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wisdoms on marathon swimming

How to Apply Atomic Habits to Outdoor Swimming

A brief guide to James Clear’s Atomic Habits for outdoor swimmers

n Atomic Habits, James Clear explains how progress in anything is made through the accumulation of small gains. In essence, your habits, how you act day to day, determines where you end up. Atomic Habits is a guide to making it easy to adopt and stick to good habits, and eliminate bad ones.

After reading the book recently, I wondered how you might apply James’s ideas to outdoor swimming.

What kind of water? How long is a meter?

Used with kind permission by Ned Denison of Sandycove/Cork open water swim Camp

As the days get longer in the Northern Hemisphere and the sun actually gives off a bit of warmth I have the annual pleasure of meeting lots of winter pool swimmers. They all seem to have questions which fit into two basic categories:

Swimming in the English Channel at Night - by Nick Adams

Channel Challenge: this article is used with kind permission of Nick Adams. 

Swimming at night can be daunting to even the most experienced open water swimmers. The perceptions that it will be a lot colder, the ‘nasties’ in the water will be able to sneak up on the swimmer with greater ease and ships won’t see you before it’s too late are all myths.

Here are some findings from swimmers once they’ve survived a night swim:

Kevin Murphy on Tapering for the EC

Swimmers question: Do I need to taper for the EC?

Answer by Kevin Murphy:

My advice is to listen to what your body is telling you. As you approach the swim are you training to improve or are you as good as you can be and anything more is simply making you tired.

Personally I tried not to do a long swim (10 or 12 hours) or a back to back (7 hours and 6 hours over two days) during the three weeks prior to a Channel attempt. 

Michael Oram on "why the assesment swims"

Angela & I introduced the idea of an "awareness swim" way back in 1992 when we were Hon Secs for the old CSA. You will see from the swim records that the early 1990's was the beginning of an increase of solo swims and relay swims and a lot of the people applying had little or no open water swimming experience. The number of swimmers new to the port who thought that the Channel was a good starting point demanded that there was some sort of bench mark like other long distance open water swims that were to be tried first and that the English Channel was far from a beginners swim.

Michael Oram on preparing and swimming the EC

Everyone is entitled to an opinion, and to swim the English Channel you need to be an individual - with your own opinion and positive thoughts, plus have the ability to decide what you want to do and how you want to do it. If your method of training suits you then go for it, you do not have to agree or disagree with others, just listen and make your own mind up as to what is your best approach. The points you have put forward will hopefully help others to decide their training decisions I'm sure. 

The Use of Pacers in Open-Water Swimming

An interesting article posted by Vicki Keith on her blog June 6, 2016 as instigation of a discussion on the use of pace swimmers.

As a new open water swimming season gets under way, I ask you, why do we do this? What do we hope to achieve? Some people swim for the glory of a record, be it speed, or distance or even a world first, some to challenge themselves and test their mettle, some for the camaraderie of working as a team as everyone pulls together to achieve the perceived impossible. There are probably as many reasons to swim open water, as there are swimmers.

Everything You Know About Surviving Rip Currents Is Wrong

Conventional wisdom says that Jamie MacMahan was doing everything right when, about a decade ago, he found himself caught in a rip current while swimming off the coast of Monterey, California. Rips flow seaward, out to deep water, so beach access signs across the country advise swimmers to paddle parallel to the beach to escape the them. The savage, dread-inducing flows kill more beachgoers each year than any other threat and MacMahan, a professor of oceanography and a strong swimmer, was following the “swim parallel” gospel, paddling steadily. But as he thrashed in the cold Pacific, the rip refused to relent. “I thought, ‘That’s interesting,’” MacMahan says.

Michael Oram on nutrition during an EC relay

From a long standing point of view as a pilot - just do your normal thing with the foods you like and the foods your body will accept. You are going to be on a slow moving boat that could well be rocking and rolling. Some swimmers just choose not to eat at all. Things like milk and chocolate can be a problem, but they are nice to eat and comforting.

Why Being Near The Ocean Can Make You Calmer And More Creative

Bij Huffington Post vond ik dit artikel over de rol van water in ons leven. Waarom trekt het zo? Een antwoord?

Since ancient times, humans have assigned healing and transformational properties to water. In early Rome, baths were an important part of cultural life, a place where citizens went to find relaxation and to connect with others in a calming setting. In ayurveda, the ancient Indian medicinal wisdom, and traditional Chinese medicine, the water element is crucial to balancing the body and creating physical harmony. Rivers have long been seen as sacred places, and in a number of different spiritual contexts, water has symbolized rebirth, spiritual cleansing and salvation.