Archive for the Health and Fitness Category
It doesn’t seem like that long ago I was packing for the Southern Hemisphere summer. Well here I am following the sun (supposedly) and find myself back in London. Water temperatures are hovering around the 10-12 degrees Celcius and with incessant rain and cloud it will take some time before the water heats up. There are plenty of swimmers who have through acclimatisation managed to adapt to swimming in these temperatures. It’s important that everyone is realistic with their abilities, for comfort and more importantly safeties sake. At the moment I can swim non wetsuit in 13-14 degrees Celcius for a period of time but would struggle in anything lower. Not ideal when I have a 10km swim race on the horizon in 3 weeks. For me it’s a no brainer, I will happily be wearing my blueseventy Helix wetsuit for training swims and for my 10km race in three weeks – my first long distance swim of the season. I say it all the time but find it’s always worth repeating – don’t go hiring a wetsuit on race day. Make sure any equipment you use is tried and tested before the big day. Having malfunctioning or ill-fitting equipment (wetsuit/goggles) can impact on your performance just as much as fitness and technique.
If you are looking for swim training opportunities this Northern Hemisphere summer I will be based almost entirely in London for the next 5 months. I am very pleased to announce that I will be delivering swim coaching services on behalf of the world’s leading swim holiday company www.swimtrek.com at Tooting Bec Lido swim complex; Tooting Bec is over a century old and is an amazing 90M Oasis in London. This is a perfect location to either start your transition from the pool to the open water or to practice some longer swimming in preparation for the summer open water and triathlon season. We are offering swim fitness classes, personal training sessions (These are my recommendation to really get personalised advice to get your swim season started) and wetsuit clinics (these are held once a month – purely to help ensure you get the right suit and more importantly the right fitting suit before you swim). Find out more about the Tooting events through the events and bookings page at the top of this page or click here: http://www.swimtrek.com/Tooting-Bec . For Fit&Abel clients in New Zealand the winter time is a great time to tune technique and fitness in the pool and nail down your pacing ready for the summer season. My pool partner down in Christchurch is Aquagym http://www.aquagym.co.nz/ they have a great Surf/Tri/Masters squad that will keep you going. For those who like to plan ahead my New Zealand series is already out so you mark the dates in your diary; http://fitandabel.com/events-bookings/fitabel-summer-201213-series/ and http://fitandabel.com/events-bookings/wild-tri-2013/
Whatever your swim plans this season ensure you make a plan, prepare well and you will exponentially increase your enjoyment and your performances. Don’t be afraid to ask for help and my last tip; to really push yourself during training and to help keep the motivation up you can’t beat swimming in a group.
See you out in the water. Dan
What an ingenious design our bodies are, they have mobility, agility, temperature control, intelligence, etc. Disappointly we make little use of the vast array of attributes our bodies provide. The scary thing is the human body is so clever it can recognise that we no longer need a function. Your nervous system basically ‘forgets’ how to perform a task. This can be summarised by the term ‘use it or lose it’, and when it is applied to the human body it is oh so true. That is why consistent movement is so important to keep the nervous system in tip top condition. What is your nervous system? Guess what controls your heart, lungs, muscles, movement, breathing? You guessed it, the nervous system. Rather than just keeping the status quo with your nervous system you can very easily improve its functioning by continually challenging it. How do we do this? It is not that difficult; by placing demands on the nervous system our clever human body will respond and adapt. How can I do this? Easy. Instead of swimming for three 1 hour sessions each week, do four 45 minute workouts and make them a little bit harder. Vary the time and the intensity. Remember the body is smart, it will adapt no matter what you do, therefore it is vital you continually change your workouts and continually challenge yourself. Remember; Use it or lose it!
I truly believe swimming is one of the best forms of exercise available. You get a terrific all round work out that places demands on the majority of muscles as well as your cardiovascular system. It provides conditioning and weight loss opportunities with a reduced risk of injury.
Having stated the above we need to recognise that swimming occurs in a low gravity environment. It is therefore a good idea to supplement your swimming with dryland conditioning. Dryland training can provide additional results including improved strength, flexibility and further cardiovascular improvement as well as strengthening muscles used in swimming. This last point can improve our overall swimming as well as help further reduce the risk of injury to major muscle groups used when swimming.
Let me introduce you to one of my favourite pieces of dryland swimming equipment; the resistance band. It is terrific because it is cheap, easily portable and so so versatile. With resistance bands you can complete resistance training, swimming specific workouts, cardio workouts, flexibility, stabilising exercises or a combination of any of these focuses. You can use resistance bands in your home, at the beach, park, pool or backyard. Do not under estimate the benefits dryland training can have on your swimming performance.
For more information on resistance band training, where to purchase, programs and progression contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org
Yesterday was my first time using the Aquasphere Kayenne goggles, talk about a terrific experience. You know when you want to buy a new pair of jeans how difficult it can be? You try on 100 pair but only 1 fits well and when you find that pair… brilliant! (Especially when you’re are a guy and don’t like shopping around) Well the Kayenne goggles were that 1 in 100 experience for me. I hate having to set up goggles to get them comfortable. One small easy adjustment to the Kayennes was all it took and they just felt so comfortable, the visibility was superb and they still provided a great streamline. I had a terrific open water swim on the Greek Islands today thanks to these goggles. They are still definitely an open water or triathlon goggle but I would recommend these to both a beginner and the more serious competitor. I will be using Kayenne in the open water this summer – get a pair and try them for yourselves! Happy swimming, Dan
I have had my Zoggs Predators for a couple of months so have had ample time to try them out; this last two weeks in the Greek Islands I have truly put them through their paces. They are what I would call a hybrid goggle, built for both good visibility as well as performance. In the pool I found them disastrous, the drag profile ensured that on most streamlined wall push offs the seal broke and they filled up. This never happens with a purpose built pool goggle but is not uncommon with the hybrids. They are certainly suited to open water swimming and triathlon, the tinted lens on my set protected me against the glare from the endless sun. They are comfortable and easily adjusted providing a good mixture of comfort and performance. I would rate this goggle as a good entry level for the new triathlete or open water swimmer.
I have had a few excellent open water swims now and have been able to properly test out my Aquasphere Vista Smoke Lens and Clear Lens goggles. This trip has required swimming and boat travel between the Greek islands; with all the traveling and all the sand on the beaches it is terrific to have the hard storage case to store my goggles in. The visibility is terrific, nothing would be more annoying than having damaged goggles, the hard storage case protects them well and stops the lens becoming scratched.
They are a big goggle, I would describe them as something like a mini diving mask. You need to be careful if wearing a swim cap as the cap can easily get caught under the top of the goggle, this will cause the goggle to leak – get a swim buddy to check the goggle fit before starting the swim. The Smoke Lens has been superb during the intense daylight, the Clear Lens works well at dawn and dusk. The goggles certainly create drag therefore I would not recommend them for serious swim racing, but in my example for swimming around the Greek islands where the water visibility is superb or for open water swimming where speed is not the main factor Aquasphere Vistas are a sound purchase. I suggest checking out Wiggle/Amazon or a similar online shopping website for a price comparison. Happy swimming, Dan