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Daily Swim, Swim Log

The time trials and tribulations of 5K training

Mid-week 45 minute swims might be sufficient for the turbo-charged super swimmers of this world to bosh out 200 lengths [of a 25m pool], but if like me you’re more of an aspirant than a pro, it can be more of a challenge to find enough time to fit in the epic swimming sessions required to cover the distance.An empty pool - a distance swimmer's dream

‘Finding the time’ is easier said than done…

Given that my local pool is allocating a total 3 hours for Swimathon completion – which gives an indication of the size of the ‘window’ I’m looking for – it starts to get a bit tricky ‘planning in’ uninterrupted time slots into weekends, let alone in sync with the pool timetable.

So, how to find that ‘golden nugget’ of continuity?

These 4 no-brainer ‘life hacks’ should help:

Eat off-peak

I love food, and mealtimes are a very important part of my day, but eating habits are pretty commonplace to most other people too – ergo, they’re a prime time to bask in the clear waters of your local pool – hurrah!

I’ve noticed this especially in evenings, when post-work swimmers throw in the towel to head home for dinner – freeing the lanes up for less nose-to-tail, continual swimming…

And on weekends, when families head home en masse for lunch – reducing both the population and noise of the pool considerably, for a more peaceful swim!

Savour Super Sundays

I’m a football fan, I love roast dinners and spending lazy Sunday afternoons in the pub too; but when popular sporting occasions and aforementioned factors collide, it’s time to hit the pool!*

[*unless of course it’s a Manchester Derby]

Sunday afternoons usually offer up two lanes for lengths or lap swimming vs the other half of the pool for recreation and ‘family time’. By selecting the lane once-removed from the anything-goes [float-throwing] half you’re pretty much guaranteed uninterrupted swimming – especially when dads decide to watch ‘the game’.

However, at all costs avoid pre-inflatable sessions – even when lanes are in place – the water is usually beyond choppy, as super-enthused younglings thrash about with anticipation of an inflatable assault course!

Early-Bird It

I’m by no means a morning person [so I’ve not personally tried and tested this tip], but a little bird told me that pre-work swimming sessions are the way forward!

Based on the fact that most people (myself included) would rather have an extra hour in bed than exercise, you’re likely to find a whole pool dedicated to laned swimming and frequented by fellow enthusiasts who are simply there to get on and swim.

Early bird sessions are usually from 6:30 AM ish, which gives enough time to smash out a solid 5K too!

This is of course great for some – but beware the turbo-charged semi-pro swimmers, who mightn’t appreciate ‘your usually fast enough for the fast lane’ approach to training. TIP: Pick an appropriate speed lane.

Night-Owl It

At the complete opposite end of the spectrum; there are some pools that cater for city-worker-type / hectic-life schedules by staying open late at least once or twice a week – which is great if you get your second wind late in the day.

Plus, most gyms accommodate late night training sessions and keep their pools open too – so while others pound the treadmill, you can treat yourself to a lengthly swim in an (likely near) empty and peaceful pool. Win!

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