I’ve done my first event, but that’s only the start. Now I need to build up to the big one – swimming Windermere next year.
I thought I’d jot down a few of the thoughts I had as a result of the swim at the weekend.
The first was how much I enjoyed it and how keen I am to keep going. As I’ve mentioned before, my Grandad was one of the founder members of the BLDSA, so as a kid I was dragged round to all of these swims. When we arrived early on Saturday morning I got an incredibly nostalgic whiff of sweaty swimmer, lake and liniment – it sounds terrible, but it felt very welcoming. I also chatted to a few people that knew my Grandad and so have now joined the “club”.
But beyond the enjoyment I also realised what a big undertaking this is. Obviously I need to keep up the training, but it’s a little more than just swimming. My plans are to use this summer to do as much open water swimming as possible – so far I’ve got another 3mile event lined up, as well as a 6mile one and a 5.25mile one. But that only takes me through to the end of July, so I’ll try to do at least a couple more in August.
However, after the summer, or at least once the end of this year and my 1,000kms target is reached (or not) then I need to change my training slightly.
I need to lose a bit of weight, that much is now certain (mainly based on the photos my wife took as I was getting into the water). Subconsciously I’ve chosen an event that requires you to carry a little bit of extra body fat for warmth, but I’m overdoing it a bit at the moment. This isn’t ever going to be a blog about my weight, but as for many people all of the exercise stuff started as a way to get fitter and a bit thinner. I seem to have managed one so far without the other.
I also need to spend some time strengthening my shoulders and upper body. Swimming the crawl is all about upper body strength – in fact you should hardly use your legs at all – so that’s something I need to improve. Obviously the swimming itself will help, but my plan is to use the gym properly to help me with that over the winter.
The final area I want to work on is to improve my speed. As I’ve talked about before it’s going to be a hell of a long swim if I keep to my current speed, so I want to work on that. Currently I’m so keen to put the miles in that I don’t want to be doing sets or focusing on sprint drills, but once winter comes then I want to use the time in the pool to speed up, rather than just swim up and down.
If I can spend the first 3-4 months of next year on those three elements, then I should be in good shape to get back into the open water next spring and work on a plan that will see me complete Windermere by the end of the summer. That’s the plan anyway.