Monthly Archives: February 2015

Shower people, please!

I went for a swim at lunch time today – a gentle and sedate 2km to try and embed the new stroke elements I’m learning.

However, as we were getting into the pool there were about a dozen of us waiting for the lane ropes to be put in. Yet from all twelve of us I was the only one to use the showers before swimming.

That’s one in twelve!

Not only is it rule 4, but it’s basic hygiene and decency.

A quick shower and you’re removing the outside world and not carrying any potential muck into the pool. Not only that, but you’re also preparing your body for the water and making it easier to get in and swim.

So please, shower before you swim and keep the pool cleaner.


Filed under Swimming

Homo Openwaterus

*David Attenborough voice*

“Here we are, privileged to see this fascinating species in his secondary environment. Normally found in the lakes and seas around the UK, this time we encounter homo openwaterus in a pool…”

“Our cameraman was very brave to get these shots and could easily have been eaten – homo openwaterus needs to retain a healthy layer of blubber at all times and often eats anything in its path.

Fortunately this specimen was at play and we have this amazing footage.”

– – –

Thanks to SwimCanaryWharf and Endless Pools.


Filed under Swimming

A bit worried

I had the flu at the weekend and it really knocked me out for a few days – so no training. So last night I was delighted to be able to get to the gym and do something on the treadmill. I have to say that I’m a bit worried about the Coniston 14 in a few weeks time – especially after missing a long run this weekend. I don’t have many weeks left and not much time to do many more long runs.

In the end I managed the following:
– 5.95km on the bike (warm-up)
– 5.1km running
– 1.2km swimming (technique drills)

To heighten the sense of worry this came in the post yesterday morning:

My Coniston 14 number has arrived. *Gulp*

My Coniston 14 number has arrived. *Gulp*

It’s real now and I’ve gotta do it – I just don’t think I’ll do it very well.

And of course I can’t focus only on my running as I’m already starting to worry about the 2swim4life 24 hour swim at the beginning of May! I’m not sure I’ll get anywhere enough swimming training in by then!

At least all this training means that it’s not keeping me awake at night with worry – I’m too tired!

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Filed under Running, Swimming

More running

It would appear that I am getting my running mojo back.

I’d love to be a summer swimmer and then a winter runner, that’s the plan. I’m not much good at either, but when I feel fit enough I enjoy them both. For both of them I’m much more a slow plodder than a racer, tending to go longer and slower than many.

At the moment my running isn’t up to much, but it is getting there. And today was another good run.

Today's run

Today’s run

The plan today was to try to go a bit faster and also do some ‘hills’ – or as close to hills as we get around here. I’m still happy to do bits of walking (as advised by the physio when getting back to running after injury) and you can see the three slow sections which were walks, but the running pace was good and the ‘hills’ were good too.

There’s a little rise near me and so I did two sides of that. Up, across and down – then walk – up and across – then walk – across then down – then walk – up, across and down to get back to where I started (I also had to transport a fox, a chicken and some grain… more here).

The last section hurt my legs as I’d done a long (75 minutes) run on Monday, but another good run done. I’m almost starting to look forward to the Coniston 14.


Filed under Running

Swimming Windermere – on TV

If you want to get a better understanding of what swimming Windermere is actually like, then it is covered in a recent TV programme on BBC called Countryside 999.

As you can guess from the programme title, it’s not exclusively about swimming and is actually about all the various ‘accidents’ that can happen in the UK’s rural locations and the emergency services that help in those situations. One of the people covered is a lake warden on Windermere and one of his duties was to check on a couple of groups of swimmers swimming the lake.

You can catch the programme on BBC iPlayer here – the swimming bits start from about 7 mins 30 seconds and again from about 31 mins.

What I love about it is that even the lake warden thinks they’re a bit mad!

Some of the swimmers setting off

Some of the swimmers setting off

Swimmers by the ferry (about half-way)

Swimmers by the ferry (about half-way)


Filed under Swimming

What’s happening to Basic Income?

I’m certainly not an expert in politics and would never claim, neither political philosophy, or the workings of politics and the parties. Both interest me, but I’m very much an outsider looking in.

However, I posted the other day about the Basic Income. It’s a policy I have privately endorsed for a long time and something that the Green Party in the UK appeared to add to its manifesto for the upcoming election.

Then it dropped it (read about here in The Telegraph). Or did it (a comment on Reddit)?

To be honest I don’t know what the exact answer is. I can understand how and why other politicians (and the newspapers that support the existing system) would challenge the Green Party and suggest that these policies have been dropped, or should be. But I don’t want to get all ‘conspiracy theory’ on you.

I wouldn’t expect it be adopted just yet no matter who has it on the manifesto, or which party wins at the next election (or which collection of parties as I expect it to be a coalition again). This is an idea that is radical enough to need time to sink into the human consciousness, to need time to percolate through and become a mass movement for its introduction.

So given that, at this stage all I want is for it be debated and discussed.

I don’t even know if I *want* it introduced, because I don’t pretend to understand all the ramifications yet. So I just want it fairly and maturely debated (unlikely I know, but we can dream).

Anyway, on politics, here’s a good article in the Guardian about voting for what you want – not what is the lesser of evils.

– – –

Back to swimming / running nonsense again soon, promise.

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Filed under Revolution, Thoughts

Ready to ROAR!

Next time I go for a swim, I’m ready to ROAR!

Look what arrived in the post for me today.

Team Bear swim hat

Team Bear swim hat

That’s right, it’s a Team Bear swim hat and I’m looking forward to wearing it in the open water soon (as soon as it warms up a bit!)


If you’re interested in a virtual team that offers support and encouragement to anyone willing to ‘Suffer But NEVER Surrender’, then do enquire about joining Team Bear. They may sometimes not be the best at logistics (it took a while longer than it should have done for my hat to reach me), but they make up for it in customer service as these were in envelope too.

Just as research I had to open them and try them and they’re yummy chocolate covered marshmallow bears – perfect for a snack after training (as long I don’t tell my son about them as they’ll disappear if I do!)

On top of all that, I managed another 5km+ running this morning. The leg is getting stronger, the mind is getting used to running again and I’m starting to look forward to the Coniston 14.

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Filed under Running, Swimming

Lane Swimming Rules

My local pool only allows lane swimming at certain times, which means it can be hard to manage the diary to make sure that I can swim as much as I want to. So it is very annoying to then have your swim ruined by someone not following the ‘rules’.

That said, the rules haven’t been written down, they are just common sense. Unfortunately not everyone has common sense, so I thought I’d write them down here.

Of course, I’m only saying that these are the rules for the pool I swim in. Other pools may have a different set up, or a different culture.

– – –

In this pool there are four 25m lanes. The lanes are split according to the speed you are swimming (from left to right as you’re stood at the shallow end) SLOW – FAST – MEDIUM – SLOW.

Here are the five rules for swimming during a lane swimming session.

1) Check Your Speed

– Enter the correct lane according to your speed.
– If you are constantly being overtaken – think about moving down a lane. If you are constantly overtaking – think about moving up a lane.
– Don’t forget that the speed is relative not absolute. The lane you were in last time is irrelevant, it’s all about how fast you are swimming today. And if you do drills or sprints that change your speed, consider changing lane too.
– Even if everyone is in the right lane different speed swimmers will need to mix. If someone is faster than you let them pass at the wall as soon as you can. If you are overtaking make sure you can touch and turn before the person you are overtaking touches, if not then hang back and wait until they let you through at the end of the length.

2) Give Way to Swimmers

– The session is for swimmers, so give way for people that are swimming. If you stop swimming, whether for 10 seconds or 10 minutes, then you must give way for swimmers.
– Don’t block the wall, not allowing people to turn.
– Don’t set off just in front of a turning swimmer (assume that every swimmer will be turning and setting off for another lap).

3) Go With the Flow

– The lanes are designated as alternately clockwise or anti-clockwise. This is so that people aren’t swimming towards each in opposite lanes and therefore reduces the chances of collisions.
– Respect this and if you are overtaking move back to the correct side of your lane as quickly as possible.

4) Shower

– Please shower before you enter the pool.
– Please shower again if you leave the pool to go to the toilet.
– It’s just common courtesy folks.

5) Don’t be a Dick

– If people that are swimming with you break any of the above rules, take a deep breath and carry on.
– DON’T intentionally overtake, blocking them off from turning.
– DON’T push off just ahead of them on purpose.
– DON’T speed up if someone is overtaking you.
– Just DON’T be a dick.
– Everyone is doing some sort of set. It will be different than yours, but no less important than yours. Don’t disrupt other people’s swims and just relax and enjoy yours.

– – –

As I’m sure you’re all aware, rule 5 is the one that I break most often. People not respecting other swimmers can just wind me up and I struggle to take a deep breath and relax. I’ll try harder though.

– – –

By the way, I’m tempted to print these out and pin them up around the leisure centre.

What are your thoughts about all of this?

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Filed under Swimming

An hour of ‘running’!


I’ve signed up for the Coniston 14, but got injured in December and so have been a little bit concerned that I wouldn’t be able to do it. I’m keen to do it as I think it’ll be fun, beautiful and a great way to explore a lake I’ve swum twice.

So after slowly getting back into running on the treadmill in the gym I wanted to do two things today: run outside; be out there for at least an hour. I managed both!

I’m still calling it ‘running’ at the moment as, under advise from the physio, I’m interspersing running with a minute or so of walking. At the moment the aim is to do a 5:1 ratio of running and walking.

But today wasn’t about speed or distance, it was about time and getting my legs and my head used to just getting on with it for a bit. I wanted to put the Team Bear mantra of #SufferButNEVERsurrender to the test in running mode. And that’s why I set a goal of an hour (I’ve not done more than 31 minutes on the treadmill so far).

My hour of running, broken down by pace.

My hour of running, broken down by pace.

You can see from the graph above that the walks got a bit longer towards the end, but actually so did the runs.

Over the next few weeks I will lengthen my long run by 10 minutes per week until I’m up to 2 hours. By then I should be ready for Coniston 14. See you there!


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Filed under Motivation, Running

LetJog15 Update

The goal for this year is to complete 1,600 kms (or 1,000 miles) over the course of the year – that’s all the way from Land’s End to John O’Groats and then just over 100 kms on the way back again. This equates to 133.33 kms per month.

My January numbers are:

– Swimming – (29 actual) – 87 kms amended
– Running – (24.92) – 24.92 kms
– Cycling – (61.37) – 15.34 kms

Total – (115.29) – 127.26 kms

So I’m just under the monthly target, but I’m pretty pleased with that. January is always a tough month and I was nearly there. I’m sure Feb and March might be a bit under the target as well, but once I get properly swimming in the summer I’m sure the numbers will increase.


Filed under Cycling, Running, Swimming