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Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Pool Dilemma: Which Would you Choose?

After I've run my marathon on November 6, I'm going to be doing some cross training. I initially considered doing CrossFit, but cost, location and my general desire to not work quite as hard on my non-running days as CrossFit would require turned me off.

So, I have decided to go with swimming. The question is, where? There are a number of pools in the Baltimore area, but I live about 40 minutes from the city. I work just outside of the city, though. There is no "perfect" pool - they all have some flaws.  Plus, I live in the middle of nowhere. What do you think?

Is an indoor pool located at a gym that is about 30 minutes from my house, and about 30 minutes from my office. It's not too far (maybe 10-15 minutes) from where I typically do my weekday runs. I know a bunch of people who go to this gym, and who swim there. It is a four lane, 25 yard lap pool, and membership gets me in to any of the gyms in the area owned by the same company (although none of the other ones are any more convenient than this one). It has a masters program, but it costs extra. It is $50 per month.

Another indoor pool also located in a gym. This gym is right next door to the shopping center where my running store is (and where I go one or two times per week). It's 35-40 minutes from my house and 15-20 minutes from my office. I know a few members, and this is also where I took swimming lessons back in 2006. I love this pool and this gym. The gym also has a self-belay rock climbing wall and an indoor track and is just the best gym in Baltimore. The pool is 25 yards and has 5 lanes and it is a salt water pool. That's a HUGE selling point for me, since I have colored hair and have not yet figured out how to properly put on a swim cap. There is a masters program, but it is really early in the morning (starts at 6:15am). It is $89 per month.

Is an outdoor pool located only 3 miles (10 minutes, tops) from my house. It is next to a gym, but the membership is for the pool only - no gym access except the locker rooms/bathrooms/showers. During the winter months, there is a dome over the pool and the air temps are kept at 72-75. Water temps are currently at 80, but they are about to put in a geothermal heat system to keep the temperature at 81-83. We belonged to this pool for a few summers (I've never been there with the dome on), and we had trouble getting lanes because either the swim team was always there or kids and adults were just hanging out and playing in the lanes. Because of these problems, we decided not to renew our summer membership for the past 2 summers - but they're now under new management. Due to scheduling, I'd only be able to go to this pool before work and after 7pm, since the swim team is there every evening. However, during the summer when the pool is outdoors, the swim team meets in the morning and evening, so the only time available for open swim is after 7:00pm (or during the day, which obviously I can't do). It is 25 yards, 8 lanes. They are working on getting a masters program, and it would be late in the evening (7:30pm-8:30pm). It is $29 per month.

I know that the no brainer seems to be Pool #3, but part of me really wants to do Pool #2. What can I say? I have expensive taste. Will the convenience of Pool #3 make me go more often, or will I go more to Pool #2 because I've spent so much and need to feel like I'm not wasting the money? Despite how close pool #3 is to my house, I am not sure that it would save me much time because I would go to the pool in the morning, then go home and get ready for work, then go back out and head down to work (about 30-35 mins away). With Pools #1 and #2 I would get ready for work at the pool and go straight into the office.

What would you choose?


Jenny said...

If it's in your budget, I'd also go with pool #2. You love it - you're more likely to go someplace you love. It sounds not too inconvient for going after work. Pool 3, you'd have to go back out for and are you really going to want to go back out and get all wet and cold on a winter night? And I've heard great things about salt water pools (although I've never swam in one).

Kandi said...

For me the cost and closeness of the 3rd option are very appealing. That being said, the 2nd option obviously is your favorite and I'd have to agree with what Jenny said - if you love it you're more likely to want to go. Plus the salt water sounds appealing (I used to work at a salt water pool).

Mary said...

Not only do you love pool #2, but it is close to some place you go regularly anyway, so since it is already part of your routine to be there frequently, I think the distance is less of a factor than it might have been otherwise.

Kim said...

I really want to swim in the mornings. I've started working on getting up earlier, and at a consistent time. I already run 2 nights a week, so I'd prefer to be swimming in the mornings on the opposite days so that I am not getting home late 4 nights a week. I'm talking to Todd about it also. One thing I didn't mention is that Pool #3 was frequently dirty - once it was so green that you couldn't see the bottom. Todd was so grossed out that he never went back, and during our talks about this yesterday he said that he hates to give money to them, under new management or not.

onelittletrigirl said...

I think you answered this yourself with Option 2. For myself, I know I like something close.

I wish I could do crossfit too. But same thing...nights of the week and cost. URG!

lindsay said...

i think 2 also, if you can make it work in the budget! i need something close or i'll never go - 15-20 minutes to work isn't bad.

3 would be great if it was more convenient to go from home to swim, but at the same time you don't want to have a tight window of go-time either. sure $29 is great, but not if you can only swim from 7:01pm to 7:59pm. (you know what i mean)

2 sounds like it gets you extra perks and is fairly convenient.

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