What sort of training should you be doing for the Jetty Swim?
This question always makes more sense when you start with the end. Do you have a goal? – to complete 3.6, the mile or a team leg? To do it in a better time than last year? To simply finish alive? Lets visit each option:
To do it for the first time:
You have no benchmark, your heart is beating at the very thought of swimming it and it sometimes seems exciting and sometimes very overwhelming.
Your goal is to complete the event with a smile on your face and you need to practise:
- Open water skills
- Race day nutrition, hydration and clothing
How much you have to train depends on your base ability, how far you are swimming and how much you want to enjoy it. If you can train more, you will be better prepared and it will be less enduring and more fun!
For the mile or less:
- At least one ocean swim a week – focus on getting comfortable with the ocean, practise swimming straight, dealing with different conditions and what you eat /drink just before – Is seasickness a thing? Are you bathers comfy? Do your goggles fog?
- Plus 2 other sessions:Preferably completing your distance at least once a week, or building up to it by the end of December if you cant already. One session swimming at an endurance pace – your CSS to build your diesel engine. Second session – mix of technique and if it has to be quick – put some short intensity sessions in to get your heart rate up.
- Compete in an event before hand- The Margaret River Ocean swim is designed to give you a chance to practise in a safe and welcoming event all your race plans, tactics and feeding strategies. I would recommend this event being your rehearsal for what you will wear on the day and eat and drink the day before and morning of.
For the full Jetty:
- At least one ocean swim a week – focus on getting comfortable with the ocean, practise swimming straight, dealing with different conditions and what you eat /drink just before – Is seasickness a thing? Are you bathers comfy? Do your goggles fog? Build up the distance of this session and if you can complete at least one 3 to 3.6km ocean swim session before the end of January to know how your body responds to salt water for that time.
- Plus 2/3 other sessions:Increasing your distance per week each week to the end of January. One session swimming at an endurance pace – your CSS to build your diesel engine. Second session – mix technique and endurance / threshold training. If you cant do 4 sessions make sure you do at least 1 technique session per fortnight. Don’t loose sight of good form and swim every stroke as you wish to swim around the Jetty.
- Back off the intensity at the end of Jan: If this is your main event and going to be a challenge I suggest completing your longest swim prior to the event no later than Feb 3rd. You want your body to be rested and well hydrated for race day.
Completing it again with a new goal:
As well as the above advice, write down 3 things you did well last time and what you enjoyed. Then, write down 3 things you thought you could do better when you finished last time. These are your starting points.
If you have a time goal, work out what your CSS pace was last year and what time you swam the Jetty in? Now do the maths on how much faster you have to swim, so how much faster (% wise) your CSS has to drop by. I love maths so talk to me if you wish. Is this reasonable based on the training you have done all year and the training you will be able to do between now and Feb 10?
Once you know how much time you have to drop, what you can improve upon, and build on, you have your starting point.
Swim Straight-It may sound obvious but you would be amazed, and doing the opposite can add 10-20% to your distance – practise lots of alignment drills (kicking on your side, good posture, Javelin) and sighting – lots of sighting.
Draft- Being able to comfortably draft off other people and know if it is too easy, or just right can save you an awful lot of energy on race day. This takes practise, come along to the beach sessions to help with this) and just do. There is no other option. Also being comfortable in peoples bubbles. With 2500 people swimming its not a day for a lonely dip! Learn to love bubbles!
Combine pool and ocean– unfortunately it’s hard to get pool space in the school holidays for Rish and I to coach but get down there when you can. Ideally complete an endurance type session in the pool, teaching your body to swim at the pace you want to swim around the Jetty and challenging yourself to hold that pace.
For every option– Believe in yourself. You had an inkling you could, else you wouldn’t have entered – believe in that thought and let that belief grow. Sometimes you just have to fake it until you make it.