Swimming and hydration – Issue #49

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Swimming and Hydration Newsletter

Dear Friend,

In an effort to educate beyond the realm of swimming, and respond to the many requests I’ve had for this topic, I’d like
to touch on nutrition today.

Also I have included a workout today that has some “speed work”, something that often gets forgotten about by triathletes training in swimming.


Gatorade and Sports Drinks

I see swimmers in my workouts bringing their Gatorade bottles or other sports drinks to the pool with them, and sipping them throughout practice. Hydration is good most of the time, but is water enough or do we need something extra while we work out?

There are a wide variety of sports drinks available, most containing some type of glucose (sugar), and many with various amounts of electrolytes. These can be helpful in long training or competition. However, according to Dr. Phil Maffetone (coach of 6-time Ironman champion Mark Allen), in short workouts of an hour or less, “only plain water matches the needs of every athelete.” (Eating for Endurance, 74, 1999). Maffetone goes on to say that “consuming large amounts of carbohydrate drinks before workouts or competitions can have an adverse affect on performance.”

This assessment makes sense to me. Overloading your body with carbohydrates tends to give you a quick boost of energy followed by a slow “crash” where you will actually feel more tired.

(This is discussed further in my bonus ebook, Burn More Fat, which comes with The Complete Guide to Triathlon Swimming.)

If you love your Gatorade and even drink it during shorter workouts, try watering it down. Notice the affect it has on how you feel. Experiment with other, non-sugar containing electrolyte products like SmartWater. These drinks also contain electrolytes and a small amount of sodium which can help with your recovery.

The key is to find what works best for you, while keeping in mind that the highly commercialized sports drinks contain a lot of sugar. This can be hard for your body to process in short workouts, and can add extra, unneeded calories to your diet resulting in potential sluggishness and unwanted weight gain!

Workout of the Month

Even triathletes need to work some speed into their swim training. This can help you to learn to shift gears while in a race. Remember, however, never sacrifice technique for speed!

Cruise= an interval you can make consecutive 100s on easily with about 5-10 seconds rest
Choice= any stroke, including freestyle
Descend= get faster through the set
Ascend= start fast and get slower through the set

WARM UP: 300 Choice

DRILL: 12×50’s
#1-4) Kick, Choice
#5-8) Free Golf
#9-12) Build

MAIN: 5×100’s @ Cruise +:10 – #1, 3, 5 HARD
200 Easy- Pay attention to your technique
10×50’s @ Cruise +:10
#1, 5, 10 HARD
200 Easy
SPRINT/BREATH CONTROL: 4x(4×25’s) Rest= :10 per 25
Set #1: Descend 1-4 (#4 is an all-out sprint)
Set #2: Descend 1-4 (#4 is an all-out sprint)
Set #3: Decrease breaths by 25’s (i.e. 3, 2, 1, 0 breaths per 25)
Rest 1:00

1×25 Underwater
Set #4: Acsend 1-4 (#4 is smooth and easy)

WARMDOWN: 125 yards/meters

TOTAL: 2850 yards/meters