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Swim crisis

WellaWella Posts: 188
Two weeks to go until my first triathlon and on Wednesday I decided to do a time trial for my swim, 400m sprint distance.

Half way through my body just gave up and I ended up stopping and doing a few intervals instead. Face down in the water and all I could think was "I can't do the distance".

Thing is I've completed the distance loads of times, even shaving 2 1/2 mins of my swim time since I started training. In the last few weeks my training has focussed on technique rather than endurance. Could this be the cause?

Anyone else have experience of this? Any advice appreciated.


  • jazdogjazdog Posts: 223
    Hi Wella,

    Sounds to me like you started off too quick. The important thing with any endurance swim is to pace yourself. If you've done the distance before and kept on training (even if only 100's and 200's) then you should still be able to do it.

    For confidence... go out and do it really slow (slower than you think you'll go in the race.) In the same session go and do 4X100 with 10 secs rest in between each (at slightly faster than race pace). If you can do this you will manage the race. Its just a matter of finding your pace. Use the pace clock in the pool as a guide (if you can see it when you turn to breathe!)

    Hope this helps but just believe you can do it and you'll do great!

  • WellaWella Posts: 188
    Cheers Jaz.

    It just caught me by surprise, I hope it was just an off day.

    Swim session in the diary for tomrrow morning so I'll try your plan.

  • madnursemadnurse Posts: 782
    Hi Sam - don't worry mate ... sounds more a like a mental block than a lack of ability which is now playing on your mind placing doubt upon you race in a few weeks. I have done it before as I am sure many others will have done ...its just a case of breaking that block and tapping back into your ability to give you the inner confidence that you can & will complete your sprint swim.

    As soon as you have time get yourself back into the pool. View this as a practise session not as a test but this time unlike previous sessions try and focus purely on enjoying the swim. Maintain your relaxed but long stroke, breathing in harmony with your stroke. Try not to rush anything simply swim up and down the length of the pool. See how long you can maintain this. Should you begin to tense up and start to lose your rythym .... try not to panic think literally RELAX RELAX RELAX until you do ...... should this not work simply switch your stroke from crawl to breast until your regan your composure and switch back. The are no rules stipulating as to which stroke you must use.

    IN a 25m pool you will be completing 16 lengths for your sprint - you will find endorphine & adrenaline kicking in which will drive you on like you wont beleive. Time trailing isnt easy to do on your own & can often leave the swimmer feeling low if he doesnt achive his goal. Get back in the pool and swim your distance simply to get that block away. From there simply work on employing better technique which will give a smooother and hence faster swim.

    13 weeks ago i could barely do crawl the other week I swam faster than I have in my first sprint & am now training for an open water oly..... get rid of that block and am sure you will do likewise

  • robsaundrobsaund Posts: 26
    Hey Madnurse,

    How did you get on going from the pool to OW? Like you I couldn't freestyle (I still need to get some lessons/coaching but I'm going to join a club...) Any hints/tips? I guess don't panic, but what else? Don't go too far at first, build up confidence etc... I know they do a session in the Cotswold lakes on Sat am which is marked out and supervised so thought about having a lash at that, but I'm not particularly quick and am probably more worried about looking like a complete tool whilst everyone else is out there doing their IM distances.

    Wella, Have you been overdoing it? Do you need to take a step back from the swim for a day or two? Hopefully you're planning some tapering next week and nothing too strenuous. As has already been said, take it easy and that'll restore your confidence about the distance. Remember also that if you conserve your energy in the swim there's more left in the tanks for the bike and run - you'll expend more energy in trying to shave a few seconds on your swim time and leave yourself trailing by minutes on the bike/run...


  • WellaWella Posts: 188

    Thanks for that. The swim sessions booked in for tomorrow so I'm looking forward to getting back in the pool and putting the last session behind me.


    Overdoing it might be the case. I've probably only been swimming once a week in lieu of fitting some weights at the gym in. I've had to stop that now as the trainings stepped up but I've learnt the hard way that you can't do everything.

    I shaved 2 1/2 mins of my time in about the first 6 weeks of training and I guess mentally I thought I might have reached a peak. Nothing like a kick up the backside to get me going again.

    I'll update on Monday.
  • bas12345bas12345 Posts: 1
    Hi Wella,

    Thought I'd throw my tupence worth in. I did my first tri (RN & RM Championships) 31st May and only started learning to swim front crawl in March so was bricking myself that I couldn't even swim 1 x 25m length of the pool when I started in March. Two weeks out from the race I could only manage 6 continuous lengths before getting so out of breath that I had to stop. A pal of mine was in the pool with me and told me we were gonna do it, 16 lengths straight off. So, I duly started off really slow and just kept telling myself in my head that I was going to do this.

    I think it is a mental block you have, you say you've already done the distance so hold onto that thought when you're in the pool and just remind yourself that you WILL do it. If you feel like you're getting out of breath, slow down and concentrate on getting a big lungful of air when you breath.

    Good luck mate got me fingers crossed,[:)]

    Tell us how you get on (when is the tri?)

  • WellaWella Posts: 188
    Cheers Brian.

    Missed Saturday but back in the pool this morning. Took it nice and easy and completed the 400m with no problems. Then did some intervals, 4 x 100 with 20 sec rest and did it quicker than the endurance set before.

    I think the problem may have been that I had been told that my pool is only 22m long so I was doing 18 lengths instead of 16. The session the other day was a 25m pool and I only get to go there if I have a day off so I only use it every now and then. Will probably up my training to do at least 20 lengths to make sure I am comfortable with the distance.

    Still, feels good to know last weeks problem was just an off day.

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