***NOTE FROM ENO: This is part 2 of a 5-part series about how to stay active in the outdoors through flatland training – essentially, training for the mountains without actually being in the mountains.***
by Justin Fricke, aka JustinTheWeekendWarrior
Last week, we looked at training on loose beach sand for flatlanders. This week, we’re going to incorporate some water. If you’re going to be trekking in the mountains but aren’t able to train in the mountains, swimming is a great way to prepare.
Swimming, like running on loose sand, is another low impact activity. You won’t be damaging your joints from constant impact, but you’ll still be able to build muscle. Not to mention that when you get bored with one stroke, you can learn a different stroke.
To me, swimming helps build my mental strength as well. If you’re swimming in a deep pool, it’s easy to let your mind start wandering and thinking that you might drown. Think about it, you start off in the shallow end where it’s maybe 4 feet deep and then all of a sudden, it drops off the 12 feet. It can be a little menacing. If you get too tired and need a break, you have to swim to a wall rather than just standing up to catch your breath.
While we’re on the topic of breathing, you also have to breathe in rhythm. I don’t know about you, but when I’m trekking through the mountains, I find myself panting at times when I’m not thinking about my breathing, and when I’m out of shape. Swimming helps with finding a good rhythm and staying in shape so you’re not weezing like the camp kids in the movie Heavy Weights.
In the summer time, swimming is a great way to beat the heat. Running might be too hot for you during the summer, but swimming provides a great way to stay in shape and stay cool at the same time. Give it a try and let me know what you think!