Stories, Life Experiences & Thoughts by Antonio Argüelles

Skolnick On Swimming At The Olympic Club

Courtesy of WOWSAHuntington Beach, California

Adam Skolnick is an award-winning journalist who has written about travel, culture, human rights, sports, and the environment for The New York Times, Playboy, Outside,,, Men's Health, Wired, and Longreads, among others. 

But it is his expressive and illuminating descriptions of the open water world that have always caught our attention.

Skolnick is the author of ONE BREATH: Freediving, Death and the Quest to Shatter Human Limits and he has covered open water swimming several times for the New York Times. 

His features include Antonio Argüelles' journey to become the seventh person to complete the Oceans Seven, Kimberley Chambers' attempt to swim the length of the Sacramento River, and a profile of Jim McConica and The Deep Enders' channel swimming relay.

For more information on his books, visit ONE BREATH and INDOLIRIUM.

Skolnick will moderate a panel discussion among the Oceans Seven swimmers at the 2018 WOWSA Talks & WOWSA Awards on November 9th - 10th at The Olympic Club in San Francisco, California. "There is no one better to interview these luminaries in the sport," says Steven Munatones. "These swimmers are articulate, engaging and entertaining as they explain their motivations to swim and their challenges along the way. What these swimmers face in their preparations and how they eventually succeed in their swims are applicable to normal and unexpected challenges faced by many people on dryland. 

And Adam is the best at identifying and drawing out the motivations and stories behind their achievements and obstacles whether it is psychological, physiological, logistical or emotional

The speakers include:

Lewis Pugh - UK
Swimming for Change
Lewis is a former maritime lawyer from the UK, one of the world’s leading ocean advocates from his home base in Cape Town, and an open water swimmer with a long list of unprecedented pioneering swims around the world. He delivers his message of ocean conservation to influential heads of states, top government officials, and millions of citizens around the world. In some cases, his pioneering swims have ultimately led to the creation of marine sanctuaries and Marine Protected Areas and justified his designation as the United Nations Patron of the Oceans. He received the Presidential Award from the International Swimming Hall of Fame and is an Honor Swimmer in the International Marathon Swimming Hall of Fame. He is an unparalleled environmental campaigner via Speedo Diplomacy with a list of swims accomplished in the North Pole, Mount Everest, Antarctica, Maldives, and Scandinavia. He has been named a Young Global Leader, Fellow of the Royal Geographical Society, Fellow of The Explorers Club, and Adventurer of the Year, and received the Order of Ikhamanga (Gold Class) in South Africa. He is a wildly popular speaker and author of Achieving the Impossible and 21 Yaks and a Speedo.

Shelley Taylor-Smith - Australia
Shattering the Gender Pay Gap In Open Water Swimming
Shelley is a professional marathon swimmer, coach, author, administrator, Olympic referee and motivational speaker based in Western Australia. She was the dominant marathon swimmer in the 1980’s and 1990’s when she was crowned the World Professional Marathon Swimming Federation champion seven times and won the Manhattan Island Marathon Swim five times. She served for over 20 years on various FINA committees and helped administer the Olympic 10K Marathon Swim at the 2008 Beijing Olympics and 2012 London Olympics. She is one of the few dual inductees as she was selected as an Honor Swimmers in both the International Marathon Swimming Hall of Fame (Class of 1989) and International Swimming Hall of Fame (Class of 2008). She has been honored multiple times in Australia as the Australian Female Athlete of the Year, Australian Sports Medal recipient, two-time Australian of the Year finalist, and received the Irving Davids - Captain Roger Wheeler Memorial Award from the International Swimming Hall of Fame.

Aaron Peirsol - USA
Getting Wet
Aaron is a former competitive swimmer and current world record holder in the 200m backstroke. He is a 3-time Olympian and 7-time Olympic medalist (five gold medals + two silver medals). He has won 36 medals in major international competitions: 29 golds + 6 silvers + 1 bronze) spanning the Olympics and the World, Pan American and Pan Pacific Championships. Growing up a Junior Guard in Newport Beach, in his retirement, Aaron has revisited his love for the ocean, becoming an ambassador for marine conservation non-profit Oceana and competing in ocean swims from Newport Beach to Rio de Janeiro. Aaron is also an avid body surfer and paddler, and is currently developing a beach safety program in Costa Rica. 

Kimberley Chambers - New Zealand
Making A Comeback, Step By Step
Kimberley from New Zealand has fought back from near-death experiences to become one of the world’s most accomplished marathon swimmers. The former ballerina now living in San Francisco shifted to swimming after rehabilitating from nearly having her leg amputated. She went on to achieve the Oceans Seven and was the first woman to complete a crossing to the Farallones Island in the world’s most densely populated area with Great White Sharks. She serves as a motivational speaker with popular stints at TED Conferences and at the United Nations. In addition to her corporate work at Adobe in Silicon Valley, she has focused the energy at raising millions of dollars for charitable causes together with the Night Train Swimmers. She has completed unprecedented relay, tandem crossings, and cross-border swims from Mexico to Israel, in lakes and down the California coast, and was selected as one of the World’s 50 Most Adventurous Open Water Women. A film on her life and comeback, KIM SWIMS, has been extremely well-received in dozens of film festivals across the United States.

Antonio Argüelles - Mexico
Why Swimming is My Rock
Antonio, the 2015 and 2017 World Open Water Swimming Man of the Year, is one of the leading channel and marathon swimmers in the world from his home base of Mexico City. In addition to completing a number of triathlons and marathon runs, he has completed the Oceans Seven at the age of 58 - the oldest to do so - and has twice achieved the Triple Crown of Open Water Swimming. He is an author, aquapreneur, and was named one of the Greatest Watermen in Open Water Swimming History and one of the World’s 50 Most Adventurous Open Water Men. His prolific career has led him to be voted as the 2015 and 2017 World Open Water Swimming Man of the Year and inducted as an Honor Swimmer in the International Marathon Swimming Hall of Fame (Class of 2014). He is an inspiring figure in his native Mexico where he has frequently appeared on television and in numerous publications.

Ben Lecomte - France
Transoceanic Swimming - From Tokyo to San Francisco [via video from Pacific Ocean]
Ben lives a life marrying adventure and risk with his love of swimming and focusing on a message of protecting the world’s oceans. The Frenchman is a transoceanic stage swimmer who completed a 5,980 km swim across the Atlantic Ocean in 73 days in 1998. Twenty years later, he is attempting a similar 8,721 km stage swim across the Pacific Ocean between Japan and California. Currently en route somewhere far from both the Japanese and American shores, he is conducting myriad scientific and research projects from his escort boat with a dedicated crew of researchers. They collect human physiological data as well as measure and observe waste plastic in the oceans far from shore. 

Angel More - USA
Inspiring The Next Generation
Angel is a young, emerging endurance athlete from San Francisco. She is a marathon swimmer, triathlete, extreme athlete and Century cyclist who has raised $40,000 to date for the charitable organization Children International. She has completed a total of 51 Alcatraz Island crossings and participated in open water swims from South Africa to Sweden and England. She is the youngest person to complete the 10 km Bridge to Bridge Swim, 20 km Capitola Santa Cruz Pier-to-Pier Swim, 19.6 km Santa Barbara Channel, 34.2 km Lake Tahoe crossing, and the 12-mile Wharf to Wharf to Wharf Swim throughout her native California. 

Ger Kennedy - Ireland
Flight Or Fight In The Ice
Ger is an extreme athlete, renowned ice swimmer, race director, coach and mentor from Ireland. In addition to organizing triathlon events and open water swimming races and expeditions from Dublin to Siberia to Antarctica, he came up with the concept of Ice Sevens and has compete in the International Ice Swimming Championships and International Winter Swimming Championships and World Cups in various countries. In addition to coaching and mentoring ice swimmers at all speeds, experiences and walks of life, he has completed 10 official Ice Miles, 3 unofficial Ice Miles, a 2 km Extreme Ice Mile in 0.5°C water, a Polar Ice Mile, two Ice Zero Miles, and swum 52 meters under the ice in -1ºC (30.2ºF) in northern Russia and is organizing the Antarctica 2020 International Swim. He is one of the few humans defined as an Ice Ironman, an individual who has completed a full Ironman triathlon and an Ice Mile. 

Jaimie Monahan - USA
2016 and 2017 World Open Water Swimming Woman of the Year
Jaimie is as versatile as an open water swimmer came be. Based in New York, there is no one who flies more often or further than Jaimie to do channel swims, marathon swims, lake swims, night swims, ice swims, and compete in the International Ice Swimming Championships, International Winter Swimming Championships and World Cup circuit. She was inducted as an Honor Swimmer in the International Marathon Swimming Hall of Fame (Class of 2018) and was voted as the 2016 and 2017 World Open Water Swimming Woman of the Year, and received the Barra Award for Best Overall Year and the Yudovin Award for Most Adventurous Swim by the Marathon Swimmers Federation. She is one of the few Ice Ironwomen who have completed both a full Ironman triathlon and Ice Mile. She was the first human in history to complete the Ice Sevens, is an Ice Zero Swimmer, has completed the Triple Crown of Open Water Swimming, is a 3-time member of the 24-Hour Club, serves as President of the Lake Geneva Swim Association, and won the inaugural 40 Bridges Double Manhattan Island Swim.

Margarita Llorens Bagur - Spain
2017 World Open Water Swimming Performance of the Year
Margarita never quits trying or helping others achieved their own goals. She serves as president of the Menorca Channel Swimming Association and is a member of the 24-Hour Club. Her 37-hour 73 km channel swim attempt, albeit unsuccessful, was so remarkable and inspiring that it was voted as the 2017 World Open Water Swimming Performance of the Year. In addition to her record-setting swims in the Menorca Channel environs, she has completed a number of marathon swims throughout Europe, from Spain to Greece.

Adrian Sarchet - Guernsey
Sea Donkeys - 2017 World Open Water Swimming Offering of the Year
Adrian is an advocate from Guernsey who has completed 1 km winter swims and 6 of 7 channels in the Oceans Seven in order to raise money for cancer research. He has completed crossings of the English Channel, Catalina Channel, Strait of Gibraltar, North Channel, Molokai Channel, and Tsugaru Channel in addition to Round Jersey and Round Guernsey solo circumnavigation swims. His North Channel training and success was the subject of the 90-minute documentary film Sea Donkey, the 2017 World Open Water Swimming Offering of the Year, produced James Harrison.

Marcia Benjamin - USA
Training A Marathon Swimmer In Your Masters Swimming Program
Marcia is a renowned coach and mentor of swimmers and triathletes at every level and age based in Oakland, California. She has received numerous awards (2013 Kerry O’Brien Coaches Award, 2006 Dorothy Donnelly Service Award, and 2000 and 2017 Peggy Lucchesi Awards) and represented Team USA at the 2013 Maccabiah Games. An accomplished masters swimmer in her own right, she runs what is deservedly described the most diverse group of swimmers on the planet at Oakland’s MEMO (Marcia's Enthusiastic Masters of Oakland).

Megan Melgaard - USA 
Swimming For Good, Swim Across America
Megan is considered to have one of the smoothest and efficient freestylers on the planet. She is an accomplished pool and open water swimmer, administrator, race director and aquapreneur based in Santa Monica, California. She has appeared in Hollywood movies both behind and in front of the camera, led water safety programs for Delta Airlines flight attendants, raced as a professional Ironman triathlete, cycled across America, and was a member of the USA Swimming national team, been a masters swimming world champion, is an Honorary Coast Guard Rescue Swimmer, and has coached swimmers and non-swimmers of all ages and abilities. She currently serves as the Director of Events and Safety for Swim Across America, the world’s most successful swimming charity organization.

Ross Edgley - UK
The Great British Swim 
Ross is the British creator of Strongman Swimming who is a thoroughly educational and entertaining personality on social media and writings in GQ Magazine, Men’s Health, Telegraph, and Men’s Fitness. The former water polo player, he is considered one of the leading British fitness industry experts and co-founder of The Protein Works. He is currently engaging people from all walks of life through The Great British Swim, a 3,218 stage swim around the entirety of Great Britain. 

Sally Minty-Gravett - Jersey
Rising To The Occasion
Sally Minty-Gravett, MBE from Jersey has earned a unique legacy for having completed an English Channel crossing once every decade for the past five consecutive decades (at 18 years in 1975, 28 years in 1985, 35 years in 1992, 48 years in 2005, and 56 years in 2013. She culminated her English Channel career with an epic 36 hour 26 minute 67.6 km two-way crossing between England and France at the age of 59 in 2016 for which she received the Churchill Award for Courage and was appointed as a Member of the British Empire. She coached swimmers of all ages and abilities for four decades and served as president of the Jersey Long Distance Swimming Club for 27 years. She was selected as one of the World’s 50 Most Adventurous Open Water Women and is an Honor Swimmer in the International Marathon Swimming Hall of Fame, Class of 2005.

Pat Gallant-Charette - USA
Never Too Old
Pat is an unlikely accomplished marathon swimmer. After decades of working as a full-time nurse in her native state of Maine, she started to turn to channel swimming and has rewritten the record books in the Tsugaru Channel, North Channel, Molokai Channel, Lake Ontario, Lake Tahoe, Loch Ness, Catalina Channel and Windermere as the oldest female to cross these iconic bodies of water. Her successes do not come easy as her first attempts at these marathon swims are not always successful. Her DNF’s and successes in the English Channel have led to being awarded with the Rosemary George Award for the Most Meritorious Swim of the Year, the O’Clee Jubilee Award, and the Mercedes Gleitze Trophy by the Channel Swimming Association. To date, the 67-year-old has completed 6 of 7 channels in the Oceans Seven and 4 of 8 lakes in the Still Water Eight. She was named one of the World’s 50 Most Adventurous Open Water Women and one of 101 Movers and Shakers in the Open Water World as well as founded the Valentine’s Day Swim for your Heart charity event.

Evan Morrison - USA
LongSwims Database Insights and Data Analyses
Evan is a marathon swimmer, administrator, and technology developer based in San Francisco. As co-founder of the Marathon Swimmers Federation, he has created innovations such as the LongSwimsDB historical results databased, the TRACK.RS live GPS tracking system, the MSF Rules of Marathon Swimming, the Marathon Swimmers Forum, and the MSF Documented Swims platform for authenticating independent marathon swims. Evan also serves as president of the Santa Barbara Channel Swimming Association, and as a selector for the International Marathon Swimming Hall of Fame. His record-setting swim across the Santa Barbara Channel from Santa Cruz Island was featured in the documentary film DRIVEN.

Nejib Belhedi - Tunisia
76 Hours of Solo Swimming
Nejib is an open water swimming icon in his native Tunisia where he completed a 120 km non-stop 76 hour 30 minutes swim from the Southern Salin Basin in Thyna-Sfax across the Gulf of Gabes and Boughrara Lake to Jlij Island just near Scorpion Tower, crossed the English Channel, completed a 1400 km stage swim along the entire coast of Tunisia, completed ice swims in 1°C water in Barbara Lake and 2°5C water in Oued Mallegue Lake, and completed a series of unprecedented boat-pulls up to a 1014 ton boat. His accomplishments have been voted as the 2011 World Open Water Swimming Performance of the Year and as the 2016 World Open Water Swimming Man of the Year.

Ned Denison - USA
Chairman, International Marathon Swimming Hall of Fame [via Skype]
Ned is a marathon swimmer, channel swimmer, ice swimmer, administrator, and open water swimming clinician and mentor based in Cork, Ireland. In addition to founding and managing the Cork Distance Week that draws swimmers from around the world, he came up with such innovations as the Triple Crown of Prison Island Swims and the Torture Swim (which really implemented the concept of the Total Body Brain Confusion Swim). He serves as the Chairman of the International Marathon Swimming Hall of Fame and host of the annual induction and award ceremonies. He was named one of the World’s 50 Most Adventurous Open Water Men and was inducted as an Honor Contributor in the International Marathon Swimming Hall of Fame (Class of 2012), the Vermont Open Water Swimming Hall of Fame (Class of 2017), and the Ireland Marathon Swimming Hall of Fame (Class of 2018) with 47 marathon swims completed. He received the Irving Davids-Captain Roger Wheeler Memorial Award and was part of a committee which received the Poseidon Award from the International Swimming Hall of Fame.

Dan Simonelli - USA
Planning and Logistics of a Channel Swim 
Dan from San Diego, California is arguably the most active marathon swimming crew member and escort kayaker with nearly 150 channel crossings in the last two years. He founded the Open Water Swim Academy and serves as race directors to coastal and channel swims. In addition to serving as an open water swimming coach, he is a selector for the International Marathon Swimming Hall of Fame and received the Streeter Award for Service to Marathon Swimming and the Barra Award for the Best Overall Year from the Marathon Swimmers Federation. He has completed two Oceans Seven channels, including a Catalina Channel crossing in January, and is a member of the La Jolla Cove Swim Club where he mentors many young and older channel swimmers.

Annette Kellerman - Australia
International Swimming Hall of Fame Exhibition
Annette began her aquatic career in Australia as a world record holder in the mile, but she left her influential footprint across Europe, the Americas and Oceania and South Africa. She attempted three crossings of the English Channel and then because a successful entrepreneur and a popular Hollywood silent film actress. She did numerous open water expeditions and unprecedented swims around the world, created her own swimsuit line, and pushed for swimming lessons for women and girls. Her remarkable life was depicted in the Hollywood movie, Million Dollar Mermaid, starring Esther Williams. She is an Honor Swimmer in the International Marathon Swimming Hall of Fame (Class of 1965) and in the International Swimming Hall of Fame (Class of 1974). She was called the Perfect Woman because of the similarity of her physical attributes to Venus de Milo.

Bryce Elser - USA
Athlete Progression to Podium Success
Bryce from Colorado Springs has led the USA national open water swim team to become the best national team on the planet with several world champions and an Olympic silver medalist. The former captain of the USC swim team, a perennial powerhouse in collegiate swimming, he is also an ocean lifeguard and received the Glen S. Hummer Award from USA Swimming for managing the 2015 FINA World Championship team.

Ram Barkai - South Africa
The Future of Ice Swimming [via video]
Ram is a visionary and administrator from Cape Town. His greatest legacy include founding and managing the International Ice Swimming Association, establishing the standards, rules and ratification system for Ice Miles and Ice Kilometers, organizing the International Ice Swimming World Championships. He has completed marathon swims and ice swims from South Africa and the Sea of Galilee to Alaska and Alcatraz. He has completed 11 Ice Miles, set a Guinness World Record ice swim in Antarctica, organized and completed the Patagonia Extreme Cold Water Challenge, appeared in the Superhuman Showdown TV series, and served as a race director for a popular ocean series in South Africa. He was selected as one of the World’s 50 Most Adventurous Open Water Men and is lobbying for the inclusion of the Ice Kilometer into the Winter Olympic Games.

Cameron Bellamy - South Africa
Achieving The Oceans Seven [via video from Barbados]
Cameron is a South African adventurer and entrepreneur currently living in San Francisco. He has created Ubunye Challenge, a successful charitable organization, and became the first African Oceans Seven swimmer at the age of 36. In addition to his channel swims, he has rowed across the Indian Ocean, cycled across China and India and Colombia, cycled across the UK from its southernmost tip to its northernmost tip, and attempted a 96 km circumnavigation swim around Barbados in which he swam for over 27 hours and 66 kilometers.

Brent Rutemiller - USA
Special Exhibit on Annette Kellerman 
Brent started a career as a successful swim coach and has branched out to become one of the most influential power brokers in the aquatics community. After leading Sports Publications Inc. that publishes Swimming World Magazine for 33 years, he acquired the International Swimming Hall of Fame in 2017. While serving as the dual CEO of the International Swimming Hall of Fame and Swimming World Magazine, he is in a unique position to tie the past with contemporary times and swimming’s future. In addition to publishing SWIM Magazine, Swimming Technique, Water Polo Scoreboard, and The AquaZoids, and producing The Morning Show, he is also author of Below the Surface, a look at the administrative side of competitive swimming.

Jessi Harewicz - Canada
Circumnavigation Swims
Jessi is an emerging marathon and channel swimmer from western Canada who has completed cold-water circumnavigation marathon swims around Mercer Island in the state of Washington and Bowen Island in British Columbia, including a 33 km circumnavigation in 21 hours in 12°C water. She has also completed swims across the English Channel and Catalina Channel in California and the Georgia Strait in British Columbia and was selected as one of the World’s 50 Most Adventurous Open Water Woman.

David Holscher - USA
Night Train Swimmers
David is one of the first members of Night Train Swimmers who crossed the English Channel and participated in a Farallon Islands relay. He has done short (1.6 km RCP Tiburon Mile), medium (15 km Strait of Bonifacio), long (32.3 km Catalina Channel) and longer (San Francisco to Santa Barbara Relay and 367 km California Coastal Relay) swims.

Jamie Patrick - USA
2011 World Open Water Swimming Man of the Year
Jamie swims, escorts, crews, and organizes. He completed a 31-hour Swimming California charity swim down the Sacramento River, created the Adventure Swim Contest, crossed the Strait of Gibraltar, hosted Jamie's Swim Camp, Jamie’s Swim Camp III, The Lake Tahoe Edition and Swim Camp Catalina. He founded the Lake Tahoe Swimming Society, appeared on a Universal/NBC television special, and crewed for Sarah Thomas' 168.3 km 67 hour 16 minute Century Swim in Lake Champlain. 

Poliana Okimoto - Brazil
2010 World Open Water Swimming Woman of the Year
Poliana was the Athlete of the Year in Brazil (Premio Brasil Olimpico), the FINA Open Water Swimming Female Athlete of the Year, Swimming World Magazine's Female Open Water Swimmer of the Year, Olympic 10 km marathon swim bronze medalist, International Marathon Swimming Hall of Fame (Class of 2018), 6-time FINA World Swimming Championship medalist, 2-time Pan American Games gold medalist, 3-time Olympian, and the FINA 10K Marathon Swimming World Cup champion.

Adam Skolnick - USA
Award-winning Journalist for The New York Times
Adam has written about travel, culture, human rights, sports, and the environment for The New York Times, Playboy, Outside,,, Men's Health, Wired, and Longreads, among others. He's the author of the critically-acclaimed book, ONE BREATH: Freediving, Death and the Quest to Shatter Human Limits, and he's covered open water swimming several times for the New York Times, writing features on Antonio Argüelles as he became the seventh ever to complete the Oceans Seven, Kimberley Chambers and her attempt to swim the length of the Sacramento River, and a profile of Jim McConica and the Deep Enders, and their triumphant relay of an iconic channel swim in Southern California.

Steven Munatones - USA
Tactics and Strategies Used at the Olympic 10K Marathon Swim
Steven was a competitive swimmer and water polo player who won the World Long Distance Swimming Championship and pioneered 5 swims in Japan. He served as a 9-time USA Swimming national team coach and created brands and terms in the open water swimming world from Oceans Seven to the Daily News of Open Water Swimming. He is an Honor Swimmer in the International Marathon Swimming Hall of Fame (Class of 2002) and received the Poseidon Award and the Irving Davids-Captain Roger Wheeler Memorial Award from the International Swimming Hall of Fame. He helped establish open water swimming for intellectually disabled swimmer and was the Technical Delegate at the Special Olympic World Summer Games. He is an author, national championship race director and FINA Technical Open Water Swimming Committee member and continues to give speeches on the sport.

To meet and listen to the following speakers, presenters and honorees at The Olympic Club, register here.

Adrian Peterson wasn’t invited to an NFL training camp. So he created his own.

September 13

It was late in July, long before the 166 total yards at Arizona, the plunge into the end zone and the game ball being thrust into his hands after a Washington Redskins victory. Adrian Peterson was sitting inside his sprawling Houston mega gym, wondering whether his football career was over.

He was a free agent, and despite being the NFL’s 12th all-time leading rusher with seven Pro Bowls and a league MVP, teams weren’t calling. At 33 — considered ancient for a running back — and seven months removed from a season ended early by injury, he appeared to have a “damaged” label attached to him. Each day, another of the players who worked out with him that offseason said goodbye, heading to training camp, until he was the only one left.

People kept asking a version of the same question: What are you doing now?

At first he would say: “I’ve got a few teams; I’ll get to a camp.” But as the summer moved on and the phone stayed silent, his answer evolved into a wavering, “We’ll see.”

“That’s when it got real,” Peterson’s good friend and longtime trainer James Cooper said. The time had come, Cooper thought, for what he called “putting math on this.”

“I don’t see you getting called before training camp,” he told Peterson. “Let’s give this until Week 3 of the season. Then [if still no team calls] we can go to Plan B.”

For almost a decade they had worked together, the superstar running back and the trainer who spent months each offseason molding Peterson’s body into one of the most admired around the NFL: 6-foot-2 with 220 pounds of muscle. Together they had built this gym, O Athletik, pooling their money to erect a workout fortress.

But Cooper had never before been in this position with Peterson. In the past, they were always working toward the start of a season. Even in 2014, when Peterson was suspended by the league following a child abuse charge for disciplining his 4-year-old son by hitting him with a wooden switch, he still had a team in the Vikings.

This time there was no team, no season to which they could build, so Cooper said they would re-create training camp, right there inside their gym. That way, if the phone call did come, Peterson could walk into that team’s camp looking as if he had been there all along.

“I was ready for my opportunity,” Peterson said after Washington’s season-opening 24-6 win over the Cardinals, even if it was unclear back in that Houston gym where or when that chance would be.

Peterson played a key role in Washington’s Week 1 win over Arizona. (John McDonnell/The Washington Post)
Simulating training camp

The two men met every morning at 8, starting with a warmup, then moved to running, to football drills, to weightlifting, to body work to, eventually, a cool down. The workouts ran well into the afternoon, but all around football, teams were in two-a-day practices, their players sweating under summer suns. If that phone buzzed, Peterson had to feel as if he had been right beside them, grunting through the swelter.

During running sessions, Cooper had Peterson wear masks that restricted his breathing, making it seem as if he was sprinting in the thin air of a distant mountaintop. The masks had dials. The higher the dial turned, the harder it was to breathe. Peterson kept moving his dial up, and even though Cooper warned him to not push too hard, they had worked together long enough for him to know the futility of that request. Peterson liked to hurt, he had learned, using the pain as a barometer for his body — a means to understand how fast he can mend when the hits come and the bruises start.

“You have to realize what he’s got left in the tank,” Cooper said. “He’s better at 33 than 75 percent of [players] in the NFL.”

Training camp two-a-days turned into preseason games. Running backs throughout the league started going down, their injuries announced on television scrolls. Replacements were needed. When the list of available players appeared on the screen, Peterson’s almost always was first. Still, the phone stayed quiet.

Comments drifted in from the outside, words such as “washed up” and “finished.” His name was glued to his age, that 33 flashing to the world like a siren. Inside the gym, he grabbed the dial on those masks and inched them higher.

“I won’t be defined by a number,” he kept telling Cooper. “Don’t put me in a box.”

Cooper added yoga to the workouts — both in hot studios and also on the sand. He said he was doing this to increase Peterson’s flexibility, but there was another motive. He wanted to calm Peterson’s mind, to smother slightly the fire of defiance before it burned too much.

They imagined the team visits that would come should the phone ring.

“Don’t just go in and sign a paper if they offer you a job,” Cooper said he told Peterson. “Make sure you do a workout for them even if they don’t ask you. Let them see what you can do.”

Then, on Aug. 20, 8 a.m. came and Peterson didn’t show up at O Athletik. Cooper’s phone buzzed. The Washington Redskins had called, Peterson said in a text. They might need a running back. He was getting on a plane.

“You’re fine. You’re ready,” Cooper texted back. “We do what we do.”

At 33 years old, Peterson was considered by many to be too old to play running back in the NFL. (Katherine Frey/The Washington Post)
A workout works out

Later that day, Redskins running backs coach Randy Jordan was stunned when Peterson walked into the practice bubble at the team’s practice facility and said: “I want to work out.”

Work out?

“A.P. wants to work out?” Jordan recently recalled thinking, sitting on a couch outside the team’s weight room. “A.P., you just sign him, like instant credit.”

The Redskins had brought in several running backs, younger men than Peterson but just like him: desperate for one last chance. Team officials kept saying they weren’t sure they wanted to sign someone. Their presumed starter, rookie Derrius Guice, had torn his anterior cruciate ligament in the first preseason game, and two other players were nursing injuries. The day before, Coach Jay Gruden said the organization wanted to give physicals to a few of the available running backs in case they needed to sign one in an emergency.

But Peterson hadn’t spent the previous five weeks replicating training camp just to fly to Washington and take a physical. Inside the bubble, Jordan sensed a challenge.

“I wanted to see if he was in shape,” he said with a laugh.

Jordan gathered the backs and started with a few light drills, quickly building the pace. He had them hit bags, run and change direction, practice blocking and skip around cones.

The younger players asked for water. Jordan asked whether Peterson needed some, too. “You want a squeeze?” the coach shouted.

“Nah, I’m good, Coach,” Peterson replied, according to Jordan. “What’s the next drill?”

An hour later, Cooper’s phone buzzed.

“I killed it,” Peterson texted.

Sitting on a couch outside the Redskins’ locker room this week, Gruden shook his head.

“If he had not worked out [that day], he would not be here, to be honest with you,” Gruden said.

The team was not planning on signing a running back that afternoon. The hope was the other backs’ injuries would not keep them out long. “But after that workout it was a no-brainer,” Gruden said. “The shape he was in, the power, the burst that he still had. Like, ‘What the hell are we thinking? Let’s just grab this guy.’ ”

“Grinding” is what Peterson would later call those days alone with Cooper. “You get out what you put in. . . . Darrell Green ran a 4.4 [40-yard dash] at 50 years old. You know, stuff like that motivates you and tells you that, ‘Hey, anything is possible.’ So that’s how I’ve viewed any situation that I’ve been in, and that’s how I view the doubters as well. ‘Well, all right, whatever. It is what it is.’ ”

Back in Houston, the O Athletik fitness center is quieter these days. The breathing masks hang still, their dials turned back to low resistance. August has turned to September. Training camps closed long ago, football season has started, and, finally, all of James Cooper’s football players have left for their teams.

“You get out what you put in,” Peterson said. “Darrell Green ran a 4.4 [40-yard dash] at 50 years old. You know, stuff like that motivates you and tells you that, ‘Hey, anything is possible.’ ” (Alex Brandon/Associated Press)
*Cortesía del Washington Post

Cómo Europa aprendió a nadar

Por 1,500 años, Europa occidental “olvidó” cómo nadar, retirándose de las aguas con terror. El regreso a la natación es un triunfo no tan conocido de la Ilustración.


Los seres humanos aprendieron a nadar en la prehistoria, aunque la fecha exacta aún es tema de debate. En el periodo histórico, los mitos de las antiguas civilizaciones del Mediterráneo oriental dan cuenta de una relación positiva con el agua y la natación, mediada hasta la Antigüedad tardía por un panteón de dioses acuáticos, ninfas y tritones.

Para la época medieval, la mayoría de los europeos occidentales había olvidado cómo nadar. Los cuerpos de agua se convirtieron en siniestros “mundos místicos” poblados por sirenas y monstruos marinos. ¿Cómo se puede explicar la pérdida de una habilidad tan importante? Si los humanos nunca han dejado de correr, saltar o escalar, ¿por qué tantos abandonaron una actividad útil para obtener alimentos y recursos naturales, vital para no ahogarse y agradable para refrescarse en un caluroso día de verano?

La retirada de la natación comenzó durante la Antigüedad tardía, como lo demuestran los escritos de Vegetius, escritor militar romano del siglo v, quien se lamentaba de que los reclutas de su época se hubieran acostumbrado a los lujos de los baños romanos. Éstos tenían piscinas grandes y poco profundas (piscinae) diseñadas para remojarse y sentarse, pero no para nadar. Los baños proliferaron en los centros urbanos, en donde se concentró la mayoría de la población: en 33 a.C., Roma tenía 170 baños; a fines del siglo IV, ese número había crecido a 856. Aunado a esto, las mejoras en la infraestructura y los cambios en la agricultura redujeron la dependencia de los recursos acuáticos e hicieron que cada vez menos gente tuviera que saber nadar.

Si el crecimiento de la cultura del baño proporciona la explicación práctica para el retiro de la natación, la religión explica la transformación de las actitudes hacia ella. Después de la abolición de los cultos paganos en el siglo IV, los panteones de deidades acuáticas primero se demonizaron y luego se olvidaron rápidamente, rompiendo el vínculo positivo con el agua y la natación.

La única sobreviviente de esta transformación religiosa fue la sirena. Durante la Edad Media, la sirena simbolizaba una relación ambigua con el agua, especialmente entre los marineros y los pescadores de las comunidades costeras, para quienes las sirenas representaban tanto el atractivo del mar como sus peligros mortales.

El historiador francés Jules Michelet describió la Edad Media como un periodo de "mil años sin darse un baño". Podríamos cambiar esa afirmación a "mil quinientos años sin nadar". La ausencia una cultura de baño y natación en Europa occidental es anterior e incluso varios siglos posterior a la Edad Media. Hasta los elegantes cortesanos del Versalles del siglo XVII apestaban por la falta de hábitos de higiene, simplemente porque los opulentos salones y apartamentos del palacio del Rey Sol no habían sido equipados con baños.

El regreso a la natación en Europa occidental fue un proceso tremendamente lento que comenzó en el siglo XVI. En la década de 1530, las escuelas y universidades alemanas decidieron que el mejor remedio para la gran cantidad de ahogamientos no era enseñar a la gente cómo nadar, sino prohibir la natación totalmente. Una prohibición similar entró en vigor en Cambridge en 1571, con severos castigos por infracciones, incluidos dos azotes públicos, una multa y hasta la expulsión.

A pesar de este entorno hostil, varios estudiosos destacados en la Inglaterra de los Tudor recomendaron la natación como forma de ejercicio y medio para salvar vidas. El más influyente fue Everard Digby (c. 1550-1605), miembro de St. John's College, Cambridge, quien publicó De arte natandi (El arte de nadar) en 1587. Las ediciones actualizadas y traducidas de su libro fueron el texto de referencia acerca de la natación en Europa occidental hasta el siglo XIX.

El avance de la natación se produjo en Inglaterra, en la ciudad costera de North Yorkshire, en Scarborough, en 1667, cuando el Dr. Robert Wittie recomendó bañarse en agua de mar para curar una amplia gama de dolencias. El advenimiento de la natación médica coincidió con la implementación de las reformas educativas que propusieron pensadores de la Ilustración como John Locke (1632-1702) y Jean-Jacques Rousseau (1712-1778) para incluir el juego y el ejercicio físico en un currículo más sano y equilibrado.

Pronto, las escuelas públicas inglesas de Eton y Harrow empezaron a alentar a sus estudiantes a aprender a nadar para evitar incidentes de ahogamiento. Para 1727, Eton ya había designado varios lugares de natación, pero no todos los estudiantes aprendieron a nadar. No fue sino hasta 1836 que se llevó a cabo la primera prueba de natación en la escuela en respuesta a varios ahogamientos de estudiantes.

En Alemania, Johann Guts Muths (1759-1839) escribió Gimnasia para la juventud en 1793, con un capítulo sobre la natación y el baño. Cinco años después, publicó un libro especializado en natación, Pequeño libro de enseñanza del arte de la natación para el autoestudio. Guts Muths asoció el baño con la natación, por lo que consideró que los beneficios de su práctica eran, en primer lugar, la higiene; en segundo lugar, la preservación de vidas humanas; y, en tercer lugar, el ejercicio.

Guts Muths basó sus métodos de enseñanza en los que promovió el polímata, estadista, diplomático y consumado nadador estadounidense Benjamin Franklin (1706-90). Según su autobiografía, Franklin aprendió a nadar cuando era niño y luego mejoró su técnica estudiando una traducción al francés de De arte natandi de Digby. En 1724, Franklin, de 18 años, se mudó a Londres, donde pensó en establecer una escuela de natación. Franklin finalmente regresó a Filadelfia, pero en 1726, antes de abandonar Londres, dio una última demostración de sus habilidades para nadar. Franklin, cuentan, "se desnudó y saltó al río; nadó desde cerca de Chelsea hasta Blackfryar y realizó numerosas hazañas, tanto en la superficie como debajo del agua".

Los maestros y doctores de la Ilustración pueden haber liderado el resurgimiento de la natación, pero fueron los militares quienes iniciaron un programa sistemático de educación en natación. En el Antiguo Régimen en Francia, después de que un desastre naval quitó la vida a muchos cadetes navales y marinos que no sabían nadar, se abrió la primera École de Natation (Escuela de Natación). Sin embargo, fueron las campañas europeas de Napoleón I (1769-1821) las que realmente impulsaron el desarrollo de la natación. En respuesta a las repetidas derrotas, se abrieron piscinas militares para entrenar a hombres y caballos en la batalla acuática.

Después de que los humanos volvieron a aprender a nadar durante la Ilustración en escuelas, balnearios y cuarteles, la natación en masa finalmente despegó en el siglo XIX, cuando el desarrollo de los ferrocarriles permitió a millones de habitantes acceder a centros turísticos costeros. En Inglaterra, la promulgación de dos leyes en 1846 y 1878 también permitió a los municipios construir piscinas subterráneas y climatizadas en áreas urbanas desfavorecidas.

Hoy en día, miles de millones de personas nadan para mantenerse en forma o por diversión en piscinas públicas y privadas. Para el creciente número de nadadores “salvajes”, cualquier cuerpo de agua es una oportunidad para nadar. Además del ocio, la competencia y la salud, los seres humanos nadan con fines científicos, de minería o ingeniería. Nuestra dependencia de la natación sólo aumentará conforme nos expandamos más en el 71 % de la superficie de la Tierra cubierta por agua.

Eric Chaline
es el autor de Strokes of Genius: A History of Swimming (Reaktion, 2017).

Rutina de Chi Kung

Una pregunta que me hacen frecuentemente en mis pláticas es la relacionada con mi entrenamiento mental. Además de los ejercicios de respiración y visualización, menciono la importancia de la rutina de Chi Kung que realizo con Jaime Delgado, mi entrenador mental. Generosamente, Jaime me ha permitido compartirla con todos mis seguidores.



Regulación Fisiológica del Rendimiento en el Maratón

Escrito por Edward F Coyle

University of Texas at Austin. Austin, Texas, Estados Unidos. 

Artículo publicado en el journal PubliCE, Volumen 0undefined del año .


El hecho de poder correr una maratón a la velocidad más rápida posible estaría regulado por la tasa de metabolismo aeróbico (i.e., el consumo de oxígeno de la maratón) de una cantidad limitada de energía de carbohidratos (i.e. glucógeno muscular y glucosa sanguínea) y por la velocidad que puede ser mantenida sin desarrollar hipertermia. Según el modelo propuesto por Joyner en 1991, las personas poseen la capacidad fisiológica de correr una maratón en aproximadamente 1:58:00. Esto podría lograrse si el record mundial de ritmo de “media-maratón” actual se mantuviera durante toda la maratón. El límite final del rendimiento de maratón podría establecerse por los límites de la economía de la carrera y por el reclutamiento de la musculatura de carrera siguiendo un patrón que minimice la fatiga, posiblemente distribuyendo el trabajo en numerosas neuronas motoras. 

Keywords: Resistencia, Termorregulación, Reclutamiento, Economía, Carrera a Pie


La velocidad de carrera de un maratón está regulada por el metabolismo aeróbico en las fibras musculares reclutadas y por la conversión económica de esta energía en velocidad. Los aspectos de este concepto han sido reconocidos durante mucho tiempo. Hace aproximadamente 38 años Costill [1] escribió una monografía titulada "Lo que las investigaciones dicen a los entrenadores sobre las carreras de fondo" en la cual, el autor resume la literatura fisiológica en un paradigma intuitivo centrado en el máximo consumo de oxígeno y su utilización fraccionaria así como también en la economía de la carrera. La validez de estos conceptos para predecir el rendimiento de la maratón fue validada por Farrell et al. [2] en 1979 y la utilidad de la medición del lactato sanguíneo para identificar el ritmo de carrera en una maratón competitiva se fue consolidando posteriormente. El fenómeno de “golpear el muro” que se observa en una maratón debido a la oxidación inadecuada de carbohidratos fue ampliamente vinculado con el agotamiento del glucógeno muscular y la hipoglucemia. [3,4] Por consiguiente, en la actualidad el contexto dentro del cual se encuadran los reguladores fisiológicos de rendimiento de la maratón, es generalmente similar al que se discutió hace 30 años durante la reunión patrocinada por la Academia de Ciencias de Nueva York [5]. 

Los conceptos claves de esta regeneración oxidativa de trifosfato de adenosina (ATP) se presentan en la Figura 1. Los corredores de maratón corren a velocidad y tasa de consumo de oxígeno (es decir VO2 de maratón) superiores a las que pueden tolerar sus músculos en ejercicio sin experimentar fatiga, la cual progresa y los hace volverse más lentos durante los primeros 20 km. El VO2 en una maratón competitiva con ritmo adecuado es la tasa en estado estable más alta posible de regeneración oxidativa de ATP de todo el cuerpo que generalmente puede ser mantenida durante 42 km. Este VO2 de maratón es una función de, no sólo maximizar la tasa de producción de ATP en estado estable dentro de una fibra muscular dada, si no que también es una función de reclutar el mayor número de fibras musculares que puedan participar en la producción económica de velocidad. La tasa de producción de energía también variará con las condiciones medioambientales.

Una causa de fatiga muscular podría ser la acidosis progresiva y la alteración iónica. La velocidad de la maratón se aproxima a la intensidad en la cual, el lactato comienza a acumularse en la sangre (es decir el umbral del lactato sanguíneo) y en las fibras musculares. [1, 2] La medición del umbral del lactato sanguíneo para estimar el ritmo de una maratón competitiva se popularizó porque es práctica y teóricamente válida. El concepto no es que la molécula de lactato por si misma provoca fatiga, si no que su acumulación en la sangre refleja una alteración en la homeostasis de la célula muscular.

Las maratones se corren a intensidades bastante por debajo del consumo de oxígeno máximo (por ejemplo 65-85% VO2max), y dado que la fatiga se asocia con una glucógenolisis acelerada y no con eventos anaeróbicos en el músculo, podríamos plantear la hipótesis que el aumento en la entrega de oxígeno a los músculos que realizan ejercicio (por ejemplo flujo de sangre y contenido de oxígeno en la sangre) aumentaría menos la velocidad de la maratón, en comparación con lo que ocurre en las carreras realizadas a velocidades que producen el consumo de oxígeno máximo (por ejemplo 1500-5000m). Sin embargo, es posible que un aumento en la entrega de oxígeno que incremente la presión de oxígeno muscular pueda producir un mejor estado redox (por ejemplo relación difosfato de adenosina /ATP) que haga mas lenta la glucógenolisis para una cierta  velocidad de regeneración oxidativo de ATP o una velocidad de carrera dada. 

Los corredores de maratón de primer nivel llegan a la final en aprox.2:30:00 o más rápidamente, mientras que la mayoría de los finalistas de maratón son más lentos y los corredores de carreras de caridad son considerablemente más lentos. Debido a la relación inversa entre duración del ejercicio e intensidad, junto con el hecho que los mejores atletas de resistencia pueden realizar ejercicio en VO2 más altos de manera sostenida antes de experimentar fatiga, existe una amplio intervalo de valores de porcentaje de VO2max durante la competencia de maratón entre los diferentes individuos. En un extremo, un corredor lento puede promediar 50-60% de su VO2max mientras que un corredor de máximo nivel puede alcanzar un promedio >80% VO2max. Si la economía de carrera no es diferente al comparar los corredores lentos y los corredores rápidos, por definición, el gasto calórico total debería ser el mismo, aunque la tasa de intercambio respiratorio y cantidad total de carbohidratos oxidados debería ser más alta en los corredores más rápidos. El autor no cuenta con datos que consideren la posibilidad que los corredores de maratón lentos y rápidos presenten diferencias en cuanto al nivel en el cual el agotamiento de los carbohidratos provoca fatiga. 

Los corredores de maratón de máximo nivel obtienen más de dos tercios de su energía de carbohidratos provenientes del glucógeno muscular y en menor grado de la oxidación de glucosa sanguínea [1]. El ejercicio a 70-85% de VO2max no puede ser mantenido sin una oxidación de carbohidratos suficiente y así la severa disminución de glucógeno muscular, a menudo junto con hipoglucemia, provocan la necesidad de reducir la intensidad a aprox. 40-60% VO2max. Este fenómeno ha sido llamado “golpear el muro” y la velocidad subsiguiente sería la que es posible mantener principalmente por la oxidación de grasas, glucosa sanguínea y lactato. El lactato se generaría a partir del glucógeno en las fibras musculares inactivas [6]. 

Loa atletas de resistencia altamente entrenados poseen más mitocondrias musculares y así tienen una mayor capacidad de oxidar tanto glucógeno como triacilglicéridos (es decir triacilglicéridos intramusculares o específicamente triacilglicéridos intramiocelulares [IMTG]). En comparación con los individuos desentrenados, los individuos entrenados típicamente se comparan mientras corren a un cierto VO2 absoluto (mL/kg/min) durante el cual los sujetos entrenados presentan una elevada oxidación de grasas derivada de IMTG. Esto se asocia con, y puede ser una consecuencia de, una disminución en la oxidación de glucógeno muscular [7]. Así, el entrenamiento de resistencia aumenta la capacidad de oxidar grasas, y esto es más evidente en las intensidades inferiores a las de una maratón de competición [7]. El mayor VO2 que los corredores de maratón de máximo nivel pueden mantener durante una carrera se alimenta por una mayor oxidación de glucógeno muscular y en menor grado IMTG, ambos sustratos localizados dentro del músculo. [8] 

Cuando se corren 42,2 km en comparación con 10km, es importante destacar que a pesar de correr más de cuatro veces, la velocidad típica de carrera de la maratón solo se reduce aprox. 10% en comparación con una carrera de 10 km. Dicho de otra manera, si los corredores de maratón fijaran un ritmo ligeramente más rápido (por ejemplo 5-10%) que el ideal (e.g. la velocidad del umbral de lactato está cerca de la ideal) durante una distancia de 42,2km, se fatigarían prematuramente (es decir después de 5-10km), probablemente debido a una glucógenolisis acelerada, tal como se ha observado en ciclistas [9]. Esta fatiga podría manifestarse por acidosis y un agotamiento eventual del glucógeno en las unidades motoras que se reclutan con mayor facilidad en los músculos que participan en la carrera. Incluso cuando el ritmo es ideal y constante durante la maratón, aumenta la sensación de esfuerzo necesaria para el reclutamiento de suficientes unidades motoras, sobre todo después de aprox. 25-35 km de carrera. En ese punto de la carrera, el glucógeno muscular es bajo en muchas fibras musculares, particularmente en las fibras de tipo I de fácil reclutamiento. Si la oxidación, principalmente de carbohidratos, no se mantiene en una tasa lo suficientemente alta en suficientes fibras musculares, es necesario aminorar el paso. La ingesta de carbohidratos durante los ejercicios retrasa el tiempo de fatiga porque la glucosa exógena llega a la sangre y ayuda a mantener la tasa de oxidación de carbohidratos [4,10]. El mantenimiento de la concentración de glucosa sanguínea por la ingesta de carbohidratos y la consiguiente prevención de hipoglucemia, evita la neuroglucopenia (es decir el dañó en la función neuronal por falta de glucosa) y los síntomas del sistema nerviosos central de fatiga que a veces se manifiestan con una gran respuesta de catecolaminas y palidez de piel subsiguiente asociada con irritabilidad, confusión y letargo. 

Las velocidades de carrera más rápidas requieren aumentos en la frecuencia de zancada y en la longitud de la misma y por lo tanto van acompañadas de una activación más frecuente de un número mayor de unidades motoras. Esto implica que cuando se corre en la velocidad de maratón, que por supuesto está muy por debajo de la velocidad de esprint, no se reclutan de manera simultánea todas las unidades motoras. Es difícil obtener la estimación de la cantidad total (por ejemplo kg) de músculo que se recluta al correr así como el ciclo de trabajo de reclutamiento de unidades motoras (por ejemplo cada zancada vesus zancada de por medio versus cada tres zancadas, en promedio). Sin embargo, en los ciclistas de resistencia altamente entrenados, se ha observado que aquéllos que tienen un umbral de lactato sanguíneo más alto pueden mantener una producción de potencia dada por un tiempo dos veces más largo (por ejemplo 30 minutos contra 60 minutos) y que esto sería el resultado de su capacidad para reclutar 22% más de masa muscular para convertir en producción de potencia [9, 10].

El concepto es que la capacidad de reclutar una mayor cantidad de masa muscular para compartir en el trabajo, durante un período de 10 minutos, reduce la tasa de trabajo relativa en las fibras musculares reclutadas durante cada pedaleo porque más fibras intervienen en el trabajo en una cierta pedaleada y así se reduce el ciclo de trabajo promedio de las fibras musculares reclutadas. Como resultado, las fibras individuales experimentan menos fatiga debido a una menor tasa de regeneración oxidativa de ATP dentro de sus mitocondrias. Como resultado, disminuye la perturbación en la homeostasis cuando más masa muscular puede participar en el trabajo. Esto reduce la glucógenolisis muscular tal como se observa en la producción de lactato y le permite al atleta de resistencia realizar ejercicio a una intensidad alta durante períodos de tiempo significativamente mayores. Esencialmente, el concepto es que, con el desarrollo de la capacidad de distribuir el trabajo en una masa muscular mayor, mas mitocondrias pueden compartir el trabajo de metabolismo oxidativo reforzando el número potencial de unidades motoras que podrían reclutarse en un ciclo de trabajo menor cuando se corre a una velocidad dada [9, 11]. De hecho, el reclutamiento de unidades motoras puede regular el estrés mitocondrial. 

La hipertermia puede limitar el rendimiento en maratón porque estresa los sistemas cardiovascular, nervioso central y muscular. [10, 12, 13] El nivel de hipertermia corporal experimentado durante una maratón refleja el equilibrio entre la producción de calor y la dispersión del mismo. El calor se produce por la hidrólisis de ATP y los procesos metabólicos necesarios para la regeneración oxidativa de ATP (Figura 1). Cuándo se corre por un terreno llano, se realiza poco trabajo físico y la gran mayoría de la energía metabólica, calculada mediante calorimetría indirecta (es decir con el VO2 y la tasa de intercambio respiratorio), se transfiere al calor y se libera dentro del cuerpo [14]. La implicancia importante de esto es que los individuos que tienen una economía de carrera superior, o sea un menor VO2 para una determinada velocidad de carrera, también generaran proporcionalmente menos calor. Ésta podría ser una ventaja distinta al competir en ambientes calurosos que limitan la cantidad de dispersión de calor, como ha sido típicamente el caso durante las competencias de maratón olímpicas.

El mecanismo principal para la dispersión de calor durante una maratón, sobre todo en ambientes calurosos, es el enfriamiento a través de la evaporación de sudor [13]. La pérdida de sudor que no se compensa con consumo de fluidos producirá deshidratación. El mayor problema con la deshidratación es que reduce la dispersión de calor debido al menor flujo de sangre superficial y a la disminución en la tasa de sudoración [15]. La cantidad de deshidratación que probablemente puede ser tolerada sin desarrollar una hipertermia perjudicial depende del ambiente y de la tasa de producción de calor del individuo [10, 13]. Cuando el ambiente está frío (por ejemplo 5-10°C) o templado y seco (por ejemplo 21-22°C), se ha planteado la hipótesis que una pérdida de agua de aprox. 2% del peso corporal podría ser tolerada sin riesgo para el bienestar y el rendimiento [10]. Sin embargo, cuando la maratón se corre en un ambiente caluroso y/o húmedo, se supone que la deshidratación de 2% del peso corporal aumenta la probabilidad de afectar el rendimiento y de sufrir hipertermia y golpe de calor. 

Un determinante importante de rendimiento de maratón es la velocidad de carrera que se puede mantener en un cierto VO2 generado (i.e mL/kg/min) [1, 2]. Esta relación se denomina “economía de la carrera”. Una población de corredores presenta un intervalo de 25-30% en la economía de carrera [2]. Por ejemplo, si un corredor con una economía de carrera promedio fuera capaz de mantener un VO2 de 50 mL/kg/min durante la maratón, esta tasa de gasto de energía y velocidad de carrera deberían arrojar un tiempo de maratón de 2:40:00. Sin embargo, se estima que los corredores más económicos finalizarán en un tiempo <2:20:00 y los menos económicos en aprox. 3:00:00. No están claro cuales son los factores que determinan la economía de carrera y hasta que punto la misma puede ser mejorada con el entrenamiento. Notablemente, Jones [16] informó que la economía de carrera mejoraba sustancialmente en corredoras de maratón de elite durante un período de 5 años. Sin embargo, dado que se han realizado pocos estudios a largo plazo, no se sabe si esta mejora es típica o única.

Correr una maratón a la velocidad más rápida posible estaría regulado por la tasa de metabolismo aeróbico (es decir VO2 de la maratón) de una cantidad limitada de energía proveniente de carbohidratos (es decir glucógeno muscular y glucosa sanguínea) y por la velocidad que puede mantenerse sin que se desarrolle hipertermia.

Records Mundiales Actuales

El record mundial actual para varones es 2:04:55, y fue establecido por Paul Tergat en 2003 en Berlín. En las mujeres, Paula Radcliff alcanzó el record impresionante de 2:15:25 en el año 2003 en Londres. Este asciende a tiempos de carrera por kilómetro de 2 minutos 58 segundos para varones y 3 minutos 23 segundos para mujeres. Expresado como tiempo promedio de carrera por milla, esto se traduce a 4 minutos 46 segundos para varones y 5 minutos 9 segundos para mujeres. De hecho, el record mundial de Paula Radcliff es una marca excepcional dado que bajó el record de maratón 3-4 minutos en el transcurso de 1 año. Además, su ritmo de maratón sólo es ligeramente más bajo que el record mundial de ritmo de media maratón que se ubicó en 1:06:44 (Elana Meyer, 1999).  

Afortunadamente, el Dr Andrew Jones ha realizado evaluaciones detalladas y periódicas en el laboratorio a Paula Radcliff desde los 17 años (en 1991) hasta el momento en que estableció el record mundial a los 29 años de edad (en 2003) [17]. Durante el período de 1991-5, se informó que la velocidad de carrera que permitía alcanzar su umbral de lactato aumentó dramáticamente de 6 minutos 25 segundos a 5 minutos 20 segundos por milla [16]. Jones [16] declaró que "Esto representa una mejora en la velocidad de carrera de 20% en el umbral de lactato en 4 años y es indicativo de una capacidad de resistencia mucho mayor”. Notablemente, el VO2max no aumentó durante este período, aunque la intensidad del ejercicio que permitió alcanzar el umbral de lactato sanguíneo aumentó de 80 a 88% VO2max. Más notablemente, la economía de carrera aumentó sustancialmente, tal como lo reflejó una reducción de 53 a 48 mL/kg/min en el costo del oxígeno por correr a 16,0 km/h (o 6 minutos por milla). Esto asciende a una mejora de aprox. 9% en la economía de la carrera durante este período de 4 años. Parece que la mejora continua en la economía de carrera durante el período de 1995-2003 jugó un papel significativo en su desarrollo fisiológico continuo y en el establecimiento del record mundial actual [17]. También se observaron mejoras en la economía de carrera durante un período largo de entrenamiento en un corredor varón, de medio fondo que alcanzó la categoría de élite [18]. Por consiguiente, los datos sobre hasta que punto la economía de la carrera puede mejorar con el entrenamiento continuado se limitan a algunos informes de casos que han efectuado el seguimiento de atletas durante varios años. 

El rendimiento en ciclismo de resistencia también está influenciado por la eficiencia mecánica mientras se pedalea y, tal como ocurre con la economía de la carrera, existe controversia sobre hasta que punto la eficiencia mecánica puede ser mejorada con el entrenamiento. Recientemente se informó en un atleta que se transformó en un ganador múltiple del Tour de Francia, que la eficiencia mecánica durante ciclismo mejoró 8% durante un período de 7 años de entrenamiento [19]. Por consiguiente, parecería que si la economía de carrera o eficiencia de pedaleo efectivamente responden al entrenamiento, tal como se sugiere en estos informes de casos de atletas individuales, las mejoras se producen solamente aprox. 1-2% por año. Aunque este índice de mejora es significativo y se puede medir con confiabilidad anualmente en lo que respecta al rendimiento deportivo en carreras, podría ser demasiado pequeño para ser detectado en evaluaciones en el laboratorio porque se encuentra dentro del intervalo de error de la medición. 

Por consiguiente, parecería que las mediciones de eficiencia o economía deberían ser realizadas durante varios años y estos estudios deberían ser realizados en grupos de atletas para determinar si estos informes de caso pueden ser generalizados a personas con capacidad de entrenar de una manera extremadamente intensa durante años.


¿Cuán Rápido Pueden Correr los Maratonistas de Élite? 

Es interesante y revelador especular cuán rápido pueden correr los corredores de maratón de élite. Una metodología utilizada ha sido simplemente graficar los tiempos de records mundiales o velocidad durante los años y estimar matemáticamente la velocidad en la cual ésta relación curvilínea alcanzará una asíntota, supuestamente un reflejo del potencial humano final. Sin embargo, esta metodología se basa solamente en la historia del pasado y por lo tanto está muy influenciada por fenómenos sociológicos que determinaron si los individuos con el mayor potencial biológico innato tuvieron la oportunidad de cultivar su talento para correr maratones. Por lo tanto, este registro histórico representa la progresión de factores sociológicos y factores fisiológicos. Este sería el caso entre las mujeres, dado que los records mundiales mejoraron rápidamente durante el período de 1970-90 a medida que aumentaron las oportunidades de las mujeres para correr. Por consiguiente, en la opinión de este autor sería prematuro, predecir cual podría ser el límite final para el rendimiento en maratón de varones y mujeres utilizando registros históricos porque es solamente durante los últimos 30-50 años que algunos corredores de distancia han contado con el apoyo adecuado y los medios para destinar su energía completamente al entrenamiento para una maratón. Parecería que a medida que mayor cantidad de corredores de medio fondo de élite (por ejemplo 5km y 10km) “se pasan” al maratón, que el conjunto de talento en bruto continuará como mínimo, mejorando y alimentará la progresión de los records mundiales de las próximas décadas.

Otra metodología para estimar los records mundiales futuros y el rendimiento final en maratón es desarrollar un modelo biológico que tome todos los mejores atributos fisiológicos observados en los individuos por separado y los combine, teóricamente, en uno individual. Esta metodología fue adoptada por Joyner [20] quién presentó un modelo para el rendimiento óptimo en maratón basado en las medidas documentadas de VO2max, umbral de lactato y economía de carrera entre los corredores de élite. El tiempo de maratón más rápido en varones estimado por el modelo de Joyner [20] fue 1:57:58. Este modelo es para un varón hipotético con un VO2max de 84 mL/kg/min, un umbral de lactato de 85% de VO2max y con una economía de carrera excepcional. En la opinión del autor, esta estimación es conservadora porque existe un  potencial para tiempos aun más rápidos, especialmente a partir de una economía de carrera mejorada. 

El record mundial masculino actual para media maratón (21,1km) es 58 minutos 55 segundos, obtenido por Haile Gebrselassie en 2006. Los factores exactos que le impiden a un corredor de maratón mantener su mejor ritmo de media maratón, durante una maratón completa, no están completamente claros. Los corredores, por supuesto, deben evitar el agotamiento de carbohidratos o “golpear el muro”. Para ser económica, la carrera a una velocidad de 5 minutos por milla o mayor requiere una forma de carrera precisa y coordinada. Los corredores tienen opciones limitadas para cambiar la longitud de la zancada, frecuencia de la zancada o posición del cuerpo para compensar o atenuar la fatiga muscular local. Es probable que la fatiga muscular local, incluso en una cantidad pequeña de músculo, sea suficiente para alterar la forma de correr y elevar el costo de oxígeno de la carrera y acelerar el agotamiento de glucógeno, precipitando así el fenómeno conocido como “golpear el muro”. 

En la opinión de este autor, la mejor manera de alcanzar mejoras significativas en el record mundial de rendimiento de maratón será mejorando la resistencia a la fatiga dentro de los grupos musculares y en la actividad de las articulaciones que experimentan agotamiento de glucógeno o fatiga neurológica. Esta fatiga podría manifestarse en un determinado individuo por cinemáticas alteradas (i.e alteración de la forma) después de 60-90 minutos de correr al paso de maratón fijado como meta. Podrían obtenerse mejoras a través de entrenamiento centrado muy específicamente en el mantenimiento de una forma de correr económica. Además, el entrenamiento que ponga en juego más unidades motoras de la musculatura que participa en la carrera para compartir el trabajo, tal como discutimos previamente, debería reducir el trabajo por unidad motora y por lo tanto debería reducir la capacidad de fatiga o la necesidad de reducir significativamente el ritmo en la maratón, hasta un valor por debajo del ritmo de media maratón. Obviamente, el CNS y las vías neuronales periféricas aferentes y eferentes son fundamentales para las adaptaciones inducidas por el entrenamiento y finalmente para el rendimiento. 

Por lo tanto, según Joyner, [20] las personas poseen la capacidad fisiológica para correr una maratón en 1:58:00. El autor no se sorprendería si esta predicción se cumple en la próxima década. Esto se logrará si el ritmo del record mundial actual para la media maratón se mantiene en una maratón completa. Paula Radcliff prácticamente lo ha logrado al establecer el record mundial femenino actual. El límite final para el rendimiento de maratón podría ser establecido por los límites de la economía de la carrera y la resistencia a la fatiga del músculo local en individuos que poseen la capacidad de correr 26,2 millas con gastos de energía superiores a 70 mL/kg/min sin sufrir hipertermia debilitante. 


Edward F. Coyle es consultor del Gatorade Sport Science Institute e investigador contratado de Quaquer Oats-Gatorade y POMS Wonderful

Dirección de Contacto

Professor Edward F. Coyle, Department of Kinesiology and Health Education, University of Texas at Austin, Bellmont 820, Austin, TX 78712, USA. E-mail: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.


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Maria Quinn

At the beginning of February I received an email from Stephen Miller, president of the Irish Long Distance Swimming Association, informing me that there would be a ceremony in March to award certificates and medals to all the swimmers who had completed the crossing of the North Channel last season. I told him that it would be impossible for me to attend, so asked me to appoint a representative—which, living as I do on the other side of the world, was complicated.

Turning the matter over in my mind, Maria Quinn’s name came to mind. I’d met her on Facebook: throughout my season of preparation for the North Channel swim she posted supportive comments and, every time I asked her a question about the waters of the Channel, she answered quickly and kindly. It never occurred to me to ask her about her nationality. I assumed that she had an Anglo-Irish father (Quinn) and probably an Hispanic-American mother (Maria).

Finding myself faced with this situation, I wrote to tell her about it and to ask for her help. I had no idea what her reaction would be, but I figured it wouldn’t hurt to ask. I’d hardly finished sending the message when she replied: "Certainly! It would be a pleasure."

After Maria picked up my medal, I discovered that she had won one of the most important and challenging competitions in Ireland, the Liffey. The funny thing about the event is that, instead of all the competitors starting at the same time, the goal is to arrive at the same time. The faster you are, therefore, the later you start the competition.

In 2011, Maria was given such a big handicap that it was practically impossible for her to make it, but she still won. She managed to do it because that year the distance was longer and the good handicaps were seen as bad. This system also plays with your head: a race can be lost because of demotivation. However, even though Maria did not believe she had a chance, she won because she gave everything she had just to get a minor prize, best veteran swimmer, awarded in addition to the trophies awarded to the top ten places.

Given that Ireland is a land of fairies and leprechauns, Maria does not rule out that An Liffey, the fairy of the Liffey River, helped her to victory. Legend has it that the fairy chooses the winners: sometimes she does it to reward the effort and sometimes simply to pull a prank on swimmers who’ve been given a big handicap. With or without the assistance of the fairy, I had no doubt that Maria must be a swift swimmer. "How long have you been swimming?" I asked. "Since I was 3 years old," she said. “Rita Pulido took me to the beach."

Little by little I discovered that Maria Quinn was actually María Quintanilla, a Spanish engineer from the Canary Islands who lives in Ireland. However, every time I asked her something about her swimming career, Rita Pulido’s name came up again.

I was surprised to learn that Rita was a Spanish swimming prodigy. She competed in the Olympic Games in Rome and Tokyo in the 100 and 200 freestyle. Her style on the water was impeccable and her beauty dazzling. One day, while walking through the Olympic village shaded by a traditional Japanese umbrella, she was photographed—and then amazed to see her image in the biggest newspaper in Japan. It created such a stir that the media called her Miss Tokyo 1964.

I share with everyone my medal and certificate proving that I crossed the North Channel in 13 hours and 32 minutes. In addition, we now know that there is a Spaniard swimming and winning events in Ireland—and became acquainted with one of the legends of Spanish swimming.

It's your decision

August 7, 2017

From my first conversation with Quinton Nelson, the captain of my guide boat, the chemistry flowed.

We agreed to meet on the first day of the swim window to assess our possibilities.

Once the introductions had been made, Quinton, a man of few words, got right to the point.

"I don’t see anything from here to Tuesday. We’ll talk Monday evening at 6:00 p.m. and I'll tell you then if we can get out there."

Argüelles is the first Mexican and seventh person in the world to complete the Oceans Seven swimming challenge

August 4, 2017

Antonio Argüelles became the first Mexican and seventh person in the world to complete the Oceans Seven swimming challenge when he crossed the North Channel, his seventh and final crossing, on Thursday, August 3. He reached the rocky coast of Scotland at 20.48 local time.

The North Channel, separating the eastern part of Northern Ireland from southwest Scotland, is the most complicated of the Oceans Seven crossings. Over the 35-kilometer (21.75 mile) route between Donaghadee, N. Ireland, and Portpatrick, Scotland, it challenges swimmers with water temperatures from 12°C to 14°C (53.6ºF – 57.2ºF), making it the coldest of the Oceans Seven crossings. In addition, the climate is notoriously unstable, with frequent storms and strong currents. To date, only 43 successful crossings have been completed.

After waiting in in Donaghadee for favorable weather conditions for 15 days, Antonio began swimming at 7:15 am local time. The water temperature ranged from 13.2º to 14.5ºC (55.76º – 58.1ºF), while winds gusted up to 12 knots. He maintained a rate of 64 strokes per minute, increasing to 67 strokes per minute as he fought strong currents that almost brought him to a standstill off the shore of Scotland.

13 hours, 32 minutes after the crossing began, Antonio climbed out of the frigid water onto the rocks of Portpatrick to become the first Mexican to cross the North Channel.

A member of the International Marathon Swimming Hall of Fame (IMSHOF), recipient of the Mexican National Sports Award (Premio Nacional de Deporte) and two-time Triple Crown swimmer, Antonio can now add the Oceans Seven to his list of open water accomplishments.

During the crossing, Antonio was accompanied by his support team, consisting of his trainer Nora Toledano, his doctor Ariadna del Villar, Pablo Argüelles, Rafael Álvarez and Quinton Nelson, captain of the guide boat "John and Frances MacFarlane."

The Offering

August 1, 2017.

The idea of bringing water from the shores of the South End Rowing Club of San Francisco and Las Estacas in Mexico came from my conviction that you never surrender to the sea—it allows you to cross.

Knowing that of all the crossings the North Channel would be the most difficult, I made the decision to collect water from both places and bring it to Ireland.

My original idea was to pour it one day before my swim.

Yesterday I changed my mind, only to find out that today I could not swim given the weather conditions.

At that point I decided to change the date, and I took advantage of the fact that my friends of the Chunky Dunckers group were about to go for their swim to be able to carry out the ceremony of the water.


PS as soon as I have a crossing window I will let you know.

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