I’ve set myself the (ambitious) goal of covering 1 million metres in training before I swim the Channel in August 2013. I ‘officially’ started my ‘proper’ training in November 2012, so have been counting metres since then. (I paid my deposit for the Channel two years ago so have been ‘training’ since then… and open water swimming before that, but since November I have had my head down and been more focused and planned in my training.) Most of the metres so far have been covered in pools, but some have been Open Water through the Winter. This balance will change once the Open Water season starts again in April, and more importantly, when the water warms up enough to start putting in some long outdoor swims, that will reach 6 – 7 hours plus, at weekends.
I have a detailed log that I keep, which includes details about all my training swims, including length of time, distance covered, where the swim was, temperature of the water etc. I also keep records of timed swims and a monthly T15, T30 and T60, which is seeing how far I can swim in 15, 30 and 60 minutes, to check I am improving and provide my pilot with vital information to use when plotting my route. I will update this page (probably at the end of each month) to show how much farther I have swum, towards my goal, and any improvements in times etc.
My pool swims vary from 3km to 10km at a time and between two and five times a week I am swimming twice a day, depending on work. This will be a swim in the morning and another in the evening. I love starting the day with a swim, and usually find that I feel stronger for the evening session if I have ‘warmed up’ in the morning. Some of these sessions I am on my own, others are with friends, I do an endurance set with USwim Masters on a Sunday and then I also train regularly with the Manchester Triathlon Club, at their pool sessions. I have found these invaluable for improving my stroke technique, stroke rate and speed. I can’t thank the coaches and other swimmers / triathletes, enough for their time, support, advice and encouragement.
My endurance and stamina are definitely improving (as well as my mental strength and focus) because I can now motivate and swim through a 5km set much more easily, stronger and quicker than in November. I am even enjoying the 7 km and 10 km swims, although not as much in the pool as I do in the open water! I have noticed that, as my stamina improves, it does take me longer to ‘warm up’ for a session. It is a good 1500m – 2000m into a swim before I feel comfortable and relaxed and I tend to get quicker as I go through a 60 minute / 90 minute session with the Man Tri Club… where everyone else seems to be getting slower… this can be tricky with lane order! 🙂
I am surprised that I have been so motivated with the training and that I am still enjoying it so much. There are ups and downs, and I am lucky to have good friends who support me through both. The main thing I struggle with (but am getting better at) is consistency. It is difficult to balance training with work and everything else that life involves. Many things are within my control, and I can adapt these as necessary, for example going out or time relaxing, but some things are out of my control, like illness, extra work to do at school, stress at work, meetings that run on longer than expected and overlap with the start of planned training sessions. I am getting better at learning when to be flexible and not worry too much about missed training and when to dig deep and ensure that the metres are covered. I have found it is also really important to listen to your body, to know when to push through and when a rest is needed! I do have at least one day, every week, which is planned rest and I have a sports massage once a fortnight, to help with sore, tight muscles and help with preventing injury.
Cumulative total metres swum, since November 2012
November 2012 66,800m
December 2012 115,800m (49,000m in December)
January 2103 220,400m (104,600m in January)
February 2013 325,300m (104,900m in February)
March 2013 395,200m (69,900m in March)
April 2013 529,050m (134,850m in April)
May 2013 631,900m (102,850m in May)
Swim times and Timed swims 🙂
T15 – December 2012 – March 2013: 1,000m. This was a massive achievement for me, as I had previously been swimming much slower.
T30 – pre-November 2012 my pb for this was 1,500m. March 2013: 1,875m. May: 2,000m.
T60 – March 2013: 3,700m. May: 4,000m.
100m – July 2010 – 1:40, October 2011 – 1:30, January 2013 – 1:26, February 2013 – 1:24, March 2013 – 1:18!!!
200m – January 2013 – 2:14, March 2013 – 2:07
400m – November 2012 – 6:15, January 2013 – 6:14, February / March 2013 – 6:03
750m – July 2010 – 14:38, December 2012 – 13:21, May 2013 – 11:00
1,600m (1 mile) – December 2012 – 27:00, May 2013 – 26:00