12/05/2016 by Carl Reynolds
I have a target of 350k swum between early January and the end of June. In early July I’m, hopefully, in a BLDSA 4 mile swim across Torbay, from Meadfoot to Fishcombe. And a few days later I’m off to sunny Kinsale, south of Cork, to take part in the annual NedFest; where I will swim between 50 and 80km in a week, alongside a load of others who are training for Channel swims and other endurance swims. They’ll swim 100k, mainly because I don’t need (or want) to do a six hour qualification swim on the final day, but also because my motivation is to enjoy swimming in the inland and coastal waters of SW Ireland. But I still need to be fit.
Back to the target – which I am currently on target to meet. In previous years I have done less and swum more when it comes to the test. For example a couple of years ago I was swimming two or three hours a week in preparation for ten miles in one day circumnavigation of the Scilly Isles. What I’ve learnt over the years is that while I can swim a km in 16m30s in a race, I cannot sustain this pace for much longer. But I can comfortably cruise at a 19m pace – over 5k I get in 12.5 minutes later. I’m currently swimming indoors for an hour to an hour and a half, four or five times a week; and I’ve been getting in the sea a couple of times a week. Notwithstanding the difference in temperatures between the indoor (29C) and the outdoor (around 12C at the moment), having lost around 22lbs weight over the last two years, I have shed lots of insulation. My sea swims are currently too short. I have six weeks to up it. Now I have a new target – an hour in the sea each time I get in by mid-June.
At the end of May, I’m off to Skiathos with Mrs Ape. For a week I’ll do 6-8k a day in sea temperatures of between 16 and 18C. Roughly the temperature of the English Channel during late August and September, but warmer by a few degrees than the waters off Kinsale!
I should be ready, but I have a nagging and unspecified doubt. Maybe its just this morning. I know that whilst the training is key, the mental attitude is vital too. At the point at which I think, “Sod it, I’ve had enough”, I find that continuing on by refocusing on smooth stroke or singing a song in my head is possible. The days when I feel I can go on and on are increasing.