Spring Shopping - Fitness Fits

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Getting ready for Spring/Summer training can be fun. No seriously. One more reason to go shopping. I've found some great lines over the years for everything from swimming to biking and running and even some in between. Let's start out with swimming-my absolute favorite. And before you start moaning-you should give it a try. Swimming accessories have come a long way since Esther Williams.

One of my favorite new suits from Speedo is the water polo suit. It's a one-piece training suit that, yes, was probably designed for water polo but works great for swim training as well. It's a very modest, high neck, zipper back suit that fits like a glove. And the colors (four to pick from) are cute and stylish. I prefer the skull pattern myself.

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I've always trained with funny, sometimes mistake printed caps (because they were cheaper) or whatever I could get my hands on. Many swim shops carry mistake caps for about a dollar in case you're wondering. Anyway here's a great website for funny and seasonal caps. The holiday ones are the best. Aardvark Swim and Sport. They have over 60 caps for adults and children that are fun and not too expensive especially if you order more than a few at a time. Here are two favorites I'm actually known for.

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And before we go any further-I've never powdered my caps in 35 years of swimming. I don't think it helps and to be honest I think it stretches out and eats your cap even faster. Stick your goggles inside so both can breathe while in a gym bag or locker and you'll be good to go. No cases, little bags, powder. Just dry air. Chlorine eats equipment. Air everything out as much as possible. Oh, never rinsed suits either. Definitely a good habit as long as you hang them to dry (rolled up in a towel doesn't count).

Ah, now on to goggles. Seems like a million to pick from and not one that fits. Honestly there is no secret to goggles. You have to find the one that works for you. But how to narrow the field while shopping? Definitely easier to shop for goggles the old fashion way-actually in a store. Look at the eye sockets first and foremost. Big eyes? Big sockets. And as I type the word "big" let me be very clear-big doesn't mean better. There are masks being sold as "goggles" on the market. Masks are for pearl diving, goggles are for swimming. Wonder why you're not going anywhere? Try taking off the two-pound mask and strap on a pair of goggles. I don't wear stilettos to run, I could but come on, Christian Louboutin-the next red swoosh?

Here's a little side note. When discovering a new sport - no matter what it may be. I think a good rule of thumb is to check out what the real athletes use or used back in the day. Swimmers when from no goggles straight to goggles. I don't remember anyone diving in with a mask on! Stick with the basics. Suit, cap (optional for men), goggles. Don't get fancy. We'll save that for another blog entry.

Back to goggles. Speedo, TYR, Swedish, they all make great goggles in one form or another. I prefer Swedish goggles because they have no rubber or foam lining the eye sockets.

You have to build these goggles, which I will admit may require an advanced degree of some sort from Stockholm but they are well worth it. A custom built goggle and a very reasonable price. They also last forever. I still have a pair from 2000. Anyone who's ever used these can help with the construction and perhaps constructing a Swedish goggle will be a blog.

Yeah-two blog ideas.

Color is also an issue. I prefer dark colors-smoke and mirrored silver. I don't like bright lights or sunlight when I swim (it's my own peaceful little dim underwater world). Not sure what looking thru colored lenses for hours a day will do for your vision but it can't be too good? Maybe it helps? Just something to think of.

There's a ton of equipment out there for swimming. Keep it simple. Keep it relatively inexpensive (at least at first-until you figure out what you like) and jump in feet first always making a HUGE SPLASH no matter what you do.

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