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When the pool is not an option: Part 1 of 3

By Cortney Martin

Cortney Martin
Triathlete Cortney Martin loves having the option to train at home.

A few weeks ago, I was bitten by a dog while out training on my bike. Given my upset state, the presence of an open wound, and my already tight schedule thrown off by the added time spent talking to Animal Control and the Health Department, my scheduled pool swims were no longer feasible for the immediate future. Fortunately, I have a Vasa Ergometer, so I didn’t have to miss my swim training. As I trained on the Erg and my mood lifted, I began to think of all the times and all the situations like this that the Ergometer has made swim training possible and easier for me. Very quickly, I came up with a substantial list that I called, “When the pool is not an option: Times there is just no substitute for the Vasa Ergometer.” The list grew so long I split it into three groups:

1.) Scheduling, travel, and availability;
2.) Injury and motivation;
3.) Technique and performance.

I’ll address each in a separate post, and we invite readers to comment and share their own experiences!

PART 1: Scheduling, Travel, & Pool Availability Issues


  • TIME CRUNCH: When I have less than an hour for a swim workout. I work full time, train and race triathlons and marathons, have two busy sons, and have a husband who is busy and work and gone until evening. My days are very long and tightly scheduled and there are times I simply do not have the two+ hours that are required to get to the pool, prepare, swim, shower, and get home. I can get more efficient and effective training in with less time on the Erg.
  • SWIM-BIKE BRICK & DRY TRI: When I want to do a swim-bike brick workout or full triathlon simulation. It can be very challenging to work out the logistics of either, but with the Ergometer, a full Erg -> Bike Trainer -> Treadmill is easy and accessible, and transitions can be kept very short and race-like.
  • LIFE THROWS A CURVEBALL: When leaving the house isn’t feasible. Reasons can include: sick kids, snowy/icy roads, transportation issues, or company visiting.
  • INCLUDE KIDS IN TRAINING: When I just don’t feel like leaving the kids. There are times I’ve just been on the run or gone so much I just don’t want to head out again. We have the Wii set up in the same room as the Erg, and it’s not unusual for one or both kids to “hang out” while I’m on the Ergometer. At least we are together, and they get the chance to see what training looks like!
  • LIMITED POOL AVAILABILITY: When the pool is not available. Our pool closes twice a year for maintenance, but even on the regular schedule, the lap times are fairly limited and sometimes just do not sync with the family schedule. And thunder and lightning means everyone gets out of the pool.
  • ACCESSIBILITY: When I need to be accessible. At the pool you are pretty much offline and unreachable, and most of the time that’s how it should be for training. But there have been a few times that an important call was expected so rather than have to skip a swim and sit around waiting, I could still get my swim training in but be reachable. 
  • NO ELECTRICITY: When there is a power outage. Even if the power is out in town, or in my own home, I don’t need power to use the Erg! It gives a little control over training and improves the mood at a time when frustration tends to grow.

What would you add?