The Hotlegs Runner Wordy Wednesday: Swimming Issues | The Hotlegs Runner

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Wordy Wednesday: Swimming Issues

It started getting warm here in CA last week so I decided to get back in the pool and start my swim training already.  Haven't been in the pool for 3 months!  It's like I have forgotten that in order for me to be a triathlete this year (one of my goals for 2011), there's some swimming involved.

I would read blog posts and tweets of fellow triathlete bloggers daily talking about their swim training and I wondered, "how the heck can they swim in this cold weather?!"  I know I sound like a sissy.  But I grew up in a tropical country and since I just moved here, I'm still starting to get used to the cold.

That's issue #1 for me...

The Cold
With running, it's the struggle of getting myself out the door during those lazy days.  With swimming, it's actually getting myself in the pool.  Even in this warm weather, the 71 degree heated(?) pool still seems cold to me.  So I sit on the edge of the pool and dip my feet in for about 5 minutes.  Then I stand up and go a step down to get my knees in, and then another until the water is up to my thighs.  And then finally, I close my eyes and just jump in.  Seems like forever!  Doesn't that sound weird to you? Haha!  That whole ritual probably takes about 15 minutes!

I heard the open water can be really cold during a triathlon so I really need to get used to the cold. A.S.A.P.

Gladly, I only have two issues with swimming but issue #2 is a lot more important than #1...

Freestyle Ain't My Style
I don't know why but as much as I try, I am less exhausted when doing the breaststroke.  With the freestyle it seems like my body is struggling, while with the breaststroke, I can swim one whole mile (I actually did) and even think about what I'll cook for dinner or what I'll blog about next while doing so.  I am that relaxed with that stroke.  Maybe I was a frog in my past life, who knows. *shrugs*

While any swim stroke is accepted in a triathlon, I know that the freestyle can get you from point A to point B faster (though it doesn't seem like it in my case).  I also know that with the breaststroke, I'll be hitting other swimmers beside or behind me with my frog legs and circling arms and I might be hated for it.

I still do incorporate the front crawl (freestyle) when I train.  I know I need to... *sigh*

Just wanted to let this out.  It can get frustrating at times and I wonder if others have the same issues as well.  I like talking about my weakness but it doesn't mean I feel defeated or I'm giving up.  It just makes me feel, well, human.  I like talking about my achievements, but I also like acknowledging my weaknesses. Because overcoming them (and I know I will) will be a whole lot sweeter and something a lot better to share later on.  And It demonstrates what I know about myself, that I have a clear understanding of my strengths and weaknesses, and what I'm willing to learn.

Obviously, just like in running, the phrase "Suck it up, Buttercup!" also applies to this other sport.  Duh!  Just my luck.  Haha!

What are your issues (big or small) with your sport?

JuliePosts you might have missed this week:


  1. I know what you mean about the cold. Getting in the water is the worst but once you get in it isn't too bad... I might have been a frog too. Breaststroke is definitely more relaxing. Freestyle is definitely faster if you can get your stroke to where it feels more natural and less like a struggle. I would say do a combination of both. Breaststroke for a bit to catch your breath and to make sure you are still on course. Don't worry about kicking someone, it happens 1000 times in a tri.

  2. Have you taken swim lessons? Freestyle becomes easier if you get the technique and body position right. And keep going - sounds like you're off to a great start!

    71 degrees is really cold. Most good pools are about 80 degrees - so maybe a wetsuit will help! Do you have a hot tub you can go in first? I bake myself until I'm so hot that the pool feels refreshing.

    Good luck!

  3. Mixing strokes is the way to go, at least initially, save your energy for the bike and run!

  4. People are going to be hitting each other regardless of stroke in a triathlon. If the breast stroke is faster and easier for you, stick with that. Maybe practice freestyle a little bit every time you swim, but when you're out there, it will really come down to what you can do with ease. And you'll probably get knocked around anyway, because that's just how the swim portion of tris tend to go.

  5. While training for my triathlons I had the same too issues. For the triathlon I rented a swim suit and it was warm. Just make sure you practice at least once with it, because it is very different. You are floating :)

  6. I think the cold water would stop me from triathlons too. It's not so much the getting in, it's the getting out that I hate. Good luck.

  7. I SO envy your ability to swim outside right now! Alhtough, 71 degrees is gcold! I have a hard time getting in right now because its really cold out here. But there's a hot tub next to the pool, so that's my reward at the end of the workout! Keep at it--freestyle will be yours!

  8. oh

    I could not agree more.

    freestyle is NOT my style.

  9. Thanks for the advice everyone!

    @LaVonne great idea! thanks! there's a hot jacuzzi right beside our pool. I'll try dipping in the before the pool =)

  10. 71 *is* cold. the pool at my gym is 82, i think

  11. So I'm assuming ice-baths after long runs are out of the question.

  12. Ditto sa lamig at sa freestyle. Ang lamig din ngayon dito kaya di rin ako nakakaswim.

    Dun sa freestyle, try mo maghanap ng video exercises for T.I. swimming (Total Immersion). Mukhang ok sya. Trinatry ko rin sya sundan, parang mas relax sya kaysa dun sa dati kong ginagawa :D Though breaststroke is still my favorite stroke :D

    - Suzi

  13. so i stopped reading after your first sentence ;)

    it's funny how 70ish degrees is so warm for an air temp but so cold for swimming water! hope you find some warmth :)

  14. I suck at swimming...I can bike, I can run, but I cannot swim. My desire to do a tri is on hold until I convince myself to figure out how to swim properly...this could take a loong while!

    And with running, I'm not a fan of speed work...the necessary evil.

  15. For swimming tips check out Jeff at Dangle the Carrot and Jon at SwimCyclRun. Both guys are great swimmers and have videos and tips that will help your freestyle swimming.

    If it's breaststroke just do it and don't worry about those around you. They will have to swim around you and that is not your problem. Only concern yourself with your swim. In addition to that remember that you can't win a triathlon on the swim but you sure can lose it so save your energy and hammer down on bike and run.

    Cold water stinks for sure but I find that I jump in and start swimming and I warm up quickly.

  16. You're torturing yourself by SLOWLY Getting in the pool like that! LOL. Our indoor pool is sometimes set at 68 degrees and I think that can be pretty warm. You just got to jump in and go. The blood starts pumping and you warm up faster than you think!


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