Tag Archives: time

Time and timing

Recently Outdoor Swimmer asked on Facebook what are our barriers to training – what can get in the way and stop us achieving our goals.

I didn’t answer on Facebook, but it did get me thinking and quite simply there are two things that restrict me – Time and Timing.

Time
I’m not the world’s quickest swimmer. I’m quicker than some, but for many people that are challenging themselves to big swims / big numbers then I’m at the slower end of the scale. It takes me roughly 20 minutes to swim a kilometre. So if I want to complete the million metre challenge by swimming alone it would take me over 333 hours – or nearly 14 days (13.89).

It’s one of the reasons that I’ve added in running to the mix. While I’m still a slow runner, even at my almost pedestrian 7 minutes per km pace it would only (only?) take me 4.86 days to reach a million metres.

Timing
Linked to the time it takes me to swim, is the issue of timing – when I’m able to swim. Although in the summer I prefer to swim outdoors, even then my swims are still mainly in recognised ‘sessions’. So whether it’s the pool or the lake I need someone to open it up for me and let me in. And of course when they can do that doesn’t always co-ordinate perfectly with when I want to or can swim.

Another reason that I want to do more running this year is that I like the freedom of it in terms of timing. Certainly once the lighter nights start to arrive the only thing from stopping you run is your desire.

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It’s working

Something clicked today, with both my mind and understanding of what I should be doing with my stroke – and also my time.

I’ve mentioned before that I’ve been working on my technique under the watchful eye of Ray from SwimCanaryWharf. I go to see Ray once a month and then work on the drills he gives me between sessions.

This morning, towards the end of my drills, something clicked in my mind about the stroke and how Ray wants me work on it. I’m not saying that I’ve cracked it, more that I’ve got over a mental barrier that I hadn’t realised was there. There’s still a lot of work to do to train the body to actually *do* it, but I feel that I now instinctively, rather than theoretically, know what *it* is.

So after 2k of warm up and drills I finished the session off with a timed 400m – something I do fairly regularly just to see how I’m getting on. The result was my fastest 400m yet.

6:43. My fastest ever 400m.

6:43. My fastest ever 400m.

I’m really pleased with that. Not least because I wasn’t feeling it this morning and had to drag myself to the pool, and the pool was busy, so it wasn’t an easy and smooth 400m, I had to fight through a bit of traffic.

However, perhaps the most pleasing this is that this wasn’t an *effort* time, it was a *technique* time. You know what I mean, we can all smash a time that is good and quick, but we’ve put so much effort into it that we can’t speak properly for five minutes afterwards. This wasn’t one of those. I was focused on getting on with it, but wasn’t racing and certainly wasn’t smashing it.

I obviously don’t really care about an individual 400m. What I want to be doing is putting together 20, 40 or ultimately 88 of those in succession. But to do an individual 400m quicker, smoother and easier* than I ever have before is a big leap forward and gives me the confidence that it is starting to work.

*It’s not easy and has taken 4 months of drills to get to this point.

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