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Over the last few months, I’ve learned a few things about having a Good Swim. The kind when you walk home afterward with legs like jelly, flushed with endorphins, feeling great because you’ve just had an epic session in the pool. Here’s what I do to get that swimmer’s high:

  • Eat 1 hour beforehand. Something substantial enough to sustain but not too heavy. I like a small bowl of bran flakes with a sliced banana, dollops of greek yogurt and a splash of milk.

  • Drink 1 litre of water in the hour before the swim. This seems to be key to not getting one of those CRACKING headaches. I’ve had a few of those and boy, were they awful. My head felt like it was going to split open.

  • Rinse your hair thoroughly first and comb a conditioner treatment through it, and leave it in under your swim cap for the duration.

  • Push through the first 10-15 minutes. These are the hardest. You can’t breathe. Your arms hurt. Don’t stop and don’t switch to breaststroke, just keep going. Because it will get somehow magically easier after that. I guess your body acclimatises to the rhythm and effort?

  • Keep your head down – look at the bottom of the pool – and try to look behind you when you turn to breathe.

  • Don’t forget you have legs. If you’re like me, you’ll be a lazy kicker and all your energy will be expended in your arms. And if you’ve got puny arms like me, that means getting tired too early. I’ve been up in the gym floor and looked down over the pool before, and I’ve seen how a lot of people don’t kick properly or even at all, especially when turning their head to breathe.

  • Buy goggle de-fogger instead of new goggles. I think I went through 4 or 5 pairs before I figured that out. I heart goggle de-mister!

  • Drink loads of water afterward too.

What I still need to learn:

  • How to tumble turn! Water up nose, ending up too deep, going sideways… gah! Not fun. I shall continue to turn the manual way I think…

May 2014

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