Tag: training

If You Wanna Train Better, Swim with Faster Swimmers

The people you train with have a strong effect on what kind of effort you are going to give at practice today. Here’s some interesting research on why you should choose to swim with the faster swimmers on your team.

Going up and down the black line we can forget about the other swimmers in the lane.

But they are there, sometimes leaving a little earlier than they should, sometimes causing an unnecessary amount of waves, quietly and largely unintentionally influencing our own effort in the water.

The way that our teammates influence us can be so subtle that you don’t even notice.

There are occasions where this can greatly benefit you:

  • When someone in your lane is pushing through the main set, you might be tempted to hop on and push the pace too.
  • When the swimmer in the next lane is looking at you, clearly racing you, it fires up your competitive spirit.
  • When the other swimmers in the lane don’t complain about how hard the set is, it makes you not want to complain too.

If it is greatness you want

There are moments where it can be detrimental to your swimming:

  • The teammate that cheats through the main set, making you think that skimping on a section of the main set maybe isn’t that big of a deal.
  • The swimmer who pulls into the wall from 10m out on kick sets, making you think you need to do the same in order to keep up.
  • The athlete who eats overly-processed garbage after practice, leading you to think, “If they are doing it, why can’t I?”

There’s a popular saying attributed to personal development guru Jim Rohn that asserts that you are the average of the five people you spend the most time with.

Looking around at the swimmers and people you fill your life with, can you say that they are bringing out the best in you?

Are you bringing out the best in them?

Choose Your Lane with Performance in Mind

Here’s an example of just how much of an effect the performance others have on what we do.

One fun little research experiment looked to see how our effort is influenced by the people we work out with.

A group of about 90 college students did a 20-minute workout and were told to keep it at 60-70% of max intensity. The students were split into three groups: one group worked out with someone very fit, one group did their session alongside someone not very fit, and the third did their workout solo.

Could something as simple as working out with someone who was in better shape influence how we hard we go?

You bet your water-logged butt.

When participants worked out near “fit” people, they stomped the gas on their effort, with their average heart rate far higher compared to those worked out near less fit people, with the difference particularly profound in the men: (133 BPM vs 119 BPM for the ladies, 124 BPM vs 99 BPM for the men).

The study fits into what we know (even if it’s just superficially)—that our effort tends to go up or down depending on who is next to us. Even when instructed to hold a specific level of intensity the participants ended up trying to mimic and match what the exercise partner was doing.

Side note: Those who worked out alone reported feeling calmer and more relaxed compared to the those who got partnered up—regardless of intensity. Maybe something to think about when you need a chill session at practice, or maybe even during your taper.

The study showed that if you want to get more from your workouts, surrounding yourself with people who are crushing is going to help push you to bigger heights.

What lane are you going choose at practice today?

At swim practice the lane we end up in is often chosen with less-than-ideal reasons:

There’s a lot of value in swimming with athletes who are faster than you. They are more likely to bring the best out of you. These are the moments where your limits and perceived notions of what you are capable of get redrawn.

Don’t avoid them. Chase them fervently.

If it’s improvement you want, choose to spend more training time with the swimmers who are going to push you and make you better.

Source: YourSwimBook

Author: Olivier Poirier-Leroy

Sunburns: Why You Should Use Sunblock

What comes to mind when you think of summer?
The beach? The warm sand and cool water? Activities with friends? Hiking, swimming, rock climbing, etc? Vacations?

Those are the things I think of, plus one big one. Sunburns.
Being a redhead, I tend to get sunburns a lot, even though I make sure to put on sunblock before outdoor activities. I just always forget to reapply it in time.

I’m sure many of you have had sunburns before and know the itching, burning, and peeling that comes along with it. However, I’m also sure there are some of you that don’t get sunburned as easily, some who don’t really care if you get sunburned, or some who just forget to put on sunblock before an activity in the sun.
It can be hard to remember to reapply, and frustrating to need to reapply it in the middle of your activity, so you may ask, ‘Do I really need it? Does it really do anything in the long run besides preventing peeling or blisters?’

The answer is a resounding YES. And anyways, who wants blisters or peeling? Not me.

Besides the uncomfortable burning and itching of a sunburn, here are some very convincing reasons why you should care what happens to your skin in the sun, and why you should always remember to use sunblock!

Damaged Skin

Your time in the sun without sunblock is damaging to your skin. Wouldn’t you like to have smooth, soft, spotless skin well into your old age? Well, the first step to accomplishing that goal is putting on sunblock. Here is a list from the Cleveland Clinic that shows what you may be getting from the sun, and it’s not good:


(Fact Source)

Nobody wants their skin to age before they do!
It’s much easier to prevent these things from happening than it is to try and reverse them later on down the road.

The Real Danger

The most important reason you should always put on sunblock is the danger of cancer. Skin cancer is the most common type of cancer in the US, but it could be a lot less prevalent if people always remembered to use sunblock before spending hours in the sun.
So next time you go out in the sun without sunblock – think about how your decision might affect your life a couple years down the road, and what consequences you may have to live with.

Don’t Burn Often?

It doesn’t matter if you don’t burn when you go outside. Your skin could still be getting damaged. Damage from the sun occurs over a lifetime, and the sun doesn’t care who you are. Whatever your skin type or color, sunblock should be a part of your life.
If you are trying to get a tan, put on sunblock. It will do you no good to spend hours upon hours outside in the sun without sunblock.


And remember, the sun still comes out in the winter. Even if it’s really cold outside and your arms and legs are covered up, don’t forget to put sunblock on your face!
Also, If your activity has to do with water or snow, it’s especially important to put on sunblock, because you get twice the amount of sun exposure. You have Ultraviolet light coming from the sun itself, and then from what is reflected from off the surface of the water/snow.

So, What Should You Do?

The good news about sun damage to your skin, is that you can prevent it. Here are some tips to help you avoid the negative effects of sun-damaged skin:

  • The time of day when the sun’s UV rays are the harshest is 10am to 3pm. So avoid being out in the sun during these hours, if possible.
  • When you go outside, use sunblock! Always, always, always use sunblock! Even if you don’t think that you will be going out in the sun, bring some with you just in case. I have a tube of sunblock that is small enough to fit in whatever purse or bag I have, so I am always prepared.
  • The American Academy of Dermatology recommends using sunblock with a SPF of 30 or greater.
  • Most sunscreen says to apply it 15-30 minutes before going out in the sun. You should reapply around every two hours. If you are in the water or sweating a lot, you should reapply more frequently than every two hours.
  • Make sure you get all your bare skin! Make sure to get your ears, behind your neck, the tops of your feet, and your hair part.
  • Wear protective clothing when possible; a hat with a brim, a swimsuit cover, UV light filtering sunglasses, etc. can do a lot to protect your skin!

Sensitive Skin?

There are sunblocks that are made for those with sensitive skin. Two examples are:

Badger SPF-30


(Image Source)

This sunblock is simple, with only five ingredients! It is unscented and all natural, and won’t irritate your sensitive skin.

La Roche-Posay Ultra Light Sunscreen


(Image Source)

This sunblock is SPF 60. It is also fragrance-free. It is suitable to use under makeup, includes antioxidants, and has a matte finish.

You can check out this link, or this link, for more suggestions of sunblock for sensitive skin.