Just a week before my triathlon and I’m starting to get nervous.
Things haven’t really been going to plan. Nothing disastrous, but I’m not feeling as well prepared as I’d like.
After my trip to Spain I was aiming to get a good bit more training in the following 2 weeks before taking it easier in the week running up to the race.
But my body was telling me otherwise. I felt tired after the holiday and a hectic week of catching up on work meant that by the weekend I was ready to curl up under the duvet and stay there all day. But I wasn’t going to waste all that effort so I went for a decent bike ride on the Saturday and then on the Sunday it was back to Salford Quays for another open water swimming session.
This was the first session I’d done on my own with a straight swim rather than instruction – and it was terrible. I struggled the whole way round, barely breaking out of breaststroke and feeling out of breath and panicky the whole way.
It did absolutely nothing for my confidence.
Once I’d recovered I and analysed what had gone wrong I realised that I’d made the classic mistake of open water newbies of trying to do too much too soon. With the water temperature a chilly 18 degrees, I should have taken a bit of time to acclimatise and then set off at a very leisurely pace. Instead, I’d got in and headed straight off towards the first buoy.
Even in the pool, I struggle with the early lengths and take a bit of time to warm up – and that’s 28 degrees!
So for my next pool session I decided I would scrap my usual warm up and swim 400m straight off. I took it very easy for the first few lengths and managed to do the 16 lengths pretty comfortably.
But I knew I needed another open water session before the triathlon so this morning it was back to the Quays for another go. I really didn’t want to, but felt if I could do better this time, I’d feel much less anxious for the triathlon swim.
This time I prepared better. I got up earlier and ate a decent breakfast a couple of hours before I planned to get in the water. I made sure I was properly hydrated. And I got into the water slowly, floated on my back for a couple of minutes to get used to the temperature and started swimming very steadily.
It wasn’t perfect – I still had to stop for a breather every so often, but I managed to swim most of the way round the 300m lap using front crawl.
Apart from swimming I’ve taken it pretty easily this last week. Just a short bike ride and no walking. I can feel my energy levels recovering and hopefully all that work I did in Girona will pay off.
I’ll be keeping it gentle in the coming week leading up to the event on Sunday. A couple of short bike rides and probably a 4km walk. My hip still isn’t 100% so I’m reluctant to do too much in case I make it worse.
I’m still nervous, but confident I’ve done enough to get me through. I won’t be fast, but I’m determined to have fun and enjoy the experience.