It's time to start building the mileage and beginning my training for the Bay.
Last year I was on a huge learning curve - learning how and when and what to eat/drink during a longer swim, figuring out how to balance my pool and ocean training, and lots of band work to keep my shoulders in top shape.
I learned a lot from my actual races too - like, don't get too creative with strategy. Of course it helps to have a strategy but last July we definitely over thought it. Rather than just swim straight across the shipping lanes, we decided to swim parallel to one for a while, knowing that the currents and tidal exchange would benefit me when I was most tired at the end. What we didn't pay attention to was the rules. I had two hours to cross the first shipping lane and though our GPS said we made it, even by our account it was by the skin of our teeth. And Jericho Rescue said we didn't, so our opinion was moot anyway. Keeping it simple will be the theme this year.
I got a really slow start on my pool training this year, choosing to focus on cold water acclimation and swimming skin through the coldest temperatures, rather than building a base. Even though I still attended my swim pod and the training squad sessions, I didn't put in enough mileage. And I'm having some difficulty getting geared up for the pool - the coached sessions are great, there is always lots to think about - but it's the long solo pool swims I am not looking forward to. They are just so boring. I am planning to incorporate drills into my long sets in an effort to keep it interesting. And I will be doing a lot of the longer swims in the ocean. Having swim buddies around that are also interested in training for longer swims makes it so much easier. We are challenging and supporting one another to do better, swim faster and stronger. When I'm on my own I tend to stroll. With my buddies I push. It's good.
We will be swimming in the ocean every Saturday and my schedule is as follows:
3.5 to 4.5 by the end of May
5 to 5.5km by mid June
6km by June 22
6.5km by June 29
8km July 6
7km July 13
5km July 20
BAY CHALLENGE July 27
5km Aug 3
RATTLESNAKE ISLAND Aug 10
These distances are based on the Dart 10km Training Manual written by Kate Rew and Dan Bullock of the Outdoor Swimming Society.
I will be combining these with three pool sessions a week. One will be a longer swim equal to the distance of that particular week's ocean swim, one will be the Sea Hiker training squad swim (3 - 3.5km) and one will be a short technical training swim either on my own or with a Sea Hiker swim pod. In addition I will try for 2 to 3 days/week shoulder exercises with the bands and other general light free weight training.
So far I'm off to a good start. The last three Saturdays I've swum the 3.1km route and I'm thinking about extending it this weekend.