Saturday, January 5, 2013

A few of my favorite things (the swim edition)...

First things first.....  Mamajo, mamajo wherefore art thou Mamajo?  I have a book with your name on it from SBM.  Send me an email to kwhitlock (at) bellsouth (dot) net by Monday.  If I don't hear from Mamajo, we will pick another winner.  Stay tuned SBM fans!

Now on to the topic at hand  ....

You would think that swimming in the winter would not be high on anyone's list but the indoor pool at Lifetime has been hopping this week!  I see a lot more triathlete types this time of year.  I suppose they swim somewhere else in the summer and use the gym as their backup plan for the winter.

Given that there seem to be more people in the pool lately, I thought I would put together a list of my favorite swim products, tools and tips.  I know they make my swimming easier so I thought I would share... (I have not been compensated for any of these listings so just know they are truly things I love)


1.  Burt's Bees Lemon Butter Cuticle Cream.  If you spend any time in chlorine, your cuticles will get pretty dry and ragged.  Look no further.  This is a miracle cure.  Your nails will look better INSTANTLY.

2.  TriSwim Lotion.  Reduces the chlorine smell that seems to cling to your skin for days.

3.  Take the Day Off Makeup Remover by Clinique.  Normally I swim in the morning so removing makeup is not an issue before I get in the pool; however, when I go at noon or after work it is a fight to get off the waterproof mascara.  (yes, it is called waterproof but trust me when I tell you it is not...).  Goggle marks are bad enough, no one wants raccoon eyes in the pool, am I right?  One cotton ball, a quick swipe of the eyes, all traces of makeup are gone and it doesn't leave that oily feeling around your eyes that you get from other removers.  Amazing!  I am only sad I just discovered this a few weeks ago.

4.    TYR Dura fast suits.  When I am on my training schedule, I swim at least 3 to 4 times a week.  When I was wearing traditional lycra suits, I would go through a suit about once every two months before it started deteriorating.  I got EIGHT months out of my last dura fast suit and truth be told I could have worn it longer I just wanted a new design.  The fabric is slightly different as it is made of polyester which is what makes them last so long.  The suits cost a little more but if you calculate how many lycra suits you go through in eight months compared to one dura fast well....


5.  50 swim workouts.  This website is workout GOLD.  Two options are given for each of the 50 workouts - one around 2400m and the other around 3400m.  I prefer to do a mix of strokes in my workouts and this provides a good variety of all four strokes.  Check it out HERE

6.  Swim Smooth.  Videos showing swim technique.  Not sure how to turn your head to breathe?  There is a video for that!  Need help with the catch or body roll - or maybe you don't even know what that is?  Look no further....  Check it out HERE.  There are sections for beginner, intermediate and advanced.

7.  Look for a Masters program.  I swam in masters groups for years and really enjoyed the extra push I got from being in the group.  Check out USMS for a list of groups in your area.  This is also a great resource if you are traveling.  Many groups will let you drop in for a workout.  There may be other groups in your area that aren't official USMS groups.  In the Atlanta area, Blue Iron is a good example.  They have workouts on Tues and Thurs mornings at Agnes Scott.  You could also check with your gym or local tri club for referrals to a group.  


8.  Hair color.  Ladies, here is another one for you.  It seems to work for me, you be the judge for yourself.  Chlorine is not a friend to those expensive highlights.  You can help keep your hair color from fading by wetting your hair with regular water before you get in the pool.  If I am not making a mad dash to snag the last available lane, I also put a tiny amount of conditioner on the ends for extra measure.  The fresh water absorbs into your hair and keeps the chlorine from being absorbed (so I am told...).

9.  Sharing Lanes.  Trust me, I enjoy swimming in a lane of mine own as much as anyone but sometimes it is just not possible.  *Most* people will not mind sharing a lane with you if you follow a little lane courtesy.

     a.  Check out the situation.  At my gym, most swimmers get out after 10-15 minutes.  You could just wait it out.  While you are waiting for a lane, check out the other swimmers and find one that looks like they might  be a similar speed.  

     b.  DO NOT just jump in un-announced.  No one likes unexpected guests either at their home or in their lane.  Wait until they get to the end of their set and ask them if you can share their lane.  They will USUALLY either be cool with sharing or they might tell you they are almost done.  Either way, win/win.

     c.  They may ask you if you would rather SPLIT lanes or CIRCLE swim.  uh, whatever does that mean????  (If they don't ask you, make sure you ask them to avoid a head on collision which will quickly end your new friendship).  Splitting lanes means that you swim on one side and your lane-mate swims on the other.  Circle swimming is normally done when there are more than two people in the lane like in a masters or other group situation.  Basically, you just  swim down one side of the lane and back the other side (the lane line will always be on your right).

     Not everyone is good at sharing so if you are having trouble, just wait it out and move to another lane as soon as it opens up.  The folks at my gym tend not to be sharers.  The lanes in our pool aren't the standard width so it makes it a little more difficult.  Maybe that is why?  I dunno.  Just as well, we have a lot of pool walkers and people that only swim a few laps so I usually just wait them out.

10.  Put your workouts in a ziploc bag.  Keeps them from getting wet at the end of the lane.  I see a lot of people with a wet piece of paper plastered on a kick board.  If you put the workout in a bag, you can keep the workout and use it again.  I have a ziploc bag with several workouts in it just in case I want to change it up when I get to the pool.

That is all I have for your swimming pleasure - if anyone has any tips on getting rid of goggle marks, I would love to hear them!  I have tried every kind of goggle, eye serum, etc.  Any great tricks or leads on goggles that don't leave marks for hours?  


Colleen said...

Man I wish I enjoyed swimming. I would really use some of these! :) Hahaha

Trisaratops said...

Great tips! I just got some of that cuticle cream from Santa in my stocking...I will have to try it out! :)

Kurt @ Becoming An Ironman said...

Are you saying you DON'T like the smell of chlorine?! It's like free perfume! ...that you can't get rid of. haha But seriously, TriSwim works wonders!

And I've used the ziploc bag a lot! I laugh when I see people come in with paper and no bag or protection. It's only a matter of 5 minutes before they can barely read it. haha

Lauren said...

These are awesome tips!!

Lauren said...

These are awesome tips!!

Kevin said...

Lots of great tips. I have always used a plastic bag unless I am using my waterproof swim workouts in a binder book

Big Daddy Diesel said...

I use zip lock bags as well

- one of my teammates told me "by me asking you if we can share a lane is a polite way of we ARE sharing a lane" I laughed it off, it seems for some reason that my gym, the people feel entitled to their own lane, I guess the gym should post rules on it

Carolina John said...

Good list! I miss my masters team and can't wait to get back in the water with them next month.

Matthew Smith said...

Genius tips there, Karen! I just need to go swim!!! :(