Sunday, 1 July 2012

Triathlon Training - Lake Swimming

As a salesman I enjoy the challenge of convincing a customer to change their opinion of something to our mutually positive advantage, this week I had what I thought was the hardest sale ever, for The Everyman Olympics, but it turned out oh so much easier than I first thought...

Try selling this concept to a friend who holds the weekend dear, as a 48 hour party-thon:

Set your alarm for 5:20am this Sunday, I'll pick you up at 6 and we'll go to a lake an hour away for a long swim.

My mate Glen had been up for training for The Cycling Challenge, and had joined me on what turned out to be the same distances as the Olympic Triathlon; 1500m swim in warm pool waters, 40 cycling along a glorious coastline and 10k running along the very same glorious coastal route, though these efforts had always been at sociable times of the day which didn't hamper his apetite for booze and tech house music.

So I was pretty shocked when he signed up to the idea in about 5 seconds flat. However, on arriving at Gosfield Lake Glen was less than enthusiastic;

Glen: 'Think I'll stay in the car and watch from here'. 7:15am Sunday 1st July
Mark Harman has been running Born2Tri for three years, and when we met him you could clearly see that he was a triathlete of good experience. We paid thr £5 fee to swim in the lake and then each replaced a band with our name from the band board; a simple yet effected method for the organisers to know whether they're missing anyone at the end of their slot.

A fellow swimmer writes his name on the band board before entering Gosfield Lake
Kitted out in wetsuits, swimming hats and goggles, we entered the lake; which was surprisingly warm and shallow, in fact at almost any point in the lake, a man of say 6 feet tall could easily stand on its muddy bed, with head and shoulders out of the water. Good job I fit that description as I was huffing and puffing from the outset, this was going to be a tough ask.

A short swim out to the first buoy and Coach Harman began to assess our swimming abilities and give tips and advice for lake swimming, and next week's event (more on how to come along shortly).

Effectively the route on the day would zig zag from one end of the lake, to the other, with a kick back point taking swimmers around a water-ski jump and back up to a grassy landing, where transitions to bikes would take place on a grassy bank.

We swam small sections of the route, probably totalling a quarter of the course. Each time we stopped, Coach Harman with add a helpful tip for orientation or technique for breathing. The finishing leg was longer and by now we were able to swim longer and with more confidence in our bearings.

I felt like my lungs had more of a workout than my legs, as at each stage I was gasping for air; the main thing for me to remember on the day is not to rush and to keep checking my movement. As Coach Harman says 'there is no time limit in the lake and the whole event will take around three and a half hours, you don't want to tire yourself out on the swim'.

Coach Harman, The Everyman Olympian, and a cup of hot chocolate beside Gosfield Lake
If you're interested in coming to the event, then here is a link to the location on the Gosfield Park Lake Resort Webiste:

If you live close enough to Braintree in Essex, then Born2Tri will happily welcome you with open arms, they also offer training for cycling and running too, for all levels of experience. Here's a link to their site:

Hope to see you on Sunday 8th July from 8am at Gosfield Lake, I really could do with the support!

The Everyman Olympian

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