DAY 7: 7-Day Swim Challenge

Wowzer!

YOU DID IT!!!! You made it to day 7 of the 7-day Swim Challenge! Whether you posted or social media... or not,

won a prize... or not (oooh, our biggest prize is coming below.....)

did all the challenges, or not....

I know that something in these emails struck a chord with you. There was something in here that helped you bring a bit more awareness to your swimming. 

Challenging ourselves allows us to learn more about our strengths and weaknesses. Here's a quick recap of your take aways:

  • On Day 1: You headed to the pool to practice techniques like proper posture and breathing. Continue to focus on your body position, underwater pull, and breathing technique every time you swim and that perfect form will be automatic in no time!
  • Day 2: We had you out there in the pool doing open-water specific drills to help fine-tune your skills for the big race day. What did we learn from some of our participants about their biggest challenges? Sighting is the biggest struggle, keep incorporating Jess’ drills weekly into your pool sessions!
  • Day 3: You hit up the gym to pump some iron and work on strength. Sometimes we may think it’s okay to skip out on strength training as long as we hit the three main practices of triathlon: swimming, biking and running...not so! Strength work adds that edge to your swim that most of you are looking for. 
  • Day 4: Your gear is prepped and packed for your next tri, and shopping lists have been made to snag a few of those extra items you might have forgotten!
  • Day 5: We addressed your mind and reminded you that planning the perfect race happens BEFORE race day.
  • Day 6: You got your disaster management plan laid out, so that you can take control when something goes wrong. 

For some of you, this challenge has highlighted that you need some specialized help in your swimming, perhaps a fresh perspective. 

Your final challenge on Day 7, from us to you...

Todays Challenge ~~ Put a Mentor/Check-in Buddy in Place 

Find someone to check in with periodically about your stroke/gear/mindset (we suggest every 3-4 weeks). Whether it's your triathlon coach, a trusty stud swimmer friend in your life, or an establishment like SwimLabs, getting another pair of eyes on your swim form/gear/and tactics is going to allow you to remain focused and accountable to improving your swim. 

Of course, if you would like that person to be Coach Jess, we are rolling out a few options for our challenge participants. (hint hint...it's good) More about that, coming in an email tomorrow morning...

But first, let's get to the grand prize for this 7-day Challenge!!

A personalized Swim Analysis from Coach Jess!

Yes, we ship you one of our RTTC goPros, with instructions on how to film yourself in the pool. You ship it back to us after filming and Coach Jess reviews it, and then has a one on one meeting with you to discuss your form, gear and tactics. She even sends you a list of drills and tips after that meeting, customized just for you and follows up with you 4 weeks later. Hello Mentor!!

The Grand Prize Winner: Stacey Privia, she posted every day, amazing!! Reply with your address Stacey!

And speaking of being amazing, it was so much fun awarding our challenge winners. Talk about #winning, am I right?  Congrats again to our winners, we are shipping your goodies over the next few days! 

  • Kelsey Combes

  • Christine Scott

  • Shelby Lanting

  • Melanie Schiff

  • Emi Berger

  • Grand Prize: Stacey Privia

So there you have it!

Thank you again for participating in our challenge.  We had fun putting it together, and we watched you have fun participating in it as well. Make sure to join us for another challenge soon and we will be back tomorrow for some offers from coach Jess that might be exactly what you have been looking for...

Happy Training and Racing,

RTTC Team

P.S. You rock, you know that right? Don't ever forget it.... 


DAY 6: 7-Day Swim Challenge

Wow!

Can you believe it?  We are already on day six of the 7 day swim challenge! I loved reading about your strategies yesterday to see how some of you are preparing for upcoming races. If you haven’t already, make sure to check out #RTTCswimfaster on FaceBook, and Instagram because you guys are KILLING IT with positivity and inspiration.

So I know Sundays can be quite the emotional rollercoaster ride. You may be trying to enjoy the last threads of your weekend but at the same time, you know you have to start mentally preparing for the work week. I thought it only fitting to talk today about being emotionally prepared pre-race!

Before we jump into today’s video, it’s time to announce yesterday’s giveaway winner! Emi Berger has taken the cake with her fantastic open water swim strategy, especially her hashtag #fistsandfeet You rock Emi! We are sending Emi a brand new suit from Q Swimwear, because where else can you get a suit with a PUG ON IT? Emi, please reply to this email with your address, suit size, and what suit you want. (#score)

It's go time! Click below to hear Coach Jess troubleshoot EIGHT common obstacles you might encounter in the swim portion of your next triathlon. 

What the What?

It is essential to expect the unexpected during a race. Your trusty goggles may start filling with water even though it’s NEVER happened on a practice swim. You might get kicked in the face by another swimmer, or someone might just try to swim right over you in the craziness (always a highlight). But that’s why we mentally prepare. And that’s why we’re talking about emotional hardiness now.

Nobody is aware of what future holds, to take the advantage of uncertainty is to hope for the best and prepare for the worst.   -Blaze Olamiday

When I think about race day, what makes me most nervous?

All the variables seemingly out of my control!

What if my goggles break? What if I get cold in the water? What if I get brutalized in the swim? What if I get off course? What if I panic? While I might not be able to control these things from happening, I CAN prepare mentally to manage unexpected events and minimize their negative impact on my race.  

This exercise isn’t to fixate on the worst case scenario, it's intended to make you feel COMPLETELY ready no matter what comes your way. Get a friend involved and have fun thinking of all the things that could go wrong in the swim. I’m sure you guys can come up with some ridiculous scenarios to help lighten the mood!

Then come up with an action plan for how you would deal with each woe on your list. Imagine yourself working through the issue by staying calm and problem solving! If one of the scenarios does come up during a race, you’ll be able to handle it with ease, give yourself a high-five and say to yourself - NAILED IT!

Racing well in triathlon is not about everything going perfect, it's about swift and effective disaster management!

Did you just make a big WHEW sound? I know, me too....

 
 

Why the Why?

Don’t think it’s worth your time preparing to “expect the unexpected?” There is a lot of research to support the idea that staying relaxed before and during your race will enhance performance.  You can find a great article on this and other ways you should be training your brain for race day, here.

Todays Challenge ~~ Design your Pep Talk 

Take some time today to write down your "TOP FIVE things that would derail you during the swim portion of a triathlon" Once you’ve made your list, create a few cues for each of those five and write them on the back of your paper from yesterday that goes in your swim bag. 

Share either your list on social media for a chance to win the day’s giveaway OR share a disaster moment you had in a triathlon (to help people with ideas)! Be sure to tag your posts with #RTTCswimfaster so we can find them.

As a triathlete your mental preparation is just as important as your physical training. Problem solving is the name of the game, why not be as prepared as possible! 

Rock On,

RTTC Team

P.S. Coach Jess had a great race yesterday, she was 9th at Wildflower in the PRO race, a great start to her post-baby comeback, and YES, she did swim under a few buoys (but around the the rope)


DAY 5: 7-Day Swim Challenge

Ahhhhh!

There is something so peaceful about early Saturday mornings. It is a great time to stop and think before the day gets hectic with workouts and to-do lists often saved for the weekend. And that’s why today’s challenge is focused on strategy!  

Right as this email is dropping Coach Jess is lining up on the start line for her first PRO triathlon since delivering baby Hanna seven months ago, and you can bet she will be focused on executing all of the strategy tips outlined here today.... gooo Coach Jess!

A good strategy is the key to success.  While you know what you’re capable of, having a well-planned strategy will help you feel calm and collected pre-race when you’ll probably have a million other thoughts swirling around in your head.  

Ready to hear yesterday’s giveaway winner?  It’s Melanie Schiff – her wetsuit lying in the snow made a few of us at RTTC weep, and a few of us giggle. Melanie, we are sending you a bag of goodies from Coeur Sports, please reply to this email with your address! Keep those great posts coming, everyone!

Racing out there in the open water can be daunting, but fear no more because today Jess is going to talk you through the strategy of the open water swim portion of your next triathlon race. What is the ideal tactic for drafting? Find out in this video.

What the What?

When comparing pool vs. open water swimming strategy, the open water swim is an entirely different animal. Where you line up, the course you take, and whether or not you are able to draft can make a HUGE difference in your overall swim time. Don’t try to wing it on race day! Look at the course you’ll be swimming ahead of time and make a plan! Here’s a few helpful tips:

  • Stalking: Do your homework on your competition- find someone racing with a slightly faster swim time and stalk them at the start of the race (try not to be too creepy about it).   
  • Pack Tactics: If you end up in a pack of swimmers, try to stay in the 2nd or 3rd position (if you’re not fighting to stay there), just in case there is a break in the pack. 
  • ALWAYS: take the inside position when going around a turn buoy.   
  • Get Away: if you find yourself at the front of a pack, you’ll want to lose the other swimmers as quickly as possible - especially if they are swimming in your wake or annoyingly touching your feet!  The best thing to do is slow your stroke a little for 10-20 seconds and get them used to the new pace.  Then shift to the right or left, increase your kick (a big kick creates drag for the person behind) and swim hard for a minute or two.  Hopefully the other swimmers won’t be able to respond and you’ll be swimming away freely. 
  • Lonely: If you find yourself alone in the swim don’t panic or get discouraged. Instead, enjoy the clear water and focus on your technique! 
 
 

Why the Why?

You can see a great break down of the different drafting options and their benefits here!

A well planned strategy will put you at ease pre-race. Think about the times you had to prepare for a presentation in school or at work. Didn’t you feel better, more confident, when you practiced and wrote out your script or outline? This is the same concept! If you take time to go over your strategy pre-race, it will come automatically to you on race day.

Todays Challenge ~~ Draft a Plan

Grab a sheet of paper, and think about your open water swim strategy. What’s your warm-up plan? Where will you line up in the water? Do you know what you’ll do when you approach the turn-around buoys? Write it out and read it over a few times to yourself. Now stick this paper in your race swim bag that you put together yesterday so you can revisit it race morning of your next triathlon. 

Or... grab a buddy and hop in the pool today and practice drafting! Jess talked about the importance of drafting in today’s video and there are two types you can give a shot today!

Remember ~~ Post on social media using #RTTCswimfaster so we know to enter you. Get those plans written!! 

You guys are kicking butt on this challenge!  Keep up the great work!

RTTC Team


DAY 4: 7-Day Swim Challenge

Seriously!

It’s Friday, Friday, getting down on Friday…

YOU GUYS ARE AMAZING!  Every day I feel so excited to read your posts about the challenge – it is so inspiring.  And here we are, already on day four(!!!!) and now it’s time to talk about the importance of proper gear.  

But first, if you’ve somehow missed the first few days of this challenge, you can check out each day by searching #RTTCswimfaster on Instagram, Twitter and FaceBook.

And let’s not forget about yesterday’s giveaway winner - *drumroll please* - Shelby Lanting!!!! Good job out there, you’ve posted every day of the challenge thus far, WOW. We are sending Shelby a full set of resistance bands by Go Fit. Shelby, please reply to this email with your address.

Okay athletes, it's go time for todays challenge. GEAR! Watch this video for an explanation from Coach Jess about all the open water swimming gear you need, and finally figure out what to do with that strap on the back of your wetsuit! 

What the What?

When it comes to triathlon swim gear, it pays to do your research. Rent or borrow several different styles and sizes of wetsuit (or speedsuit) to find your goldilocks - “this one fits just right!”

Once you find your wetsuit-match-made-in-heaven, USE it! Wear it in the pool if you don’t have access to open water, and make sure you can get it off quickly when you are wet! Also - little tip here -  if you don’t want painful rubs ruining the rest of your race, don’t forget to apply anti-chaffing ointment!  It’s a LIFESAVER.

Just like wetsuits, the perfect goggle varies from person to person. You want to choose a style comfortable for long swims, allows good visibility, and has the right color lens for the conditions. If it’s sunny, you need a mirrored goggle. If it’s dark or cloudy, a clear or light colored option will be best. It’s always a good idea to bring a couple pairs to the race start in case a nose piece breaks or you miscalculated the conditions! 

PRO TIP: To ensure your goggles don't fog, put a drop of baby shampoo inside each lens, rub it around with your finger and then thoroughly rinse your goggle lenses to wash it all off. 

 
 

Why the Why?

Not convinced a wetsuit can make a difference or do you believe any wetsuit will do? Take a few friends to the pool and test out various suits. 

Take the wetsuits you are testing to the pool. Complete 2-3 x 100’s in each wetsuit (and one round in swimsuit only). Have a friend time you so you can’t see the results and try to swim with the same effort level on each. Remember - even if the difference in each 100 is small, that difference will be multiplied up to almost 40X if swimming 1.2 miles or more! *cue jaw drop* You might be surprised by which wetsuit is the fastest, but there will likely be one or two that feel and fit the best, and yield the fastest swim!

Todays Challenge ~~ Get out your open water swimming gear and test everything out. Does any of your gear need replacing? Does it all still fit? Post a photo to social media of all your gear laid out and then pack it into a special bag for when race day rolls around.  

Remember ~~ Post on social media using #RTTCswimfaster so we know to enter you. I can't wait to see all of your gear choices! 

Getting you prepared for race day,

RTTC team 


DAY 3: 7-Day Swim Challenge

Hi There!

Can you believe it is already Day 3 of the swim challenge?!  I am so proud of you for the past two days of hard work in the pool. Depending on how you’re feeling, you may or may not be excited to hear today’s challenge takes place on dry land instead of the pool.  

We’re hitting the gym today for some strength training to give you the extra OOMPH you need in the water!

But first, congratulations to yesterday’s giveaway winner, Christine Scott!! WOOO HOO!!!

You snagged yourself a pair of the brand new, super fancy and great for open water swimming ROKA R1 GOGGLES. Reply to this email with your address and the color of R1 goggle you would like. Whoop!
Ready for some fun? Click below for Coach Jess' FIVE most important strength and mobility exercises to incorporate into your training that will hypercharge your swimming:

What the What?

Although there is no substitute for time in the water, working on strength and mobility targeting your swim muscles will enhance those water workouts - good news for those of us who don’t have the time to swim every day!  

What muscles will be feeling the burn today?  Get ready to work your delts (shoulders), lats, obliques, triceps, and pectoral muscles.  

Equipment:

  • pvc pipe (or a broom works) 
  • swim bands (or use an old bike tube cut and tied to desired length) 
  • medicine ball (or basketball or soccer ball) 
  • TRX or similar strap training system (can use the bars in one of those "fit-yards" in a park) 

You can easily incorporate these exercises into your routine 2-3 times per week.  Time to crank up your favorite pump-up playlist and hit the gym for more power and mobility in the pool!

 
 

Why the Why?

You can find a great diagram of the upper body swimming muscles as well as more stretches to work on mobility IN THIS LINK.

And in THIS VIDEO you can watch all the muscles that are used for all the swimming strokes, be careful, it's addicting!

Todays Challenge ~~ Get your bum to the gym (or your home gym) and try out all 5 of these exercises.  

Share on social media one of those slightly obnoxious gym selfies to be entered into the drawing for one of our awesome prizes. The more obnoxious, the better! This prize will be worth the embarrassment of the obnoxious selfie! 

Remember ~~ Post on social media using #RTTCswimfaster so we know to enter you. Wouldn't want that selfie to go to waste! 

Feeling the burn,

RTTC team

P.S. – Tomorrow we talk GEAR and you definitely don’t want to miss out on these helpful tips!


DAY 2: 7-Day Swim Challenge

Rockstar!

Happy Hump Day! If you completed the challenge yesterday, woo hoo!  

I am so excited to see all the positive posts about swimming! Athletes are choosing awesome technique intentions to focus on. Good technique is the foundation of strong swimming, and if you still believe you aren’t the greatest of swimmers, just know you’re on your way to being faster, more efficient, and stronger.

Congratulations to yesterday’s giveaway winner, Kelsey Combes!!! *High fives* You just won yourself a set of ROKA SIM SHORTS to help float your bum while you work on the pull phase of your stroke. (Good Prizes right???) Reply to this email with you address and the size of ROKA SIM SHORTS you would like. Whoop! 

Okay, time to hop in the water! As triathletes we do most our swimming in the pool and most of our racing in the open water. Coach Jess has three drills for you to do in the POOL that will help when you are in the OPEN WATER. Check them out here:

What the What?

Extensive time in the open water is a luxury few of us have. Luckily most triathletes can get all the swim fitness they need in a pool (yay!), but there are some key drills you can incorporate into your workouts to help you achieve a faster open water performance.  

When drilling in the pool for open water focus on the following:

  • building your power for the open water swim starts 
  • increasing your shoulder strength to get ready for more wetsuit swimming 
  • practice your sighting technique so there is less interruption to your stroke when you are looking for those big ol’ buoys.   

In order to reap the benefits of these drills, they should be practiced for several minutes a few times each week.  Not bad, right?

 
 

Why the Why?

Think back to your past races.  Did you get pummeled at the start? Did you have trouble drafting?  Did you slow down significantly to look for buoys? Or did your back hurt from sighting by the end of the swim?  If you answered yes to any of these questions then open water drills in the pool are an immediate need for you. 5-10 minutes of each drill per week for the next few months will make a substantial difference. You will get stronger, faster, and better at sighting.  And what does that mean? Faster swim splits in your race!

Challenge ~~ Today we challenge you to head to the pool and determine which of the three technique issues Jess described above plagues you the most in the OPEN WATER. Share on social media which of the three you are going to dedicate this month to work on:

Choices: Starting Power, Shoulder Strength, or Sighting

Post your completed challenge on social media to win giveaways and connect with some of our other challenge participants. Not only does posting on social media make you happy, but it keeps you accountable while your are entered to win rad prizes!

Note: You must use #RTTCswimfaster in your Twitter/Insta/FB post in order to be entered (so we can find you) and every post earns an entry!

I know you can do this.  I believe in you, so don’t forget to believe in yourself!

Happy Swimming,

RTTC Team


DAY 1: 7-day swim challenge

Welcome! There’s nothing like a fresh start to a 7 Day Challenge!  Whether you’ve done a Challenge with us in the past or not, get ready to have fun AND discover a little more about yourself along the way. Today you’ll learn about some fantastic techniques to help you become a more efficient swimmer.  Are you pumped yet??

 

I usually hear one of two things when talking to triathletes about swimming:

  1. “I love swimming, it’s the best” or
  2. “I hate swimming, it sucks.”  

 

If you’re one of the latter thinkers, it’s time to brush those negative thoughts away and dive in head first to our 7-Day Swim Challenge!


Each day we will start out with a short video from Coach Jess to both educate and motivate you so you gain both the knowledge and energy to tackle the challenge.

 

Let's get this party started with Coach Jess' THREE most important technique cues. Click below to find out what they are:

What the What?

 

What’s the number one secret to improving your swimming, you ask?  

 

Wait for it...it’s not JUST KEEP SWIMMING!  

 

If your technique isn't on point, extra hours staring at the black line aren’t going to do you much good. Improving your technique first and foremost is a WIN / WIN, or #winningwinning! You will not only get faster, but you will also be more efficient in the water.

 

FACT: The less energy you need for the swim, the more you have for the bike and run  

 

Let’s break this down into the top three techniques to focus on when working to improve your swim:

  • Body Position - Make sure your body is as high and flat on the surface as possible.  Look straight at the bottom of the pool and push your shoulders down slightly to elevate your hips and legs.  Keep your butt up!!  Your feet should be just below the surface and your butt slightly out of the water.

  • Underwater Pull - Make sure you keep your elbow high.  This technique allows you to propel your body using your hip rotation instead of trying to muscle your way through the water - save that energy for later (you’re going to want it).

  • Breathing Technique - Keep your head in line with your body and rotate all in one swift movement.  This keeps you from lifting your head up and allows you to maintain a good body position.

Why the Why?

 

“When am I supposed to fit in this extra swim training? I don’t have time!”

 

I hear you.  We are all constantly juggling a million balls in the air and adding in any more training time may seem impossible. Springtime is a perfect time to try swimming 4-5 times per week to really work on your technique and improve your overall fitness. Then cut back to 3 times / week during your season and still maintain your fitness gained.

 

Challenge ~~ Today we challenge you to head to the pool and determine which of the three technique issues Jess described above plagues you the most. Share on social media which of the three you are going to dedicate this week or month to work on:

 

Choices: Body Position, Underwater Pull, or Breathing Technique


Post your completed challenge on social media to win giveaways and connect with some of our other challenge participants. Not only does posting on social media show all your friends how awesome you are, but it keeps you accountable while your are entered to win rad prizes!

 

Note: You must use #RTTCswimfaster in your Twitter/Insta/FB post in order to be entered (so we can find you) and every post earns an entry!