Having made the decision to sign up for Ironman UK once registration opens on July 31st, I made my return to the swimming pool this past Sunday. So a brief history lesson, I used to really enjoy swimming when I was in school and I was a half decent swimmer, when on holiday with my parents I would be in the sea/pool literally ALL day until they dragged me out. Swimming for us in school stopped around year 7 (13-14yr old), since then I have not done any swimming other than splashing around in the pool whilst on holiday.
So having not swam a great deal I was a little worried that my technique, endurance and speed are going to be way off what is required to firstly beat the swim cutoff at Ironman. This is not something that I was worried about, we all start somewhere, similarly with my running and cycling I was way off the mark with speed and most certainly the endurance. I am not sure if I have mentioned before or not, but my first run of just under 1.5-miles took me nearly 20mins and I had to stop 3 times, same for the bike, the first ride 2-miles down the road and back up the hill, I had to stop because I felt sick from the effort of cycling. Now I know that my fitness levels are a lot higher now than 20 months ago but swimming is a different sport using different muscles so its a new learning curve for me to get comfortable in the water and build from there before venturing outdoors in 2019.
My first swim then, I went to Congleton leisure centre which has a 25m pool and is just 5-miles from my house, I may even cycle there somedays, a little duathlon….. Bike, Swim, Bike. On my first pool session I had no goals in mind, just get in the pool and swim 1,000m and then analyse what I felt were my weak points and start to address them in the coming days and basically keep doing that until I feel comfortable with what I can teach myself. I swam 1,025m (no idea where the extra 25m came from, I swam 40 lengths of a 25m pool), my pace was 2:15/100yrd, I am not sure whether that is good, bad, average or enough to get me around a 2.4-mile swim within the Ironman cutoff time but its a start point, something to build on and improve on.
What did I feel I need to improve on from swim 1. One massive area that I know I need to improve on is my breathing, I found it difficult to swim and breath, I tried every 4 strokes today but I was getting short of breath so maybe reduce this to every 2 strokes to see how that feels. I ended up swimming with my head out of the water which in turn pulls my body down into the water, so this definitely needs to go. Another area I need to improve on is the co-ordination between arms and legs. I struggled to swim with my arms and legs at the same time, I was mostly using my arms and barely kicking my legs. What I did find was this improved when I had my head under the water, so I am thinking, if the breathing improves then the kicking might come back as well, one to try out in swim 2. Other than that, I think its just a matter of swimming and getting used to it again. I will definitely benefit from some coaching but before that I want to get myself to a level where I don’t feel like a complete novice when going for coaching.