Lessons learned from swimming 10,000 metres

Dart 10k Swimming

05 Sep Lessons learned from swimming 10,000 metres

If you don’t give a damn about swimming and are currently seeing this and thinking..


“Nah, not for me…”


Then hold tight as I know there will be something in this for you!


It all started about a year ago after seeing one of my good friends Katherine who had recently completed the Dart 10k Swim.


At the time I thought she was mental but soon enough, as I tend to find after speaking with someone who has done something crazy, I found myself hitting the enter button online…


Theres a lesson there already about hanging around with the right kind of people – something along the lines of: you are the sum of the 5 people you spend the most time with (I think thats the rule…)


Spend your time with inspiring people who do some crazy (but fun) stuff and I’ve no doubt you’ll jump in with both feet too!


So on Saturday I swam 10,000 metres down the River Dart.

Swimming the Dart 10k gps from Strava

The map from the Dart 10k

The thing that struck me the most was my head going into it.


I wasn’t dreading it at all.

I was predicting something around the 2:30/2:45 marker which actually didn’t phase me (even though training hadn’t seen me swimming anywhere near this distance).


I had the usual toilet trips and morning nerves, the normal “WHY AM I DOING THIS” when the early alarm went off.


But to be completely honest I was looking forward to this endurance swimming challenge.


However, within the first 500 metres the swim, I’d started talking myself out of it…


My shoulders were aching, I felt a little sluggish.

My head was in completely the wrong place and I started to dread what was to come.

It took a while for me to settle into it, but I was still concerned that I was working a lot harder than I should have been.

Over this distance – it should have felt easy I remember saying to myself.

If its hurting now, you are really going to be in a lot of pain near the end.


At the first feed station – yep they had a floating food stop to get some Lucozade and Jelly Babies!

(oh yeah – I’d also not tried eating and swimming either…!)


I stopped and chatted to another swimmer.

They were wearing a gold cap – meaning they had done the swim at least 3 times before.


I asked – “does it get easier!?”

And I bet you can guess the answer (I wrote about the same thing a few weeks ago…!)


“It never gets easier – you just push yourself more!”


It took this one conversation to kick me out of my negative thinking and realise that it was never going to feel easy – I was kidding myself.

It was just going to be a feeling I wasn’t used to – the kind of feeling you get when running a marathon.


Where it feels uncomfortable, but manageable. But never easy!


Within moments of starting off again, I felt at ease and settled back into my pace – in a much better state of mind about the upcoming challenge.


Nothing could stop me now.




There were some really choppy moments where the outgoing tide met with an inward bound “breeze” creating waves on the surface.


I rose to the challenge at this point and smiled. Pushed on knowing that this wouldn’t phase me in the slightest.


Once my head was in a good place, I could perform better, easier and enjoy it more. It took this brief conversation to sort me out.

Earlier onI was talking myself out of the event because I didn’t feel good.


But actually when you think about it – when do you feel good when you are pushing your body?

Is feeling good a sensation we should be aspiring to when pushing ourselves?


This swim was completely out of my comfort zone and I quite simply didn’t know HOW I should feel during it.


My biggest mistake was not seeking out more advice from those who had done it before.


Had I asked them – chances are they would have given me a better idea of what to expect and how to manage these voices of self doubt.


So the biggest lesson for me – never again will I boldly go into something thinking I’ll know how to manage it when it is so far away from what I am used to.


Running and triathlons I am good at… Swimming for that length of time… I need to work on.


Now where is the next silly challenge going to come from!



Coach Ant


P.S. Level One Courses are kicking off next week!

There are still a handful of places left for the Wednesday Evening Session in Southampton – 1900-2000.

If you want more details, hit reply or email info@runcamp.co.uk with SURPRISE ME in the subject and we will sort out a good deal for you too 🙂


Not only will you get 12 weeks of amazing coaching in small groups you’ll get the following too:

– FREE Training T-Shirt (£15.00)

– FREE Copy of our Ebook including 50 of our favourite running sessions (£7.99)

– A FREE place on our Friday Night Coached Interval Session (worth £60) taking your number of weekly sessions up to two per week.

– A Video session: a chance to have your running on camera and social afterwards to meet your fellow runners.

Secure your place >> HERE <<


P.P.S. If by some reason you are interested in swimming the Dart 10k – the website is: http://www.outdoorswimmingsociety.com


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