Swimming instead of running!

As you may know, with my injury preventing me from running the way I’ve wanted to since about August 2020, I’ve shifted what I do training wise a few times.

At the end of May I had been focusing on cycling, spin and strength work, and I decided to put a focus on getting physio help to hopefully get my right leg and my running back on track.

The physio said it would likely be a slow 3 month plan – so June, July, August, and I’m still on that journey. I’m running 2 times a week, recently up to 5k for a few weeks, and now I’ve built up to 4 mile running, with physio exercises on the other days.

I’ve always dealt with injuries by not being too upset with them, and focussing on something else instead – it had been cycling and strength, now I’ve added swimming into the mix and it seems to be going well.

It seemed to be working ok, but my leg is still frustratingly not quite right. I’ll stick with it and see what happens, but today I thought I’d share with you my other exercise love – swimming.

I’d always been a swimmer back to when I learned in school, and then when I was a student around 19 years old I took it to the next level and used to swim 3km (120 lengths of a 25m pool) three times a week.

I got the fittest I’ve ever been, and went onto become a swimming teacher for 13 years. It’s fair to say I love swimming and I’m very confident as a swimmer.

Roll on to 2016 and that was sort of when I stopped swimming. I seemed to take a reaction to the pool / maybe the chlorine, who knows but I’d come out after a 2km swim, gubbed and very hot. Possibly dehydrated but more likely a reaction to the chemicals. So I stopped swimming.

Now with running not really on the cards, and Summer being here, along with pools nearby me reopened for some bookings, I figured I’d try it again.

I did a few open water swims in lochs with my new wetsuit and open water gear, and I’ve also been swimming around 2,000m to 2,500m twice a week since the end of June.

I have set sessions I do, that I’ve created, and I feel ready to progress up to 2,500m – 3,000m.

Here were my swim sets from back in the day – 3,000m pool sessions, some of which I’ll do again:

  • 3000m swim sessions

And here are my 2,000 – 2,500m sessions:

Then with running events not happening… some swim training and some open water sessions under my belt, I figured it might be good for me to enter my first open water event.

So here goes, I’ve entered the Loch Lomond Go Swim 3,000m open water swim at the end of August. I thought carefully before I entered (there was a choice of a 1,500m event and a 3,000m event), but given the amount and distances of swimming I’ve been doing, in the pool and open water (up to 50 mins / 1,800m) I’m confident that the 3,000m swim will be achievable and the right level of challenge for me.

Before I entered I came up with a training plan for the next 5-6 weeks, which included pool swimming and some more open water swimming.

Here’s my training plan:

Wk22 – 31/5: OW28’
Wk23 – 7/6: OW45’, OW25’
Wk24 – 14/6: na
Wk25 – 21/6: SS1-2.1km, SS2-2km
Wk26 – 28/6: SS3-2.1km, SS5-2.1km

Wk27 – 5/7: SS4-2.1km TT, SS9-2.5km TT
Wk28 – 12/7: SS6-2.1km, OW50’ (1.8km)
Wk29 – 19/7: SS7-2.5km TT, rest
Wk30 – 26/7: SS8-2.5km, SS2-2.1km, SS11-3km

Wk31 – 2/8: SS1-3km , OW50’
Wk32 – 9/8: SS2-k3m, SS1-TT3km
Wk33 – 16/8: SS3-3km , OW55’
Wk34 – 23/8: SS10-3km , 3kmEvent

Then taking it to the next level, I decided I would treat myself to a new gadget… that being a new Garmin – a Swim 2 this time.

I probably don’t NEED it as I have a Garmin 645 that tracks pool swims (and lengths), but the Garmin Swim 2 also tracks open water swimming, has good heart rate readings, and you can upload your swim workouts for it to take you through them. It also recognises stroke types better than the 645 (giving myself reasons to keep it). (And I got 3 numbers on the lotto on a roll down draw last weekend, giving me £107 profit so that paid for most of it lol).

I tried it on Thursday and today and it was great. I’ve programmed all my swim workouts into garmin, and can schedule them onto specific dates (as above), or do them randomly / select them from the watch. You can also set the watch to be a 25m or 50m (or any length of) pool.

Once the session is being done, the watch tells you when your set is about to finish by making a loud beep and vibration under the water. It counts your lengths and is able to differentiate between the different strokes well too. And it measures stoke count, swolf and heart rate too.

Pool swims will be at the Gorbals and Tollcross and open water swimming will hopefully be on some fresh water lochs. Wish me luck (ps I have all the gear for open water swimming to be safe now too). Wish me luck.

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