triathlon_article_Outside_the_Box_A_Total_Immersion_Program_for_Success_in_Open_Water

"Outside the Box", A Total Immersion Program for Success in Open Water by Terry Laughlin

Outside The Box: A Total Immersion Swimming Program For Success In Open Water with Terry Laughlin gives some GREAT tips that will get you swimming more efficiently with less wasted energy. They recently sent us an exceprt of the book for all of you to preview.

Triathlon NutritionIntroduction: Stop Swimming in Circles!

Open water can be alluring (tropic bays, mountain lakes, your favorite beach) and intimidating (“Where are the walls and lane lines?”) in equal measure. But it can also be a place to experience a level of personal accomplishment beyond what the pool can provide, plus the freedom of “unconfined” swimming. This book, and the Outside the Box video it was written to complement, will help you achieve three satisfying and empowering goals:

  1. Learn to swim comfortably and confidently in new places and in more challenging conditions.
  2. Swim farther and faster by saving energy and by getting more out of every stroke you take.
  3. Learn new ways to train that will increase your skill and pleasure.

But its true intention (as with all TI books and videos) is to help you discover a passion for swimming. Combining knowledge with passion virtually guarantees success in achieving any goal. Every time you swim, you’ll leave the water eager to swim again, making Continuous Improvement (Kaizen Swimming) inevitable.

Readers will recognize that writing this book has been a labor of love. The countless hours I’ve devoted to open water swimming have produced an uninterrupted flood of insights and ideas. You’ll find the most significant of them in the pages that follow. While don’t expect every reader to pursue every practice option that I describe, I doubt you’ll find a more comprehensive or thoughtful guide to swimming well in open water. Further I guarantee you’ll find at least one new idea in every chapter that, by itself, will be worth the time you invest in reading.

Where others see problems (fatigue, unpredictable conditions, navigation), I’ve found opportunities. Pursuing improvement-throughproblem- solving has not only brought a level of success I could never have imagined 20 or more years ago; it has become a defining characteristic
of TI Swimming.

This means that, rather than merely coping with the challenges of open water swimming, you’ll instead become intrigued by the ways in which open water swimming differs from pool swimming, and employ a thoughtful, patient approach to exploit the learning opportunities those differences provide.

While I’ve tried to organize the book in a logical sequence, each section stands sufficiently well on its own that you can turn to any section that holds particular interest and immediately learn something new and valuable. Here’s a summary:

  • Part One: Why Swim Outside the Box explains how open water can improve your swimming, introduce you to skills and experiences you may not have even imagined, and bring a higher level of fulfillment than you’ve known before.
  • Part Two: Work Less; Swim Better explains how the endurance demands of open water will be met far more effectively by reducing energy waste than by increasing fitness (which will increase, anyway, as you learn and practice new skills). It also details open-water-specific techniques that will improve your swimming no matter where you swim.
  • Part Three: Swimming Faster explains why speed gains in open water will result more from economy than velocity, reveals the only guaranteed way to swim faster, and shows how anyone–even someone like me who’d spent decades as a tortoise–can retrain his
    or her nervous system to unleash unprecedented speed potential.
  • Part Four: Navigation tells how to swim the shortest distance (nothing will make you faster–easier—than following the shortest distance from start to finish) while lifting your head to sight far less often.
  • Part Five: Swim With Friends shows you how to have more fun than you’ll ever have in a pool, while learning invaluable new skills, and how to turn situations that unsettle many pool swimmers, such as crowds, random contact, and the unpredictable, into opportunities to swim even better.
  • Part Six Adventures in Open Water The final chapters explain how to apply the thoughtful, problem-solving approach taught in the first five parts to what, for many people, constitutes adventure swimming. It includes five chapters on swimming open water races — with particular emphasis on stress-less racing for triathletes — for any distance on any type of course; marathon swimming — up to and
    including the English Channel; and how to adapt — physiologically and psychologically — to colder water, including insights from Lynn
    Cox, famed for “swimming to Antarctica,” and Lewis Pugh, who swam at the North Pole.

Outside the Box is written for:

  • Pool Swimmers to encourage you to venture Outside the Box and to help you master and enjoy the new lessons you’ll learn there.
  • Open Water Swimmers because no matter how many miles you’ve swum in open water, you can keep learning and improving for life.
  • Fitness Swimmers because the cornerstone of health and well-being is loving what you do–and because I hope to encourage you to join fellow open-water enthusiasts in an organized event, race or group swim. (Don’t overlook Chapters 20 to 25 even if, right now, you can’t imagine swimming in an open water race.)
  • New (or want-to-be) Triathletes to help you exit the water after your first tri-swim with a huge smile and eager to do your next triathlon. Veteran Triathletes because I won’t be happy until swimming is the part of triathlon you love most. And because the energy-saving strategies explained herein will pay huge dividends as you cycle and run.

Coaches because open water is the next big thing in swimming and this book will be an invaluable introduction to strategies, tactics, and little- known tricks that will help your swimmers gain savvy and confidence in open water.

Enjoy, Terry Laughlin

Outside The Box; Read Chapter 1

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Safety First Swimming in a pool is predictable and unchanging; it may be confining but it’s safe. Open water is less familiar and less predictable. Consequently your exposure to risk can be considerable: One friend was nearly scalped by a personal watercraft in Cozumel, Mexico, where English singer Kirsty MacColl was killed by a speedboat while
swimming with her sons. Another friend, Laura Lopez-Bonilla, broke her nose in an encounter with a sculler while training in Dover Harbor for
an English Channel swim. Avoid swimming near watercraft if you can.

If you must swim in such places, stay near shore and ask someone to escort you on a paddleboard, kayak, or canoe for visibility.

Never dive into water where you cannot see, or are unfamiliar with, the bottom. Enter carefully, even when going in feet first.Be familiar with currents, sweeps, and tides. If you are swimming where one of these is present, swim against the flow first so that, if you tire, the current can help return you to your starting point. And be aware that currents can change while you swim.

Know the hazards that marine life may present, from jellyfish to sharks. Swim with at least one buddy whenever possible, and, if you must swim alone, swim parallel to shore at a depth in which you can stand at any time. Take care and always use good judgment.

About Terry Laughlin Terry is the founder and Head Coach of Total Immersion. At age 12 in
8th grade, he was the only person cut during tryouts for his grade school swim team. At 16 as a high school senior, he failed to qualify
for the NYC Catholic High School championship. At 20 as a college senior, he didn’t make a single championship final in the Met College
Conference in NYC. Yet, since turning 55 in 2006, he has won four National Masters Long Distance championships, broken national age
group records for the 1- and 2-Mile Cable Swims on three occasions, medaled in the World Masters Open Water Championship, been the
top-ranked 55-59 open water swimmer in the U.S., and completed his second 28.5-mile Manhattan Island Marathon Swim. This book explains how Terry became a open-water overachiever in midlife.

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