You’re a triathlete. You have a favorite pair of tennis shoes but they don’t provide enough support anymore and it is time for them to be replaced. What do you do? Wash them and bring them to the pool!
We used to do kick sets with tennis shoes on occasionally when I was in college. It was difficult but also a nice break from our normal routine. I think it is worth trying if you are struggling with any mental burnout, boredom with your practices or if you need to work on the downward portion of your kick.
In my experience, swimming with shoes on makes my feet float closer to the surface of the water. This provides two benefits to the swimmer:
- You have to focus on the downward motion of your kick
- It will help you feel like you are swimming downhill
I don’t think shoes should be used regularly at practice, but I think it is a nice treat every once in awhile. Here are a few things worth trying in the water with tennis shoes on:
Float in a streamline position with legs/feet at the surface of the water. No kicking allowed! If you cannot float like this without having your legs sink, try it with a pair of shoes on and see if it helps you find better balance in the water. When you have figured it out, take the shoes off and see if you can float in a streamline position without them.
Swim your warm up with shoes on. You should always feel like you are swimming downhill, and swimming with shoes on will exaggerate that feeling. Take the shoes off once you’re done with your warm up and see if you can maintain that downhill feeling through the main set.
Do a kick set with shoes. Focus on the downward motion of your kick – your toes should be comfortably pointed and your knees should be straight. During the upward phase of your kicking cycle, your knees should bend a little.
Try using the shoes as resistance. Try not to kick while you’re swimming. Instead, focus on giving your arms a good workout and using the shoes to create drag. If it is too easy, try flexing your feet to create more drag. If you’re legs are sinking, wear a pull buoy during this drill.
WARNING: DO NOT KICK WITH SHOES IF YOU HAVE ANY KNEE PAIN! DO NOT KICK OR SWIM WITH SHOES ON IN OPEN WATER!