Wednesday, September 03, 2008

Trim Speed - Some Findings about Swimming Slowly

Are you doing yourself a favor when you take it easy one day and swim slowly? While I do a pretty good job of getting myself to the pool daily, it's not uncommon that I find myself with little motivation to actually push myself hard. I once considered these slow days as a treat since I knew I would not find myself feeling the burn in the last half of the workout. That's a good thing, right? Not so fast (no pun intended). I find that on my slow days, things actually hurt more!

On these "off" days, I envision myself gliding through the water effortlessly, like a sea otter, enjoying his pond. Problem is, when I do the slow thing, I don't find myself gliding so much as I find myself slogging through the water. Sure the first few laps could give one the idea that things are fine, but after a while that goes away. Only when I pick the pace back up does that glide come back.

It seems that there is a minimal speed my body must have to achieve a comfortable swim. If I go too slowly, my body wants to sink such that the glide next to impossible. I must make a conscious effort on these slow days to not go too slow such that my forward progress is impeded by gravity. Often I'll have to feel the pain of the extra effort needed to move forward before I realize that if I just pick up the pace - even just a little bit - things will actually be easier.

My conclusion? Keeping one's pace up to its minimal trim speed is essential to comfortable swimming.

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