Training on a Fruitful Day

Posted on: 03 Sep 2019

Thursday 29th August – Training on a Fruitful Day

For the first time since I can recall there wasn’t a tension leading to going swimming with will power needed to force myself to attend the session. I still wasn’t that keen, but less so than normal and put it down purely to curiosity. The curiosity stems from the last session which contained one hour of continuous freestyle and whether that could be repeated today. Guess that is the challenge today and I was up for it.

My mind reflects on last Tuesday’s session and I know I still had to force myself to keep going on that front crawl method. It was an effort and still uncomfortable having keep returning my head under the water every other stroke. That sticks in my mind quite vividly and is the reason today that I wasn’t that keen. Still, better than not being keen at all which was the case up until now. Also, the countdown to the event is playing in my head with the planned sessions remaining in single figures.

After looking up a few open water swimming websites I still am not sure whether a tow float is needed if you wear a wetsuit. Having only worn the wetsuit once in the sea, there probably isn’t any need, but that was salt water and the buoyancy would be less in freshwater. Come what I may I will be donning both as insurance to anxiety and panic that may come about. Also, knowing freestyle is seemingly sustainable, the wetsuit will enhance matters and breaststroke which I couldn’t technically

So, back to the present and a short walk to the school. Just as an experiment I did my 16 minutes plank routine 15 minutes before leaving the home rather than 15 minutes after the swim.

All normal and a pool that is almost empty and nearly all to myself. Just two teenagers wading and talking to each other in one lane. What a wonderful moment of thought with the pool all to myself for an hour, couldn’t ask for anything more!

A warm-up process with stretching done after a cold shower and in the waters for the planned warm-up with breaststroke. That only lasted two lengths as I went into freestyle, what harm can that do I asked myself. Well, after three lengths, I was feeling just okay and decided to try and breathe on my right side. Up until now, it has been solely left side breathing which isn’t a great concern in the pool but could be in open waters.

Well, what happened? I was a quick grab of breath and everything seized up close to panic. Another try and anxiety began to sink in big time, I gave up with the consequences. This now had a knock-on effect and I hated every moment my head had to sink underwater despite my efforts to relax and glide which was the case before experimenting. With the anxiety, the technique suffers from tension and that’s how the swim went for the next 20 minutes. There was a sense of major efforts needed with the breathing technique but I ploughed on in the hope that this would subside. Another 20 minutes and it didn’t resolve itself. My thoughts were, if this happened in the event what would I do? Well, that is simple, breaststroke comes into play so that’s what I did. Four lengths of lovely comfortable breaststroke. After working so hard on freestyle in discomfort, I’d almost forgot how calm this was mentally, very therapeutic.

Then back into freestyle but it was a struggle. On my previous session, the gliding was working only needing 10 cycles of stroke from one end of the pool to the other. In this session, it needed 12, so it was pretty obvious something was wrong this time. Perhaps not enough warm-up time with breaststroke to start? Trying out the right-side breathing and getting into a panic from that and not recovering? Workout with the plank session before the swim? No other people swimming to distract or subconsciously compete with? Or was it the fact that I was dehydrated from the work in the farm earlier? I didn’t have my normal non-alcoholic beer lunchtime after grafting in the intense heat all morning. Strange may it sound but with no alcohol that beer is in fact isotonic.

It was just over 40 minutes of freestyle and 15 of breaststroke today in an empty pool. Not even an hour of swimming and I was feeling quite sleepy wanting to close my eyes and swim blind for some reason. Tiredness, illness, or just a one-off day for swimming? Shame about this as the pool conditions and environment were perfect to put in a good training session today.

Towards the end of the swim, my thoughts turned to if I felt like this on event day what would I do? The answer I gave myself was quite simple, carry on regardless with breaks if needed. That positive self-answering didn’t make me feel too bad about today.

As I arrived home, a belly ache kicked in and it was a trip to the toilet with an upset stomach. What caused this? Well, it was quite simple to work out. On the farm whilst harvesting, I was eating part of the harvest including, apples, pears, figs, sweetcorn, and grapes. This was not my normal diet today. Because I ate loads of fresh homegrown mouth-watering fruit I wasn’t quenching for the normal non-alcoholic beer after the work. It was quite apparent the stomach issues came from this and probably why the swim was a struggle. This won’t happen next time based on this curve of learning.

Hey ho and away we go sea swimming Sunday if all goes to plan this time. Famous last words, we’ll see. However, we are not having to rely on others this time!

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