8.5 miles or 13.7k or 412 lengths. If you say it quick enough then it does n’t sound too far. However the actual doing it does take its toll. For me the worst period of any long pool swim is on the 2nd mile between the 3rd and 30th lengths of a 33.3m long pool. I could easily quit at any point in between even though I swim a mile each weekday before work.
Nothing to do with strength or technique; it is purely mental and the daunting fact that I’ve still got over 10 times that distance yet to go. When I did 7 mile back in November, for the first time in my life I took a 2.5min drink break after 4 miles even though I did n’t particularly want to. My body thought that it was finished swimming for the day and wanted to get out. This resulted in the last 3 miles being an absolute torture. I learnt from that experience and to do the 8.5 miler I realised that I must still take on fluid and protein (I mean you would n’t go without a drink when lying on the sofa watching TV for 5 hours). So I stopped for a 30 second break at the 3 and 6 mile points to quickly neck down as much 4:1 Carbo/Protein drink as possible. Nothing to eat as I found from my trainee navy diver days that does n’t work for me. I just get tummy cramps and/or throw up which would probably result in me being asked to vacate the pool and not return.
I finished the swim in 5 hours 6 mins. This was 17 mins over what I estimated but when comparing my poolmate pro stats with the 7 miler I was pleased to see that my swim speed and stroke rate were identical which signifies to me a steady speed which I can maintain.
Obviously the pool is not the sea but roll on the warmer weather so as to put my poolwork into lake and sea work.