It’s Tuesday again (where is the time going?!) and I’m back for another Tri Talk Tuesday, linking up with Courtney, Miranda, and Cynthia! Oh and I cannot believe it’s July… seriously… that’s just plain crazy.
Today’s topic is: Swimming Tools and Gadgets.
For today’s post, I’m focusing on both open water and pool swimming essentials.
Before this year, I was not using many tools. With the Ironman on the horizon, I now rely on pieces of equipment to make me not only a stronger, more efficient swimmer.. but a faster swimmer! I will also list things here that are VERY useful, but aren’t tangible things that you can buy…
1. Join a Masters Swim Team. Honestly, joining a Master’s team 4+ years ago was the best decision I ever made. I had never swam on a swim team and it was SUPER intimidating at first. ‘I don’t know how to do flip turns‘, I thought. I was worried I wouldn’t be fast enough to keep up either. Swimming with my teamates has made me a faster swimmer and I’ve made friends in the process. It’s been amazing to see my progress at practice over the years. You can find a local Master’s team here.
2. TRX strength work- upper body exercises. Since starting Ironman training, I have been doing TRX strength work. My coach has me doing exercises such as: Standing Y (deltoids), Back Extensions, Single Arm Rows, Atomic Push-ups (killer!).. etc.. A bonus is, a lot of these exercises on the TRX incorporate your core muscles! I do the exercises twice a week. The best thing is, you can take your TRX anywhere with you…
3. Watch videos on technique, like Swim Smooth. I have an issue with ‘over gliding’ and these videos help me to visualize what I need to change to have a more efficient stroke! You can subscribe to their mailing list and get videos for free.
4. Aquasphere Kaiman goggles.. the only goggles that stay on my face and don’t hurt. They also never fog or fill up with water… not kidding. I get the ones for ‘small faces’ because my head is child’s size haha.
5. Own two swim suits (or more). I use one-pieces for pool swimming and two-piece suits for open water swimming. Having the two piece in open water, makes changing on the beach a WHOLE lot easier post swim.. and you are less likely to flash someone. I just bought a new one from TYR, which I love!
6. Mesh swim bag. This bag from swimoutlet.com is less then $8 (on sale now!) and can hold your swim essentials. It’s roomy and is mesh, so it airs things out.. no sense in having your wet gear in a closed off bag… yuck.
7. Tools for the pool: Swim buoy, kickboard, fins, paddles AND the dreaded ankle band! The ankle band was introduced to me by my tri coach. Talk about a challenge… it’s way harder than an pull buoy, you feel like your legs are sinking, but it helps you to use your core and propel forward. I’m winded after 25 yds of ankle band swimming. You literally bind your ankles with a band and try to swim, good times. Also, I’ve been loving fins lately, to work on using my hips/glutes more when I kick!
7. Tip: Wet your hair with fresh water BEFORE you get in the pool. I used to just jump in the pool with dry hair, but little did I know, it was ruining my hair. Now I jump in the shower before practice and let me hair soak up the fresh water before getting in the chlorine. It makes a world of difference for your hair post swim… try it out:)
8. Tri Swim Lotion for after the pool. I love the lotion espeicially since reduces the chlorine stench post pool session. It’s also paraben free and has no animal testing! I really notice a difference when I slather this stuff on after the pool.
There you have it… what are your favorite swim tools? What helps you get stronger in the water?