Tuesday, January 17, 2006

Water temperature

I forgot to mention yesterday that I did make it out for a run. I was waiting for it to warm up a little, but then compromised on running earlier because of the availability of a running partner. I had on a compression shirt, a long sleeve t-shirt, and a wind jacket. It really wasn't too bad.

I got 4 miles done. It wasn't easy, but I persevered. I'm constantly amazed at how hard running is for me now. It wasn't that long ago that 4 miles was a walk in the park.

In fact, for the rest of the evening, and even more so today, my legs were really sore. Not my usual shin twinges, but sore muscle aches in my quads. (This is a "good" sore, in that I know it's from muscle use, and not from any mechanical problem!)

I put in a quick session in the pool today. No real swimming, just drills. The drills I'm doing right now have me concentrating on swimming on my side, while occasionally switching from side to side. The only strokes I do are underneath my body, in the water. (Underswitch, from Total Immersion if anyone's interested.) These drills incorporate breaks in them where you supposed to stay in the "sweet spot", breathing comfortably. I'm pretty sure you're not supposed to get as out of breath as I do, but I keep working at it. I did do some 100 yard repeats today.

The water was a little cooler than usual today. Since there's a lot of elderly people that use the pool, and I guess because it's cold outside, they generally keep the pool very warm. The lifeguard, when I can distract him from his newspaper, sidekick, or phone, tells me that it's usually 88 degrees. One of the things I've always hated about swimming was having to jump in to freezing water. Even normal temperatures in pools always felt so cold when you first went in. Not so in this pool. It's almost like getting in the bath, it's so warm. I'm sure it's not great for swimming, but I love it.

Anyway, today was cooler than usual. I didn't get that "freezing" feeling when I went in the pool, but it didn't feel warm either. It was probably just right. I was sure it was in the 70's until I asked the lifeguard what the temperature was on the way out. I'm not sure how reliable he was, but he said it was 86 degrees today. I really have no sense for water temperatures, but I thought it was going to be less than that.

As a reference, I remembered that there were temperature rules for wetsuits in triathlons. I looked them up and it turns out the main cutoffs are 78 and 84 degrees. Under 78 is considered cold, and everyone can wear them. Over 84 is considered warm, and wetsuits are prohibited. Between 78 and 84 is in between, and you can wear a wetsuit if you want, but you can't win an award.

So 86 is warm! The same lifeguard tells me that many pools are kept in the low 70's. Ouch! I can't imagaine swimming in water that cold. But then again, in the past I couldn't imagine running in 20 degree weather either.

Do any of you regular swimmers know what temperature the pools you swim in are?


Blogger Rae said...

Indoor pools usually feel chilly to me, some of them feel downright cold! I had no idea there were wetsuit rules!

Glad to hear you're a good sore today!!

Wednesday, January 18, 2006  
Blogger David said...

I have a pool down here in Florida. Haven't been in it since October. I mean it's 55 degrees out there! Fact is, the water is warmer.
I hate swimming because I do not know how to breathe properly. Good for you for sticking with it.

Wednesday, January 18, 2006  
Blogger Susan said...

Great job on the 4 mile run. I like the water temp to be about 105 - hot tub temp.

Thursday, January 19, 2006  
Blogger Yvonne said...

I was just in my pool this morning - so it will probably be Monday before I'm back, but I'll check it out. I'm the opposite - I far prefer cooler temps in the water than warmer. When it's too warm I found my muscles and my mind fall asleep. When it's cold I work much harder. Sure, it's painful getting in at first, but the discomofort only lasts 30 seconds or so. Oh, and hey - I'm sure it's against some sort of 'lifeguarding rule' for him to be reading/sidekicking while he's meant to be watching over you guys!

Thursday, January 19, 2006  
Blogger LeahC said...


I do lot of summer swimming (just for fun not real swmming by any means) in Lake Michigan. I think the water temperature there on average must only be in the 60's.....maybe a bit warmer but can't be much. We jumped into the lake after a 15 mile run this summer and oh man did that feel good on the joints!!!

Thursday, January 19, 2006  
Blogger Scott in Washington said...


Whats a compression shirt?

Thursday, January 19, 2006  
Blogger a.maria said...

" I'm pretty sure you're not supposed to get as out of breath as I do..."

nice. i love it.

i'm actually meeting with my coach this weekend to talk about him coaching me for a few months on my running and swimming. dear lord am i nervous 'bout that!

anyway, well done getting out there.. i def'ly know what you mean in the "good sore".. thats how i've been lately after my 4-6 mile runs. quietly reminding my legs they used to do this all the time!

Friday, January 20, 2006  
Blogger Kiran said...

Our local "Y" has 3 pools, all with different temps. The cool one is kept at ~70. The warm pool is kept at 86, the other somewhere in between. All of them are used for lap swimming so I guess its just a matter of personal preference :)

Friday, January 20, 2006  
Blogger boiledpnut said...

Good job on the 4 miles! I've been having a hard time building endurance and distance (but I only ran a half), so I understand the challenge. Here's to your next 4 miles-- may they get easier.

Saturday, January 21, 2006  

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