Saturday, March 19, 2011

Spring = Open Water Swimming


It's the same thing I've said about swimming a million times - Put me in a swimming pool and I don't love it, but put me in the open water, and I do.

As far as I'm concerned, a pool is to swimming as a treadmill is to running or a trainer is to cycling.  I have a lot of trouble getting excited about working my ass off while moving...nowhere.  And believe me, I don't say this with any form of purist defiance.  There are plenty of times where the ability to make the most of these workouts would come in handy.  But I rarely, if ever, can bring myself to get into a cardio session at the gym.  I think the last time I ran on a treadmill was last August in Las Vegas.  Because the one thing that's worse than a treadmill is 110 degree heat.

Actually, pools aren't THAT bad.  I've been doing a lot of 50 and 100 yard intervals lately and I've caught myself enjoying them.  It's just that swimming in the open water is fun. 

I've been hitting the beach for a couple weeks now.  The water is still a bit chilly and takes about 5 minutes to get over the face freeze, but then it's fine.  I've been swimming in Alamitos Bay in Belmont Shore.  I'm not sure this was intentional or not, but there is a buoy line that is EXACTLY a 1/4 mile long.  So it's really easy to track distance.  I've tried doing sets of 440 yard intervals, but with the currents it's nearly impossible to hold pace.  So I mostly just swim 440 repeats and am a bit more casual about rest times.

Though there is no doubt that better swimming comes from structured workouts, I also think it's important to train like you race.  So there will be a lot of open water swim training throughout the coming season.

Alamitos Bay, Belmont Shore
When I was working out the distance of the buoy line, I used mapmyride.com to double check the distance against my Garmin.  And while I was plotting it out I couldn't help but notice the swimmable loop around Naples Island.  So I measured that too.  It's about 2.6 miles.  I'm going to have to find someone to spot me on a kayak or paddle board one of these days and do that swim.

12 comments:

SSB said...

I love open water swimming. We have a beach here with three buoys 500 M apart. We do 500 M repeats every friday. We go pretty hard and give ourselves :30 at each end. Early season we start with 2 repeats (+ 500 warmup and 500 swim in/cool down, and by the height of the swim season we are doing 6-8 repeats for 4-5K workouts). I think they are my favorite weekly workout.

Caratunk Girl said...

I am 100% with you on open water swimming, so I am VERY jealous of you swimming right now. My lake is still frozen - the river is open though, but about 39 degrees with ice chunks floating down it.

I want that shirt too. So funny.

Jason said...

I would love to have that type of water to swim in in terms of a loop like that. Yes, you will need a kayak buddy or a SUP buddy but the ability to do that is great.

Jennifer said...

Open water is my favorite! We just don't have a lot of locations to do it unfortunately. Good for you with finding a good place. Your killing it Patrick with the these workouts!

Jim ... 50after40 said...

Put me in any kind of water and I sink like a rock ... I have no idea how you multisport guys do it! Impressive!

Julie said...

Open water swimming is my favorite part of tri training!! I <3 peeing in my wetsuit. Screw the pool.

Megan said...

I'm too much of a wuss to swim right now. Ask me next month though and I'll probably be in the water. I hate the pool and the fact that you hit a wall, literally, every 25 yards. I love the feeling of swimming forever in OW.

misszippy said...

I really envy your ability to get to open water for swimming! You're right--the pool is like a treadmill.

Jeff - DangleTheCarrot said...

We've been able to get in a few OWS already and have another planned next weekend. I like doing the OWS when in a group because I will try to keep up with the former college swimmers - one heck of a workout.

BUT when alone I will hit the pool just so I can do arm burning interval after arm burning interval!

Kovas said...

I'd rather be surfing - body surfing is excellent for sprint intervals.

That loops looks really cool. Maybe we'll add the loop to the half you planned out. Now we just need the bike portion.

Colleen said...

Our pool is 20 meters... talk about BORING! but we can't get into the OW until late May (and even then, it's shockingly cold). Enjoy the open water... I'm jealous!

Aimee said...

The pool is pretty boring, but since I can't do any open water swimming until May, I'm stuck with swimming at the gym! Blah!

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