by Carl O’Donnell: Former New Zealand Swimming Champion and 2012 London Olympian
So you have entered the Banana Boat New Zealand Ocean Swim Series and suddenly you have only one week left to prepare for your event. There are a few things I recommend you do, or do not do, in this last week to ensure you feel great on the day of your event.
I’ll start with the bad news: in just one week there is not much you can do to improve your fitness. Cramming in a month’s training in one week is not going to work, and in fact can have the opposite of the desired effect – leaving you fatigued for event day. Do keep swimming in the week leading up to your event but be mindful of your energy levels so you feel fresh on the day.
Swimming in a wetsuit can be hard to get used to. Newbies and those squeezing back in after a winter off can find wetsuits restrictive to arm movement and breathing. It is worth getting in your wetsuit and getting out in the open water during the week before your swim. Familiarise yourself with the way the wetsuit feels and make sure you can breathe comfortably. Doing this in a relaxed environment will help you avoid panic on event day.
Prioritise your sleep all week, not just the night before. This is a hard one because we are all busy people, but you will be surprised how fresh you feel by event day if you really put some effort into getting good rest during the week. One big sleep the night before can have you waking tired and groggy. It is best to build up your energy levels over a couple of days at least.
Be organised well in advance of your event. Have your equipment ready and your transport locked in. Take a look at the maps and timetables on the Banana Boat New Zealand Ocean Swim Series website, and have a read of the ‘Swimmer Information Sheet’ that you’ll be emailed in the week leading into your event. Even if you’ve done the event before, make sure you check the start and finish locations as they can change. Leaving these details to the last minute will add to your nerves. The more organised you are the more you will enjoy the event.
Following these simple tips in the week leading up to your event will have you feeling fresh and relaxed for your big swim. Rest up people and enjoy event day!
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Carl was a competitive swimmer for 20 years. He was number one in New Zealand in the 100m freestyle for 3 consecutive years and represented New Zealand at the London Olympic Games in 2012. After a break from swimming, Carl was challenged to an ocean swimming race by a friend. He has been hooked ever since and now competes in the Banana Boat New Zealand Ocean Swim Series each year. Carl’s passion for swimming has lead him to start his own swim coaching business, SWIM360. SWIM360 offers swim coaching and squads to swimmers of any level looking to improve their swimming.