6 Months to goooooo!!


Apologies as this one will be slightly longer than those that follow.

The last year has comprised of a few swim events, an acceleration in the training program and a lot of preparation work. I have also routinely visited a physio. The body isn’t quite what it used to be. That is enough of the comments, I am meant to be insulating myself a little.

Since November 2012 my aim has been to swim approximately 35km per week. The workouts have consisted of a base building period, strength and endurance, with some speed work thrown into finish me off!

Meanwhile, my food consumption has gone ballistic. I have found various sources for nutritional guidance and I can highly recommend H2Open magazine as an enormous support, in all subjects concerning open water swimming. Congratulations to Simon and the team.

Last August saw my first long distance event swimming the length of Lake Zurich, Switzerland. Previously, I had never swum more than 15km once, two months before Zurich. The swim was 27km long, with beautiful scenery and great company provided by my kayak support team who will also form part of my boat crew for the big day this September. Thank you David and son Jack. I gained two 3rd places one in a 5km river swim and one in a 800m pool race, in my age category and have competed in several other open water events in France and San Francisco. This has been supplemented with numerous trips swimming off the beach in Dover and the Devon coast.

Pool workouts have been the flavour of the winter months unless I have been lucky enough to visit San Francisco, where I am a member of the South End Swimming and Rowing Club. San Francisco figures heavily in my build up preparations for the Channel. It is a natural playground for any open water swimmer. The cool bay waters average between 6/7C during the winter and rise to a heady 17/18C in the summer. The sea conditions? They vary from flat calm on a beautiful sunny day to.. well, lets say choppy. Oh, and the currents.. Yes there are currents! An excellent training location indeed.

One of the most difficult practises during this period is maintaining my body conditioning to temperature. Always hoping for colder destinations, rather than the Caribbean.

My pool workouts are being conducted in public pools in France, Hampton in London and the University of San Francisco. The workouts have required 2-3 hours in the pool and there are days when I must swim twice or for 5 hours. Luckily, I now have carnal knowledge of ‘chlorine’ in several trusted locations.

However, I must not rely on only using a pool to train in. This would be disastrous. Open water swimming will now become more of a focus. I will venture for an icy dip in a lake near to home and the odd trip to Dover leisure beach, which is currently about 5/6C. The body must become used to long periods of time submersed in cold water. This can only be built up gradually and includes sleeping with only a sheet or very light blanket at night and avoiding wearing coats and jumpers when possible.

So, there you have it my previous year has been a very busy one. I intend to keep you all posted with small blog updates each month from here on in. Enjoy your duvets, winter boots and puffer jackets.. these are but dreams for me at present.