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Today I did my first proper training session in 7 months. For most people it could hardly be called a training session. But for me, it was the start of an intentional and very specific training plan towards my goal of completing the Kawi channel crossing next year. I spent last week doing very little due to another sore throat and swollen glands. My doctor had reached her breaking point and spent 3 days researching how to get me better. She concluded that there was nothing that could be done for me medically anymore. I had to start training my mind and body for my marathon swim.

We sat and devised a very specific plan involving working with my heart rate and allowing lots of time to recover. The plan is to start with a training sessions every second day getting my heart rate to work in the 140 – 160bpm zone with plenty of recovery in between training repetitions as well as between training days. I will have one week like this, followed by a week of active rest every second day. Today was day one. I managed to do 5 x 100’s before I crashed and my heart rate showed the same thing. 5 x 100’s with between 30 & 50 seconds rest in between is usually just a warm up for most swimmers. I had a target of 10 x 100’s knowing that I may not reach that target and expecting to maybe do 2/3, so I was quite pleased with my progress.

The hardest thing for me was not going on a set time or even knowing what time I was doing for the hundreds. The pool we used had no clock and I was using my watch to check my heart rate. As a pool swimmer, I am so bound by send off and holding times that this is a real mind shift for me. Shifting into open water swimming the training is very different to pool swimming, especially when it is a channel crossing. The main purpose of my swim is not to do it in a specific time (although I would love to aim to break the record) Times do not mean a huge amount in open water swimming, because the result is so dependent on environmental conditions.

Here’s to hoping and trusting in the new plan

As I start this new phase in my training I think one of the hardest things is going to be the mental preparation and breaking my traditional mind-set when it comes to training. Thankfully I have the best team around me who can help me through this process. I have two more training sessions left for this week and right now, I can’t see how I will manage to do another one as I am so tired, but here’s to hoping and trusting in the new plan.

Author: Jenni Petersen

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