The other day a non-triathlete friend of mine asked me why I swam so much. “The swim is the shortest distance of the three. Shouldn’t you spend more time biking and running?” He has a valid point, but I am not ready to cut back my swimming quite yet. In fact, I am ready to increase my swimming. In case you yourself are debating whether to cut back on your swimming, consider these arguments:
- A strong swim means a stronger bike and run: Many folks who neglect swim training waste a tremendous amount of energy in the water. They then get out of the water exhausted and, as a result, cannot push as hard on the bike, which further destroys their ability to run. Focusing on the swim in training allows you to get out of the water relatively fresh so that you can push yourself later in the race.
- It is a low risk aerobic exercise: Compared to running, swimming is relatively risk free as far as injury and taxing your anaerobic system. Therefore, swim workouts–even intense and long sessions–are a great way to improve your aerobic capacity (which is what you are and should be using primarily in the swim leg of a half and full Ironman distance triathlon) without risking getting injured but also recover and get ready for the next workout.
- Trains often forgotten muscles: As mentioned above, swimming helps you recover. Why? Swimming not only is non weight-bearing exercise but it also uses a very different muscle group than biking and running primarily in the glutes and upper body. Spending more time in the pool develops these muscles so you become more of a balanced athlete.
- People need the most help in it: Many triathletes do not have a swim background and therefore they need the most help on the swim. If you are an ex-varsity, collegiate swimmer then swimming may not be a limiter for you, so you can get by with minimal time in the pool. Unfortunately, this does not apply to me and most likely many of you, so instead of neglecting our weakness, we need to turn it into a strength.
- Makes you look sexy: Let’s be honest with ourselves, out of swimmers, bikers, and runners, swimmers have the best body, and if we are going to be training so much we might as well look good doing it.
Have I convinced you that you should be swimming more? What are your reasons?
Coach Chris and Kev