General Discussion Triathlon Talk » When to move the swim outdoors Rss Feed  
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2019-09-27 3:04 PM


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Subject: When to move the swim outdoors
I am completely brand new to triathlons and want to do my first sprint next fall. I plan to work on my swimming indoors for the winter as I live in WI. When do WI athletes usually move to open water training in the spring? Is there a certain month or water temp you wait for?


2019-09-28 7:09 PM
in reply to: awappel

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Master
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Columbus, Ohio
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Subject: RE: When to move the swim outdoors
I'm in Ohio, which is not as cold as Wisconsin. Unfortunately you might need to wait until as late as May or June.
Water temperatures are funny. For example, 50 degrees doesn't sound that cold when that's the air temp. But 50 degree water is only 18 degrees from ice.

I've done races in Wisconsin with a water temp of 52 degrees in a full wetsuit and it seemed dangerous. I couldn't feel my face or feet, and my body reflexively wouldn't allow me to put my face in for the first several strokes. Many people dropped out, and several people received medical attention.

60 degrees feels COLD but won't hurt you if you keep moving and wear a wetsuit.

70 feels cold when you get in but is fine if you are moving.

78 is a typical competitive lap swimming pool temp.

82 to 86 is what the old people at the YMCA like the pool to be.

98.6 is your body temperature, and therefore feels neither hot nor cold.

Hot tubs are 102 to 104.
2019-09-28 8:26 PM
in reply to: alicefoeller

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Master
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Subject: RE: When to move the swim outdoors
Are there any power plan lakes near you? they will normally be a few degrees warmer and may get you in the open water sooner.
2019-09-28 9:20 PM
in reply to: awappel

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Master
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Eugene, Oregon
Subject: RE: When to move the swim outdoors
I think it depends mostly on water temps and your tolerance for cold. I've swum outdoors (with a wetsuit) in water as cold as 55 for 30 minutes or so, but really haven't found myself able to get in an effective workout in temps below 60-62. That is okay with a full wetsuit, neoprene hood, and maybe booties (I'm pretty cold-blooded), but it does feel cold to put your head in. In Oregon and Idaho, where I've lived in the US, those temps usually happen sometime in early June; maybe a bit earlier if spring is unusually warm. No idea about Wisconsin. Obviously depends on spring/early summer weather, and also the body of water--a smaller, shallower lake will warm up a lot faster than one of the Great Lakes!

2019-09-30 3:48 AM
in reply to: Hot Runner

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, Kowloon City
Subject: RE: When to move the swim outdoors
Originally posted by Hot Runner

I think it depends mostly on water temps and your tolerance for cold. I've swum outdoors (with a wetsuit) in water as cold as 55 for 30 minutes or so, but really haven't found myself able to get in an effective workout in temps below 60-62. That is okay with a full wetsuit, neoprene hood, and maybe booties (I'm pretty cold-blooded), but it does feel cold to put your head in. In Oregon and Idaho, where I've lived in the US, those temps usually happen sometime in early June; maybe a bit earlier if spring is unusually warm. No idea about Wisconsin. Obviously depends on spring/early summer weather, and also the body of water--a smaller, shallower lake will warm up a lot faster than one of the Great Lakes!




Originally posted by alicefoeller

I'm in Ohio, which is not as cold as Wisconsin. Unfortunately you might need to wait until as late as May or June.
Water temperatures are funny. For example, 50 degrees doesn't sound that cold when that's the air temp. But 50 degree water is only 18 degrees from ice.

I've done races in Wisconsin with a water temp of 52 degrees in a full wetsuit and it seemed dangerous. I couldn't feel my face or feet, and my body reflexively wouldn't allow me to put my face in for the first several strokes. Many people dropped out, and several people received medical attention.

60 degrees feels COLD but won't hurt you if you keep moving and wear a wetsuit.

70 feels cold when you get in but is fine if you are moving.

78 is a typical competitive lap swimming pool temp.

82 to 86 is what the old people at the YMCA like the pool to be.

98.6 is your body temperature, and therefore feels neither hot nor cold.

Hot tubs are 102 to 104.


(All the numbers below are for skin swimming)
40 degrees is too cold for an effective workout. Anything below that qualifies for ice swimming. (I can only do about 30 minutes in such temperature and need an hour of rewarming afterwards in such temperature)
50 degrees is really cold, but a proper workout of distance swimming is still possible.
60 degrees feels cold but won't hurt if you keep moving. This is channel swimming temperature.
70 feels cold when you get in, but it is warm if you are moving.
78 is standard swimming pool temp, the upper limit for comfortable swimming.
82 to 86 is too hot for high-intensity OW swimming and will lead to performance deterioration, or even possibly heat stroke.
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