Thursday, February 07, 2008

Finding Your Trim Speed

If you've ever ridden in a speed boat and seen how it accelerates from zero, you'll notice all the effort the boat makes to get started. Once at speed, the bow lowers parallel to the water and the boat skims almost effortlessly through the water. I'm finding swimming is like that.

When I have my days where I'm achy or tired for whatever reason, my speed is naturally slower than usual. It's these days I notice that the effort to just go slow seems unreasonably difficult. Shouldn't it be easier to swim slower than faster? I find that the answer, surprisingly, is no. If I can break out of the achies - sometimes just working the muscles for a while helps - and I can pick up my speed, the "efforting" I'm engaging in seems to actually decrease. Yes, you read that right. I find myself streaming through the water easier, my strokes more efficient, and my speed unproportionally faster for what additional extra effort I've engaged. This is because my body becomes more horizontal in the water (as opposed to the more diagonal angle of slow speed). It's my trim speed.

This may explain, at least in part, why some fast swimmers are seemingly less tired after a long workout than slow swimmers after a short effort. Sure fitness has a lot to do with it, but finding and maintaining your trim speed helps a lot too.

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