Originally Posted by Paul Jones
This article is exactly why swimming is not good for intensity training. And, please understand that high intensity training is not the only way a skier should structure their conditioning program.
Start monitoring heart rate. High intensity means shorter distance and max effort with rest. Compare the Tabata I mentioned above to the heart rate of swimming drills... specifically a 200 fly at 4:00.
Again, the idea swimming is not good for intensity training is ridiculous.
Yes, max heart rate swimming is about 12 beats per minute lower than running. That doesn't mean a maximal effort swimming isn't intense, it just means other parts of your body are taxed more than your heart while swimming compared to running.
The same is true for biking, just not quite as much as swimming. I think it's like 8-10 beats per minute lower on the bike. That doesn't mean biking isn't good for intensity training. All three are great for intensity training if you do it right. You just need to be aware of the different heart rate training zones for each sport if you use heart rate to measure intensity. Heart rate is just one of several ways to measure intensity, each with their plusses and minuses. If you use pace, perceived exertion or power on the bike your heart rate really doesn't matter.
And, there's nothing magic about 200 fly at 4:00... except for me. That's my personal sucky pace for a maximal effort, and it will result in me finishing at my max heart rate for swimming. There is no doubt that is intense. How do I know? Because I feel like I'm going to puke at the end. I never push myself that hard skiing, so I'm quite sure that intensity of swimming will benefit my cardiovascular system for skiing, though not as much as a maximal effort running, of course, because running is more similar to skiing.
For the fun of it, I dug up some 200 fly videos on youtube to show how everybody's pace for a maximal effort is different.
The first is my favorite! It's of an 80 year old guy doing the 200 fly in 5:36. It's quite inspirational (and not just because I'm slightly faster than him ). If you watch the end there is no doubt he is using every ounce of energy in his body just to finish, as he can't even get is arms out of the water on the final length.
The second video is a really good swimmer setting the age group record for the 200 fly in MN at 1:58. Yes he's twice as fast as me! At least I have plenty of room for improvement
My point is racing a 200 fly is incredibly intense, regardless of pace. The idea swimming can't be intense is just silly.
Finally, here's a good article about the health benefits of swimming based on a study that concludes "swimmers had lower mortality rates than those who were sedentary, walkers or runners.’’