I am feeling great, bright eyed and bushy tailed, I am ready to take on the new week of training full steam ahead, stroke by stroke, day by day, week by week and month by month I am moving closer to my goal of Swimming the English Channel. If you had dropped me into this week’s training 18 months ago I would have internally combusted, you got it I would have ” Blown Up”, physically and mentally.
Often people ask me about my training, ” so you are following a training plan, right?”, “where do you get that from?”……I smile, well it is not quite as easy as goggling ” train for my first triathlon”, yes I am following a plan, it goes like this
Figure out what you need to do to get as prepared as possible to swim in the English Channel, Study the variables……
Practice the variables……
- Cold Water
- Tides, Currents, waves and wind
- Salt Water
- Swimming & Throwing Up
- Mental Dark Periods
- Physical Endurance
- Speed and the ability to change gears to fight the tide
- Chaffing of the skin
- Sun Burn
- Night Swimming
- Functioning under stress, extreme tiredness
- Peeing while swimming
- Following the Pilot
- Obeying your crew
These are the ones that first comes to mind, there are more, once the list was made I started setting short term goals, all that building towards the main thing, the main big goal…. SWIMMING THE ENGLISH CHANNEL
For me I read accounts from other swimmers to get started, accounts of what they experienced, and I am fortunate to have Ned Denison mentoring me, I set my schedule to experience and practice the variables, not all at once, one step at a time. I built my physical training plan to work towards those short term goals, my strength training and flexibility plan is structuredto help achieve my goal of keeping healthy, particularly keeping my shoulders pain free and balanced, in swimming the chest muscles tend to get tight and the muscles in the upper back weak, this can lead to shoulder impingement and pain when swimming ( and when not).
I have a training log I keep in an excel and my favourite, a good old fashioned journal where I document each days training task, all written in mechanical pencil!
So let’s peak at the log for:
Monday June 6th, 2011…
6 x 50’s Drill
2 repeats of ( 5 x 200’s Pull with paddles and 4 x 150’s Free)
5 x 100’s Pull
Lift & 20 minutes of Yoga
Tuesday June 7th, 2011…
Session 1: Pool Swim 4000 meters
Session 2: Open Water 7245
Location:Green River Reservoir, Water Temp 62-66
Route: Picnic Island to Little Italy
It is a stellar day, sunshine and 78 degrees, wow that sun feels nice warming my back as I swim. Paula is my paddler today, the water is like glass, I can’t help but gawk at all that is around me as I swim, I see Paula in the kayak with the backdrop of the green mountains and their reflection, I have my first feed, 30 minutes down, we round picnic island and start heading towards Little Italy, I know it will take atleast 40 minutes to get to the Italy’s boot and I will have another feed in between now and then. I like the boot, it is narrow and I get a good view of the shoreline, in the middle of the lake where I am now I see water, Paula, ” Flat Stanley” and my feed bottles, if you could drool while swimming I would be drooling now as I gaze at my feed. Paula counts my strokes at 20 minutes, then gives me the sign to speed up for three minutes, 70 strokes per minute, then 72 strokes per minute then back to 70 strokes per minute, then I have an easy stretch for 2 minutes and it is feeding time….Glug, Glug, Glug…Burb, feeding time is over in 20 seconds, I toss the bottle towards Paula and resume swimming. Hmmmm that was entertaining now what, my stroke is rythmic, it feels like my body is on automatic pilot swimming, in fact it feels like I am lying on the couch at home! ( except that I am swimming that is), “OK what to do while I am patiently waiting for my next feed”, I look down, hmmm what should I do, what should I do with myself to avoid getting bored”, I let out a string of bubbles giggling, ” what a funny thought, I am like a kid on a Sunday, what should I do I’m bored”! I know I ‘ll look down and notice what is down there today, I do, ” I see lots of bubbles, I see a tiny fish, he was so small he look embarrassed”, then I see something to have fun with, millions of white specks in the black water, they are racing towards me, making me feel like I am a space traveller going a gazillion miles per hour, I dart here and there, it is exciting, after a while I feel the water get warmer, I see rocks on the bottom, it is shallow, I am passing Blueberry Island, my favourite, all thoughts of space travel vanish, I look at Paula and think ” Is it time for my feed yet?”, I wonder if she can see my eyes through my tinted goggles, they look like those of a puppy or cute kitten begging for treats, she stops and feeds me, ” OK, note to self, must remember that puppy dog eye look at seems to have worked”! It didn’t it was my 1 hour feed, Paula was feeding me as scheduled, oh to dream!
Swim time: 2 Hours 5 Minutes
Next Up Pool Swimming Wednesday, back to the Open Water Thursday, and just what was making those bubbles under me while I was swimming today?…. you and me both will find out on Thursday!