I haven’t written a training update for several weeks now because I’ve got a bit stuck with what to write and where to start. I think every blogger and writer gets ‘writers block’ sometimes, but the key is to find out why and figure out how to fix it. For me, I think I just needed a break from writing and a couple of weeks to regroup and get settled with a training routine. So, what have I been up to over the past few weeks? Well, quite a lot actually. I am now swimming at least 5km each week as well as having one strength and conditioning session and I am also trying to get into a routine with some shorter workouts at home. What is even better is that I am actually back enjoying training too!
February was pretty quiet in terms of outdoor swimming because of a chest infection, the weather and getting things organised in terms of having someone to swim with. I did continue my strength and conditioning sessions and also my pool training where I was working on my stroke and pace. I was also lucky enough to get a trip to the seaside where we went to Frinton One Sea again. This time I decided I wanted to try and do a decent length swim so wore my wetsuit. It was an ok day, but the current was very strong and as a result of a lack of confidence I decided to get out after just 500m. I used my Ruckraft to put my crutches and DryRobe in so that I could get back up the beach after swimming. I know it was a confidence issue and I could likely have swum further but it was a tricky situation to be in.
At the beginning of March I also attended a coaching development day at Swim Cube, put on with Swim Your Swim, which was incredible! (blog coming soon).
Its been a much better month swimming and training wise. My health has been better, the weather has been better and I have managed to get an outdoor swim in each week and the amount of time I am able to stay in the water has increased significantly. We have also decided that now it’s a bit warmer we would try a few different places to swim, when the sun was shining we went to the Houghton Mill. I swam here quite a bit last year and really like it, its away from the roads and busy places with lots of people. You swim upstream along the edge of a meadow and large, very expensive houses with very beautiful gardens that back onto the river. It was a nice toasty 12 degrees but rather than swimming head down front crawl Clare and I decided to make it more of a social swim. Again, I used my Ruckraft for all our stuff and we had a lovely long gentle swim and a natter about all things important in life!
I then received an exciting package – this book; Outdoor Swimming London. This is the book that I contributed to and wrote some information about disability open water swimming for. It also has a little about me, a picture of me and details on the Facebook group I started – ADOWS. Not only is this exciting because I am in a book but it also means that I m officially a published (be it contributing) author, which is something I never in a million years thought would happen!
My swim buddy Clare was preparing to go on holiday to Fiji, but we managed to squeeze one last swim in on Monday before she left. This time we decided to go to our normal spot – Huntingdon Riverside. It was my turn to go in first (we take turns on who is going to go head-to-head with the swans and geese), thankfully the swan moved for me, however, it felt very cold in comparison to the swim just 4 days earlier! We started swimming up towards the old bridge in Huntingdon as normal but for some reason I found myself struggling. It didn’t look like there was much current when we checked safety before we got in but once we were in, we discovered it was pretty strong and I was struggling swimming doggy paddle alongside Clare who mainly swims breaststroke. We did manage to start moving forwards after swimming closer to the riverbank. We had moved about 100m before we looked back and discovered that the Swans, Geese, Ducks and Moorhens were playing follow the leader and we were the leaders! They continued to do this all the way up the river, I will admit, it was a little creepy and worrying. Despite being followed by a gang of birds we continued swimming until suddenly, we saw something flying towards us. We soon realised it was a duck, a flying duck coming into land that was heading directly at us. There was absolutely sod all we could do because the other birds were still playing following the leader! I have experience of swimming into a duck from my Windermere swim, but I had never had one fly at me and hit me in the face, there was a slight moment of “what the hell do we do?”.
Thankfully, the duck turned and went past us and joined ‘the gang’ playing following the leader!
We reached the “Warning Live Wire” sign (about 500m up stream) next to the river and turned back. Thankfully a man had begun feeding the ducks and swans at the pontoon a little further down the river meaning that ‘the gang’ all buggered off for food, meaning we could swim/bob/swoosh/float back gently to the exit point. It was a lovely, but bizarre swim!
Another big piece of news I have is that I am now officially coaching. I am one of a group of open water swim coaches working under The Cambridge Swim Company brand. We aim to provide expert open water swim coaching throughout Cambridgeshire at various venues and hope to offer some crash courses and swim camps during the summer. Having a group of coaches is going to allow individuals that approach the company to choose which coach and where they prefer to have sessions. It also enables us to offer sessions in a pool, lido, river, and lake allowing us to cater for our individual pupils needs and goals.I have now been working with my first pupil for a couple of weeks in the pool, have a few more weeks left and then we will be heading into Open Water together. I’ve taught 2 sessions so far and both went really well, the pupil is improving their technique and swimming front crawl further than they ever have before. Getting feedback like;
“I cannot believe the progress made in just one session. I actually feel like I will be able to swim front crawl, something I have never been able to do 🏊♀️ thanks Sophie!”
has really made me smile and made all my hard work to get to this point worthwhile. It is great to be able to share my knowledge and help people reach their goals.
Yet MORE news – I am also now officially affiliated with the Tri Wetsuit Hire Company (https://www.triwetsuithire.co.uk) and am able to offer my social media followers, group members and pupils a 10% discount. Last year I hired my wetsuit for the first time, I decided that as I was going to wear it for my Windermere swim it needed to be perfect, so I hired it for a month before then deciding to purchase it. I have no clue why I have never done it before because it worked so well for me and now I highly recommend anyone doing distance swimming in a wetsuit does similar. Obviously, hiring a wetsuit is also cheaper and it is great if you don’t actually know, if you are going to enjoy open water swimming.
The discount code for 10% off is ADAPTSWIM10 and can be added at the checkout.
If you made it this far, well done, that’s all for now. Just keep swimming, be safe and laugh at the video below where I was video/photo bombed by a swan!