By Coach Suzan Ballmer, M.Ed
So, you have spent the winter really focusing on your swim technique, efficiency, power & speed. You
have seen a steady improvement and are having a lot of fun keeping pace with the faster swimmers at
Then the weather changed and you went for some bike rides outside focused on endurance and building
your outdoor base. It felt so great to feel the road and the wind and get out of the saddle to climb a bit.
If anyone saw you, they would notice first the huge grin spread across your face.
The next morning you headed to your usual masters swim practice—a bit fatigued, but feeling good
and happy. You jump in and throughout the warm up you feel heavy, exhausted, uncoordinated and
ssslllloooowwww. What is going on?
Well, outdoor riding taxes your whole body differently than indoor work. You are using your upper
body a lot more during climbing, breaking, & holding steady in the aero bars,. Your whole system is
absorbing the impact of the road and finally your legs are working more during climbs and pushing
through head winds. As a result, your swimming feels heavy and slows down.
Don’t despair! It generally takes about 2-3 weeks for your body to adjust to the change. Then, that well
earned speed that you worked so hard to find during the cold months of winter will return.
Hey, just remember you’re a triathlete and this is just one more challenge to overcome. 😀
Coach Suzan Ballmer, M.Ed
Breakaway Athletic Coaching