Training: Cool Water 3km, Not Fast But Not Cold

I swam 3072m today.  Starting at 14:30, at the PC 32m outdoor pool. It was overcast, windy, but not cold. The pool was 20.5 C.

2x 1036m, stopped between to put on quickjohn wetsuit.

SPL (in a 32m pool) SPLIT
512m bare 27-29 8:42
512m bare 29-30 9:01
512m bare 29-30 9:04
512m wetsuited 25-26 7:48
512m wetsuited 26 7:53
512m wetsuited 26 7:50

I decided to keep trying to acclimate above 20 C so I took the plunge bare and did fine for the first 1500. It was less unpleasant on the system than before, and after the first lap I liked the firey feeling afterall. But towards the end of the 1500 I noted my core starting to drop temp just enough, though I might have made the whole 3km bare, it may have taken me an inconvenient amount of time to recover afterwards. So I pulled on the quickjohn I had laying on deck just in case. I had to drive home on my scooter in the wind anyway.

My hands were cold, but not quite numb. My feet were fine though. I kept up a brisk tempo from the start, perhaps too fast at first, but if I dropped the intensity at all I felt the cold start creeping in too quickly. But for whatever reason I still can’t squeeze out better SL in this cool water, not at the tempo I need to swim to stay warm enough. I have been looking for some physiological explanation so I can understand what’s happening in my body, but on the net they only talk about COLD water (like 15 C and below!) so 20 C is not extreme enough to bother with a discussion perhaps.  It’s just that the water feels ‘thicker’ and I just can’t get more distance out of my stroke.

Of course, the wetsuit is like greasing the rails. Once I put the thing on it’s a thrill to slide along like that, but it is also depressing to compare how poorly I was performing without it. 3 SPL less with a slightly faster SR and over 60 seconds faster per 512m. But I took advantage and cranked along even more aggressively to make up for the ease it afforded.

But my consolation is that I am getting acclimated and gaining some experience in ‘cool’ water. I am learning how my body reactes and seeing it adapt to these conditions and I like, once I warm up in a hot shower, how warm I feel the rest of the day! Such training kicks up the metabolism a little more. And it’s satisfying to feel that my range of adaptation and skill is expanding to cooler water.

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