Cook Strait Swim, New Zealand

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Tips for Night Swims (Open Water Swimmers)

Swimming at night, especially in the ocean, is an important part of my training for the English Channel. Safety is the first concern. Always have a spotter. I like to wear a yellow glow stick ( 3 inch) on the back of my swim cap and suit. My spotter wears a glow stick, too, so we can easily see each other. Also, swim in a safe zone away from boat traffic. My favorite place for a night swim is Pine Point (Maine). I will swim parallel to shore. Wear clear lens goggles-- NEVER wear tinted goggles at night because it will reduce your visibility.
Mental preparation for a night swim is extremely important. A swimmer needs to stay focus on positive thoughts. If your mind starts to wander down the path of the movie "JAWS", stop those frightening thoughts immediately and re-focus. Swimming at night is absolutely beautiful, especially if you're lucky enough to see a bio luminescent show ---light produced by a reaction of algae to water movement(swimmer). It's spectacular! Pine Point Beach offers one of the very best "light" shows for night swimmers. Remember to stay safe, think positive thoughts, and enjoy.

Saturday, May 16, 2009

Nutrition during a marathon swim

Years ago, Captain Matthew Webb was the first person to successfully swim across the English Channel. During his swim, he ate raw meat and drank beef tea, brandy, and cod liver oil (YUK). Then later, Gertrude Ederle, the first woman to swim across the Channel, ate chicken, chocolate, sugar cubes and drank beef broth. Today most marathon swimmmers "drink" their carbs and protein. I tested several brands during my training. I finally found the brand that works well for me. I use the products by "Hammer Nutrition"---- Sustained Energy (powder) and 100% whey protein. I mix these powders with water prior to my swim. I tested these products several times during my ocean training. Trying something new on the day of a marathon is a major mistake. I would also recommend having canned peaches (a favorite among marathon swimmers) to help soothe your mouth and throat from the bitter taste of the English Channel.
If you have any questions about sports nutrition, I would highly recommend contacting "Peak Performance MultiSports, Marginal Way, Portland, Maine. They are experts in their field. They were a tremendous resource for me when I started my marathon swim training.

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Training method "Total Body Confusion"

There are several types of training methods used by marathon swimmers. I use the training method called "Total Body Confusion" . It's simply training yourself physically and mentally to swim, swim, swim---no matter what happens. Some days I train early morning, the following day I start my swim after 4pm. It's very important to train at different times of the day---including night swims. If a swimmer only trains early morning, the swimmer may have a difficult time adjusting to a swim that begins late evening. So, it's very important to "mix" the time of day training to confuse your body. Included in this training method is swimming in choppy conditions. Again, a swimmer needs to "confuse" the body to swim no matter if the open water condition is calm or choppy. Also, swimming in clear water is wonderful but a swimmer needs to learn to swim through patches of seaweed and debris. Again, this confuses the body to swim, swim, swim. This type of training mentally prepares you for any open water swims.