Adjusting the Swim Workouts in your Triathlon Plan

I designed the off-season and sweet spot triathlon plans with 3 levels of swimming workouts built into every level of training plan so you can match the workout to your swimming ability-

Unfortunately, this means swim days look pretty crowded in TrainingPeaks! It’s easy to pick the swim workout that matches your ability and then delete the other 2. You’ll need to have the Premium level of TrainingPeaks to delete future workouts so make sure you’ve applied the 30days of free premium coupon code you received after purchasing your plan!

From the default Calendar view in TrainingPeaks, click the 3 line menu button on the swim workout you want to remove to bring up the delete option, then click ok to remove it. In this example, I’m going to keep just the Intermediate swim workout:

Have more time to spend in the pool? Sweet! Instead of deleting the swim workouts you don’t want, you can move one of them to another day for some bonus yardage! Click on the swim you want to move, then drag & drop it to the day you want:


And just like that, there’s some another swim on Saturday that can be done before or after the run workout! Now you’re ready to train!

Copyright 2017, FasCat Coaching

Nadia Sullivan is a Senior Coach at FasCat Coaching in Boulder, CO.  To talk with Nadia or a FasCat Coach about setting your multisport training and swim workouts please call 720.406.7444, or fill out a New Athlete Questionnaire to set up a Coaching Consultation. Additionally, check out any of  Nadia’s FasCat Multisport Training Plans for only $49 that include field tests where you can set your training zones.


Open Water Pool Drills for Triathlon

Open Water Pool Drills for Triathlon

Maybe you’ve just signed up for your first triathlon. Maybe you’re just looking to get more comfortable in the chaos of water swimming. But even if you are part fish, you’ll still want to sharpen your open water skills if you do all of your training in the pool. Here’s a list of some drills you can do in the pool to get you more comfortable in the chaotic and claustrophobic conditions you may encounter in your race. Just grab some friends and head for the pool!

Sighting in Rough Water

Find a strong swimmer who can swim the butterfly stroke and have them swim down the lane in front of you while you practice sighting a water bottle or other object on deck. The butterflyer will create a lot of waves that are a great simulation of rougher open water! If you don’t know anyone who can swim butterfly, ask the lifeguards or swim instructors at the pool if they can suggest a volunteer for you!


With a swimmer of similar ability or speed, do a few laps trying to stay right on each other’s feet without running into them. When you are both comfortable with this, try moving up to the other swimmer’s hip for an even stronger draft effect. Make sure you’re breathing toward their hip and not away from it so you don’t get a mouth full of water!

Corkscrew Swim

This is a technique that you can use to switch quickly & gracefully onto your back if you need to catch your breath or you can incorporate it into open water turns! To swim the corkscrew, swim with 1 arm doing a freestyle stroke and the other arm doing a backstroke stroke. This will cause you to spin through the water like a corkscrew. Try to keep the pulling effort even in both arms so you stay straight as you go down the pool. Then switch arms. Be careful not to swim this stroke too far, it can make you dizzy!

Closed Eyes Swim

This is just like it sounds- close your eyes and try to swim a length of the pool. If you can’t make it without hitting a lane line then you need to work on keeping your stroke more balanced. If you pull to the right, you may be crossing over on your left arm or have a weaker pull on the right. If you can have someone take video of you doing this drill, it will be easier to see what you need to wfix in your stroke. The easier this becomes for you, the more likely you will be able to stay in a straight line in the open water & keep the course distance closer to what it’s supposed to be!

All in One Lane

Get your group of friends all to join you in the same lane. Have everyone swim to the other side all at the same time with the slower swimmers in the front and the faster ones in the back chasing the front. This drill is better with more people, just make sure you all agree to be friendly! If someone gets nervous from the close quarters, they can just duck under the lane line into the next lane.

Tandem Swim

This is a fun one to do with a buddy and helps you both work on being comfortable near other swimmers while working on your core strength, body positioning and breathing. Have one person swim in the front doing the arm stroke while the other person grabs their feet and kicks. The person kicking will get a lot of practice breathing in rough water and the person pulling will have to stabilize their core to hold their hips up. Be sure to swap positions!

6 Weeks to your first Sprint Triathlon

Beach Starts & Exits

If you have a zero-entry pool, you can practice running and diving into the water just as you would in a race start from a beach. You can also practice exiting the water like it’s a beach! Just don’t run completely out of the water and onto the slippery pool deck!

Deep Water Starts

In the deepest side of the lane, move out away from the wall so you are treading water. Lengthen out on your side as if you are claiming your space on the start line. Give a big, strong sidestroke scissor kick to get you started as you pull hard & fast to get up to speed. Sprint halfway down the pool at a race effort, then relax & cruise the rest of the way into the wall. Do several of these in a row to get comfortable with that big starting kick.


These drills are great to do at the end of your swimming workout when you are a little tired because any errors in your stroke will be more obvious! Have fun with them and good luck in your race!

Copyright 2017 , FasCat Coaching

Nadia Sullivan is a Senior Coach at FasCat Coaching Boulder, CO and a lifelong competitive swimmer.  To talk with Nadia or a FasCat Coach about improving your swim, bike, or run, please call 720.406.7444, or fill out a New Athlete Questionnaire to set up a Coaching Consultation. Additionally, check out the Multisport Training Plans for only $49 that Nadia designed!


Coach Nadia Sullivan

Pacing the Bike for the Boulder Half Ironman Age Group Athlete

by Nadia Sullivan, June 2016

This year, the Boulder Half Ironman course was changed to 1 lap of the full course. That means athletes will get a chance to experience the rolling climb up Nelson Road that the 140.6 athletes love so much! And with that rolling climb, there’s a few fast descents and some long false flats to get you back to transition. So what does this mean for your bike pacing on this course? It means you shouldn’t be trying to hold a steady effort the entire way, even if you have the gearing for it!

So how should you ride it? Let’s look at an example male & female mid-pack age group triathlete. We’ll assume they’re on mid-range tri bikes with average wheels & a road bike helmet and we’ll pace them on the course using Best Bike Splits (BBS). To keep things simple, we’re going to say that they are from the area and are therefore adapted to the mile high elevation. Our example male athlete is 170 pounds and riding around an 80% average at 200 watts across the entire course. He may have the gearing to hold 200 watts at an aerobic cadence up the steeper sections of Nelson Road, but that means he may not have the best gearing for the fast descents on Highway 36. Using Best Bike Splits, we can plug in his stats and get a much better idea of where he can push the watts a little more and still maintain that 200 watt average over the course and still be set up for a solid run.

We can see that while a there’s a nice little hill right out of transition, our athlete keeps the effort only a little above his target average at 210 watts. The first jog down the Diagonal Highway is a false flat so he’s cruising below his target average to keep his legs ready for the longer climbs. When he turns back up toward Highway 36, the watts are now at or just above his target average, peaking briefly at 240 watts which is still below his threshold. Niwot Road is another fun false flat so he can get some rest. N.63rd St. has rolling hills so he’ll hit the quick ascents at 200-210 watts & relax on the quick descents. He’ll be spiking the watts shortly after the turn onto Nelson Road where the grade gets steep but he’ll still keep it below threshold and average about 230 watts back up to Highway 36. There’s still some climbing to get the to highest point on the course, but from there he can let his legs relax again and spin around 180 watts all the way down to 73rd St. where the terrain gets a little more interesting again. For the last 5 or 6 miles, he’s back up to his target average pace of 200 watts up the false flat of the Diagonal as he preps for the run.

For an average mid-pack woman at 125lbs, pacing will be very similar: relaxed on the long false flats and just below threshold on Nelson Road. But her time will be slower due to her lower power to weight ratio. Riding at 80% would have her averaging 135 watts, a little more than 1 watt/Kg lower than our example man. She’ll average about 18.5mph to his almost 21mph.

So if you’re racing the Boulder 70.3 this June, plan to take it a little easier on the false flats so you have more in the tank for Nelson Road. Just make sure you keep it below threshold because it’s tempting to stand up & hammer on some of those climbs but you’ll pay for those kinds of efforts on the run.

Good luck & hope to see you out there!

Copyright, 2016, FasCat Coaching

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Coach Nadia is a multisport endurance coach with FasCat Coaching in Boulder, CO  To inquire about working with Coach Nadia and pacing the bike leg properly of any triathlon, please call 720.406.7444 or fill out a New Athlete Questionnaire to set up a Coaching Consultation.