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Ironman Quest
Ironman Quest
The quest of a 45 year old recreational runner who likes nothing better than a lazy night with a beer or glass of wine to become an Ironman

A new piece of kit that actually works

macukby macukDec 26th 2013
As you can gather from my previous posts I'm new to everything triathlon and am planning on working hard so that I can take part in an Ironman event by 2015. My 2014 year planner is looking quite healthy with the events I've already put my name down for, building from a duathlon and sprint triathlon to a half Ironman event by the end of summer. My running is improving, I am enjoying regular 40 to 50 mile rides on my road bike but there is one thing that I know could put an end to my dream of going for a full long course event and that's my ineptitude in the water.
Like many people I swam a lot as a kid, long summer holidays spent in Cardiff's Empire pool meant I could hold my own against my mates in the water but unfortunately my swimming became all too infrequent, with most in recent years being a ten minute dip in the pool to cool off whilst on holidays. I am lucky to have access to two pools and over the last couple of months I have been working hard at improving but I find it frustrating when all I seem to do is make a lot of splashes and take forever to do a few lengths when everybody else in the swimming lanes are knocking laps out like a metronome. A friend who has completed in a couple of Ironman events told me not to worry too much as open water swimming in a wetsuit is a lot easier than swimming the same distance in a pool. He also told me about a pair of buoyancy shorts that mimicked the effects of a wetsuit without the limitations of wearing one in a pool. I did a bit of research and found that the makers of the shorts claimed that by wearing a pair the swimmers body took on a more neutral aspect in the water, allowing greater stability, movement and speed. I'm always a little weary of manufacturers claims but the price of the shorts wasn't going to break the bank so I ordered a pair to see if they could do anything for me.


A new piece of kit that actually works
I ordered a Large size and although the shorts appear quite snug fitting they are actually quite non restricting when in the water. They are made from wetsuit neoprene and have the appearance of a cut down wetsuit with a draw cord at the waist. My only concern in wearing them is the rubber finish which has got me a few looks from some of the old ladies in my local pool but I usually try and get in and out of the water quickly so as not to draw too much attention to myself.
Within a couple of lengths I could feel the difference in my swimming. My body and legs were raised a lot higher in the water and being a weak kicker this allowed me to concentrate on my stroke without the drag factor I usually experience. I found that I could swim 15 to 20 lengths at a time without taking a breather instead of going 3 or 4 and having to stop. I actually started to enjoy my training, feeling the difference in my upper body and having a lot more confidence in the water.
I am aiming to swim train 3/4 times a week over the next month and hope to start seeing some big improvements. I can see that the only drawback by using the shorts might be getting too reliant on them so I will train at least once or twice a week without them. I can really recommend the shorts to anybody like myself that has a problem with their swim. They are not an easy fix but by using them as an aid whilst training I think the improvements made will help build confidence and technique in the water which is definitely not a bad thing.
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