Day 1 of the Great Big Marathon 10k Swim Adventure: The Goal and how and why I want to get there

Given my, um, imperfect record of sticking to goals, and in order to avoid making this seem like a fanciful New Year’s resolution, let me go on the record today, right now, 16 December 2014, with my next swimming goal: the magical 10k Open Water Swim. That is a lot more than I have ever swum in one straight go. And certainly more than my longest swim in the ocean so far (which was from Portbou in Spain to Cerbère in France this year).

Let’s make this Day 1 of the Great Big Marathon 10k Swim Adventure (TM)!

Ah, the excitement of gearing up for a great new journey. There are many elements I need to get my head around, and of course I should make the whole project SMART: Specific, Measurable, Assignable, Realistic, Time-Related.

The goal:

– [ ] Compete in and complete a 10k Open Water Swim – in 2016 or 2017

Anyone have a suggestion for the competition? Drop me a line in the comments. Ideally, it would be in Catalonia or Bavaria.

The steps:

– [ ] Identify the right race, and
– [ ] some smaller races leading up to it for 2015 – there is a 7k one in Catalonia I am looking at
– [ ] Get a training and general fitness plan
– [ ] Sort out nutrition
– [ ] Logistics! Plug all of it into my busy life plan: my faith, my beautiful wife, the family and work have priority. This will be difficult, but I know it is doable.

The training plan:

– [ ] Will try and use Garmin connect (or is there a better service?)
– [ ] Needs to keep me motivated and fit my busy schedule. I can get an hour pool time in on average in for 3-4 days a week at the moment; that may not be enough.
– [ ] At the moment, a typical training session would typically look like this:

  • 1x200m warm up
  • 1x1000m / 2000m at regular pace (=ca. 16 mins, mini-goal: 15 mins)
  • some drills (kickboard back and front, pull buoy laps, etc)
  • 4×50 cool downs / breast stroke laps

Staying motivated and on track:

– [ ] blog regularly
– [ ] track training using my Garmin Swim watch and publish it – [ ] set smaller goals, like competing in a shorter race in 2015 – [ ] try and meet fellow swimmers in Bavaria / maybe join a Masters club

The nutrition:

– [ ] need lots of advice and knowledge here
– [ ] must be simple, not a hassle on top of feeding the busy family with lots of little kids – [ ] will try and track using MyFitnessPal, but probably don’t have the time
– [ ] I would like to lose some weight, but this is not a major issue; health and recuperation/regeneration is priority

Most importantly: remember that this is an adventure! Do it for fun, as a good challenge to personal growth – and just general happiness. No pointless hassles. I have enough stress in life.

A bit about my motivation and back story:
Swimming makes me happy. I just love being in the water. I learnt swimming very early, then trained at school and did so competitively as a child in South Africa. Over the years I tried many other sports, and enjoy(ed) several, in particular SCUBA diving, water polo, fencing and cycling. But nothing comes even close to swimming. And I always came back to it. As life got busier and more complicated, I learnt that swimming also helps me to de-compress from an incredibly demanding job and any other stresses in life. It helps me stay sane and physically healthy. And it is relatively cheap and simple to do: Grab some bathers, a pair of goggles and a towel. Done.

Luckily I was able to swim in many fantastic pools over the years, particularly in Australia. I badly miss the swimming culture of Oz whilst I am here in Germany (where swimming is relatively terrible, and even on a decline – though thanks to the Triathlon boom, there are some small exceptions). Aussie pools on the other hand were generally so bloody good that they even kept me out of the ocean: that was for diving and surfing. Why deal with getting to the coast just to encounter currents, sharks, jelly fish, rocks, swell and – in Sydney – pollution, when there are world class pools everywhere, and at least one nearby? When I discovered ocean swimming in the Spanish mediterranean four years ago, I realised that this was another fantastic way to swim – and thanks to meeting Tony, an inspirational Spanish-German triathlete, ended up doing my first OW swimming competition, which I not only completed but did so in a decent time.

In short: Swimming makes me happy, healthy and sane – and it probably can make you benefit too. If you have a particular motivation or question, let me know in the comments. Would love to read why you swim.