Wednesday, February 29, 2012
Tuesday, February 28, 2012
N.B. Some of the coaching allocations are subject to change, especially with Francene being so close to having her first baby (wahoo!) - please be understanding if things change at short notice with respect to who is taking the session - thanks!
Sunday, February 26, 2012
Friday, February 24, 2012
- whether you think you can, or you think you can't, either way you are right!
- the darkest hour still only has sixty minutes in it!
- enjoy the challenge - no-one is forcing you to do this or holding a gun to your head...you are doing this because you want to and what the challenge of training for such an event has brought to your life. Now all you can do is just do your best and keep a smile on your face knowing that you are undertaking a challenge which very few people are fortunate enough to be in the position to do so.
Wednesday, February 22, 2012
- check your stroke for a thumb-first hand entry and/or a midline cross-over as you enter into the water - the two leading causes of shoulder soreness in swimming! Hand entry should be finger-tips first and for the middle finger to be extending forwards in front of the same shoulder, not across. Watch this video clip on Saturday night (and now) for a great demo of how to do this properly: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=s3HhNlysFDs&feature=youtu.be
- whichever shoulder starts to hurt first, breathe more frequently to that side for 15-20 minutes. This will force you to rotate better to that side and consequently reduce some of the pressure on that shoulder. Even just being conscious of rotating more to that side will help.
- when you have your paddler with you, let them do the navigating for you...you could do the whole 19.7km of not needing to sight at all if you have your paddler by your side and trust their judgement. Often times, repetitive lifting to sight (especially in rough water) can cause the shoulders to eventually feel pain because of the lift required to get your eyes above the water.
- try shortening the stroke just a smidgen and elevating the stroke rate just a touch...overly gliding especially when rough will leave your lead arm in too much of an extended position too long within the stroke and can in some cases cause pain when fatigue sets in. Whilst this isn't necessarily required in everyone's stroke, it won't do any harm to try it if the above two points haven't made much difference.
- try straightening the arm a touch during the recovery phase rather than aiming for the classic high elbow recovery - you don't need to swing the arm over the water, but just focus on loose shoulders and better mobilisation in the socket rather than forcing an artificially high elbow.
- in extreme cases (as I did in my 2009 swim) I had to open my left-hand fingers a touch during the pull through to take some load off during the propulsive phase of the stroke - of course I slowed down as a result of slipping my catch a little bit, but I did make it across.
- have your paddler carry some emergency ibuprofen with you if your shoulders are starting to get really sore.
Tuesday, February 21, 2012
This Friday morning's 530am and 630am sessions will still be the solid Fresh n Fruity session that we've all come to know and love! I'm assuming that those who are Rotto-ing will either do a very short pool swim or even a loosener in the ocean.
The show must roll on for those not competing! ;-)
Monday, February 20, 2012
- Kim Annear's boat is having a few mechanical issues and she needs either a great mechanic, a minor miracle or a new boat. The mechanic is due to do his stuff tomorrow, but we're trying to cover our bases and are desperately seeking a back-up boat in the eventuality that hers cannot be fixed. If you know ANYONE who can help, please contact Kim direct on firstname.lastname@example.org or 0488 131 308 as soon as possible. Kim's raised well over $20,000 for the Cancer Council WA (see http://www.perthnow.com.au/sport/kim-annear-to-honours-cancer-stricken-friend-in-rottnest-channel-swim/story-e6frg1wu-1226270872809) - please help if you can!
- I only have 9 days left in Perth before I head over to the UK for a series of Swim Smooth Coaching Clinics and to launch a brand new range of wetsuits that we've designed. If you think you may run out of PAYG payment cards whilst I'm away (1st to 23rd March 2012), it would be very much appreciated if you could purchase a new card before I leave at http://swimsmooth.com/perth_buycard.html so as to help the coaches who will run the squad in my absence. There will still be the facility to do this whilst I am away or pay for a card in cash with the coach on the pool deck, but given the recently high numbers at the squad I am just trying to smooth out this process as much as possible and your help is much appreciated.
- We've had a massive number of enquiries and bookings recently for our 1-2-1 Video Analysis and Stroke Correction Sessions (see http://swimsmooth.com/perth_videoanalysis.html) and these are now all fully booked until the start of June believe it or not. If you are hoping to book in for one (especially for the winter period) please may I suggest you do so sooner rather than later. Thanks.
- Below are some suggestions (quite long, but hopefully useful) on nutrition for this weekend's race in response to two squad emails I recently received. Hopefully you have all this nailed in by now and I'd strongly suggest not changing anything dramatically before your event:
- When training early in the morning your body has slept for 6-8 hrs and whilst this requires less energy than when you are awake, you still do burn calories whilst asleep. Although some swimmers prefer training on a totally empty stomach, we highly recommend having something before training to top up your muscle and liver glycogen stores. I personally have 'Weetbix' cereal with hot milk and a sprinkle of sugar washed down with a vitamin drink which I find works really well. Other people might have a banana, muesli bar or some toast and honey or jam.
- Your body typically stores enough fuel in the form of carbohydrate (glycogen) to last you through 1½ - 2hrs of moderate to hard intensity training. In general you want to avoid becoming depleted so it's important that you top-up your energy during any session over an hour. When you exercise very lightly you use a larger portion of stored fat as your fuel source but as soon as intensity starts to lift above 70-75%, an ever greater share of your fuel source starts to come from carbohydrates. Given that this session is long (5+ km) and it becomes progressively faster, it has the potential to be a real drain on your glycogen stores. As you get fitter, the body becomes better equipped for utilising stored fat as a fuel source but your pacing in the first 1-2km of a hard set like this is important as well - go off too fast and you will immediately start draining your carbohydrate stores which will leave you wanting later in the session or race.
- Personally I alternate between drinking 250ml of Gatorade (mixed into the recommended 6-8% solution) every 25 minutes with 250ml of Gatorade or water together with a carbohydrate gel like a GU. Some say you should never ingest a gel and Gatorade together (or similar carbohydrate rich drink) as the sugar solution might be too strong in your stomach and can cause gastro-intestinal problems. Whilst this is true for some, it's not true for everyone - which is why you should use your training sessions as a way of experimenting what works best for you. My little formula gives me 500ml of fluid per hour plus 30g carbohydrate from the Gatorade and 25g from the gel (55g total). This is somewhat lower than the standard recommendation often made to triathletes of 1g/kg/hr (75g per hour for someone of my size) plus 600-1000ml of fluid per hour. I've always found the greater total fluid and fuel volume there a bigger source of stomach upset than combining a gel together with Gatorade but as I say this is highly individual and something to test out thoroughly yourself.
- These days carbohydrate sports gels can be bought at many sports stores or online. Whilst I use Gatorade most often as my drink source (because of its wide availability in supermarkets) other brands offer more sophisticated carbohydrate drinks too. 'Pure Sport' is a drink that we're currently trialling (as used by Mr Michael Phelps himself), this contains a little protein as well as carbohydrates and electrolytes - the carbohydrates are for fuel, the electrolytes are to replace lost minerals through sweat, and the protein is to enhance recovery and reduce muscle damage. Other good brands include Powerade, Science In Sport and Powerbar.
- Not everyone likes the texture of consuming a gel, so experimenting with things like Powerbars, cereal bars, honey sandwiches and bananas are also a worthwhile thing to do to find out what works best for you, albeit they are generally harder to eat and digest than gels. On my Rottnest crossings (and for the English Channel) I took a large variety of things with me (some of which are comfort foods and make me feel good if I'm getting low, e.g. Fry's Turkish Delight - yum!) just in case I fancy something different. When I swam the English Channel, despite being in the water for a little over 12 hours, I hardly strayed from my original Gatorade and GU gel plan but it was good to know that I had something different readily available if I wanted it.
- Whilst it's fair to say that sweat and evaporation rates are a lot different on land than in the water, you do still lose fluid in the water, so rehydrating is essential. If you are not needing to urinate every 60-90 minutes whilst training, you could be starting to become dehydrated. Equally, over-hydrating (more than 1.2 litres per hour, especially as plain water) can be extremely dangerous from an effect known as hyponatremia where you flush the body's cells of their sodium stores. So whilst my 25 minute fuelling and hydrating strategy works for me, you should experiment between 15 and 35 minutes to see what works best. In a pool session when you are not swimming continuously it is advisable to have a water bottle for little sips in between your major fuel stops.
- If you finish a session completely drained of fuel then it's going to take you a much longer time to recover. We get fitter (and faster) through a good balance of hard work and recovery. Take too long recovering between sessions and you will feel much less energetic at your next session. Consequently you always end up performing below par and never see the big improvements. This is why fuelling is so essential for effective training.
- Aiming to get in 20-30g of carbohydrate immediately after a long session like this will really pay dividends - a Nutella sandwich is always a favourite for me within 20 minutes of finishing a tough session. Things like Sustagen drinks are also a good way of recovering post session too.
Friday, February 17, 2012
- I'm loving the challenge - it feels great to have small goals!
- I'm over this - when is swimming going to be fun again?!
- Do we really need to have goal times all the time?!
- I just can't hit those times anymore and it's a bit off-putting!
- I can't believe how much better / quicker I am swimming now compared to 5 weeks ago!
- So-and-so seems to be making more improvement than me - why is that?!
- I think it's great that this rolls over past Rotto - it'll encourage me to keep swimming and not let go of all this fitness I have right now!
- Do you really expect us to be able to hold that pace for 1000m?!
- What will we do when the 10 weeks is over?
- I love (or hate!) not knowing what is coming up in the final 1000m on a Wednesday / Friday.
Monday, February 13, 2012
- look after yourself - early nights, sitting rather than standing, lying rather than sitting. Keep hydrated and energy levels high with good nutrition.
- reduce volume substantially but still maintain a sense of intensity to keep you 'peppy' and alive rather than flat and sluggish from just a load of slow, easy swimming.
- maintain positivity even if feeling flat - this is a time for healing and recovering - you're going to feel a bit 'off' in the next 10 days - it's only natural. Don't fight it, accept it and use the additional time you have with the lower training volume to focus on your race and visualise a successful result. Do not skip on this - if you had to stop swimming today and couldn't swim another stroke before the event, what would make or break your preparation would be how you mentally prepare for the big day. Take a 1hr walk along Cottesloe Beach and simply visualise yourself completing the swim...use an iPod and listen to your favourite music to pump you up and set a positive tone (I can highly recommend "Not Afraid" by Eminem - it makes me all emotional just recounting how I sang this to myself over and over and over again before my English Channel swim!)
- set out a good plan (both physical and mental) and use this "If-Then" plan as described by my colleague and mentor Dr Greg Whyte to get your head around the task at hand: http://www.pponline.co.uk/encyc/david-walliams-endurance-swimming-coach-reveals-all-39465
Thursday, February 9, 2012
Tuesday, February 7, 2012
Wednesday, February 1, 2012
Hoping you can help out or know someone who can?
In an effort to get fit after giving birth to our beautiful 3 month old baby girl Isla Rose, my wife Michelle is taking on the Rottnest Channel swim as a duo with her partner Karlee. They should go really well as both are strong swimmers with myself and Mish finishing 2nd in the mixed duos in 2010 with a time of 5h35.
Their paddler has sadly fallen through as has their skipper. The girls have a boat and even a driver but seek a paddler for the day and also a skipper to sit aboard.
If anyone can help please email Mish at email@example.com
Thanks everyone - I'll be on Dad duty this year and shouting for everyone from the Island with JJ and Isla in tow!