Guppy Challenge: Week 1

Week-1 of the Guppy Challenge begins Monday. Enter here; there is no cost to enter; but by entering you sort of self-commit to a process of improvement, don't you?

You need a Reader Forum account to enter (sign up here), and if you don’t have one of those they’re quick, free, easy, and you’ll help us get to our one-hundred-thousandth registered forum user. (We’re at 99,257, but I digress). The only other thing you'll need to do, if you haven't done so, is to answer some initial questions to get going on our Training Log. At that point you've done everything you need to do to enter Challenges, use our Training Log, post to our Reader Forum threads.

The Guppy Challenge is our 12-week swim program designed to get you to through the water quicker, more efficiently, more safely. And look…

Swimming is the one activity in triahtlon that is only partially fitness and strength dependent. Here’s an n=1 for you to consider. I raced the first Hawaiian IRONMAN held in Kona, back in 1981. I was fit and fast and full of beans at 23 years of age. I got out of the water that year in 1hr20min. Fast forward – way forward, almost 40 years – to 2019. I was a not-so-svelte 62 year-old competing on the Ho’Ala swim, the event held a week before the IRONMAN on that event’s swim course. This time I finished in 1:07.

Of course I didn’t have to bike or run, which might have sped me up by a minute, but I was undeniably a much faster swimmer in a much slower body. This is because you and I can get faster, regardless of age, if you apply a little time and diligence to solving the technical faults. We will tackle your stroke deficiencies, one by one, as the weeks progress.

Here are the first week’s workouts. This is an easy week; a get-ready week. The yardage will go up pretty quickly in future weeks. We will keep this to 3 swims a week, formally, but I’ll give you some of my favorite workout ideas if you want to do extra credit. We “grade” the Guppy Challenge by distance, so those extra credit workouts would serve to move you up the leaderboard. As to that Challenge, you enter it here. Workouts won’t count until Monday – that’s our official launch.

How do you get workouts to append to the Challenge? You can type them into our Training Log, and they’ll append automatically. If you use a device – like a Garmin or Wahoo GPS watch, or any device that generates a file that uploads to STRAVA – that data will sync up to STRAVA and then you sync that data back down to our Training Log. Once that data is down onto our Training Log it automatically appends to the Guppy Challenge.

The third way is if you’re a FORM goggle subscriber. Two things happen in this case. First, the Guppy Challenge workouts are already pre-loaded on the Goggle. Second, when you complete the workout the Goggle uploads the workout to STRAVA (if you’ve set the permissions accordingly), and then you can sync the workout down to our Training Log, where that workout populates on your Training Log account and automatically appends to the Guppy Challenge.

There’s a 20 percent off deal ongoing at the moment for Slowtwitchers, if you’re not yet a FORM subscriber. You go here and when you check out put – slowtwitch – in the discount or promo text box to invoke that discount.

If you become a Reader Forum registered user, you’ll be eligible to post to threads, and the 2 threads you’ll see pretty quickly is a Guppy Challenge thread for general questions; and a post-your-video thread where the swimmers on Slowtwitch will critique your technique and give you pointers to help you fix what’s wrong.

Right about this time every week you’ll see next week’s workouts posted, as a new sheet on the Google Doc that hosts each week’s workouts.

Slowman’s Buncha 50s

Here is your extra credit workout and it’s one I’m doing quite a bit these days. It’s pretty simple. Just a buncha 50s. The value of repeat 50s (50yd repeats) is that you have enough recovery to get your wind and strength back. Your technique won’t fail you due to a collapse of strength you might suffer when doing longer swims. Identify what you want to work on – technically – during this set and work on that. If it’s body position; your length in the water; your turn; whatever it is, just think about that every 50.

Rest every 10 seconds. Refer to my article of yesterday on Leave Intervals. Pick a leave interval that will give you about 10sec rest. So, you’ll be repeating your 50s on the :45, or the :50, or the :55, on the minute, on the 1:05, the 1:10, whatever it is you need that’ll give you about 10sec rest between each one.

How many should you do? You decide. I did these yesterday, and I did 40 of them, which makes for 2000yd workout. If you haven’t been swimming much, maybe that’s 20 x 50yd, or 30. Up to you. You really don’t need a warm-up. When I do a warm-up it’s usually in the form of repeat 50s, so, this workout is just kind of a warm-up set gone too far.