Week seven is a great time to take stock of where you’re at with your training.
Just like the focus of a lot of the lessons this week (sighting) you can look forward towards your upcoming event (which is only two weeks away!), but also look back on where you’ve come from and the journey you’ve been on to get here.
If you’ve been using your Training Diary each week then you’ll be able to look over it and find your peaks and troughs and remember what got you through the tough times or gave you the inspiration to keep training hard!
With your goal so close, this isn’t the time to be slacking off in any part of your training.
Keep up the work in the pool (even though you’d rather be in open water!), get to the beach to practice your new ocean swimming techniques and work extra hard on your core training.
If you’ve got this idea you’re supposed to ‘taper’ off your training towards event day then you’ve got another thing coming… there’s no need to taper, you’re not an elite athlete! (sorry).
Enjoy this week’s training.
All you need to know about this week’s pool training can be found here.
In this week’s lesson we’re putting everything together you’ve learnt about the ocean environment over the previous 7-weeks in a theoretical example.
Increasing your knowledge and becoming more aware of how the ocean environment works is one thing, but it’s also extremely important to be aware of where you are in the ocean environment at all times.
Our self-awareness of where we are in the water, and being aware of what’s going on around us allows us to act proactively and remain in control for safe and efficient swimming.
This week you’ll learn how to sight forward (to swim straight and watch for waves), sight backward (to do a quick check of what’s happening behind you), and sight with backstroke (which gives you longer to look for waves, and take in more oxygen if necessary!).
When you’re practising sighting; start by practising them one at a time, then put them all together! It can feel a little overwhelming to start with, but it will become second nature. Remember, you only sight backward on the way back to shore (unless you’re looking out for other competitors behind you of course!).
How did you go swimming last week with your core switched on?
It can be quite tough to start with, all that extra mental thinking you have to do can get pushed to the side while you’re trying to get through the session itself!
But the benefits are well worth, in fact, that’s the whole reason why you’re doing all this core strength training to start with.
This week, as well as swimming with your core switched on for even more of your session, I want you to have a go at pushing off the wall each time with a dolphin (or butterfly) kick.
This is another great way to strengthen and tone your core. Start by doing it in the warm-up, and see how long you can extend it for throughout the session.
Strength & fitness
Another common swimmer injury is lower back pain.
Lower back pain is especially important to learn about this week with all the sighting drills and techniques you’re working on.
Every time you lift your head out of the water, be it forward or backward, your lower body naturally wants to move in the opposite direction.
For all our sighting techniques you need to switch on your core to help stabilise and protect your lower back as it tries to keep your lower body on top of the water.
If your core is weak you risk lower back pain – so that’s another reason to get into those core strength workouts!
Make sure you stretch well before all your pool and ocean swimming sessions. Dynamic stretching will help limber up your lower back and is especially important if you swim early in the morning or if you’ve been sitting at a desk all day when you’re more likely to be stiff.
Our bodies are incredible and complex machines that allow us to think, feel, work and play.
Every day our bodies do a lot of hard work for us, sometimes without us even realising, and it’s working especially hard when we’re training.
Food provides fuel for our body to keep working as well as providing other important nutrients to help our body function at its best.
The food we eat needs to provide adequate carbohydrates, protein, healthy fats, minerals like iron, calcium and zinc as well as vitamins including A, C, D, E, K and the B vitamins.
Eating a varied, balanced diet will help to ensure our body gets exactly what it needs to help us get the best out of our training each and every day, helping us to perform at our best and recover well.
Health & wellbeing
Not every workout goes well, especially as the sessions get tougher requiring you to perform at a level of mental and physical readiness that you don’t have every day.
You can limit the number of bad workouts you experience by developing a training routine that balances training stress and relative rest in a way that works for you. But you will still have the occasional bad day.
How should you respond when you start a planned hard workout only to discover that you feel lousy and are perhaps unable to meet your performance goals for the session? Should you grind it out? Go easy instead? Just go home?
The answer to all of these questions is yes. In other words, you have to treat each case independently and base your decision on the specific nature and degree of your bad day.
As a general rule, you should try to complete the workout as planned, but this is not always wise or even possible. When this is the case, there are four other options to consider.
If you’ve had a bad training session/day make sure you document it in your Training Diary as soon as possible (preferably straight after while you’re mind is fresh) noting down the factors that may have caused the bad day. Then when things pick up, have a look back in the diary and see if there’s anything you can change to limit it happening again.