General Discussion Triathlon Talk » Open water fitness vs the pool Rss Feed  
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2020-02-27 9:10 PM


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Subject: Open water fitness vs the pool
I think this is all in my head.

I swam 2.5km in open water this week (previous longest was 1.4km with a couple of 30sec rests). In my 2.5km swim I swam the whole return leg (so 1.25km) without stopping, and felt perfectly comfortable.

However, you put me in a pool and I'm knackered at the end of a lap. What's going on here?
I've been having lessons once per week to fix flaws and bad habits in my stroke - I learned to swim as a kid but never kept it up, and have only been back to it in my triathlon training for 2 months. So i'm happy with my progress.

But i'm frustrated that my pool fitness isn't there - am I just going too hard? I'll often start a length in the pool determined to take it easy, and find by halfway down the pool I'm going flat out. I don't (can't) tumble turn, so maybe I just need to learn to swim slower in the pool. A length isn't long enough to find a comfortable rhythm in the same way you do in open water, but now that I know i have the fitness to swim continuously, I'm frustrated that it doesn't translate to the pool.

Anybody out there experienced this? Any advice for me?
Thanks in advance guys!


2020-02-28 8:36 AM
in reply to: joes91

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Subject: RE: Open water fitness vs the pool

I can't tumble turn either and find that I do much better comparatively speaking in open water swims that I do pool swims.  I, however, find that in the pool I start out every lap determined to swim fast but by halfway through I am going slow, so my speed issue is the opposite of yours in the pool. When I got into Triathlon about five years ago and was trying to teach myself to swim front crawl and trying to see what I need to do to prepare for open water races vs. lap swimming in a pool I found an article written by a guy that did open water swim races for the coast guard.  He noticed that his open water swim speed was faster than his pool swim speeds at shorter distances.  It took him a few years to figure out what was different but it came down to the fact that in open water he was doing hip driven swimming and when he was in a pool he was doing shoulder driven swimming.  I wasn't sure what these were when I read the article but he had some drill to work on hip driven swimming and he also when through why hip driven swimming was the most effective for open water swimming and any race distance over 400m. 

I did four sprint triathlons last year.  Two were open water swims (although one had the swim canceled due to severe weather) and two were pool swims.  My swim times were in the top 5% on the OWS and they were at about the 25th percentile on the pool swims.  I think my wetsuit helps a lot on the OWS, I think that drafting helps a lot on the OWS, I think being comfortable in open water helps me on the OWS.  I know that the turns kill me on the pool swims.  I practice flip turns for  2-3 weeks leading up to one of the races with a pool swim but was slower with my unfinished technique than I was with the open turns that I have been using for 5 years so I used the open turns on race days.  I think the biggest thing for me is that I don't like wall turns.  Open water doesn't require wall turns so it comes easier to me.  

2020-02-28 8:36 PM
in reply to: joes91

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Subject: RE: Open water fitness vs the pool
I'd guess there is probably a psychological aspect going on. In the pool you know there is a wall a few yards ahead so you start pushing to get to the wall. Kinda like when you're running around a track and you see someone ahead of you so you push a little harder to catch them. In open water you have to keep your pace honest because you don't have a wall to rest on.
2020-02-29 9:28 AM
in reply to: BlueBoy26


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Subject: RE: Open water fitness vs the pool
Do you have a copy of the article you read on this? Could be really helpful to me
2020-03-01 2:56 PM
in reply to: BlueBoy26


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Subject: RE: Open water fitness vs the pool
Thanks for your response Curtis, really interesting read about hips v shoulder driven front crawl.
I'm working on swimming a more hip-driven stroke in the pool at the moment, but there's always so much to think about in keeping your stroke tidy and efficient that this is a slow process!

I don't think much about my hips in open water, but I'm certain that my wetsuit is making life easier for me. The extra buoyancy is noticeable and I don't have to kick anywhere near as much as I do in the pool. I have very sinky legs in the pool.....!

I'll just keep persevering with the pool practise, and at least now I know that my fitness is there for longer swims, it's another psychological barrier knocked down! I'd love to read the article you referenced, if you can find the link.

Thanks again for your replies guys!
Joe
2020-03-12 2:29 AM
in reply to: Parkland

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Subject: RE: Open water fitness vs the pool
Originally posted by Parkland

I'd guess there is probably a psychological aspect going on. In the pool you know there is a wall a few yards ahead so you start pushing to get to the wall. Kinda like when you're running around a track and you see someone ahead of you so you push a little harder to catch them. In open water you have to keep your pace honest because you don't have a wall to rest on.


In open water, when you see someone ahead of you, you push a LOT harder to catch them and draft on his feet in order to gain speed!


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