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Lessons Learnt


Autumn has arrived in the UK and spring has blossomed in New Zealand. Phases of training will be changing for the open water swimmers in each hemisphere. In the UK it’s almost time to head indoors for a few months of focus on technique and building the fitness ready for next year. In New Zealand it’s time for swimmers to start heading to the open water. Before you change training phases it’s a good time to take stock and to plan your next round of swimming. There are plenty of lessons learnt. Why make mistakes yourself when others have taken the time to make them for you?

UK Winter

Do keep swimming over winter , you’ll reap the benefits from spring. Yes we know lanes can be crowded and the chlorine smells.

–          Make sure you have swim program that includes routine (at least 2 swims a week) and plenty of variation in your swimming; different distances, intensities and rest periods. Even if you are training for an English Channel swim it’s vital to get some repeat sets and pace into your training so that come spring you can maintain a strong open water endurance pace. Don’t just get in a swim.

–          Look online for a masters swim club to train with, the social aspect will help keep it fun and keep you challenged. You will benefit from some coaching and everyone in the lane will be doing the same thing – far less interruption or chance of lane rage.

–          Get a chlorine neutralising product such as http://www.swimspray.com/

If you’re a wetsuit swimmer check it for nicks and scrapes , we all get small cuts or tears in our wetsuit. Keep the suit best condition by repairing http://www.amazon.co.uk/McNett-Black-Witch-Neoprene-Adhesive/dp/B000SCJQYQ  . Or better yet check with your wetsuit dealer for deals or specials on last seasons range. There can be some great deals on last seasons wetsuits.

Southern Hemipshere

Congratulations another winter is coming to an end. Check the gear before hitting the water. Swim outdoors sooner rather than later and get used to the water temps. You’ll feel and appreciate the water temperature increase and mid-summer open water temps will feel good. Don’t just start swim open water at one pace for a set period of time. Your body will adjust and you’ll plateau. Continue to vary your training. Perhaps do one group open water swim each week https://fitandabel.com/events-bookings/fitabel-summer-201213-series/open-water-fitness-and-technique-series/   If you’re nervous about open water swimming or think you need some help to get faster or more efficient , get some expert advice; https://fitandabel.com/events-bookings/fitabel-summer-201213-series/personal-121-techniquefitnessfilming-lessons/ If you’re a triathlete and prefer the bike and run, don’t just train bike and run; put some time into the swim training now! Do not wait until 4 weeks until the event and then panic. I have said it before … Race day is not the time to figure out that your wetsuit doesn’t fit right, you can’t swim in a straight line or you feel uncomfortable not being able to touch the bottom.


Safety – Be familiar with your open water swim location. Don’t swim alone.  Don’t just think everything will be OK. Who knows where and when you are swimming and when you’ll be back? Wear a swim cap, to help keep the heat it and so you are visible in the water. Find a local swim group, just search online and you’ll find cool swim groups like this http://wanakalakeswimmers.wordpress.com/about/

Goggles – always have two pair. Be comfortable with both. Ideally a tinted or dark pair for sunny days and a yellow , blue or clear lense pair for cloudy days.

In New Zealand I will be training swimmers specifically for our main events … a www.realswimadventures.com  or

NZ State Ocean Swim Series http://www.oceanswim.co.nz/

Epic Swim http://www.epicswim.co.nz/

Lake Hood http://www.swimlakehood.com/

NZIM http://www.ironman.com/triathlon/events/asiapac/ironman/new-zealand.aspx#axzz2gHPirawK

For all swimmers there are three skill sets you should always be developing; technique, fitness and your open water swim skills. Think about what work you will be doing in each category and when. For example open water swim skills; the fastest way to the finish line is a straight line. It’s also the hardest line to swim. Practice sighting in open water or in the pool. Get your head up regularly. Don’t know what I’m talking about …  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LNxtdnQu1cU

And finally you are much more likely to do well at your training and your chosen swim event if you are having FUN. Make sure you do, it’s ultimately what it should be all about !

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