Want To Get Faster? Change It Up a Little

Posted on September 5, 2010


When I approached the last practice before the long Labor Day weekend, I wanted to send the athletes off with something fun but also extremely productive, both mentally and physically.  (With a longer training cycle coming up this fall, I like to change things up now to avoid monotony and major boredom!)

The more times a team changes it up, the more the kids will get into it and work even harder than the normal 2-3 hour, 6-8K meter practice on Saturday morning.  So we decided to have a little fun; this time with a biathlon.  And guess what? The athletes loved it!

Set Up and Warm Up

We set up two ropes lines for a transition area to put on shoes, get drinks or whatever, and then we began with a 45 minute warm up set to get the heart rate going. (Roughly 2500 yards.)

The Biathlon

The athletes hopped out and I explained they would run 6 laps around the greater pool area (1.25 miles) with a built-in area where they would have to do 2 jumps and an army crawl. After the run they would enter the transition area, and then do a “zig-zag” 500 yard swim.

Knowing me as a coach, they then asked, “How many times do we have to do this?”  5 times for the 13 and olders, 4 for the 12 and unders!

So by the end, they had run 6.25 miles and had swum 5600 yards (warmup included).

The kids really did enjoy doing something different while getting a great workout.  Make no mistake though, it was a race.  Heart rate was up for roughly 1 hour and 03 minutes for the winner and swimmers trickled in from then on.

So Why am I Telling You This?

I am a big believer in trying different training methods, working with kids to create a great environment for success, and keeping them mentally engaged all year!  Yes, most of the athletes were working through pain, but most of them said they loved doing that even more than the regular 6-8k yards of wall tag.

I would be willing to bet the heart rate was higher than their normal workout as well.  Another thing it does for the team is create some great bonding…suffering together to come out stronger on the other side!  To top it all off, our great parents brought all sorts of snacks for after practice.

What a great way to end the week and enter into a long weekend. Happy Labor Day, everyone!

And for those interested, here’s photos from our Blue Dolfin Biathlon, or as we like to call it, “Blu-Athlon.”