Breaking down the 4km pool swim


Pool 4 weeks till the Big Ruby so I decided I needed to be less complacent and do some swim training! Today I aimed to do 4km. 

This time last year I was doing 4km a week on the run up to the race. I was pleasantly surprised to discover a few weeks ago that I do in fact still have the distance, despite the lack of training.

So, today I aimed to swim the full distance. I had hd lunch a few hours before, was well hydrated, called to check the pool wasn’t too busy; all set.

Past long swims have taught me a few things:

  • you can feel quite dehydrated by the end, so fluid up well before hand
  • no time to stop no munch in an event, fuel up well.
  • monotony is a potential threat, specially in a pool (160 lengths!) so have a plan to counteract that.
  • ignore fatigue, it will come and go at different times during the swim.

My lap counter is still flat,  I constantly keep forgetting to get it sorted. Today I aimed to manually count all the lengths, rather than rely on average pace. This worked well as the pool was empty, so nothing to look at and no swimmers to mentally chase.

How to break it down

I started with 30 in mind, 1/4 of the distance I did last time. That became 40, 1/3, 60, 1/2. Then beyond that I started to address the full 152 length distance, and not before it. 80 was almost 1/2 way.

When I got to 100, I started again from 0. Only 60 to go. Thins worked well. It kept my mind focussed, I dint get bored, wasn’t wondering at any stage how far was it to go, I completed the 152 lengths faster than I expected: roughly 1 hour 15. Funny that, that was how long the Challenge Wanaka swim took me last year! Nice to know I haven’t lost any fitness. Also worth noting that all the other exercise I do has helped me with cardio fitness when it comes to swimming too.

Don’t get me wrong, there is no substitute for simply ‘doing the miles’ and that showed towards the end. My arms had been in the slightly flexed position for so long that my elbows didn’t want to straighten when I finished and did a couple of lengths back stroke (for opposite rotation). My shoulder were also real tired too, nod I was so hungry I stopped at the studio on the way home and bought two protein cookies off myself!

Job done, just need to make sure I do that once a week till the race day and I will be fine. Oh, that and crack out the wet suit and get in the sea!

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