Swimming in the sea has nothing to do with swimming in the pool: the water is different, because of the higher salinity, the conditions are variable, because of the wind and waves, or very hot or very cold water, it is difficult to estimate the distances and take points of reference, and also changes, at least in part, the technique of swimming, certainly with regard to the freestyle. Yet a swimming workout in the sea can be really invigorating for body and mind, whether you are on holiday or before or at the end of a normal working day if you are lucky enough to live near the sea. However, as long as you keep in mind these 5 tips for training while swimming in the sea.
Sea swimming training: you need more endurance skills
Sea water has a higher salinity and, although this allows easier flotation, it also has a greater resistance to advancement. So there are differences between swimming in the pool or at the sea. That’s why we need more strength, in particular resistant strength, even in virtue of the currents, waves or headwind. This certainly allows you to develop not only the muscles that develop with swimming but also more resistant strength (and depending on the duration of training to use different energy resources, from 30 to 90 minutes mostly sugars and then fat, over 90′ mainly lipids) but also requires you to be aware of their capabilities and not transfer equal distances swim in the pool to the sea.
Swimming in the sea: it is more difficult to have reference points
In the sea it is more difficult to have reference points, as anyone who swims in open waters knows. In the pool at the bottom there are lanes, the length is known, there is the guide to the bottom of the pool and there is nothing else to think about but going back and forth. In the sea, currents and winds can take you off course and landmarks can be difficult to keep an eye on. So, as a first step, it is always advisable to swim parallel to the coast, avoiding to go beyond the safety band forbidden to yachtsmen, and to take landmarks such as colored houses, bell towers, or a point or cliff. There are also points of reference at sea that can be useful, such as buoys: the first times it can certainly be more reassuring to go back and forth between two buoys than to move away offshore and then risk not having enough strength to return to shore.
Sea swimming training: beware of temperature fluctuations
Another typical problem of a sea swimming workout is the thermal shock. Maybe it’s been hours since you’ve been basking in the sun and then suddenly diving into the water thinking about starting to swim. It is better to enter the water gradually, perhaps after having warmed up your mobility on the shoreline, and gradually bathe from top to bottom, from head and forehead down, leaving the body time to get used to the temperature of the water.
Sea swimming training: alternating styles and rhythms
If swimming in the sea makes it difficult to set benchmarks, then it may be useful to alternate styles and maybe even learn to crawl with the head out of triathlon style, which allows more regular breathing, with less splashing water in the mouth and nose, and facilitates viewing of benchmarks. Very useful also for a swimming workout in the sea is to vary the rhythms a bit like in a High Intensity Interval Training: not being able to reason at distances (as in the repeated running) you can do in time, for example alternating 1 minute to all free style and 1 to speed of relaxation to frog or back, and so on for at least 20′, which is normally the minimum time for a HIIT to be really effective.
Sea swimming training: what you need
What does it take to practice swimming in the sea? Surely the costume (since swimming naked in Italy is still prohibited) and certainly goggles. If the water is cold then it is good to think of a wetsuit for swimming in open water, and if you want to maximize the effect of training, and you already know how to use them, can also be useful fins and / or paddles: here you can find everything that may be useful, even in terms of safety, to swim in open water.