Thames Marathon Training – Data and Food – Jon Greenwood – Team Selkie
23rd August 2017
This weekend saw The Thames Marathon – an event that has completely taken over the last few months of my life – in a good way ! As I have mentioned before this has been the main focus for my training this year and represented a large leap up in distance and intensity in training both in and out of the pool.
I have become possibly too focussed on the data return from each swim at stages this year I guess this has been natural – I was very hung up on it as a runner – pace and negative splits became something I would pore over post training sessions and it often took the pure joy of what I was doing away sometimes. I have tried to dial this down as a swimmer a bit but I think I just like seeing my sessions as data – it’s a numbers thing right!.
I had a goal time in mind for this weekend at the start of the year – it was misplaced and I was happy that I was able to re asses this as we entered Openwater in April. I had wanted to crack 3hrs 30mins but it wasn’t to be this year – I finished at 3hrs 52mins.The fact that this was my first foray into long distance swimming had simply meant that I was training for distance and less on speed and I wanted to complete it with decent tekkers and a solid swim rather than blowing up and unable to finish.
I have been so fortunate to be able to train with some very talented and experienced swimmers this year from Henley Open Water Swim Club and have benefitted hugely from them – you all know who you are !.
As I mentioned we had started our season in April this year and I was astounded to see we had swum north of 117,000 meters from April to August in Open Water – this has been a massive leap up personally and it was fantastic to see week on week improvements in my form and tekkers. We had completed a few longer swims ranging from 6k to 10k through June and July and I was feeling pretty happy with how I was feeling in the water for extended times – conditions were changing constantly though, we hadn’t had much rain through July and The Thames was essentially a large slow canal and it was playing havoc with my times – I knew that I was averaging around 29 / 30 strokes a minute – which I still feel is too much – my splits for 100m however were ranging from 1.39 a minute to 2.01 – and this is what I was finding difficult to sort out. I think the more experienced I become and the stronger I get – I will get more consistent I hope.
I had a couple of one to one sessions with our club captain at Athlete Services during the summer and it helped massively – there is a lot of work to do on my stroke and I was privileged to have Mark with us on some of our long swims – I was getting coached throughout and it was fantastic to have him there – swimming as we know can be quite isolating at times and having someone with you stroke for stroke is a massive help for newbies to these distances.
Back to the data – I was getting a return on calories burnt for say 10k at only 1821 calories – I wondered if this can be right? – I am literally eating all day long in various forms and have been struggling maintain my weight – I generally sit at around 69kg – I had dropped to 65kg at one point – I’m back up to my fighting weight now but the point of this is that I found it tricky to match my intake with what I was told I was burning – in the end I ate when I was hungry – which is pretty much all the time now and it seems to have sorted itself out.
Who knew that Openwater would provide so many challenges!
Lastly – I should say that I’m completely hooked on long distance swimming now – for many reasons – I enjoy the challenges it provides me with and the constant change it offers me – I am relishing the prospect of improving over the coming year – but essentially I have platform here to test myself mentally and physically and this is what is driving me now.