The inaugural Sanlam Cape Mile is almost upon us and it’s time to get excited!

Robyn

By Enduro Hub ambassador, Robyn Williams.

Here are a few tips and tricks to help you perform at your best and also to make sure you have an enjoyable Valentine’s Day this year.

One word. Sunblock. Use it. Don’t use it. It’s February in Grabouw.

Hydrate well. Again, it’s February in Grabouw.

What says “I love you” more than supporting your significant other at a swimming event for a whole day in the sun. It is Valentine’s Day after all. Pack a picnic and bring him or her along. If you fail to pack a picnic you can always stop at the famous Peregrine Farm Stall for their legendary Springbok pies and fresh apple juice.

Preparation:

I would suggest getting comfortable breathing to both the left and the right in the days before the race. It is a great skill to have when swimming in open water as you’ll need to check where you are in relation to the land and to other swimmers. It can also help relieve a stitch that can occur from only breathing to one side.

A good idea is to rest two days before the event and then to do a very easy, loosener swim the day before the event. This will ensure that you are rested, but that you retain your “feel for the water” and so that you don’t feel sluggish on race day.

Race day:

The Western Cape doesn’t have many mass participation swim events, so unless you have done a triathlon recently you may be concerned about starting with so many other swimmers around you.

Yes, this is a legitimate issue, but nothing that you can’t conquer. If you are worried about being knocked about at the start, either start at the sides or at the back of the field. You can even wait a few seconds for the mass of people to rush off being entering the water.

Sighting for buoys: when swimming in a dam it is necessary to lift your head fairly often to sight for the marker buoy that you are heading for. If you don’t do this often enough you are going to drift off course and you’ll need to correct yourself. This will result in swimming further than need be.

Remember to warm up for your mile swim. It is never a good idea to start a race without having done a proper warm up. If possible, get into the dam before your race and do a bit of swimming. If this is not possible then you can do a dryland warm up – swinging your arms, stretching and getting your heart rate up a bit.

Pacing:

There are two strategies that can be used for pacing – either start fast to be able to swim with faster people or start conservatively and build as you go.

More experienced and fitter swimmers might want to start fast, but this will make for a rather uncomfortable kind of hurting.

A much more pleasant way of racing is to start at a comfortable pace and to build up as you go. It is fun to overtake people and you’ll finish feeling great.

(I can assure you that most men will take option 1)

Start times are as follows:

U13 male and female – 08h30
14-30 male and female – 11h30
31-40 male and female – 10h00
41-50 male and female – 09h15
51-60 male and female – 08h30
60+ male and female – 08h30
ELITE – 10h45

Saturday promises to be a fantastic day, so pack your deck chair, your cozzie and a cooler box and come and enjoy a day out in apple country.