My triathlon training x-factor

This blog entry represents the time period between 1/3/13 and 2/18/13 in the training log of David Nijhawan.

David Nijhawan

David Nijhawan

I am an average Joe.

I am an average Joe. Nothing more, nothing less. I maintain a rigorous work schedule, drink beer, eat pizza, love my Philly cheese steak, and depending on the day, relish in terrible Chinese food. That said, in full disclosure, Vasa, Inc. is, and remains, my favorite client of all time. I was Vasa’s business banking officer when I lived in Burlington, Vermont. I have since left Vermont, but Vasa’s impact on my fitness, notwithstanding dietary habits, revolutionized my swim and triathlon training.

If I wanted an edge, I needed an X-factor.

Let’s take a step back. I took a trip to San Diego California at the end of 2012 to visit a girl, but more importantly, to train with her as we both planned on racing Ironman 70.3 Oceanside in March of 2013 as well as Ironman Cozumel in November of 2013. I swam regularly with the Burlington, Vermont masters swim program during the fall of 2012 and felt good about my swimming. However, on a cold, day-after-Christmas swim, I struggled to keep up in the middle of the pack in the rough waters of La Jolla cove. I knew at that moment, if I wanted an edge, I needed an X-factor, something that would force me to perfect my form and stroke so that the same didn’t occur three months later.

Immediately upon my return to Burlington, Vermont, I made a conscious effort to integrate the Vasa Trainer into my workout. In fact, in a sheer act of bravado, I vowed to not swim once until the race unless it was a time trial. I elected to train exclusively on the Vasa Trainer for my swim training. Besides, it was too damn cold to walk to the pool even two blocks away! And so it began, my obsession and love for my Vasa Trainer. Don’t get me wrong, I also bought a CompuTrainer for my bike and I achieved great results on that on my bike times, but something about swimming and training on the Vasa Trainer captivated me. As my endurance athlete idol put it, the CompuTrainer had my heart, but the Vasa Trainer had my soul.

I fit my Vasa workouts in whenever I could.

I fit my Vasa workouts in whenever I could. This usually resulted in only two sessions per week, easily under 20 minutes each. Like I alluded to above, I have a regular job, two dogs, and based on the food selection I described, I like to party. That said, when pushed hard in a group, I can keep a 1:45 or so pace on the 100 without killing myself. Now, I will reveal this: On my first trip to San Diego, I did get “chicked,” meaning, a girl passed me. I know, I know…it’s juvenile, but at least I’m honest. To make sure that wouldn’t happen again, I basically followed some of the “canned” workouts presented in the Vasa manual and stuck with that.

I outweigh all of my friends by nearly 70 lbs. I smoked them.

Fast forward six weeks and I found myself at the Mission Valley YMCA masters class in San Diego with my friends. In their eyes, I was an idiot. In my eyes, I was a risk taker. Keep in mind, I promised myself to never actually swim unless it was a time trial. This was no exception. In sum, the Vasa Trainer forced me to perfect two things: 1) early vertical forearm, and 2) high elbow catch. I outweigh all of my friends by nearly 70 pounds. I smoked them. In my times, I consistently brought my 100’s down to around 1:21. This result is atypical; however, it proves unequivocally that the Vasa Trainer works. Moreover, it forces the swimmer to “swim” with perfect form.

In all honesty, I don’t have time to swim much anymore, but I do have time to work on my Vasa Trainer. I do jump in the pool from time to time just to envelop myself in my chlorine dreams, but when push comes to shove, Vasa does the trick. Perhaps you should try it, too.

E-mail me with questions: [email protected]


Related Posts

2
Jun

How to Swim Freestyle Better: Overcoming a “Monospeed” Stroke

A common limiter for many swimmers is the tendency to maintain the exact same hand speed through the entire stroke.  This is especially noticeable in those who began swimming as an adult. Top masters swimming coach Eric Neilsen initially brought this concept to our attention. He refers to this limiter as swimming with a “monospeed” […]
12
May

How to Use Setbacks to Swim Stronger

Setbacks are opportunities to use creativity, grit, and determination to swim stronger. It takes a special person to turn adversity into successful learning and improvements.  There are many forms of setbacks, whether they be an injury, illness, limited pool availability, race cancellations, and more. Over the years, we’ve been fortunate that Vasa athletes and coaches […]
15
Apr

Ask the Coach How to Swim Faster - Part 3

This is part 3 in a series of blog posts where we ask important questions to successful coaches in the Vasa community.  Here are their answers to an important question: What are the primary differences in how triathletes & open water swimmers should approach swim training versus competitive pool swimmers?  Coach Dan Daly: “Triathletes and […]
11
Apr

15 Reasons to Swim at Home

How It Will Help You Swim Stronger, Better, Faster What? Swim at home without a pool? Yes, you can and thousands of athletes have been doing it for years. Did you know that dryland training from home is one of the best ways for swimmers, triathletes, and surfers to stay consistent and make improvements in […]