1. New to open water swimming?
You may find that you get an upset tummy the first time you explore freshwater lakes and rivers as this water carries a lot of nutrient-rich soil which is very good for the ecosystem, but might need a little getting used to for our tummy!
To help lessen or avoid ‘lake belly’, take probiotics (commonly found in supermarkets) a week before swimming. You can also eat things such as Yakult, Actimal, Kefir, natural Greek yoghurt or take apple cider vinegar to help build good flora and fauna in your tummy to prevent upset stomachs.
2. Coke after a swim?
Sadly, there is no scientific basis of truth that drinking Coke after an open water swim will prevent upset stomachs! In fact, latest science suggests the high sugar content, even in flat Coke, can actually help BREED bad bacteria and make you feel worse.
We recommend drinking a hearty glass of full-bodied red wine the evening after an open water swim. The high acidity levels in red wine combined with the chemical Resveratrol (which is a naturally-occurring chemical from fermented grape skins) has been scientifically proven to fight E.coli and Helicobacter Pyori, the two most common open water tummy upsets!
3. Want a better swim? Take Caffeine!
Drinking an espresso, taking a caffeine supplement gel or a Caffeinated drink 20 mins before a swim can greatly help your overall performance in your swim! Why? Caffeine opens the blood vessels and reduces harmful inflammation, creating favourable conditions for good heart health and faster-flowing blood
4. Suffering with blocked noses and itchy eyes after an open water swim?
If you are a sufferer of hay fever, then it may surprise you to realise that most air pollen culminates in open water sources. The levels of pollen found in the air may be treble the amount when swimming in the water!
If you’re going to wear a nose clip, you need to put this on before you get in the water and not fiddle with it until you are clear of the water and had a shower – if you take it off mid swim, it will have no effect of preventing hay fever symptoms.
5. Take hay fever tables the morning before an open water swim.
When home, you can use over-the-counter nasal antihistamines to prevent blocked noses, or, if you would like to keep things natural, find yourself some locally sourced honey! Bees use local pollen to create their honey, and so eating local honey will offer you protection from pollen found local to you!
6. Train in all conditions!
You cannot control the weather on the day of your race, so you should make an effort to get outdoors and train in all variations of weather so that you are fully prepared for whatever the day will throw at you.
7. Training as often as possible in your race gear.
Don’t save your race gear for race-only, you need to experience how your goggles, wetsuit and trisuit will feel and get used to them. The more you train as close to race day conditions as possible, the better you will be adapted on the big day.
8. Have a plan!
Don’t just get in the water and swim 5km for your training. You need to switch up your training in order to build your threshold, aerobic and anaerobic intervals. Treat your swim training as you would your bike and run – fartlek style effort training, sprint sets, endurance sets, technique sets – they are all as equally important as the full 5km.