FEATURES

How Fast Are You Losing Your Swim Fitness?

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By Sarah Barker (triathlete.com)

The good news and bad news about taking an extended break from the water.

Well, this is…different. Triathletes now find themselves in a strange spot—specifically, a dry spot. Training for the run and bike, strength training, core work, all continue apace for most of us, even if there are no races on the schedule. But options for swimming have abruptly dried up. Athletes who rely on pools, or even open water in many cases, are anxiously looking at months out of the water, leaving them to wonder, “How fast will I lose my swim fitness?” ...

There’s universal agreement among sport scientists, some swim fitness will be lost—there’s just no substitute for water. But there are ways to mitigate the decline.

Sports physiologist, triathlon coach, and Sports Science Coordinator for Spanish Aquatics Iñigo Mujika has studied swim detraining due to injury, illness, and intentional rest, but like everyone else, is now navigating uncharted waters. He has good news, bad news, and practical ideas for beached triathletes.

Swim fitness is a combination of cardiorespiratory, metabolic, and technical adaptations. The happy news? Most of the cardiorespiratory fitness required for swimming can be retained by running and biking. “Although running and cycling are dissimilar modalities (they involve different muscle groups and movement patterns), the muscle mass involved is large enough to retain such central adaptations,” Mujika explains.  READ MORE

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