Struggling on the swim can stem from a lot of different reasons, with the main one being that most people don’t grow up swimming very much when compared to either running or biking. We do these two activities since the time we’re fairly young, but if you didn’t grow up with a pool in your backyard or down the street, it’s unlikely that you were able to swim very much.
But now that you’re swimming regularly as you train for your upcoming triathlon races, it’s important to understand that certain techniques you are doing while you are swimming are slowing you down and making you spend more energy than you should. The biggest problem most people have when swimming is keeping their head up.
Why You Should Drop Your Head While Swimming
The key to swimming is all about being efficient and the easiest way to not be efficient is to lift up your head while swimming. The reason is twofold:
1) When you lift your head while swimming, the water is going to smack you in your face or forehead while you’re trying to propel yourself forward. This causes unnecessary drag that will slow you down and tire you out prematurely. (Not to much the fact that your neck will get tired and sore pretty fast.)
2) Along with the water hitting your face, keeping your head up also causes your backside and legs to fall down in the water. This is even worse in terms of causing drag because when your legs drop, your whole lower half is no longer in a straight line with your upper body. You then have to work even harder to maintain your speed and momentum.
So how do you keep your head down while swimming? It definitely takes practice. When you go to the pool, don’t worry so much about going all out. Instead, try to think about lowering your chin into your chest so that the water runs over the crown of your head. Another trick you can do to keep your head down is to focus on the bottom of the pool. By directing your eyes towards the bottom of the pool, you’ll naturally be able to keep your backside down and improve your overall swim form.