Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Because the pool is your best training buddy

Here is an article from one of the emerging sources for everything related to swimming. After all, the best way to become a swimmer is to act like one.

Being a good swimmer is a bit of a catch-22. Lots of people (ok maybe just a few) seek my advice but very people take it. I am not complaining, I recognize that is just the way it is. People want to get better at swimming but very few people actually do what it really takes to see improvement in the pool. People think I don't understand. People think I am a good swimmer because I grew up swimming. While this is indeed true, what is often overlooked, is how hard I continue to work at swimming. One of the sad facts is that I am very close to my ceiling of potential. If I want to get better at swimming, or stated more accurately, return to the shape I used to be in, I would have to make some major changes in how I train in the pool. I would probably have to swim everyday and double my weekly yardage. My goal is not to put my swim fitness on the back burner but to bring my cycling and running up to the same level. But what are you doing? Are you ignoring the swim to only focus on your strengths?  Unless you are one of the top tiered swimmers on the triathlon circuit I would venture to guess you could benefit from doing a little more focused swimming. The biggest excuse I hear when it comes to swim training is "I just don't see any minimal improvements being worth the time investment." Valid reasoning, if that is what you believe. Unlike running and biking, improvements in swimming takes a lot of time and a lot of repetition.

The normal pattern for most triathletes is to enter the off season by dumping all swim and bike training. They pick up a few running races and focus entirely on running. I get it. You want to stay fit . . .

   ...and running does not require a big time commitment,
   ...and running is more social,
   ...and running races does not wreck your body,
   ...and it is too cold to bike and swim but not too cold to run,
   ...keep 'em coming

But if mid- triathlon season you are getting demolished at races and wondering what you can do to improve your swim I would like you to entertain the idea that right now, in the belly of the off season, is the time to invest and improve in the pool. In order to inspire you to take a dive in your local aquatic center this off season, I have prepared a series of swim related blog posts. I have written a few but I also asked some local triathletes to offer their perspectives, stories, and opinions. So what if you did not grow up on the local swim team, everyone has to start somewhere and you have to start in the pool!

Unless this is you, you should swim more