Swimming is such a great workout. It’s very difficult for me. It’s sort of like yoga. I don’t really like doing it, but when I’m finished I feel great. Therefore, I refer to it as a necessary / beneficial part of my exercise routine, at least during the summer months. I eventually would like to participate in triathlon’s, therefore, I’ll have to suck it up and swim at least once a week during the winter months as well. What prevents me from swimming during the winter now, is I am not a fan of the pool. The chlorine is really irritating. I grew up swimming in Lakes in the Adirondacks and Finger Lakes Region of NY. It was fun, challenging and just what my friends and I were used to. Not many people had pools. Everyone either lived on Oneida Lake/ river in CNY or walking distance to a beach or swimming hole. I’m hoping next summer to participate in my first triathlon, Irongirl, which is a sprint tri that takes place on Oneida Lake in Brewerton NY. The race will be nostalgic for me, since it’s the area I grew up in. It will be a blast swimming, biking and running the lake and roads I did as a kid….
Back to the benefits of swimming as a workout. I’m in the midst of Marathon training, so swimming is the perfect “active recovery” workout the day after a long run. Swimming gives my leg muscles and joints a rest after pounding the pavement for 3-4 steady hours. I refer to swimming as “active recovery” only in terms of running. Swimming is not an easy workout. It builds upper body and core strength. You also need to focus on your breathing, of course. It really gets your heart rate going. A lot of runners and cyclist don’t like to swim. For me, that’s what makes triathlon’s so appealing. The swim is the activity I need to focus on and practice the most, because it’s outside my comfort zone. I love a challenge.
As much as I’m not a fan of pools, I do swim laps (1/2 – 1 mile) once a week at the local pool. I don’t mind as much because it’s outside and I can bring my children. They enjoy hanging out swimming and diving with their friends, while I swim laps. Once my kids are a little older, I will be able to join the Bethlehem Tri Club (BTC) and practice swimming in a lake to get myself ready to compete. BTC, is a great benefit of the area I live in. They have lake swimming options at least 3 nights a week with coaches etc… You can also work on triathlon transition / bricks – swim to bike to run. Tri club doesn’t work for me now, because my workouts must be done in the early morning, which doesn’t involve lake swimming at 5:00am. Most areas have triathlon clubs. It’s a great way to meet people. Even if you’re not ready for triathlon’s, tri clubs are a great way to start exercising, especially if you’re not into working out at a gym.
Do you swim? Do you find it challenging? Do you find it a beneficial workout? Do you prefer open water or the pool?