The week has absolutely flown by and work has had me all over the place. However, I have managed to fit my scheduled training in which included a couple of lake swims, run and bike sessions. The lake has cooled down somewhat due to the amount of rain we have received and it isn’t as clear as it normally is. But I do enjoy lake swimming as there is plenty to see and focus on as I trawl around the course we use.
If you have never swum in a wetsuit, it takes a bit of getting used to. The first hurdle is to get into it. Steve, a friend from work borrowed one last Tuesday and joined us for his first ever open-water swim. Although the suit was borrowed and a tad on the small side, Steve worked a fair sweat up and knackered himself out before he even entered the water. The suit should fit snugly enough to allow water in and create a warm layer but not be so tight that it restricts movement and breathing but also not so loose that it allows water to ‘puddle’ in the suit and weigh the wearer down. So fit is important but also the suit’s design. Different thicknesses of neoprene are used to create buoyancy which suits the wearer and helps to keep him/her in the ideal swimming position. Once you’ve got a suit that fits all you need to do is make sure that any areas likely to rub are lubricated. This should be done with something which will not affect the suit. Petroleum jelly (Vaseline) shouldn’t be used as being petroleum based it will perish the wetsuit.
The other odd thing about open-water swimming is that despite being in the open it can feel very claustrophobic. It might be the fact you are wearing a restrictive suit or it could be that often you can’t see anything once your head goes in the water due to the murkiness, or it could be the cold feeling on your head and in your ears, or a combination of the above.
This of course is before you actually enter a race where all of the above applies and on top of that you are in the middle of a thrashing mass and get the odd kick and punch by the flailing limbs of other competitors. Once the swim is done though all you have to do is a cycle ride and a run. Job done!