimming against the current coupled by getting dragged down by seaweed made this section difficult both mentally and physically.
The one thing I was really worried about going into this race (blisters) really wasn’t an issue. But the chafing from swimming in the ocean for that distance – very unforgiving. My teammate and other fellow athletes learned the hard way.
A few lessons learned from our experience included:
Use swim flippers in addition to paddles. Flippers are allowed (you just have to carry them on the run), and based on the difficulty of this course, it would’ve helped us A LOT.
Ditch the tether in heavy seaweed areas.
Carry extra body glide during the race.
Overshoot your target by a lot, especially on the long channel crossing.
This race is definitely not for the faint of heart, the fair weathered athlete, or those worry about the water temperature. But if you are looking for an adventure where you can push your limits and go outside your comfort zone…AND know someone just as crazy and willing to do it with you, then SwimRun may be your next thing!
Big thank you to Jeff Cole and Lars Finanger for putting on such an awesome event and to New Wave Swim Buoys for providing each team with a swim buoy and the amazing drone videos from race day. Can’t wait to come back next year!