Cook Strait Swim, New Zealand

Thursday, March 10, 2016

Fueling during marathon swim training

I have been an open water swimmer for over 18 years. During that time, I have tried numerous products to fuel my training and to consume while swimming a marathon. The goal of liquid nutrition is to get a great source of energy and hydration from that product.  I have found that many products may taste great on land but after swimming for several hours in salt water, it does not.  We are all individuals with our own likes and dislikes.  Testing a product is done during several training swims. I have enjoyed these products with great effect:  Maxim, Hammer Nutrition Ultra Endurance Fuel (unflavored), Nature Smart CarboPro (non-sweet neutral flavor), UCan Super Starch (low carbohydrate).  Also, I have added a very small amount of powdered Gatorade to lightly flavor such products as Maxim, Ultra Endurance Fuel and CarboPro. Every few hours I drink plain water.  About every 5 hours during a marathon swim, I like real food such as half cup of canned diced peaches in heavy syrup or a Fig Newton cookie.  These products work for me.  You may want to test other products not listed here.....Go for it!  You know your likes and dislikes better than anyone. I can't emphasize enough to test these products during a long open water training swim.  You may discover for yourself that your mother's oatmeal cookie may taste great at home but after swimming for several hours, the sweetness may be nauseating. But on the other hand, it may be a taste of heaven...you be the judge.   Again, test these products before you swim your marathon.  You'll be glad you did.   Happy training!

Thursday, February 25, 2016

Peak training season for North Channel swim

In less than six months I will be in Ireland to attempt a solo crossing of the North Channel.  My swim will start in Donaghadee, Ireland and end in Portpatrick, Scotland.  This 21 mile swim is regarded as one of the most difficult swims in the world due to very cold water temperature, prolific blooms of jellyfish, and unpredictable conditions of the Irish Sea.
At the age of 65, I believe I can be successful in this crossing.  My peak swim training season is in full force.   I am swimming six days per week.  Each day is variable swim training of 3+ hours.  Every two weeks I have a very long swim endurance day. As each month gets closer to my target swim date, my endurance swims will increase in time (six to 10 hours).  Also, cross train 5 days per week and weight lifting 3 times per week. My cross training includes eliptical machine, treadmill, and stationary bike. Because ocean temperature in Maine is still very cold at 36 degrees Fahrenheit, I am currently training in a pool.  However, I expect to start ocean swims within the next two months and slowly transition to all ocean swims.  To help with the process of cold acclimation, I have been taking cold showers and going for walks in lightweight clothing in very cold temperatures here in Maine....It works!   I've been taking a stroke development class to work on improving my freestyle technique. This class has been a valuable asset to my training. I've been incorporating a six beat kick. This has been a huge adjustment.....for years I used a two beat kick, basically my legs went along for the ride when I swam any marathon.  Now, I feel like I getting a better workout during my swims with a six beat kick.  I am very happy that I decided to have someone evaluate my stroke.  I am doing everything possible to have a successful swim.....now, for Mother Nature to be on my side.     

Sunday, August 2, 2015

Planning a North Channel swim

If you are a marathon swimmer, I would highly recommend the North Channel, a 21 mile swim across the Irish Sea from Ireland to Scotland.  It is well known as one of toughest marathon swims in the world due to its very cold water temperatures, strong tidal flow, and proliferation of jellyfish.  Many swimmers consider the North Channel as the most difficult swim of the Ocean's  Seven Challenge.  This 3 minute video shows the viewer a glimpse of Donaghadee Harbor in Ireland.  My boat pilot Quinton Nelson moors his boat there.  I would highly recommend staying at Pier 36 and having Quinton as your boat pilot.