How To Warm Up Before You Swim

I don’t swim all that often these days, but I used to swim 15k to 40k a week during my pro days. 

Before every swim, before I even entered the water, I would do a short dynamic warm-up on the side of the pool – or on the beach beside the ocean.

This warm-up did two things for me.

  1. It loosened me up, got the blood flowing, and improved my range of motion.
  2. It mentally prepared me to jump into cold water.

Anyone who has ever swum somewhere cold will know the horrible feeling of jumping into a cold pool in the middle of winter. Anything you can do to improve that experience is a wonderful thing.

What is a Dynamic Warm-Up?

A dynamic warm-up is a series of movement drills used to warm up your body before exercise.

An effective dynamic warm-up increases your range of movement and blood and oxygen flow to your muscles, tendons, and ligaments before they’re called upon to do a serious training session.

These movement drills reduce your risk of injury from increased elasticity in the muscle.

Cut Race Times, Not Corners.

Racing at your potential and enjoying training is easy when you’re following the right programme.

How To Do A Dynamic Warm-up

  • Find an area with plenty of space to move within.
  • Make sure you target and activate the same muscle groups you are about to use in training.
  • Simulate a similar movement pattern you will do during training to warm up your tendons and ligaments that support your joints.
  • Ease into each movement and gradually increase your range of motion.
  • Each warm-up that you do should last between 3-10 minutes.

Ready to Warm-Up? Here’s How …

I demonstrated some of my favourite warm-up exercises for swimming in the video above. So watch that and give the exercises a go. They will help you warm up various muscle groups and prep you for your swim.



Five Common Mistakes That Lead To Running Injuries

Running’s a high impact sport.

Almost all runners that have spent any significant length of time training have likely suffered some form of injury – mild or severe.

In fact, I read that up to 79% of people who run each year get injured. 

Bugger me! That’s a lot of people.

While some injuries are unavoidable, and we all have a different predisposition to injury, there are several things that runners commonly do to increase their risk of injury and sabotage their performance.

This article will identify each and recommend what you can do to avoid these costly mistakes.

1. Running Too Fast, Too Often

The intensities you train at throughout the week play an essential role in your development as a runner.

Get them right, and you’ll quickly progress while minimising your chances of injury. Get them wrong, and poor performance and injury will plague your running.

Over the past 13-years I have been a professional coach I have witnessed many thousands of lactate tests conducted in our lab. What these results have continually shown is that most amateur runners are training too hard too often.

It’s the number one training mistake we see, and it’s wreaking havoc on the performance and bodies of many aspiring athletes.

Easy and slow are not the same thing. Neither is hard and fast. You can be running slow and working hard because you’re unfit. Likewise, you can be running fast and easy because you’re incredibly well-conditioned.

Most runners we see in our lab don’t understand this distinction and are running in a grey zone. The grey zone is a pace too fast to train your aerobic system properly but too slow to correctly train your anaerobic system.

The result is a comfortably hard pace that gives you limited improvement and leaves you prone to overtraining and injury.

If you haven’t already determined your training zones, you should. It’s critical. You can do this in many ways, but my preference is to use testing. You can test in a lab like the one we operate here in Singapore or use field testing to approximate your lactate threshold and determine training zones.

Once you have determined your training zones, I recommend training by heart rate (regardless of your pace) for zones one and two and pace for zones three, four and five (irrespective of your heart rate).

Around eighty per cent of your training should be in zones one and two. The remaining twenty per cent should be in zones three, four, and five.

Cut Race Times, Not Corners.

Racing at your potential and enjoying training is easy when you’re following the right programme.

2. Running Too Long

Another common mistake I see among amateur runners is running too long in single runs. So often, runners think that they must run 30km, or more, in preparation for a marathon irrespective of the time it takes.

The longest runs professional runners do in their preparation for a marathon is 2:20 – 2:30. Yes, they cover a significant distance in that time, but that is not the point. It’s the time that matters. Esteemed running coach, Jack Daniels, explains this idea well in this short video.

An elite runner like Eliud Kipchoge may cover 40k in a 2:30 long run, but you have to understand that his intensity is relatively low – he’s just supremely conditioned. 

You also have to understand that the number of steps he takes in that 2:20 is probably similar to what you would take in 2:20. 

If you’re running for more than three hours, you’re likely taking significantly more steps than him and putting your muscles and connective tissue under significant strain. Add to that that you’re probably far less technically efficient than him, and you can understand why your risk of injury is so high.

I recommend that you cap your long run to a ceiling of 3-hours. For most Coached runners, we usually schedule significantly less than that, and it works.

If you want to run more volume, do it through frequency, not longer single runs.

3. Running Too Much

If you’re just starting and motivation is high, it’s not uncommon to want to run a lot, but you must be careful. As you begin your running journey, your heart and lungs will typically respond pretty quickly with improvements in fitness.

Unfortunately, your connective tissues don’t often develop at the same rate as your cardiovascular system. You’ll usually start to have niggles or suffer injuries if you ramp up your training load too quickly.

For each individual, there’s a sweet-spot weekly distance, above which you’re far more likely to get hurt. For me, during my pro days, that threshold was around 80km per week. It may be less or more for you. 

Either way, learn from your mistakes and don’t copy other athletes’ training just because it works for them.

Be progressive in your approach and seek out the advice of experienced runners or coaches to help guide you.

4. Always Running On Hard Surfaces

If you live in a city, as I do here in Singapore, it’s common to do most of your running on hard surfaces. Surfaces like concrete put significant stress on your legs, and the impact over time can cause harm.

Just because concrete is accessible and convenient doesn’t mean you should do all your running on it. Instead, I recommend you seek out a variety of terrains and surfaces to run on. The softer surfaces will put less stress on your muscles, joints and connective tissues while helping to make you stronger.

5. Poor Lifestyle Habits

Most runners only have 30-minutes to 2-hours to run each day. That leaves 22 – 23.5-hours every day to make decisions that can positively or negatively impact your training recovery and performance.

When you’re not training, you need to consider what you can do to impact your health and performance positively.

The obvious ones are getting plenty of sleep and eating whole foods that are minimally processed.

The less obvious but also important ones are:

  • Mobility training. Do some stretching, foam rolling or strength training.
  • Massage. Get a regular massage or use a massage gun to help keep your muscles in good condition.
  • Meditate or spend time offline in silence. Your brain uses roughly twenty per cent of your total daily energy. Let your brain rest
  • Move. There are plenty of sedentary athletes. Outside of training, they barely move from their desk or the couch. Don’t be a sedentary athlete. Move frequently to increase blood flow and help clear byproducts produced during training.

While injury is common among runners, it’s not a full-blown conclusion. There are many things you can do to minimise your risk of getting hurt. 

Start implementing the advice above into your training – I am confident it will help. If you’re struggling with niggles or training in general, we’d love to help.

Inside Coached

How We Work: Season Planning

This article is the first in a new series I’m calling How We Work. I’ll post these periodically to share how we work with our athletes and run our business. I hope you enjoy these. 


When athletes sign up for Coached, we first want to understand their goals and what they hope to achieve. 

Most athletes join Coached to improve their performance. Some come to reduce their likelihood of suffering injuries. Some want to lose weight, and others are just looking for structure.

Structured training is essential if you want to make any meaningful long-term progress. Without it, many athletes race too often, progress their training too quickly or don’t get enough rest. The end result is poor performance, injury or illness and usually, a drop in motivation.

Regardless of the goal, we do season planning.

Season planning at Coached is where we discuss and define the big picture objectives. Here, we structure the training cycles and recovery periods that our athletes will follow throughout the year. We also set a testing schedule at this point to determine training zones and track progress. 

We use a Google spreadsheet for season planning. Athletes add any races, challenges, or goals into the corresponding week in the season plan template. In the focus column, they set their race priority – A-Race, B-Race or C-Race – so we know how important each race is to them.

A-Races are most important, and we recommend two to three A-Races per year. B-Races are somewhat important, and C-Races are not important and are often used as training.

Computer screen displaying a season plan template in a Google spreadsheet

Athletes can easily add comments to provide additional context and information.

Computer screen displaying a comment in a Google spreadsheet

Once the athlete has added their races and goals, a coach reviews it and defines what type of training plans to build and when. We have two types of training plans inside Coached – race and fitness plans. Each comes in a variety of distances.

Computer screen displaying a season plan template in a Google spreadsheet

Our training plans are fully automated, so athletes can quickly create their training plans by answering a series of questions. We’ll talk about this in a future article.

After the athlete has answered the questions, Coached has profiled them, and they have set their schedule and saved their training plan; our coaches review the plan.

Most of the time, the training plan is good to go. 

Sometimes, we make manual tweaks. The tweaks to the automated training plan are necessary when a race has unique requirements, like ultrarunning, where the distances and elevation profiles vary considerably between events. If an athlete is racing many back-to-back events, manual changes may also be necessary.

Whenever races are postponed or cancelled (thank you, Covid) or goals change in any way, we revisit the season plan and adjust things. While we don’t like to make sweeping changes once we have set the original plan, this document is fluid, and we do look at it frequently when answering athlete questions or thinking about training strategy.

With goals set and objectives clear, the athlete is now able to execute their training with confidence.


A Coached Triathlon

It’s been a long time since many of our triathletes could participate in a real triathlon. 

While some races are now happening worldwide, and we recently had athletes participating in Ironman events in Spain, the UK and the USA, there are no significant race opportunities for our athletes here in Singapore to tackle.

That’s a shame, so we decided to host a small triathlon for the triathletes we coach. We’ve been hosting small running events for our runners since Covid started, and we thought, why not do one for the triathletes?

The Details


Half Ironman: 1,900 m swim, 90 km ride, 21.1 km run.
Half Half: 1,000 m swim, 45 km ride, 10.5 km run.

Start Time

7:00 am


East Coast Park, Singapore

The Focus

A Sense Of Purpose

With no events to target, many of our athletes have been struggling for motivation. Despite its tiny stature, this event was enough to offer some athletes a purpose to focus on and structure their training towards.

Cut Race Times, Not Corners.

Racing at your potential and enjoying training is easy when you’re following the right programme.

The Skill Of Racing

Racing is a skill, and like any skill, it takes practice to master. While this was a low-key ‘race’, it still required our athletes to go through the racing process, and we tried to instil a small race vibe to the event.

Practice Pacing
The ability to pace yourself correctly in each discipline – swim, bike and run – is critical for any athlete looking to perform at the highest level of their competency. Push too hard too early, and your race performance will suffer. You’ll recover more slowly too.

This triathlon was a chance to practice the skill of pacing.

Practice Fueling
To achieve the best outcome in any race, you need to fuel correctly throughout the event. Training is a great place to practice fueling, but a low-key event like this one is an even better opportunity to determine a race fuelling strategy and practice it at race intensity. 

This triathlon was a chance to practice the skill of fueling.

Practice Mental Skills
Swimming, cycling and running at race intensity, especially for hours, is challenging, requiring mental skill and resilience. 

This triathlon was a chance to practice the skills of focus, grit and resilience.

Practice Technical Skills
We made each course a short loop, and athletes swam, cycled, and ran multiple loops. We did this for several reasons, like safety, and for athletes to practise their technical skills. Loop courses have more turns and to manage them well, you must practise.

This triathlon was a chance to practice technical skills in each of the disciplines.


While the government social distancing rules certainly limited us, it was still an opportunity to participate alongside teammates and interact with each other. 

Athletes always thrive in the company of their peers, and it was nice to see our team supporting and pushing each other to do their best.


We’re wrapped with how the event went, and judging by the feedback we got from our athletes, they were too.

With the success of this triathlon under our belt, we’re planning more for our athletes in the coming months.