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.
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.
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.
So tonight I managed to do 2 1/2 miles in the lake. I’ve got a 3 mile event on Saturday so this was the final training swim and it felt good. I came out after 2 1/2 miles very happy that I could have done more and also just relaxed and chilled. This was the first time I’ve swum in the lake and didn’t have a single moment of “why am I doing this?”.
Every other time I’ve been in the lake that thought has crossed my mind, even if only for a minute. Tonight it didn’t. I just swam and relaxed and enjoyed it. The lake itself was quite busy and I think that helped. It was good to feel part of a community of swimmers – even if you don’t get much chance to chat!
Several people overtook me and were going what seemed to be impossibly quick, yet I overtook quite a few people myself. And strangely after being concerned about my speed – I speeded up a bit. I didn’t do anything different or try to swim faster, but I think the very fact that I had talked about it and was aware of it meant that if not consciously trying to be faster it was there at the back of my mind and didn’t let me relax at all.
My time for tonight’s 2 1/2 mile swim.
On Saturday I did 2 miles in almost exactly 1hr 20 mins (so 40 minute miles, or 20 minutes per 1/2 mile lap). Tonight I did the first lap in 18 minutes and in total I did 2 1/2 miles in 1hr 36 minutes – so 4 minutes quicker than Saturday’s pace.
You can see my final time on the photo and the numbers above it show the first split time (18 mins, 1 second, 23 hundredths).
It’s funny how it works that way – but I’m not complaining. It does mean that I am now clearly targeting a sub-2hour swim on Saturday.