Friday, October 26, 2007

How to Swim in an Overheated Pool

Indoor pools are notorious for being too hot for lap swimmers. Unless the pool managers have made a concerted effort to attract lap swimmers with cooler temps, one can expect the indoor pool to be very warm - too warm for any serious lap swimmer (leading to early fatigue and body hydration loss). Then there are the schizophrenic pool heaters that are either on or off (too hot or too cold). Pools with these dysfunctional heaters are "like a box of chocolates ... you never know what you're gonna get." I come from the school of the schizophrenic pool heater so my advice is based on that. This leads to the question, if hot water lap pools are so pervasive, what is the best way to swim in them and still get a good workout. Here are my ideas:
1. Always bring a water bottle pool-side and drink from it regularly throughout your workout. Some non-lap swimmers may think a water bottle pool-side is loco (crazy). No! You will get hot if you are doing any significant workout in a hot pool and you will sweat and lose body fluids. You just won't notice it.
2. Don't go at a high-speed for a long period in hot water. You can do sprints, but take lots of breaks at slower speeds or do some wall-hanging to let your body recover (just like you might on a hot day on an athletic field).
3. I like to use the hot water days as a good time to do long-pull, slow swimming. This builds the muscles and is a great way to perfect your form (e.g., roll, stretch, arm position, etc). You can use cold water days for the cardio.

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