I swam around 7km today for 123 minutes in the sea. A new personal continuous swim distance and time duration milestone for me. Started at 8:30. Sunny, warm. Water was ultra-clear, and smooth but for the 3rd stretch. There was a slight wind-driven current toward the east. I swam 4x 30 minute lengths 100m out and along the beach, so I hit the current on the 3rd length.
I broke the swim down into mental parts-
4x [6x 250 strokes]. Each 250-stroke part took about 5 minutes give or take according to SR.
Length #1 split was 30.34 minutes; #2 30.24; #3 29.52; #4 29.25; (and then a little extra 2.44) Quite consistent times per length and I finished without feeling exhausted or lactic loaded- which shows how steady and unfatiguing my stroke is.
My keys to today’s swim:
I was well-rested and I stretched earlier (especially to avoid that knot under the left shoulder blade).
I held a relaxed cruising pace from the beginning, careful to emphasize hip thrust and effortless stroke.
Again I felt irritations in my left wrist, left elbow, and left shoulder. There was thankfully no knot under the left shoulder blade this time. Wrist and elbow irritations went away after 30 miunutes, but the shoulder soreness seemed to get deeper by 60 minutes. I might have stopped because of it, but considering all other conditions were so nice, I decided it would be worth a couple days of rest to take advantage of today and see how I did over the longer haul. Maybe later, but at this season I don’t think I’ll be swimming 2 hours that often so I went for it.
If not for that irritation in the shoulder I felt like I could have kept going even after 120 minutes, strength and energy-wise. I did not notice a drop in my stroke quality either- if anything it felt even more dialed in and smooth toward the end so that I was increasing tempo and found it enjoyable to do so. It felt like my senses were more keen to my body and the subtle play of water flowing around me.
But 2 hours is a long time to be staring down in the water and the thrill for me was not necessarily increasing at that point. Would I want to go for further distances? Not right now. I was pleased with this. I have a 5km race in October I am aiming for and 120 minutes is more than enough endurance to have for even rough conditions over that length. But I am sure I will find some new distance challenges in each new season.
When a little wind and waves came at me on length #3 I actually was pleased to face it, even though I needed to add 250 strokes to that length to make the distance, I experimented with a 1st gear, long-glide stroke to stay under the chop more, presenting less surface area per minute to being slapped by the waves up there. At this lower SPL and SR I did not change my 3-count breathing pattern yet still I felt like I had enough oxygen intake.
I did not vary my pace too much other than naturally accellerating because I wanted to see how comfortably my cruising pace could hold up for 120 minutes. I felt great, and I did this on an empty stomach. It has been my practice for many years to do morning swims and runs before eating. Obviously, I’ve conditioned my body to tap into other energy sources than sugars pumped straight into the blood by a nice breakfast, so there was no bonk at some point, no fatigue sneaking up on me after so many minutes from not having enough ready-sugarin the bloodstream. Frankly, sleep seems to be the biggest factor as to how well I can swim, rather than food.
My lower back was a bit stiff afterwards for which I curled up in a ball and floated around in the water for a while letting it stretch out again. And the deltoids behind the shoulders were tired too. The better I thrust each reach forward from the hip the more I can preserve those shoulder muscles for the sprints at the end.
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