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Discussion: Kicking

in: kissy; kissy > 2016-05-30

May 31, 2016 2:47 AM # 
Have your triathlon training peeps talked about kicking? I recall hearing a theory once that kicking doesnt give you much in the swim (5% or so of your speed?) but takes a lot of energy, so it's worthwhile to kick only minimally and save the legs for the bike and run. I have no idea if this is a serious theory or not but I was a fan, since I'm pretty sure my kicking slowed me down. :-)
May 31, 2016 3:49 AM # 
Yes, we have talked about that. But, honestly, I was not kicking at all. So, just adding a little bit...nothing extravagant...should help.
May 31, 2016 3:46 PM # 
I float pretty well without kicking, so I don't kick much either, and I think that hurt me when I was faced with turbulence. I started back to swimming to rehab the ankles, and it was painful to kick then. Now, I need to add at least some kicking to counteract sinking in busy water.
May 31, 2016 5:44 PM # 
Yea, I'm trying to avoid that whole sinking scenario.
May 31, 2016 6:57 PM # 
That's really interesting to hear - kicking makes a huge difference in my speed. I guess my arms must be weak!

Kicking (at least to start) is also a good way to carve out space for yourself if it's an open water swim. The more vigorously you start, the more likely you are to find your way to an open spot you can get down to focusing on keeping going rather than just fending off other thrashing swimmers!
May 31, 2016 7:51 PM # 
There must be some peculiar efficiency to your kicking, Tori. I don't swim much anymore, and I can't say that I ever felt a lot of propulsion from my weak and ineffective kicking.
May 31, 2016 8:11 PM # 
Tori, when you kick with a kickboard, do you actually make it to the other side of the pool before passing out from exhaustion?
May 31, 2016 8:32 PM # 
LOL. No! I'm always sucking after kicking. That's the funny thing. I hate kicking and I almost never do it (because swimming is my active rest day and my legs usually hurt). But when I just work arms, I seem to drag...and when I consciously kick steadily, my splits drop.

I did some moderate pull last week. 100m, about 2:05 with a 10s interval between, no paddles. With paddles, I'm right around 2:00, 1:58 if I'm working at it. And with nothing at all and concentrating on a steady kick (and breathing right side every time, no alt breathe here), 1:48ish.

So I guess I'm more in the 10% range. Or perhaps it's that I push harder when I'm kicking, and I just can't bring myself to push all that hard when it's just pull? I always was a bit of a problem for my swim coach...
May 31, 2016 8:59 PM # 
@Cristina - NEVER!!
May 31, 2016 9:16 PM # 
@Cristina - I will have to give that a test the next time I swim.
Jun 2, 2016 1:50 PM # 
Based on a little triathloning years ago, I offer the following observation. Kicking experience will vary quite widely. Individual buoyancy varies quite a bit, natural posture in the water (and the resultant degree to which you're streamlined) varies, size of the feet varies, leg length as a proportion of overall height varies, etc. The takeaway is that 3 triathletes could have completely different experiences of whether their kick does anything worthwhile. Your mileage will vary.
Jun 2, 2016 9:45 PM # 
So I tried it out in the pool yesterday. At the start of my workout, huge difference. At the end, almost none. My breaststroke kick is more efficient (and easier to breathe) than flutter kicking if it's just kick alone.

I think I'm just lazy about pulling hard. Thanks for giving me something to think about!

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