10,000 Meters in the pool

As a triathlete, part of my training is obviously swimming, I generally swim 3-4 sessions a week which equates to 4.5-5.5 hours of pool time, these swim sessions are part of a wide range of training sessions available daily by Manchester Triathlon Club, all these sessions are guided by a qualified coach who makes sure you are getting lots of quality out of the time spent training. Here are the Manchester Triathlon Club sessions available:

10,000m as: 100 x 100m off 100 seconds I swim with one of the fastest swimmers in age group triathlon and he has a passion for the descipline that frustrates most newbie triathletes, it is always good to have someone to chase up and down the pool but with this comes the challenges that Stu Moore sets himself and somehow persuades others to follow. 12 months ago we took on the challenge of 100 x 100m in the long course (50m) pool at Manchester Aquatics Centre, at the time I didn’t think completion of the challenge was an issue, the swim interval time was to go off 1.40min and I figured that going at an easy pace I would still be getting atleast 10 seconds recovery before plodding down the lane and back. Manchester Aquatics Pool On the occasion of last years swim challenge I trained as normal that day with a bike and run session pre swim, I was treating it like any other swim session and was nieve to the distance to cover in 2hr 46min. In last years attempt at around 70 x 100m intervals I started to cramp in my forearm on every stroke I took, this impacted on the times I was able to complete 100m reps in which left shorter rest and a mental battle to complete to task ahead on a rapidly fatiguing body. My only words after last year was never again!! 2016 and its time… when Stu said he was sorting out the 100 x 100s at first I thought nope not this time, it didn’t take long before my naturally competitive self started to plan how I was going to perform better and succeed the challenge with more control and credability. Respect This year I planned to give the challenge more respect, to do that I would need to shuffle training around to give me full energy for the swim and also fuel correctly not just in the challenge but also throughout the day pre challenge. Training.. I basically moved my usual training sessions for the week forward by a day, this then left me with Sunday free for just the swim challenge which was to start at 6:40pm, with it being the evening this would allow me to have a relaxed get out of bed time and also allow me to focus on what I would eat and drink throughout the day. 2015 issues.. During the swim last year my main issue was cramping, this year I prepared myself by staying hydrated through the day by constantly sipping water with high five hydration tablets in, another issue was needing a wee last year which seemed to make me really bloated, I tried to combat this by having my last drink 90 minutes before the swim start time, I also stayed clear of drinking coffee after dinner time as this makes me p*** like a race horse. Fuelling.. Instead of just turning up to swim like I did last year and thinking I might need some energy during the swim so I’ll just have gels which was a mistake and made me feel sick, I thought about the challenging session and figured that there level of intensity during swimming was going to be very low, my aim was to swim as relaxed as I could which I was thinking level 1/2 work rate which if you are efficient enough in the water and are efficient at ultilising your fats as a source of fuel then actually thinking about it, I wouldn’t need any gels or sugary kicks to get me through it, instead I opted to have 2 x 750mm drinks bottles filled with Your-Sports-Fuel 4.1, this is a combination of 4 parts carbs and 1 part protein and designed for endurance events of +2hrs. To give me the fuel to get through the 2.46hr I ate more than usual of essential fatty foods, I snacked on whole meal bread with peanut butter, I had mackerel and to give me some energy a ate a simple small meal of beans and jacket potato, I kept all food intake on the day to small but regular and had my last fuelling 90 minutes before the start, I did this to take away the bloating affect. The Challenge.. I was strangly looking forward to the training session, I was looking at it as gaining some good endurance paced volume in one hit and would be a good test to how I have improved over the course of 12 months. Seeing the clock tick towards the start time and lots of anxious faces on pool side it kind of had a race feel about it, there was a group of 4 of us in the lane who had decided to each do stints on the front of 10 x 100, this just allows for a mental break from setting the pace and being on top of the setting off times. I didn’t feel the need to warm up, just some stretching would be sufficient and in I jumped 20 seconds before the start and off we went and coming in with a very relaxed 1.22 with coach Tracie saying that’s great, I replied “nope that’s to fast”, I had a swim pace of 1.27 in mind before we started so I eased it back to be as relaxed as I could and settled into a average pace of 1.24s. Here’s the last 25 x 100m in a comparison chart to last years splits, I averaged 24.58 for the first 50 and 24.18 for the second 50….

Final thoughts.. I was very happy with how the whole session went, I started to get tight in my upper back muscles and lats as I entered the last 15, I was quite happy about this as it was the first time in 2 hrs that I had something different to focus on. Finishing the last 100 meters was great, there was some good support on pool side with Coaches, lap counters and people who had either not completed or had done 80 x 100 in the next lane. I didn’t feel like my energy levels changed throughout which shows good efficiency and fuelling strategy, I wasn’t keen on doing 200m backstroke but I knew it was important to ease the shoulders out. After a nice shower I had a YourSportsFuel recover drink and headed home for some well earned tea. At a guess, the calories burned by swimming for nearly 3 hours is around 2000.

Well done everyone who completed there challenge, anyone who didn’t should not be beaten and come back stronger and fitter for next time.