I’ll just come right out and say it: of all the athletic activities I take part in swimming has always been my least favorite.
I started swimming long after running and cycling in order to compete in triathlons. When I joined the UIUC masters swim team it became a little more enjoyable. At least there were other people there with me doing the same workouts.
After my son was born I didn’t swim for over two years. Then after we moved to Saint Louis I’ve only ever swum by myself. Boredom ensued, so I avoided swimming. Last year I practiced just barely enough not to drown while racing.
But all of that has changed this year, thanks largely to two new (to me) pieces of technology. The first seems fairly ridiculous, but I swear it has made all the difference in the world:
That’s right, thanks to this waterproof digital audio player I can now listen to music while I swim. For a premium over the normal cost of a 2GB iPod Shuffle directly from Apple, there are companies who will purchase a standard Shuffle, coat and seal the inside of the device with waterproof material so the device itself will continue to function when submerged underwater, then resell it to you. Combine that with waterproof headphones and you get a swim workout that isn’t mind-numbingly boring.
There’s no bulky case. In fact, from the outside it looks just like any other Shuffle. I clip the iPod onto my goggle strap. The waterproof headphones have an extra short cable so they don’t drag while swimming. Then I tuck it all under a swim cap. You can barely tell it’s there.
Since getting this I’ve been swimming more frequently, doing longer distances, and improving at a dramatic rate. In the past three weeks I’ve taken 90 seconds off my 1000 yard time, and I think I’ll be able to take another 60-90 seconds off in the next month or two.
It’s worth every penny. Highly recommended.
As an added bonus, I also use this iPod while running. You might ask, wouldn’t a normal iPod work for that? Well, if you’ve ever seen how much I sweat you would understand why the answer is no. I’ve ruined more sets of headphones than I can remember, and I’ve been utterly terrified of ruining my devices as well. For the past year or two I’ve been carrying my (much heavier) iPhone in a waterproof case and combined that with sweat-proof Bluetooth headphones. I still continue to use this setup for longer training runs when I really want to have my phone with me, but for shorter runs (and potentially for races, where weight matters more) I’ve been using this thing (clipped onto my hat/visor).