Swimming is hard. Physically exhausting. In an Ironman triathlon, you have a 112-mile bike and a 2.4-mile swim. That should give you an idea of the difficulty. But don't mistake effort for mindless work. We have a narrow view of what swimming is and how to include it in our workouts. For most, it's lap after lap of drudgery. Maybe it's time to update our ideas on swimming as an open adventure, as a way to play Aquaman, even as a recovery tool.
If I'm doing serious swim training, I like fins, a snorkel, and a mask. I always use a pretty stiff fin because you get a hell of a good leg workout when you use it – and you go faster, which I like, too. Everyone thinks fins make it easier, and while they do help with speed, believe me, it's a lot more work on your legs. Thanks to the propulsion you get from the fins, you have to swing your arms faster and work harder overall, so it's nice to be able to really breathe well. The snorkel is a great aid for this. The nice thing about a mask is you can see where you're going because those little glasses that you swim with – they suck. They're like peepholes. Get a decent mask. People talk to me about resistance and goggles. Who are you? Mark Spitz? It's not going to make a difference. Just give yourself a nice, comfortable, low-volume, free-diving mask. It's like having a clean window in your car; it makes driving a lot easier.
Credit: Getty Images