How To End The Triathlon Season

Almost by accident I found a great way to bring the season to a close, take a holiday, and kick-start the off-season work on improving my swim, a limiter for most triathletes.

We went on holiday to Croatia with a company called SwimTrek.  

As the name implies, it's like a trekking company, except the days are filled with swimming rather than walking.

In the past at swim camps, our coach Dan Bullock has emphasised the improvement to be made by regularly swimming, saying  "If you can swim for seven days in a row, you will improve".

What better way to do this than on a swimming holiday?  Warm water; a main support boat with an experienced skipper; plus two inflatables manned by excellent swim guides who could keep the swimmers together in their different speed groups, provide drinks when needed (the Aegean is very salty), and look after safety.

Salty Aegean
Most of us are lucky if we manage to swim 2km three times a week.  Frankly, that's a lot of swimming for me.  Yet on this holiday, I'd accomplished that by half way through the second day.

I wore a wetsuit or thin swim
In five days I swam nine hours.  I decided not to take part in the sunrise swim on the final day because I wanted to shoot photographs.

Sunrise swim on last day
Many of the swimmers used wetsuits despite the temperature.  We were all roughly the same pace, around 20mins per kilometre, with the fastest swimmers being the ones who had competed since they were kids.  Despite being skins, they powered past me every time.

Liz swam mainly skins (she's better than me)
There was stroke video analysis after the first day and I have no doubt my technique improved. I seemed to travel further by slowing my stroke rate, which was something of a revelation.

Comfortable boat with good food
What's more, this felt like a real holiday.  There were good restaurants with good food, excellent lunches on the boat, lots of relaxation and a couple of mid-day hikes.

Hotel Maestral - very good, family run and friendly
While the Club la Santa swim camps are a great way to start the year, this proved a wonderful way to round it off and head into the off season.  I'm now going to seek some specific swim coaching to try to get rid of my need for a wetsuit.

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