Guest post by Chelsea Potter / Sports Direct
Training for an open water swim events needs to be taken step by step. First you master your strokeÂ and adjust to the distance in a safe and warm environment. Alongside this you take up gym sessionsÂ and learn to control your diet. After all of these have been perfected, you then take steps to adjustÂ to the freezing conditions of open water swim. Iâ€™m going to give you some tips on the first stage ofÂ starting preparation in the pool and explain why itâ€™s important.
Firstly letâ€™s start with the importance. If your stroke isnâ€™t perfect in the pool, if you havenâ€™tÂ attempted the distance previously, if you canâ€™t control your breathing, you will not last long in openÂ water. Open water swimming is cold and carries many risks so before you even start to think ofÂ competing in open water events, you need to perfect your technique and make sure youâ€™re ready.
Swimming long distance carries a toll and if youâ€™re front crawl isnâ€™t up to scratch it could seriouslyÂ hinder you. Forgetting about the physical risks, the bad technique will slow you down and preventÂ you coming top against the competition. You need to master your stroke so get someone to watchÂ you and give you pointers. You can also measure the amount of strokes per length and try lesseningÂ the number while still maintaining the same pace.
Another benefit of the pool is you can get used to the length before testing it out in cold water. YouÂ can put your feet down and regain your breath while adjusting to the length but ensure you canÂ complete the full measure without before competing. Another tip would be to go the extra mile andÂ push yourself a bit further than the race quantity so you know you will be okay in the event. PlusÂ open water swimming is windy and wet so the force pushing against you will make you work harder.Â If you train harder in the pool, then you wonâ€™t feel too tested in the event.
Practise looking straight ahead while training in the pool. In the pool your lanes are marked by ropesÂ but in open water, it can be harder to see where you are going. Start your lengths in the deep end toÂ get used to treading water as there will be no wall to kick off in the open water events.
Also practise with limited space. Ask a few friends to swim in your lane so you know what itâ€™s likeÂ in the competitive open water environment where people have limited space and there is no laneÂ structure.
Other benefits include controlling your breathing and improving your agility. Training in a short poolÂ where you have to flip often gets your body used to changing direction quickly.
Training in the pool is the tester for whether you are ready for the events. You mayÂ have to spend a lot of time practising but the consequences associated with open waterÂ events are too dangerous to miss out this stage. For swimming aids and more tips, takeÂ a look at our swimming section here http://www.sportsdirect.com/pages/swimming?utm_source=blog%20post&utm_medium=seo&utm_campaign=training%20in%20the%20pool%20first
Image courtesy ofÂ terren in Virginia, CC BY 2.0