Are you doing the Midmar Mile this year? Here are a few tips to get you ready.
The Midmar Mile holds an esteemed place in the heart of many Durbanites, and not just swimmers. It’s an annual family fun day out that sees many people setting up braai fires and camping chairs to support their favourite athletes.
Your first mile
But swimming the Midmar Mile is no silly feat – a mile equates to just over a kilometre and a half – not exactly a little summertime splash in the pool. It’s recommended that swimmers start their training early, with the Midmar Mile website listing an eleven-week basic training programme from start to finish.
Ask an expert
Using a combination of gym workouts and swimming sessions can help you swim the distance required. Local personal trainer, Jane Kilian of GI Jane, advises her clients who are keen on swimming the mile to start training a few months before. “It’s best to give yourself adequate time to get your fitness and strength levels up.”
Jane says, “To get swimming fit you need to swim. Just as you need to cycle in order to be cycling fit, your swimming fitness comes from swimming.” So head out to your local swimming pool as often as you can to prepare for swimming the Midmar Mile, and work on increasing your distance in small increments each time. Jane says swimmers can incorporate weight-training into their exercise programme. “Strengthening your shoulders and legs will help give you a more powerful pull and kick.”
While distance covered during training is important, so is making sure you’re breathing correctly. Jane reminds her clients to focus on their breathing during training. “The last thing you want during the race is to get flustered and not breathe properly. That's when you get more tired and stressed during the swim, especially with so many people around you. It’s also important to ensure that you have a comfortable costume. Test it out during your training. You don't want to be fiddling with a costume while you're in a race.”
Experience it for yourself:
Midmar Mile Training Programme
This article originally appeared in Neighbourhood, Sunday Times.