Friday, June 13, 2008

More Questions

I love it when you ask questions, partly because I don't have to think up stuff on my own to write and mostly because I think I'm doing a service here.

The first question was from a recent college grad who spent many years on the swim team and thus in the pool. He is intrigued with open water swimming and wants to know about specific workouts and if anything other than swimming is part of the deal. Just what do you do to train for a swim of 30 ocean miles?

If I have to forcefully sit him down in front of a computer and make him answer . . . BG will answer that one.

Then I got an email from a mom with two "chubby" teenage girls and she wants to know what I think of the "obesity epidemic in children?"

Well mom, let me explain a few things. I was at the mall a few days back and yes, I did see a lot of fat kids. Fat kids at the Burger King, fat kids at the Game Store, Fat kids in line for the movies, fat kids just hanging out. I saw more fat kids getting off the bus in front of a local High School and the next day saw those same fat kids getting on the bus THREE BLOCKS AWAY FROM THE HIGH SCHOOL.
My son plays Lacrosse and we were at the Central Oahu Park an hour before his game and I was looking around for fat kids. I couldn't find any. No fat kids playing Lacrosse, none playing soccer, not a fat kid on any baseball team and the swim team, all fit and trim.
Mom, here's the reality. Kids get fat for two reasons. First we live in a culture where too many kids don't or aren't encouraged to exercise. Second what most kids eat is high in calories, fat and in almost all cases isn't even food. Food is fruit, vegetables, nuts, seeds, berries, grains (plants) and meat. Milk is food for babies. If your kids are fat they aren't getting enough exercise ( for kids playing outdoors should do it) and they aren't eating food. Encourage your kids to play outside and feed them food and I'll bet you see an improvement. Limit time in front of screens too.

What do you do to train for surfing big waves? Surfing is, I think, the best training, then comes body surfing but if you want to know what else its anything that increases your VO2 max or your lung capacity. Sure you have to be strong to surf big waves but all of us who do know it comes down to how long you can survive a punishing wipe out without breathing. So sprints, swimming with a heavy rock, free diving, paddling and all the other stuff you hear about on this site. Big wave wipe outs are on average going to keep you under for 10 to 20 seconds. More than that is thankfully rare but does happen. You have to be prepared for the worst case which is probably double that - 40 seconds. Beyond that is will power alone.
For those of you thinking "I can do the deadman float in the hot tub and hold my breath for two and a half minutes" well, so can I but a truer test is this. Go for a run of about 3 miles and finish at the beach with a final 100 yard sprint on the sand as fast as you possibly can and then, without resting, dive into the water and hold your breath. I'll bet an all natural organic beer that nobody reading this can do that and stay under water for more than 20 seconds.
Push till you are gasping, that's big wave training.


Anonymous said...

How to train for a 30 mile swim. Of course your ability will dictate your training. For me, I swim about 20K/week year round, so that is my base. For the 30 mile swim, I swam 25K/week 3 months out, then 35k/week 2 months out, and finally 45k/week one month out, tapering one week out to about 10-15K. Then swam the 30 mile distance, and felt pretty good. Mostly a little sore, but nothing broken (ie: cramps, shoulder problems, etc.) Remember, it was not a race, just get from point A to point B at what ever pace felt good. BG

Anonymous said...

From a bodysurfing perspective, pick a spot with a lot of current and stay active for as long as you can. Sprint out thru the set and take your pulse. One thing I've noticed about maneuvering in surf is that you involuntarily hold your breath a lot, especially when your actually catching a wave, so sprinting will help dealing with lack of oxygen/ building endurance. One thing I'm sure Jeff can agree on is that the key to dealing with really big surf is learning how to keep as calm and relaxed as possible, whenever possible to preserve ever precious oxygen. 'Cause I've always thought that: Panic= Exhaustion + Fear!
So raising the bar in bigger surf will train you emotionally.
I think that's where BG and Jeff are at a much higher level.

Great local bodysurfing websites:

Lots of Point Panic and Sandy's!!!