Windermere Training Week 3

How is it already week 3 of my training?!

I am continuing to increase the distance that I cover over the week by increasing the distances I swim in each session. This is proving pretty difficult as very few sessions are actually long enough to swim more than about 2.5km; I am a long-distance consistent swimmer rather than a super speedy one!

The week started well with a nice easy pool swim doing some work focusing on my technique, followed by a hard pool session where I just tried to see how far I could swim in one hour; the answer 2415m. Something seemed to click during that session and I suddenly remembered how to swim at a reasonable pace, it was such a great feeling to finally feel like I was actually moving forwards!

Wednesday was my first open water swim of the week, I used my TriRide to get to Lake Ashmore for the AMactiv open water swim session. After my session on Tuesday when I remembered how to swim properly, I decided to swim as far as I could at the lake in the time I had, and I managed to swim just over 2.5km in 1 hour and 10minutes. The swim was tough, I was sore, and my body and mind were calling out for me to stop because everything ached and hurt but I managed to keep going. As I have said previously, it is important that I know I will be able to push through those difficult and painful moments during my Windermere Swim and although I know it could increase my pain levels further I need to practice and make sure I can swim when I am at my worst! So, although it was very painful and exhausting I was really pleased with my effort at the lake on Wednesday and that I managed to fight my natural instinct to stop because of pain. It has given me a boost in confidence that even towards the end of my Windermere swim when I will no doubt be in agony, I am mentally tough enough to push through it and keep going until the end of the swim.

Thursday was my usual Strength and Conditioning session with Gavin from LifePlus Fitness, because of my increased pain we did a slightly different session to normal and did lower weights but more reps. We also did some work on strengthening my core, which I always hate and hurts but know needs to be done!

Friday night is BRJ Lake night at Hinchingbrooke Country Park, I didn’t go. Unfortunately, the fatigue got the better of me and I decided that the amount of energy I would use getting there and back could be better used at the Lido swim on Saturday. I always feel rubbish when I miss a scheduled session, but I am aware my body is still getting used to training at this level of intensity and that my body won’t always let me do what I want so sometimes I just need to give myself a break and have an extra day off!

Ive come to love my Saturday swims as I enjoy a nice long swim at the Peterborough Lido with my friend Lesley. They are trying to build up their fitness and confidence in the hope of getting into open water for the first time in ages. They suffer with their own chronic health issues so we understand and can relate to each other pretty well. For me, it is refreshing to talk to and swim with someone that fully understands what training when you have chronic illnesses can really be like and it is also really nice that I am able to be open and say “I am really sore” because I know they won’t turn round and tell me that I should stop training if it hurts.

Something those with a chronic pain condition will know and understand, but others may not is that pain doesn’t always mean over use and isn’t always a warning for an injury. Naturally, whenever we feel pain, our instinct is to stop what we are doing because it is hurting and harmful to us in some way, when you have chronic pain just moving can hurt, in-fact, not moving can hurt too. So, if I stopped doing things when I hurt, I would never do anything because there isn’t a single minute in the day that at least one part of me doesn’t hurt. Living with chronic pain obviously doesn’t mean you’re indestructible and you won’t get an injury if you overdo it but overtime you learn what is ‘normal’ pain for you and this allows you to judge your normal pain from the pain of any kind of injury you may get as a result of training and pushing yourself too hard. 

Overall, the lido swim went really well and in the first session I managed to swim just under 3km and in the afternoon session I swam 5.5km, sadly I do have to get out for the 30minute break at the Lido but this did allow me to try out some nutrition to see how I would feel after eating certain things and getting straight back into swimming after. I am hoping that through doing this I will be able to at least figure out what my body can tolerate to eat straight before/with little rest when swimming. After the lido swim I was exhausted, it was my longest swim and although continuing to swim through the pain doesn’t cause an injury, it does often increase my pain.

On Sunday I wanted nothing more than to spend all day in my PJs and sleep. My pain was high, my body felt drained, and I just felt like I was running on empty. It was a tough mental battle and involved a lot of talking to myself to convince me to get up and go to Lake Ashmore for a gentle swim to end the week. I ended up deciding to go to try and help me stretch out my muscles after an intense week of training but once I was there, I couldn’t help myself and I ended up swimming for just over an hour, clocking up another 2.2km to finish off week 3 of my Windermere training!

This weeks swimming totals (rounded up) –

2 Lake Swims totalling 5500m

2 Pool Swims totalling 4000m

1 Lido Swim totalling 8500m

Total Distance covered Approx – 17,500m

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