Its been a bit of an odd week, both physically and mentally as it has been my first ‘recovery’ week. My swim was delayed by a year due to Covid but back in 2019 when I first decided to set myself the challenge of swimming lake Windermere two way I knew it would be one of, if not the hardest challenge, both physically and mentally that I have ever done.
Since the beginning of the year, I have been trying to increase the amount of physical activity I have been doing, even if it wasn’t swimming. This was so that it wouldn’t be such a shock to my body when my swimming training started properly, but even with that I didn’t know how my body was going to respond to the intense training for a swim of this magnitude. What I did know was that it would be a balancing act and one that I likely wouldn’t get right first time. I knew there would be a huge increase in my fatigue and likely my pain too, so I needed to have a rough plan on how to deal with it if I got to the stage where my body was just too tired to train intensively.
I decided to do something a little different with my training programme and make it fairly flexible and it seems to be working well. I felt I needed to give myself the ability to adapt and change my training by just giving myself a target distance that I wanted to cover each week rather than having each session set in stone. Doing it this way means that if my fatigue and pain are getting the better of me, I can have a couple of days rest, it just means the next few days I will have to swim further. It also means I won’t be as hard on myself for missing a training session. I have also included one recovery week each month when I will reduce the intensity of each session, do less sessions and at the end of the week do one very long-distance swim. Again, the recovery week can be moved around depending on my fatigue and pain levels.
Last week I could feel my body starting to struggle so I decided to have my first recovery week and it felt amazing for a break. I still did a few easy swims but I dropped the intensity so my body could actively recover from 3 weeks of hard and intensive training. I started the week with a days rest, followed by a 2km swim in the pool on Tuesday focusing on push and pull movements and strength. On Wednesday instead of doing a long lake swim I decided to go for a short easy swim in the river with a few friends, this was particularly nice as all the swimming I have done recently has been on my own, getting my head down and focusing on distance and my pacing. I only did 500m but it was a nice relaxing 500m with chatting and laughing and just enjoying being in open water. Thursday was my normal personal training session and Friday was another ‘do nothing’ day.
As a result of the previous intense training and the easier sessions during the week I felt prepared to go for my first 10km training swim on Saturday at the Lido. It went really well and I ended up doing more than 11km, I managed to keep a steady pace throughout and my feeding schedule worked well too. So, despite it being a recovery week it was incredibly effective and an important part of this months training.
This weeks swimming totals (rounded up) –
1 Pool Swim – 2km
1 River Swim – 500m
1 Lido Swim – 11,150m
Total Distance covered Approx – 13,700m