Seasonal Switch

If you went to a LCM taper meet, your outdoor season ended over a month ago already! While I didn’t go to such a meet this year, the end of this past LCM season was still a bi-annual “seasonal shift” trigger for me. Each year, the end of summer (and the end of spring) requires a few key changes to adjust to the season ahead. My just-completed outdoor LCM to indoor SCY/SCM seasonal switch included:

Pools: During the summer it’s all LCM meters outdoors (hooray!) Fall through spring, however, I have to mix indoor LCM, SCY and outdoor SCM each week due to weather and higher pool usage (think: age group meets.)

Schedule: Our summer LCM pool time slot is 12:30, which is a little awkward because it breaks up the day per work, errands, chores, weights, etc. Switching back to all a.m. swims is actually one back to fall transition I prefer because you can get much more done each day.

Transportation: Alas, fall through spring in the Rockies means it’s not often bike-friendly weather. And, the 50 LCM outdoor pool is the only one that’s currently easy to bike to—it’s back in the car until next summer.

Suits: Typically whatever collection of suits I wore all summer are trashed by the end of the season and thus must be tossed (summer ’15 tally: three, all lycra.) But I also love starting each fall with a fresh suit. This not only sparks “new season” thoughts, but opting for heavier fabrics and darker colors makes me feel warmer sans sun inside.

Towels: This is another fall-spring switch that I really look forward to—I’m back swimming at facilities that provide towel service, so I no longer have to pack (or forget) one every day. I embrace the lighter bag and fewer laundry loads season!

Padlock: Our summer LCM outdoor pool is private—you can safely leave your stuff on deck behind the blocks. My fall-spring pools are all public though, so I always store everything in a locker.

Caps: Normally I’d switch back to silicone for the SCY season to boost warmth, especially once winter begins. After last year’s surgery prompted a latex reaction however, I can no longer tolerate latex*. I did try latex this past May once we moved outside, but I wanted to rip the cap off my head within five minutes. Since then, I’ve gone all silicone despite the heavier weight in hotter air and water temperatures and intense sunrays.

*According to the American Latex Allergy Association, an estimated 1-6% of Americans and 8-12% of American health care workers are latex sensitive. And, people with 10 or more allergies are at higher risk for developing a latex allergy. As with health care workers, I wonder if the swim population allergy rate might be higher than the average because we’re exposed to latex more. While the only other people I know with a latex allergy are swimmers, I do know swimmers more than any other type of person, so who knows?

Goggles: This is one equipment preference that doesn’t change—I prefer smoke goggles year-round, indoors or out. Ditto for electrolytes. I drink Ultima during every swim, but sometimes I switch flavors to honor a season change.

Chores: I completely empty all bags (equipment, shower, backpack) and wash them. All bottles (e.g. shampoo) are refilled/replaced. While the bags are in the washer, I assess: What can be permanently removed from any bag (always aiming to travel lighter in life.) Also, I toss anything else that’s grungy/done. This year it was one cap and a pair each of flip-flops and goggles.

My seasonal switch tasks don’t take long at all, and I find they help me feel not only ready for the season ahead, but psyched up for it—a welcome feeling after a long summer of training followed by the traditional end-of-season break which always leaves me feeling somewhat sluggish, discombobulated, and depressed. Setting fresh goals for the season ahead also motivates me, but because it’s always a much longer process, it deserves it’s own post. Stayed tuned!

Next week: What Supplements I Take, and Why

Next week: What Supplements I Take, and Why

Seasonal Switch

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