Training for the Sprint tri is supposed to begin Feb 1, per your calendar, but I'm a little unclear about what the 0:18 time means... (sorry!). Am I supposed to swim for 18 minutes?
We'll go over all the juicy details with respect to the training plan next Saturday in our orientation meeting and will have some handouts for you that will provide guidance on the plan but in the meantime, to answer your question, 0:18 swim on the plan is a guide for you to target a period of 18 minutes where you are actively swimming laps versus splashing around :-) Get in and get comfortable with the water first and foremost. Find a quite lane (if that's possible) and try to make a goal of swimming a few laps. The goal of the first few weeks in the pool is for you to get comfortable with the water. We'll have plenty of swim clinic opportunities to sharpen your skills in the water so no worries if right now you are only able to accomplish a few laps in that time period...
Ryan, 2011 NTP Co-leader
We should have more detailed notes going up on swimming soon, but in brief, no, you don't just swim for 18 minutes straight. Most swimming is done by intervals, 25/50/100 yards/meters. If you've not done any swimming lately, start with 25 yards/meters (one length of the pool). Swim down a length, stop at the end, catch your breath for 15-20 seconds (or 4-6 deep breaths), then repeat for the time suggested on the schedule.
2011 NTP Co-leader
Thanks so much for your quick responses, Ryan & Will! I did my 18 minutes today & I definitely needed to catch my breath after each length. In the beginning, 4-6 breaths did it but towards the middle/end, I needed more! I sure hope by June I'll be able to swim (is it the equivalent of 20 lengths) nonstop, or I'm in trouble!
The sprint distance is generally 500 meters, so slightly longer than 500 yards, which would be 20 lengths, non-stop. Keep in mind that during the race, you can't touch the sides or bottom, and there are others around you swimming. I'd suggest getting comfortable at more than 500 yards and learn to relax. Don't worry, the distance will come with practice.
Take advantage of the open water swim clinics when they have them. You'll get a good feel for the real thing. I know it helped me a lot!
Thanks for the tips, Bradford! I did think it was 20 lengths. It's comforting to know, though, that the distance will come with practice. I was feeling a little overwhelmed when I calculated that I had to do 20 lengths & then went it for my first swim & realized I could barely do 2 nonstop! & yes, I will take advantage of the open water swim clinics! Gotta get used to swimming in the Potomac River!
Another quick question- any recommendations for a nose guard/plug? Mine keeps falling off! And, are we allowed to use one during the actual tri?
Sorry I don't use nose clips, so I wouldn't have a good recommendation. I blow out through my nose the whole time my face is in the water.
Nose plugs are definitely allowed, as are snorkels (surprisingly), although I don't think they'd help much with all of the splashing.
Anything that floats or propels you , with the exception of a wetsuit, is not allowed.
Yes, I've been teaching myself how to breathe (& swim) properly... I started with a nose clip just so I could get the hang of blowing out while under water & breathing while above it. Now that I've gotten more used to that, I have to practice breathing out through my nose...