Thursday, January 17, 2013

Vasa Ergometer Training begins

This week we received our first workouts for the Vasa Ergometer from Coach Eric Neilsen of Fort Collins, CO. He's an ASCA (American Swim Coaches) Level Four Certified Coach, triathlon coach,  Ironman Hawaii World Championship finisher, All American Masters Swimmer, and Vasa user/advocate.

Each workout includes a purpose/focus (technique, pacing, acceleration) and the "why" of how it relates specifically to the triathlon swim. There's a warm-up, main set and cooldown, just like the pool, with plenty of the structure that I enjoy. I'm keeping a log on a separate page of my blog but will provide periodic updates here too.

Unlike the pool, there was obvious and visible sweating - on me, the swim bench, and on the floor!!

It was suggested we take some video to help track progress, so I did. I ended up logging just about 1200m in about 22 minutes (not including rest breaks). The video is a 4 minute sampler.

It really sounds like I'm fussing a lot in the video, but it's more that I still can't believe what a tremendous workout the Vasa Ergometer provides! (How it kicks my butt!) I put in 2500y swim workouts 3x a week, I'm a year-round gym goer/strength trainer and can crank out pull ups (see 45 pull ups on 45th birthday), but the Erg is some serious swim-specific power and endurance building. I have it set to the lowest resistance setting. But, considering I struggled to log 500m on it when I started, I am making progress.

The design of the Erg, and the location of the pulleys is such that it really encourages the powerful high elbow catch position. That is where I look forward to developing strength and endurance. And I feel somewhat qualified (PhD, Human Factors Engineering, Virginia Tech, 2007) to comment on the fact that the Ergometer is very well engineered for this human's biomechanics. There's never a time that I'm thinking about the equipment vs my swim. It's very natural.

I'm using the Ergometer in conjunction with my pool swims, with Coach Jim helping me to integrate the two. One cool thing, we are expecting a heap of snow later today that may prohibit me from getting to the pool tomorrow morning. For once I am not worried about it. With the Erg right here in the house...and a large towel to mop the sweat...I'm all set!

(Incidentally, one of my Endurance Films Racing Teammates, Nick Logan, uses the Vasa Ergometer too as does a fellow One-on-One Endurance athlete in Virginia Beach. It's popping up more and more on the triathlon scene!)