Apr 172011

Practice swim in La Jolla Cove

Susan taking a practice swim with some Ford Aquatics Masters swimmers in La Jolla Cove

Having the right shoes, swimsuit, goggles or other piece of equipment or accessory can make or break your performance and comfort during training and competition. Here are a few athletic items I can’t live without:

1 – I Bungee laces for my running shoes. I wrote a produce review on these a couple of years ago and got instantly hooked! If you do triathlons, you will love these. No more hopping around on one foot as you try to tie your laces when your muscles are still trembling from the ride. The elastic allows you to slip on your running shoes like slippers. These are also great for seniors who have trouble reaching their feet.

2 – Trail Running shoes for aerobics. In the 80s and 90s, well-cushioned aerobic shoes were par-for-the-course. Then they became more like a glorified walking shoe: stiff and with very little cushioning against impact. Since then, I’ve been looking for another solution. Many running shoes, such as Nike Vomero offer excellent cushioning, but limited lateral support. Most recently, I invested in an Avia trail running shoe. Awesome! It gives me lateral support, sole flexibility AND cushioning and I feel like I am back in business.

3 – TYR Durafast swimsuits – If you are like me, you find it irritating when in a matter of weeks, your suit is so stretched out already that its close to your knees on a forceful wall pushoff. The Durafast lasts longer than most other swimsuits on the market today. I am still wearing a suit I bought last August and I’ve even worn it in the hot tub a few times and it hasn’t lost its shape. The Nike suits I’ve purchased have also held up well.

4 – Lane Four Selene goggles – If you don’t want to go to work with dark rings around your eyes, these goggles have soft rubber that barely leaves a mark. To me, this is a huge benefit, because I don’t like getting to work looking like a mean person. The anti-fog coating does come off pretty quickly with these, but putting a little liquid soap inside and rinsing them seems to do the trick.

5 – Long hooded swim parka – Protects you from the cold, sun and wind. I have gotten a whole lot of value out of the 100-something dollars I spend on my swim parka. I used to always get cold at meets and now I never have a problem. I swim much better when I don’t get chilled between events. You can buy these from swimoutlet.com and other swimming stores. Most swimming clubs offer them with the team logo.

6 – Foam rollers – When a masseuse isn’t close at hand, you can massage your own body by rolling a foam roller beneath your muscles (think of rolling your muscles like dough). It lengthens the muscle and reduces discomfort, rigidity and knots in connective tissue. You can order these on my web site at www.susandawson-cook.com/personal_best_stretch.htm. Stretching is something I also can’t live without and if your’e not sure how to do it effectively, my DVD will teach you how!

The next product I’m going to try is My Own Bottle (myownbottle.com). Plastic is just plain bad for you and its really hard to see if there’s mold growning in the bottom of a stainless steel bottle, so these glass bottles piqued my interest. You can wash them in the dishwasher and reuse them so you’re not wasting; the downside is that it wouldn’t be safe to use them at the pool.

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