Is pool training relative to open water?

Discussion in 'General Fitness' started by Gsk, Sep 13, 2003.

  1. Gsk

    Gsk Guest

    I started doing sprint distance triathlons a few years ago and by training in a pool my swimming has
    improved considerably - in the pool. However, my open water times in tris haven't improved by that
    much over the past three years. It seems with the cold, murky lake water, wearing a wet suit, and
    people bumping, pushing at the start, I lose my composure and all my pool training goes right out
    the window. I've even noticed that in the excitement of it all, my stroke technique, breathing to
    both sides, etc. revert back to my old ways and all the work I've mastered in the pool is if it was
    never programmed into me.

    My running and cycling have improved much more than my swim in the tri events but by judging by pool
    times my swimming should be there also. Any suggestions on how to make my pool training more
    relevant to triathlon.
     
    Tags:


  2. on 5/29/03 10:59 PM, gsk at [email protected] wrote:

    > Any suggestions on how to make my pool training more relevant to triathlon.

    There are a few things you can do in the pool:

    1) Practice the "sighting" or "head-up" stroke you'll need to use in open water swims, lifting
    the head occasionally without throwing off your breathing pattern too much. You won't be able
    to do any actual sighting of landmarks or buoys, of course, but working on the stroke pattern
    will help.

    2) If the temperature of your pool allows (be careful on this) wear the wetsuit a bit in the pool,
    to get used to how it can/does affect your stroke.

    Otherwise, the only key to getting better and more used to open water conditions is, obviously, to
    do more open water swimming. Even the most experienced open water swimmers can find their
    breathing and stroke patterns thrown off by the various things you mention, at times, especially
    if its their first open water swim in a while. So much of it is merely the anxiety that comes from
    unfamiliarity-- we get so used to the (relative) clarity and calm of pools that the murkiness, the
    inability to see the bottom, the presence of waves and aquatic life can really, really throw us
    off our game. The *only* way to get better at dealing with these elements is to deal with them
    more, by doing more open water swimming-- especially, if possible, in the bodies of water you plan
    to race in.

    As to the problems of being in the pack-- the only way to really get used to that is to keep doing
    more and more races, and find out what position and strategy works best for you. Again, the more
    familiar you become with it, the less it will through you off your game-- and there's really not
    much you can do in the pool on this count. (Unless you can get a group of friends to swim up and
    down the lanes with you in tight formation-- but I suspect most lifeguards wouldn't be too happy
    with that....)

    --
    Shalom, Peace, Salaam

    George Grattan

    (This post is intended for a Usenet newsgroup only. Its appearance in any other forum that does not
    clearly identify it as originally posted to Usenet is therefore a misrepresentation, is done against
    my wishes, and may indicate other unauthorized distortions of content and/or context. Correctly
    attributed and/or unedited copies of this post in other forums do not necessarily indicate my
    willing participation in them.)
     
  3. gsk <[email protected]> wrote:
    >My running and cycling have improved much more than my swim in the tri events but by judging by
    >pool times my swimming should be there also. Any suggestions on how to make my pool training more
    >relevant to triathlon.

    Because of the constant breaks from turns and the nice convenient lines, pool swimming will never be
    relevent. No significant swells either. The pool can be used for form, and for speed work. But for
    racing, you gotta get out in the ocean. I almost never swim in a pool myself. Maybe keeping your
    eyes closed when face down would be worth something, I'm used to barely seeing my hands anyway.

    and given the size of the field and the distance of a sprint, it may be hard to improve,
    particularly if your' speed puts you in the middle. You might get more mileage figuring out how to
    get yourself open space, either by being a little on the outside, or sprinting the entry.

    --
    Jason O'Rourke www.jor.com
     
  4. Steve Curtis

    Steve Curtis Guest

    There are some shorter distance triathlons that conduct the swim portion in a pool rather than open
    water. I don't know of any race listings offhand, but a search might reveal a few.

    Steve Curtis
     
  5. On Fri, 30 May 2003 12:22:05 -0400, George Grattan <[email protected]> wrote:

    >on 5/29/03 10:59 PM, gsk at [email protected] wrote:
    >
    >> Any suggestions on how to make my pool training more relevant to triathlon.
    >
    >There are a few things you can do in the pool:
    >
    >1) Practice the "sighting" or "head-up" stroke you'll need to use in open water swims, lifting
    > the head occasionally without throwing off your breathing pattern too much. You won't be able
    > to do any actual sighting of landmarks or buoys, of course, but working on the stroke pattern
    > will help.
    >
    >2) If the temperature of your pool allows (be careful on this) wear the wetsuit a bit in the pool,
    > to get used to how it can/does affect your stroke.
    >
    >Otherwise, the only key to getting better and more used to open water conditions is, obviously, to
    >do more open water swimming. Even the most experienced open water swimmers can find their breathing
    >and stroke patterns thrown off by the various things you mention, at times, especially if its their
    >first open water swim in a while. So much of it is merely the anxiety that comes from
    >unfamiliarity-- we get so used to the (relative) clarity and calm of pools that the murkiness, the
    >inability to see the bottom, the presence of waves and aquatic life can really, really throw us off
    >our game.

    As do the pockets of hot and cold water I typically encounter in the lakes at this time of year.

    >The *only* way to get better at dealing with these elements is to deal with them more, by doing
    >more open water swimming-- especially, if possible, in the bodies of water you plan to race in.

    I find that doing a good warmup, some of it with fins, helps to get used to the different breathing
    patterns and get past the anxiety issues of swimming in the open water.

    >
    >As to the problems of being in the pack-- the only way to really get used to that is to keep doing
    >more and more races, and find out what position and strategy works best for you. Again, the more
    >familiar you become with it, the less it will through you off your game-- and there's really not
    >much you can do in the pool on this count. (Unless you can get a group of friends to swim up and
    >down the lanes with you in tight formation-- but I suspect most lifeguards wouldn't be too happy
    >with that....)
     
  6. gsk wrote:
    >
    > I started doing sprint distance triathlons a few years ago and by training in a pool my swimming
    > has improved considerably - in the pool. However, my open water times in tris haven't improved by
    > that much over the past three years. It seems with the cold, murky lake water, wearing a wet suit,
    > and people bumping, pushing at the start, I lose my composure and all my pool training goes right
    > out the window. I've even noticed that in the excitement of it all, my stroke technique, breathing
    > to both sides, etc. revert back to my old ways and all the work I've mastered in the pool is if it
    > was never programmed into me.

    But it sounds like you haven't done many triathlons, or you would have gotten the hang of it by now.
    Since the swimming leg is apparently your weakness, I guess I recommend entering a few open water
    swimming races, 2K or longer, so you are in the water longer and have long enough to experiment and
    see what works and what doesn't. Open water swimming, especially in a crowd or in wind or swells,
    requires a different kind of discipline and concentration.

    > My running and cycling have improved much more than my swim in the tri events but by judging by
    > pool times my swimming should be there also. Any suggestions on how to make my pool training more
    > relevant to triathlon.

    --
    Martin Smith email: [email protected] Vollsveien 9 tel. : +47 6783 1188
    P.O. Box 482 mob. : +47 932 48 303 1327 Lysaker, Norway
     
  7. Jason O'Rourke wrote:
    >
    > gsk <[email protected]> wrote:
    > >My running and cycling have improved much more than my swim in the tri events but by judging by
    > >pool times my swimming should be there also. Any suggestions on how to make my pool training more
    > >relevant to triathlon.
    >
    > Because of the constant breaks from turns and the nice convenient lines, pool swimming will never
    > be relevent.

    Wait a minute. Pool swimming certainly is relevant for building swimming endurance and top speed.
    These are related to water conditions, but gains in the pool will certainly translate into gains in
    open water.

    > No significant swells either. The pool can be used for form, and for speed work. But for racing,
    > you gotta get out in the ocean. I almost never swim in a pool myself. Maybe keeping your eyes
    > closed when face down would be worth something, I'm used to barely seeing my hands anyway.
    >
    > and given the size of the field and the distance of a sprint, it may be hard to improve,
    > particularly if your' speed puts you in the middle. You might get more mileage figuring out how to
    > get yourself open space, either by being a little on the outside, or sprinting the entry.
    >
    > --
    > Jason O'Rourke www.jor.com

    --
    Martin Smith email: [email protected] Vollsveien 9 tel. : +47 6783 1188
    P.O. Box 482 mob. : +47 932 48 303 1327 Lysaker, Norway
     
  8. Martin W. Smith <[email protected]> wrote:
    >But it sounds like you haven't done many triathlons, or you would have gotten the hang of it by
    >now. Since the swimming leg is apparently your weakness, I guess I recommend entering a few open
    >water swimming races, 2K or longer, so you are in the water longer and have long enough to
    >experiment and see what works and what doesn't. Open water swimming, especially in a crowd or in
    >wind or swells, requires a different kind of discipline and concentration.

    At the sprint distance, it's far less about the swimming and more about the strategies. For 400m,
    the exit range (includes entry and exit to wherever the timing pad is) is 5-6 minutes for the fast,
    7-9 for the bulk, and 10-12 for the slowe swimmers. Gaining a minute on your pool time may not get
    you anything just because of the chop, people, and course restrictions, nevermind the lack of the
    pushoff. Long OW swims get closer to pool performance as the contestants quickly spread out and
    there tends to be more room in the first place. It doesn't matter over 2k if some boners self seed
    themselves in the front where they don't belong. Or if you are polite and put yourself in the back
    unnnecessarily.

    --
    Jason O'Rourke www.jor.com
     
  9. Martin W. Smith <[email protected]> wrote:
    >> Because of the constant breaks from turns and the nice convenient lines, pool swimming will never
    >> be relevent.
    >
    >Wait a minute. Pool swimming certainly is relevant for building swimming endurance and top speed.
    >These are related to water conditions, but gains in the pool will certainly translate into gains in
    >open water.

    Top speed, yes, endurance, far less so. You build endurance faster in the ocean where you don't get
    to stop and rest on the side every time you want (as often as the turn every 25m). My lap pool is
    270m to a side, and it got me from 50m non stop to a 2400m swim in 6 weeks.

    --
    Jason O'Rourke www.jor.com
     
  10. Donal Fagan

    Donal Fagan Guest

    On Mon, 2 Jun 2003 18:51:13 +0000 (UTC), [email protected] (Jason O'Rourke) wrote:

    >My lap pool is 270m to a side, and it got me from 50m non stop to a 2400m swim in 6 weeks.

    You must have a big back yard!

    Donal Fagan AIA [email protected]'Fagan.com (Anglicise the name to reply by e-mail)
     
  11. Jason O'Rourke wrote:
    >
    > Martin W. Smith <[email protected]> wrote:
    > >> Because of the constant breaks from turns and the nice convenient lines, pool swimming will
    > >> never be relevent.
    > >
    > >Wait a minute. Pool swimming certainly is relevant for building swimming endurance and top speed.
    > >These are related to water conditions, but gains in the pool will certainly translate into gains
    > >in open water.
    >
    > Top speed, yes, endurance, far less so. You build endurance faster in the ocean where you don't
    > get to stop and rest on the side every time you want (as often as the turn every 25m). My lap pool
    > is 270m to a side, and it got me from 50m non stop to a 2400m swim in 6 weeks.

    I see the problem. Ever since Ebeneezer Flip invented the Flip turn, you no longer have to stop just
    because you come to a wall. People have been improving their endurance in pools ever since. You
    don't have to live near an ocean either.

    martin

    --
    Martin Smith email: [email protected] Vollsveien 9 tel. : +47 6783 1188
    P.O. Box 482 mob. : +47 932 48 303 1327 Lysaker, Norway
     
  12. on 6/3/03 4:06 AM, Martin W. Smith at [email protected] wrote:

    > Jason O'Rourke wrote:
    >>
    >> Martin W. Smith <[email protected]> wrote:
    >>>> Because of the constant breaks from turns and the nice convenient lines, pool swimming will
    >>>> never be relevent.
    >>>
    >>> Wait a minute. Pool swimming certainly is relevant for building swimming endurance and top
    >>> speed. These are related to water conditions, but gains in the pool will certainly translate
    >>> into gains in open water.
    >>
    >> Top speed, yes, endurance, far less so. You build endurance faster in the ocean where you don't
    >> get to stop and rest on the side every time you want (as often as the turn every 25m). My lap
    >> pool is 270m to a side, and it got me from 50m non stop to a 2400m swim in 6 weeks.
    >
    > I see the problem. Ever since Ebeneezer Flip invented the Flip turn, you no longer have to stop
    > just because you come to a wall. People have been improving their endurance in pools ever since.
    > You don't have to live near an ocean either.

    Very droll. :)

    But Martin, Jason's got a point: flip turns, while they can keep you moving, also give you a
    momentary pause and--most importantly-- a wall to *push* off of at the end of every length. This
    means that while one can certainly improve one's endurance during long pool swims, there's simply
    nothing quite like swimming long open water swims for improving one's endurance for...long open
    water swims.

    When you add the absence of a wall to push off of to the presence of currents, wave swells and/or
    chop, wind, etc. the pool experience gets further and further away from the demands of an open
    water experience. The best training for open water swimming is to swim in open water-- I think
    that's what the original poster was inquiring after. Long pool swims will help, yes indeed, but in
    the end it's like the difference between practicing driving on a closed course and practicing
    driving on an open road.

    --
    Shalom, Peace, Salaam

    George Grattan

    (This post is intended for a Usenet newsgroup only. Its appearance in any other forum that does not
    clearly identify it as originally posted to Usenet is therefore a misrepresentation, is done against
    my wishes, and may indicate other unauthorized distortions of content and/or context. Correctly
    attributed and/or unedited copies of this post in other forums do not necessarily indicate my
    willing participation in them.)

    >
    > martin
     
  13. Martin W. Smith <[email protected]> wrote:
    >> Top speed, yes, endurance, far less so. You build endurance faster in the ocean where you don't
    >> get to stop and rest on the side every time you want (as often as the turn every 25m). My lap
    >> pool is 270m to a side, and it got me from 50m non stop to a 2400m swim in 6 weeks.
    >
    >I see the problem. Ever since Ebeneezer Flip invented the Flip turn, you no longer have to stop
    >just because you come to a wall. People have been improving their endurance in pools ever since.
    >You don't have to live near an ocean either.

    It's not just that you get to do a push off every 40seconds, it's that you have an available rest
    stop every minute. If you feel tired, and someone trying to increase their endurance will feel
    tired, the temptation to stop easily leads to more rest than you really need.

    If you're swimming out in the Aquatic Park where I am, you can still stop if you need to - no need
    to hurt oneself - but if it's just mental fatigue you can usually keep yourself going until you hit
    the end buoys.

    BTW, the longest pool distance is but a mile. That's relatively short in the OW realm. Personally I
    find it much nicer doing 3 laps per mile instead of 32.

    --
    Jason O'Rourke www.jor.com
     
  14. Martin W. Smith <[email protected]> wrote:
    >Wouldn't we see more of the 1500 meter elite doing a lot of training in open water then, if it is
    >so much better for building endurance?

    If they're racing in OW, yes. And in any event, what works for the elite has little bearing here.

    --
    Jason O'Rourke www.jor.com
     
  15. Jason O'Rourke wrote:
    >
    > Martin W. Smith <[email protected]> wrote:
    > >> Top speed, yes, endurance, far less so. You build endurance faster in the ocean where you don't
    > >> get to stop and rest on the side every time you want (as often as the turn every 25m). My lap
    > >> pool is 270m to a side, and it got me from 50m non stop to a 2400m swim in 6 weeks.
    > >
    > >I see the problem. Ever since Ebeneezer Flip invented the Flip turn, you no longer have to stop
    > >just because you come to a wall. People have been improving their endurance in pools ever since.
    > >You don't have to live near an ocean either.
    >
    > It's not just that you get to do a push off every 40seconds,

    It sounds like your turns could use some work. A push-off is not a rest period.

    > it's that you have an available rest stop every minute. If you feel tired, and someone trying to
    > increase their endurance will feel tired, the temptation to stop easily leads to more rest than
    > you really need.

    I've done a lot of swimming in both pools and open water, and I never have any trouble stopping to
    rest in open water. I just lean my head back and zen out. You can do that in salt water. It's harder
    in fresh water.

    > If you're swimming out in the Aquatic Park where I am, you can still stop if you need to - no need
    > to hurt oneself - but if it's just mental fatigue you can usually keep yourself going until you
    > hit the end buoys.

    That kind of distance swimming is not necessarily improving endurance. You have to go hard, whether
    your in open water or not.

    > BTW, the longest pool distance is but a mile. That's relatively short in the OW realm. Personally
    > I find it much nicer doing 3 laps per mile instead of 32.

    But a typical distance training session in a pool would be at least 6K, and there would frequently
    be swims of 3K included. And I have never swam as hard for 6K in open water - even in a race - as I
    have during a typical distance training session in a pool. For one thing, in rough water, your
    stroke rate is necessarily lower than it would be in a pool.

    martin

    --
    Martin Smith email: [email protected] Vollsveien 9 tel. : +47 6783 1188
    P.O. Box 482 mob. : +47 932 48 303 1327 Lysaker, Norway
     
  16. Jason O'Rourke wrote:
    >
    > Martin W. Smith <[email protected]> wrote:
    > >Wouldn't we see more of the 1500 meter elite doing a lot of training in open water then, if it is
    > >so much better for building endurance?
    >
    > If they're racing in OW, yes.

    Endurance is independent of water conditions, unless you are talking about cold water. If you build
    endurance in one context, it will show in the other.

    > And in any event, what works for the elite has little bearing here.

    I agree. We mere mortals can build endurance in the pool just as efficiently as we can in
    open water.

    martin

    --
    Martin Smith email: [email protected] Vollsveien 9 tel. : +47 6783 1188
    P.O. Box 482 mob. : +47 932 48 303 1327 Lysaker, Norway
     
  17. Donal Fagan

    Donal Fagan Guest

    On Tue, 03 Jun 2003 10:55:31 -0400, George Grattan <[email protected]> wrote:

    >Long pool swims will help, yes indeed, but in the end it's like the difference between practicing
    >driving on a closed course and practicing driving on an open road.

    Maybe like cycling in a velodrome vs cycling cross country?

    Donal Fagan AIA [email protected]'Fagan.com (Anglicise the name to reply by e-mail)
     
  18. George Grattan wrote:
    >
    > on 6/3/03 4:06 AM, Martin W. Smith at [email protected] wrote:
    >
    > > Jason O'Rourke wrote:
    > >>
    > >> Martin W. Smith <[email protected]> wrote:
    > >>>> Because of the constant breaks from turns and the nice convenient lines, pool swimming will
    > >>>> never be relevent.
    > >>>
    > >>> Wait a minute. Pool swimming certainly is relevant for building swimming endurance and top
    > >>> speed. These are related to water conditions, but gains in the pool will certainly translate
    > >>> into gains in open water.
    > >>
    > >> Top speed, yes, endurance, far less so. You build endurance faster in the ocean where you don't
    > >> get to stop and rest on the side every time you want (as often as the turn every 25m). My lap
    > >> pool is 270m to a side, and it got me from 50m non stop to a 2400m swim in 6 weeks.
    > >
    > > I see the problem. Ever since Ebeneezer Flip invented the Flip turn, you no longer have to stop
    > > just because you come to a wall. People have been improving their endurance in pools ever since.
    > > You don't have to live near an ocean either.
    >
    > Very droll. :)
    >
    > But Martin, Jason's got a point: flip turns, while they can keep you moving, also give you a
    > momentary pause and--most importantly-- a wall to *push* off of at the end of every length. This
    > means that while one can certainly improve one's endurance during long pool swims, there's simply
    > nothing quite like swimming long open water swims for improving one's endurance for...long open
    > water swims.

    Wouldn't we see more of the 1500 meter elite doing a lot of training in open water then, if it is so
    much better for building endurance?

    Pushing off the wall during a flip turn isn't a rest period. Just doing the turn puts extra pressure
    on the lungs, which is a big reason why some swimmers resist doing them for so long. And, lest we
    forget, when you are swimming in open water, the absence of a wall doesn't mean you can't stop to
    rest. In fact, in the sea, your buoyancy is greater, so you can stop to rest anywhere without the
    need to tread water. And note that swimming in a fresh water pool is therefore more difficult
    because of the lower buoyancy, which I don't think you mentioned.

    > When you add the absence of a wall to push off of to the presence of currents, wave swells and/or
    > chop, wind, etc. the pool experience gets further and further away from the demands of an open
    > water experience.

    The experience effect has nothing to do with endurance. It has a lot to do with discipline. Swimming
    in all the things you list does not improve endurance. Swimming hard for increasing distances
    improves endurance. Interval training improves endurance.

    > The best training for open water swimming is to swim in open water-- I think that's what the
    > original poster was inquiring after.

    He asked if pool training is relevant to open water (racing)? Clearly it
    is.

    > Long pool swims will help, yes indeed, but in the end it's like the difference between practicing
    > driving on a closed course and practicing driving on an open road.

    ...which has nothing to do with endurance.

    martin

    --
    Martin Smith email: [email protected] Vollsveien 9 tel. : +47 6783 1188
    i.t. Box 482 mob. : +47 932 48 303 1327 Lysaker, Norway
     
  19. Martin W. Smith <[email protected]> wrote:
    >> And in any event, what works for the elite has little bearing here.
    >
    >I agree. We mere mortals can build endurance in the pool just as efficiently as we can in
    >open water.

    Like training will always be more effective for the non elite. If you're racing in a pool, train in
    one. If you're racing in triathlons, get to open water. Your limited training time will be much
    better spent.

    It's pretty much that simple.

    --
    Jason O'Rourke www.jor.com
     
  20. Martin W. Smith <[email protected]> wrote:
    >interval training is difficult in open water. And what about the fact that you don't swim as hard
    >in open water as you do in the pool? You can't because of the rough water. Your stroke rate will be
    >necessarily lower. That works against building endurance. And what about the increased buoyancy in
    >salt water? What is the real simple fact is that a person will normally train harder in the pool
    >than he will in open water.

    I don't accept it as factual.

    OW->pool as cross country running->treadmill. Perhaps you can go at a higher rate on it, but you'd
    be stupid to spend too much of your [limited] training time on it when you're not racing there.
    Generally you do better training in conditions harder than race day, not easier.

    You can in fact train hard in open water. You can do sprint intervals and long intervals, and timing
    between two buoys 270m apart as I do is no different than training against two walls 25m apart. My
    speed certainly isn't different. And because I don't have to share a lane with others, I can in fact
    train more consistently to my targets than you could in the pool.

    The buoyancy of salt water is yet another irrelevency. If you're racing in it, you can train in it.
    There can be a bit of a surprise if you do wetsuit saltwater training and then race in a freshwater
    lake, but that's life. If you more often race the later, find a lake. And of course, if you're
    racing in cold salt water, why on earth would you practice without a wetsuit in a clear vis
    freshwater pool?

    --
    Jason O'Rourke www.jor.com
     
Loading...
Loading...