Swim­ming on the Road

Triathlon Magazine Canada - - Con­tents Vol­ume 8 Is­sue 6 - By Kevin Mack­in­non

Swim­ming on the Road

How­ingrained is triathlon in my life? I still re­mem­ber my wife tim­ing me dur­ing my sta­tion­ary swim work­outs dur­ing our honey­moon in Lake Placid, N.Y. Since the ice had only just melted on Mir­ror Lake, my only swim op­tion was a tiny ho­tel pool, so I at­tached a short strip of sur­gi­cal tub­ing to the lad­der, put a har­ness around my waist, and swam minute-long sta­tion­ary in­ter­vals in or­der to main­tain some swim train­ing dur­ing our first week of mar­riage.

While you prob­a­bly won’t want to fol­low my lead dur­ing your honey­moon, there’s likely times when you’re on the road and find your­self des­per­ate to main­tain your swim fit­ness. Here are a few tricks I’ve learned over the years for get­ting in some swim-spe­cific train­ing.

Plan ahead.

1.One ath­lete I used to coach who was des­per­ately try­ing to qual­ify for Kona had to make a weekly trip to Chicago for busi­ness, which we ini­tially thought was go­ing to ham­per his train­ing goal. Af­ter a bit of re­search he found a masters pro­gram based just min­utes from his of­fice. He was able to co- or­di­nate his cal­en­dar so he was al­ways in Chicago on Fri­day morn­ings, which al­lowed him to make the masters swim a reg­u­lar part of his train­ing rou­tine. Even if you’re not off to one city on a reg­u­lar ba­sis, do some re­search be­fore your trip and find out if there are pools close to your ho­tel that of­fer early morn­ing or evening length swims.

Open wa­ter op­tions.

2.Much of my trav­el­ling is to triathlon events, which means there are of­ten open wa­ter op­tions. A con­ven­tion in Hawaii, Florida or a sim­i­larly warm cli­mate might of­fer some ocean swim op­tions right next to your ho­tel. While pack­ing a wet­suit might be a stretch, a swim-skin can pro­vide a bit of ex­tra warmth and a bit more f lota­tion for those open wa­ter ef­forts.

Check for rea­son­ably sized ho­tel pools.

3.Just 400 m from Iron­man’s Florida head of­fice, the Westin ho­tel has a 15 m pool that is more than ad­e­quate for short swim work­outs. Even if the ho­tel pool is shorter, I’ve found that even a 10 to 15 minute swim every sec­ond day makes get­ting back to reg­u­lar work­outs that much eas­ier. Af­ter a warm-up of about five min­utes, I typ­i­cally do a series of drills in­clud­ing one-arm swim­ming, catch up, head up crawl and sculling, tak­ing a short break of about 10 sec­onds af­ter every four lengths. One of my favourite short-pool sets is the “lo­co­mo­tor” set I cre­ated, which I do once or twice de­pend­ing on how much time I have and how long the pool is:

Bring out the har­ness.

4.If I find my­self stuck with a pool that’s too short for lengths, I’ll re­sort to my har­ness and sur­gi­cal tub­ing and do in­ter­vals of 15 sec­onds to a minute, with half-to full-re­cov­er­ies.

Bring some stretch cords.

5.When there just aren’t any wa­ter op­tions, you can use stretch chords or sur­gi­cal tub­ing to sim­u­late a swim work­out. I typ­i­cally bring th­ese with me dur­ing a run, then at­tach them to a fence or post out­side the ho­tel on my re­turn. Bend­ing at the waist, sim­u­late your swim stroke, fo­cus­ing on keep­ing a high el­bow dur­ing the “pull” phase of the stroke. You can ei­ther al­ter­nate arm pulls, do both arms at the same time or al­ter­nate be­tween the two. Try sets of 30 sec­onds to a minute, tak­ing a half re­cov­ery (15 or 30 sec­onds).

Take some time off.

6.If you know you’re go­ing to be away for a while with­out any swim­ming op­por­tu­ni­ties, plan ahead and do an over­load week in the pool. Sub­sti­tute a few run work­outs for swims dur­ing the week be­fore you leave so that you’re ready for a bit of a break when you’re on the road.

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