9 Tips for 9 Weeks To Race Day
Distance swimming events like Port to Pub can be immensely enjoyable and rewarding, but there is a lot that goes into training and preparation to ensure your best day out. At nine weeks to race day, we’re sharing nine tips to help swimmers in the lead-up to 16th March:
1. Take stock. Pause to ask yourself, “How’s it going?” Is your training leading to increased performance? Is your body feeling well? Is your excitement building? Don’t get stuck in a monotonous swim-sleep-repeat pattern. Regular checks to assess how it’s going will lead to changes needed to keep you feeling fresh and motivated.
2. It’s never too soon for logistics. There is a lot of planning that goes into a distance event; start now so that you’re not scrambling at the end. Review the race rules and course description, confirm your race team, purchase any needed equipment, and start making your plan of (race) attack.
3. Round up your squad. Training and racing is a big commitment, and it’s made a lot easier when you have people who support your efforts. Whether it’s a friend who watches your kids during a power hour of training or a family member who encourages you on days when it feels hard, your squad becomes one of the best parts of the experience.
4. Test your nutrition. Solo swimmers should practice eating and drinking while swimming, and all swimmers should trial which food and drink works best to keep energy levels up. Oftentimes the foods you think sound good for race day end up being drastically different than what you crave in reality. Do race gels work for you? Does savoury or sweet feel better to ingest in action? Are you getting enough electrolyte?
5. Practice in open water. Include open water swims and/or swim races in your training regime—this will help you get a feel for swimming in the ocean and recognise what works for you and what doesn’t. It can also help identify potential issues (like stingers and chaffing) that you have time to solve ahead of race day.
6. Train with your teammates and support crew. Whether you’re a solo, duo, or team swimmer it’s wise to do some training with those you’ll be racing with. Schedule a time to swim with your paddler(s) so that they can see your swim speed and style. If possible, meet with your boat captain to discuss race strategy and expectations. These meetings are useful to go over the practical elements of the race but also help in regards to keeping you all safe. The more you know about your teammates and crew members (and vice-versa), the more you can watch out for each other on race day.
7. Swim smart and safe. Swim regularly and appropriately for your experience, speed, and expected race distance. As a general rule, the longer your race distance the more kilometres you should be training each week leading up to the event. Speak to a swim coach if you’d like professional guidance.
8. Take care of yourself. Preparing for a race is more than putting in long hours at the pool; it’s taking care of your whole self in the lead up to the event. Get a good amount of sleep, eat nutritiously, and spend time doing other things you love. See specialists if you have injuries or pain. And relish those rest days!
9. Enjoy the process. We’re being cheesy, but we believe that the ‘ol adage about life also applies here, in that a distance swim event is “about the journey, not the destination.” There is so much that goes into your Port to Pub experience, starting long before race day and encompassing much more than the number of strokes it takes to get you to Rotto. Revel in the full experience and take note that your success is far greater than a finisher’s time or medal.