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Spring = Open Water Swimming

Posted Mar 20 2011 1:57am

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.
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