If you’ve been part of the boom in wild swimming and open water swimming over the last year or so and have a discovered a love of the outdoors why on earth would you go and swim indoors? In that sweaty, chlorinated, indoor swimming pool that feels confining and is full of lane politics that you can’t understand? But, some indoor swimming can help your front crawl technique and keep you efficient.
Or perhaps you’re a triathlete or long distance marathon swimmer training for an event that happens outdoors so it makes sense to do most of your swimming outdoors right?
Of course you should do what makes you happy and what you enjoy – so if the indoor swimming pool fills you with a sense of misery then go for the joy of the outdoors.
But if you want to get improve your front crawl technique, get better at swimming and be able to swim further, faster or feel better in the water then you will definitely benefit from doing some sessions both indoors AND outdoors.
Even if you’re training for something like an English Channel swim and you’re training every day of the week, making some of those sessions indoors will definitely be of benefit.
Reasons to Swim Indoors
Here are some reasons for a wild swimmer to go to the swimming pool all year round.
Indoor pools are warmer so you can slow down and practice some drills without your body and brain trying to keep warm. No matter how much you think you don’t feel the cold doing drills outdoors in a UK summer is still harder than doing them in the pool. Practicing some drills will help you improve your front crawl technique.
It’s easier to find a shallow end so you can stand up and practice a short section of a drill and then rest, reset and repeat. Remember short sections of good quality movement is more effective than a whole lap where half of it was rubbish.
There’s no wind, weather, waves and currents all of which makes it easier to sense how your stroke is feeling.
You can see the bottom of the pool which makes it easier to sense how fast you’re swimming and I find it makes it easier for me to realise if something is off with my stroke.
5. Head Position – Sighting
Outdoors you need to lift your head up and sight in order to see where you’re going and swim in a straight line. This often leads to getting into the bad habit of swimming with a slightly raised head position all the time which results in sinking legs.
6. Head Position – Cold
There’s also something about the outdoor elements and the colder water that leads to people swimming with slightly raised head positions without even realising it.
If you wear a wetsuit for outdoor swimming then this will be changing your position in the water because of the buoyancy of the neoprene. It could also be affecting how you use your legs, your posture and your rotation. In addition the thickness of the neoprene will be changing the sensations of the water on your body so your feel for the water may have changed.
8. Repeatable Chunks
It’s easier to measure specific distances and gather data that is repeatable. For example two lengths is always two lengths and you can repeat that tomorrow, next week or next month. You can compare the time it takes you to swim as well as the number of strokes per length you took. You could compare this with different focal points or breathing patterns to see which is faster or more efficient.
9. Tide and Current
While when I swim outdoors I’m often wondering if the buoy has moved, or if I’m exactly lined up with the marker on the beach today or if the tide and wind is stronger and that’s why I’m slower or faster.
10. Structured Sets
For these reasons I find it more satisfying to do a set using an indoor pool. It’s easier to make it structured and intense. Of course you can do 10 x 2min hard outdoor but the fact that I can do 10 x 100m and compare each and every repeat with more detail makes me a lot more focussed.
11. Bad Habits
Front crawl swimmers often come to me after a season of swimming outdoors complaining that they’ve slowed down and it’s usually because little bad habits of crept into their stroke without them realising.
Variety is the spice of life! Keeping up with a variety of swimming locations and experiences and will keep challenging your skills and keep your swimming progressing.
If you want to swim further with less effort and feel more confident and comfortable in the water then get in touch to see how I can help.
Or book a free 15min call here to find out how I can help you reach your goals.