I’m glad I went to watch this year’s swim, but that, combined with a conversation I had the weekend before, has left me wanting to enter again next year.
The key for me is – having swum the distance already – is to try and beat what I did last year. Specifically I want to be aiming for a 7 hour swim (last year I was 7 hours and 42 minutes). I don’t want to get in to the lake if I don’t think that I can get to the end in 7 hours or less.
Given last year’s time, that means I need to be about 45 minutes faster, or about 4 minutes per mile quicker. I think that’s perfectly doable.
So how do I do that, well there are a few things I can get better from the swim itself:
Feeding – last year I swam for 2 hours before taking on any nourishment and even then I didn’t take on enough. So I can get that better – feed every 45 minutes, and think about proper drinks and food, not just water and jelly babies. That should give me more energy at the end of the swim.
Swim quicker – it seems obvious, but I spent a lot of last year’s swim conserving my energy. It was by far the furthest I had ever swum and I wasn’t sure I could do it, so I kept something in reserve so that I could. I had said all year that I was trying to “complete and not compete” and I’m pleased that I did complete. But it meant that I set off very slowly and stayed at that pace throughout the swim. Having a slightly different mindset from the start will help me to be a bit quicker throughout.
Train more – as I said when I got in last year, I’m not sure I could have done much more to prepare for the swim in the time I had, and that’s true. What I can do this time though is give myself more time. I only started training in April last year and only committed to swimming Windermere after swimming Coniston at the end of July. If I start now, then that should give me much more time and give me a much stronger base of fitness and swimming power, allowing me to push a bit harder on the day.
On top of those things though I’ll also need to get myself together now.
Training plan – life can be a bit up and down at times for me – pulled in a few different directions. A strong training plan will put some anchors down and will “force” me to always consider my training.
Advice – I’m not a big believer in having a coach, but I do accept that I could do with some advice on things like my stroke, my diet, my weight training. I intend to find the right people to ask – and ask them!
Physio – I spend a lot of time hunched over a laptop, if I’m then going to do a lot of front crawl it’s not going to do my shoulders and back a whole lot of good. A regular (probably monthly) good physio session will help.
Support – I need to ensure that my family is on board with all of this and that I’m not going off and doing a selfish mission. All of this will be much easier with their support.
I’m not guaranteeing I’ll enter and I’m certainly not guaranteeing that I’ll break 7 hours, but as things stand right now I’m going to give it a damn good try.
Right then, off I go.