As I mentioned previously I did 2 miles in the open water without a wetsuit on Saturday. And to be fair I was quite pleased with that.
However, one thing I wasn’t pleased about was my speed as I swam at exactly a 40-minute mile pace.
The reason this is concerning me is that as you extend the distance, the time takes on a much greater significance. I was always working on the assumption that I was a 35-minute mile swimmer, but over a mile the five minutes is neither here nor there. However as I swim the 10 ½ mile Windermere it makes quite a big difference. 10 ½ miles at 35 minutes per mile means I’d be in the water for less than 6 ¼ hours, yet at 40 minutes per mile it’s exactly 7 hours (at 30 minutes per mile it’s “only” 5 ¼ hours).
Now I know that as I swim I’m likely to slow down my pace and that these figures aren’t accurate for that reason – but if anything that makes it more important.
Then on Sunday evening I did my usual mile in the pool. As the whole time thing was preying on my mind I timed it. I actually did it in 31 minutes and 19 seconds, so more than eight minutes faster than in the lake.
So what’s the reason for this? I was tired on Saturday morning, but then no more tired on Sunday evening as I’d had a very active weekend (we did the excellent Tonya’s Challenge as a family on Sunday morning – for anyone local I’d strongly recommend it for next year). I swam hard on Sunday night, but I wasn’t hanging about on Saturday either.
The main difference was the lake versus the pool. Some of that was the fact that I wasn’t always that straight in the lake (military swimming – left, right, left, right), but of course the biggest difference was the cold.
However, the more I’ve thought about it since the weekend the more I’ve decided to not worry about it – for now.
The whole 1,000kms concept is important to me this year, so I’m going to use this year as a way to get my body used to the effort required by putting as many miles in as possible (and doing as much on the bike as I can, and maybe even running too). But I’ve decided that I won’t give myself the 1,000kms challenge next year and instead I’ll plan some sessions that are more specifically designed to trying to speed up a bit, while also building up for the effort of Windermere.