Winter Break or “Sport break” as it is called in Sweden

In the area of Sweden I live, week 8 is our winter break, or a direct translation from swedish is sport break A large portion of the people in sweden use week 7,8 or 9 to go skiiing every year. The country splits up this week off so that only 33% of the country try to go up north skiing each week during the winter break.


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Masters Lane 1

I don’t usually write about specific workouts here on my blog. Maybe that’s because I have a training journal that I document everything I do on Jogg.se. Since the fall of 2018 our Masters group has been greatly improved by the presence of a former Syrian distance swim coach Nidal. During his first fall session with us he was there to help our newer swimmers with their technique. Watching everyone in the pull and offering tips on how they could improve their technique. That kind of one on one feedback was greatly appreciated. Then I am not sure how it happened, but with all my traveling in 2019 he took the initiative to offer our distance swimmers a distance workout on wedensdays as an option to the sprint workouts I was writing. With only three lanes, that group swam in lane 1. Up until 2019 we rarely swam anything over 400m at practice, and when we swam what I thought were hard series it was usually base pace for the shorter series and base pace +5 for the longer series.

For example
20x 100
1-5 st1:35
6-10 st 1:30
11-15 st 1:25
16-20 st 1:20 (see how many you can make)

Nidal had a very very different view on what a hard series should be, and maybe after watching us swim for 4 months he saw a pontential in us, that I had not seen. He has no problem asking us to swim 15×100 st 1.25. His practices usually run between 5300-6000m in 90 minutes.

Since I was not able to swim consistantly in 2019 it took me until Jan 2020 for me to even attempt to join that lane. I was happy in my little sprint world with 60 minuets on wednesday’s.

I do not have a clue on how tough 2019 training was, but I do remember him asking Hampus to start at 18:00 instead of 20:00 so that he would have time to swim 6x 1500 with 5 minutes rest. What I do know is that we are 3-5 swimmers each Wednesday that swim sets that for 2 years ago we would have consider a test series, or we would have adjusted the start times during practice. But not in 2020! We might not be the fastest Masters team, but on Wednesday we work just as hard as the teenagers do in the practice before, if not harder.

Last night is a perfect example of being pushed and us swimmers responding:
600 choice
30x 50 swim a3 st :45 (my practices have been start :50-1:00 and based on who is there we pick a time that works that day)
50 easy
2x 400 swim a2 st 6:00 (unusually slow start intervall for Wednesdays, usually we do these on 5:40-5:45)
1500 pull for time
200 easy

When you have a coach standing over you calling out your times, you don’t want to dissappoint. Right now I am nursing shoulder injuries from my 42km swim, so it makes swimming at a fast tempo with little rest difficult. I lost a lot of speed in the fall, but these Wednesday Lane 1 practices are trully the best workout of the week.

Last night I swam the 50’s with fins to save my shoulders, but was able to manage a 20:05 in the 1500m with my new paddles from TYR.

CATALYST STROKE TRAINING PADDLES

Splits from the 1500m I got lapped twice by Hampus and you can see when. My times jumped up to 1:24 and 1:26 when I let him pass on the turn.



Ryan – Pär – Hampus

Looking forward to 2021

Since I am hoping to get another eight swims and even a few Crossfit workouts in this year I am not ready to summarize 2020, but I am keeping my fingers crossed that I stay healthy and can keep my motivation up for next summer.

I only have on goal for 2021, and that is swimming the first 42km Viking Swim in Värnamo on Aug 13th to the 14th. Or if the weather looks good, maybe we start at midnight so the entire swim will be on the 14th. This year I swam 42km in 14 hours with short stops every 3km. Next year with the start being around midnight I will most likely need to get in an energy stop every 40-45 minutes, but only for 45-60s to avoid getting cold, or starting to cramp. Since I will be swimming with a partner, our biggest challenge this spring/early summer will be planning those feeding breaks and what to give the kayaker to hold for us.

Looks like we will get new caps for the race.

And I am not sure if they have decided on the design for the finisher shirts, but I am really looking forward to wearing something like this in just over 8 months.

A Vansbrosimningen (3km) a Day Challenge

I understand that a lot of swimmers got upset this summer. I was more than upset. On April 29th I along with 13,000 other swimmers got an email that this years Vansbrosimningen was cancelled. It was to be expected that we would not be able to race since Sweden had just implemented a rule forbidding more than 500 people to gather. So to be honest I was not so upset about the race being cancelled, but I was upset about the way they informed us and the way they proceeded with the cancellation.

We were given three choices. You could swim at home and submit your time, for their “Home Edition”, You could chose to donate your starting fee to the local sports club, or you could ask for 50% av your starting fee to be returned. For those that signed up to swim one of the many races in Vansbro that might have seemed like a good deal. But for me and my daughter that signed up for a combined 14 starts, we were talking about 900 USD. I would have prefered to be given the chance to move my start to 2021 as so many other races did this summer. Not in the mood to be giving I requested half of my starting fee back.

Then I started to think about the “Home Edition”, and what a good idea it really was for those that felt swimming 1000m, 1500m, 3000m or 10,000m was a challenge. Local teams around Sweden would offer help to find a suitable course, and in some cases hold a “Home Edition” event so people would not have to swim alone. It was nothing for me personally, but the idea of helping others when it comes to swimming and especially OW swimming was something I could not pass up.

So I help my swim team organize a “Home Edition” event, and helped spread the word about our swim course in the lake where you could swim 1000m, 1500m or even 3000m. On the day of our event it was bad weather so we only had about 15 swimmers. I have no idea how many swam in the lake on our course over the summer, but I did meet a few during my regular training sessions.

So how could I use the “Home Edition” to motivate me and my swimming. It came to me just a week or two before the start of the Vansbrosimningen Home Edition. They offered people to swim their races at home from Saturday the 3rd of July until the 31st of August. So what better challegne then for me to swim one Vansbrosimningen a day every day from the start to the finish of the “Home Edition”.

I already had plans to swim alot this summer to help me reach my 1,000,000 meter goal. But at the same time I had said that I would not let swimming effect my family’s time off over the summer. However, it would not be as big of an issue as I thought since our activities were limited because of the Covid-19 situation. Sweden never closed down, but we followed the guidelines to help lower the curve. All of our adventures this summer were either near water, or we didn’t have to leave home until after 0900. So I swam as early as 0600 and as late as 2100 to get my swims in.

On August 2nd I managed a 21km swim with friends and that spawned the idea to test the 42km distance, another race that was cancelled. The idea of swimming 42km alone was not fun. So how to attracted some company in the water? I decided to break it up into 14 Vansbrosimngen. Starting a new 3000m every hour for 14 hours. On August 16th I did just that. 14 Vansbrosimningen in one day.

On August 31st I jumped into the lake forthe last 3000m or more swim of this challenge. Little did I know at the time, but it would be the last day I would remain healthy. Tuesday afternoon I started coughing, and that caused me to miss 8 days of working out. Me previous day off from training was the 8th of May since I was travelling by train from 0600 until 2100.

So thanks to my #envansbrosimningenomdag challenge I managed to swim roughly 467km during June-August 2020.

42+km swimming, yes swimming

Last year in October I was one of 14 swimmers with the honor to be able to sign up for 42+km swim. The race was called The Viking, and was a two way swim of Vidösternsimmet (21+km). The 14 of us would start at night Friday the 7th of August, calculating average swim speed in order to get to the start of the return no later than 07:00 the 8th. I went all in for this race. I had one of the strongest swimmers I know (Hampus Carlsson) as my partner for the first half night swim, and I started pushing myself on our Wednesday distance workouts like never before with our super distance coach Nedal. In January I took on the 1,00,000m challenge to help motivate me to get the distance training I would need for this years goal.


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Halfway through 2020

2020 is not the year that anyone saw coming. I am just happy that I live in Sweden and we have not closed down society or had a lock down.  Sure we have restrictions to follow like stay home when you can (ie only essential travelling), avoid contact with the elderly, working from home if you can, not more than 50 people at gatherings, high schools and colleges closed for home schooling as well as lots of companies had to send their employees home with materials for production could not be delivered. Swedish Nationals for Seniors, Juniors, Youth and Masters have been canceled. One by one open water races, bike races, runs, triathlons have had to cancel because of the travel restrictions and/or the max 50 people per gathering rule in place.
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The Perfect Swim that never was…

Monday after work I go home, make some chili and rice for dinner, but don’t have time to eat before my planned 18:00 swim. So while I am cooking dinner for the girls I make two hot dogs as a snack to make it through swimming.  I had skipped lunch by mistake and knew I needed something in my stomach to be able to swim 4500m.

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Karl-Oskarsimmet 2020

Saturday the 13th of June was the first time in the history of our local OW race that I actually was able to participate. In 2016, it was a very very small race with two distances; 925m and 1850m. I spent all morning helping to get the race area set-up, then all afternoon on a boat keeping an eye on the swimmers. The distance 1850 came from the year that Karl-Oskar and Kristina left Sweden on their way to the US. A masters swimmer and local artist helped up create our logo from a photo of the two. I really like the way it turned out.

Logo made by Mona B Klöfver
http://www.mbkartist.com/

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Rough start to May

My first business trip since the start of the Covid-19 outbreak. I knew that I would eventually have to travel again, and I has 100% aware that it was not going to be easy from being at home for the past five months working out on average 12 hours a week to nothing for upwards of six days. But having the last 3 trips cancelled or postponed I was kind of hoping that this one would be push up too.

Due to the limited access to public transportation and the roughly 1300km distance I had to travel to get to site, I wound up traveling by car for nearly 13 hours on Sunday the 3rd of May with two colleagues headed in the same direction. Everything in the town I was visiting had shortened hours. Most things closed between 1600 and 1800 daily. This limited my options for food and the hotel we stayed at had no fitness room.

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100km in April

I was not expecting this, but thanks to the Million Meter Challenge I have just had my best indoor swim month since I stopped swimming back in 1996. It didn’t hurt that I was able to get in a good 10 day swim streak either. One other time in the last 12 years I have managed over 80km in one month in a pool was back in Jan 2012. I have now had 4 months in a row with over 84km. And now in April thanks to an extra 3km OW swim when putting out the buoys in the lake I landed at 108,560m in April

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