This is the third article in our four part series about attacking your weakness in the off-season

To swim or not to swim during the winter months? That is the question. Just to summarize the common arguments on both sides, here they are

Reasons NOT to swim

  • It’s only x percentage of the race overall, so it doesn’t matter (to you)
  • I’m only losing x number of potential minutes due to my poor swimming compared to xx(x!) number of potential minutes gained by focusing on cycling or running
  • I’m not going to be winning the race anyway, so saving 5-10 minutes doesn’t make sense for me
  • If you are already a skilled swimmer, it only takes a few weeks to get your swim up to 90% or so of your best (childhood competitive swimmer)
  • You are not a skilled swimmer, but you’re skilled enough to finish and that’s your only goal

Reasons IN FAVOR of swimming

  • Works on aerobic fitness overall in a no- impact way
  • You care about improvement in all areas and have time to devote to all three sports
  • Your not up to par swim time is limiting you in some way (ie. Close to cutoff time or preventing you from the overall time you need to be in the mix for Kona qualifying)
  • You enjoy swimming
  • You didn’t grow up swimming and are an unskilled swimmer who could make a lot of gains through simple technique changes

The next step is deciding your best path to improvement

  • Everyone can benefit from improving their technique so that’s a great place to start.
  • Technique can only take you so far so at some point, more swimming is the answer. At some point, you need to improve your swim fitness and go with what you have.

If you’re decided to devote some time to swim then the next challenge is getting yourself to actually do it. The prospect of jumping into a cold pool in the cold winter months can sound unappealing there are several routes you can take to try and make a positive change.

  • Try private lessons. Check out our experienced swim coaches at Energy Lab to start.
  • Swimming with a group. Try swimming with a masters group or triathlete specific swim program, such as the Atlanta Tri Club swim program
  • Enter a swim meet
  • Mix it up. Don’t be afraid to try different things such as learning to swim different strokes, playing with pool toys, or, gasp, learning to flip turn. Remember that half the battle is keeping it fun!