Those who know me will attest to my unusually unbearable ability to whine about working out. With that in mind, it’s no surprise that I was insufferable when trying to work out in last week’s unbearable heat.
As I soldiered on, trying to keep all of the whininess inside my own skull so my wife didn’t have as bad of a workout, I tried to think of ways we could get a good workout in while staying cool and getting running to be a little bit fun.
And even though I quit the swim team every day after practice in high school, I think hitting the pool may be the answer.
We’ll build some leg strength by sprinting through the shallow end of the pool for 30 seconds at a time. Feel free to float on during the two-minute recovery period. Do this for 15-20 minutes. You may want to bring some sort of shoe so you don’t get skin abrasions on your sensitive soles. Since all the pools are different shapes, sizes and depths, the workout has a lot of variables. The Great Salt Lake would be ideal since there is so much space, but the drawback is smelling like lake during the car ride back. Other pools may only have a kiddie pool that would work, so you may have to sprint in 4-5 feet of water instead of just at waist depth. Experiment with the workout specifications, but still get a hard workout in.
As always, begin the workout with a 15-minute warmup period with light jogging and dynamic stretches — high-knees, butt-kicks, slow lunges, toe-touches, etc. Take a nice 20-minute run on flat ground to recover. Feel free to stop a few times if your legs hate you from yesterday. Stretch out really well afterward with the typical gym class static stretches.
Head back to the pool for some lap swimming. This is really difficult for me because I am such a poor swimmer, so I’ll let you listen to your body on what will constitute a good workout with whatever stroke you prefer. The important thing is that your heartrate is elevated for a good 20 minutes. Be sure to take a water bottle and limit your rests. Try not to let the life guards earn their pay. Stretch afterward.
Repeat the workout from Day 30 and try to stop fewer times than your legs wanted you to last time. Stretch well afterward.
More swimming? Sounds great. Let’s make this a fun and easy day. Experiment with short sprints sometimes and challenge yourself on how many laps you can do without stopping. Change up which stroke you use and try using just your arms or legs for a few lengths. The important thing is to have fun today and stay out of the heat. If your workout today consisted of slower and longer swims, stay for at least 20 minutes. If it was mostly short bursts with long rests inbetween, stay a little longer. Be sure to stretch well after.
Time for the Saturday long run. Pick a spot on the map about 1.5 miles away and run to it. You’ll probably need to stop and walk periodically, just try to limit how often and for how long. Feel free to take a longer break once you hit the midway point, and stretch all your muscle groups twice when you get home.
Enjoy your weekly rest day. Think about buying a new swimming suit and goggles. Decide that you probably don’t need to buy a new swimming suit or goggles. Stretch your muscles again and be amazed at how much more flexible you are than when you started. Feel good about your accomplishments.
Tavin Stucki is the head coach for the Copperview Rec Center youth track and field team. He hated the two years of high school swimming he took part in. Share swimming stories with him at email@example.com.