This week has been a bit of an emotional rollercoaster and, being honest, my head has been all over the place.
Good for my training, not so good for my pain.
I have a lot going on right now, and my friend described it perfectly; in life we all have ‘YAY’ moments and “BOO” moments and so we tend to feel on par with whatever moments we currently have in our life, and we normally only have one of them at a time. For me, however, I have decided to be greedy….I have had so, so many YAY moments happening recently that I should be excited for all that is to come but, I have also had some incredibly tough and upsetting things going on that I need to figure out how to deal with. As a result, I have no clue how I am feeling but for now, that’s just how it is.
My emotions impact my training greatly, I find swimming helpful when I have a lot to think about because when swimming I can switch off from the rest of the world, like I am in a bubble that no one can pop. I am focused and driven and as a result I feel in control. So this week training has gone really well and I am back in the swing of things.
I started the week on Monday with a coaching session, working with an individual (Clare) in the pool on their body position, their technique and teaching them new drills to improve their technique. I am helping Clare through this year in her training for the Thames Marathon Swim in August, it has been a long time since she swam consistently, and she has never swum this far before, so we have started with the very basics.
During her session I also swam over a kilometre so it kicked off the week well. On Monday night I then had training with the BRJ Run and Tri Club and am slowly getting my fitness and speed back, although I did get told to “stop being lazy”! To be fair to the coach, I was being lazy as I was thinking too much and was distracted! Despite being lazy I had a great session and covered a further 1800m.
Tuesday, I headed to the pool opposite my flat and did some focused work on my pacing and trying to increase my stroke rate as mine tends to be very slow. I used my FINIS Pro Trainer (which I highly recommend) to help with this, the beeping will drive you nuts but it does the job its meant to do!
This is a bit of kit that I do regularly go back to and use year after year when I am trying different paces for different lengths of time.
You can get your hands on one of these from their website here: https://www.finisswim.com/Tempo-Trainer-Pro
Wednesday was personal training day and for the first time in a few weeks we focused on strength rather than cardio and core. It felt good to be using the machines again and we focused on the movements used in swimming, mainly the push, pull movement and also a bit of rotation core work. By the end of the session my biceps and triceps were shaking because I had worked so hard and they still hurt on Thursday….and Friday.
Thursday, I had the day off and I finished this weeks training on Friday with an interval pool session.
In total I covered just over 7km this week!
What events am I training for?
At the moment the events I have booked are are:
BLDSA Dover Champion of Champions – 18/06/22
The Henley Outdoor Swim Festival – 10/07/22
The Thames Marathon Swim – 14/08/22
In-case people haven’t realised, every year since starting swimming again I have set myself a goal or challenge to complete that year. It has been swimming in different conditions, different distances, or a different style of swim. Its only now, looking back that I realise that my different goal each year since I started swimming again eventually built me up to my Windermere 2 Way, I wasn’t training for it specifically but the events in the few years previous helped me to know what to expect and gave me the experiences that I needed for the swim to be comfortable and enjoyable.
The key event I am focused on this year is the first event, the British Long Distance Swimming Association Champion of Champions in (south) Dover Harbour. This is unlike any swim I have ever done and is going to be tough.
So, why is the BLDSA event my key/most important event of the year?
Firstly, it’s a different lay out, the swim is in 3 sections, each of which has a strict cut off time:
5 miles swim (cut off time 4 hours)
3 mile swim (cut of time 2.5 hours)
1 mile swim (cut of time 50 minutes)
Secondly, it’s a skins only swim (under channel swim rules) so no wetsuit. This is probably one of the things I am most worried about but I will explain why in a later blog.
Finally, the swim is in the sea, which means waves, tides, currents and all the other joys that come from swimming in the sea. The way I have always approached sea swimming is very different to lakes, I always say; “the sea is in control and I must remember to listen to it”. I have done hardly any sea swimming over the past few years so this is my ‘come back’ sea swimming year.
Some people may have guessed why I am attempting a swim like this by the above but in-case you haven’t, this event will be my test for if I may, with the right training be able to complete my first channel swim in 2023.
The swim is often used as a solo channel crossing qualification swim because of the conditions, distance, and time you’re in the water for me, this isn’t aimed to be a qualification swim though, lets call it a ‘trial run’.
I have done the other 2 events planned before but will still be training for them and working hard to improve my times and performances. So as spring arrives I hope to be in open water more, taking regular trips to the seaside and hopefully I will also get the opportunity to teach and coach several people in both the pool and open water to help them achieve their goals too!
Happy Swimming all!