Training Ramping up again!

Time to get back in the pool.

Since my last post, I have not really been doing a hell of a lot of swimming. I have, however been enjoying myself. As you are all aware now, I  have my own website (STILL – and will always be – a masterpiece in progress) Well, it probably would be, but the designers  ColinsIT, decided to give me carte blanche over the site. How silly are they? I suppose they are not that silly as they chose me to sponsor.

It has been great fun trying to fathom out this thing, Hours spent just staring a screen with a decidedly blank look on my mug. Mumbling the words which mean nothing to man nor beast, often accompanied by various expletives. I probably still have NO IDEA what most of the settings are on the design side but – as you are currently reading this – I can put a post in it. Oh and I do not even have to give you a countdown, there are these widget things that do that all for you – who would have thought?

I must admit, I have not been avoiding the pool but work constraints have kept me away from it as much as I should be in it. It is the less celubruious part of my job – called out of hours support – that has kept me from the pool, and the odd days over the long weekend taken out to write exams, but not entirely. But it is not all bad as It has given me time to sit at home and delve into a part of IT that has always scared me a bit – WEB DESIGN.  I can say it is great fun and takes a fair amount of time – when you have no clue what you are doing but learning something new is always fun and I always have the Designers to fix anything that I break. I extend a BIG than you to Gerry and Colin for this lovely website that you have put tegether – and are hosting for me.

I always have this Dilemma when I am in training, that I am not doing enough of it. If I look at some people out there who swim 30 – 50 km a week I often think , 1 – do you have a job and 2 – how the heck do you keep your motivation up? I still advocate that I am a social swimmer who just does this sport because I enjoy it. Thankfully, so far in my wallowing, I have been quite sucessful – and injury free. It is a very fine line to tread, train hard and open yourself up to injury or, do the bare minimum to get you through a planned swim. I err on the latter.

Saying that, I still manage to amaze myself. For instance, I basically took a week off from the pool and when I got back in, my times are faster and my endurance is still there. In my last big (35Km) training week, I was doing sets of 10 x 500m and pretty much all of them were over 7 minutes with just one being under the 7 minute mark. This week i came back and id the same set and all bar one were below 7 minutes with my fastest being 6 min 40 seconds. my Average set is now about 6 – 7km with a 9 – 10 km set on the weekend. I have now gotten into the routine of training on my own. I do train with a  masters class twice a week after my own training but one thing I miss is the likes of Vicky or Greg. they are possibly faster than me and this really motivates me to swim faster and harder. When I am on my own, I do swim quite hard but I am constantly chasing a clock and it becomes a bit tedious after about 6 km – especially in a 25m pool. I am definitely getting my moneys worth at David Lloyd. I am also very fortunate that othe swimmers give me a wide berth when I am in the throws of a heavy set and I am fortuneate enough to – generally have a lane to myself. Mind you, if I saw a hippopotamus thundering up and down the pool, I would also give them a wide berth.

Easter is —- gone

I was sort of hoping that this time would be spent doing some serious swimming but, as mentioned above, I have exams that should have been done in January. As the company that presents the exams only decided to send me the exam about 15 days ago and promptly proceeded to chastise my company for me not writing the exam —– bear in mind I did the course in the middle of January and it has taken them this long to produce an exam —– I would sort of hope they might cut us some slack. Well that is not the case, so two days out of my 4 day weekend were dedicated to studying and writing exams.

Whilst not writing exams or studying I did manage to get off to the pool and hammer out a few smaller 4 km sets. I can say that the time out of the pool seems to have helped my times as I am now consistently doing 500m under 7 min. About two weeks ago, these were mostly done at times over 7 min and the 7 min mark seemed positively elusive. I now find my times a fair bit under that and have gone close to 6 min 30sec for 500m, on the odd occasion.  I have increasd my intervals to 1km and about 90 % of the time I was going under 14 min. I can say that taking time out of the pool, for me, has its benefits and I am FINALLY getting the speed that has, my entire life, been so frustratingly elusive.  I am not going to say that this is entirely sustainable for 16 – 26 km swims but my times are improving and, a key indicator for me , to show that my endurance is building, is to maintain those times throughout my sets. I can honestly say that I have surpassed that with my times progressively getting faster the further I go. OK, I am only doing 6 – 7km training sets currently but my times improve throughout the entire set with a huge blowout on my final 500m/1 km. All in all, I am not too bothered about the fact that I am fit enough. However, I still have a nagging voice in my head that questions my ability to do this 4 days in a row. I WILL NOT SUCCUMB!!!!!

And when I am not in the pool, I am on my computer playing with my website or——SHOPPING.  This last week has seen a plethora of toys drop through the door. 1st was the GOPRO Hero4 WATERPROOF video camera plus various attachments. Audra was not happy taking NON WATERPROOF Iphones and DSLR cameras on the kayak. She does have a point!!!!!

Over the last couple of days I have got new goggles – WOW, Zogg Predators – you rock. I have always been hesitant to go for the new models, the old model is superb and I have used them for ages without any problems whatsoever. The new ones however, are a masterpiece of design. all that remains is to see if they last as long as the old model (they have big goggles to fill!!) I can now see underwater. My other goggles are still going strong after about 3 years, but I needed a spare pair/a pair that was not dark, for my night time swim. Would have been a bit dim (in many senses of the word) to do a swim under a stunningly expansive milkyway, only to not see it because I have tinted goggles!

Next we have more drybags than you can shake a stick at. I suspect that the only thing getting wet during my swim will be me, Everything else will be safely packed and DRY. I am still expecting a few more toys to arrive and then, I THINK, we are all set for May 4th – “may the fourth be with me” It just so happens that we will be flying out on Star trek Day – Hence the above comment.

Looking into the Future

It is getting to the time when I have to start looking what the summer will have in store for me. The one issue with doing a swim in the US of A is that SCAR is RIGHT at the beginning of our season. Most the lakes have not even opened for the season. By the time my Big swim for this year is done, Britains open water season will just be kicking off. On that note, there is a plethora of open water swims to choose from nowadays and it is becoming more difficult to choose which ones to do.

So I will do ones that I have done before and found to be very enjoyable. I will hopefully see myself back in the Jubilee River for the third year. I will also do the standard Dorney lake 10 KM. Not for the fact that it is a great swim, it is actually quite a boring swim. I will go back and do it this year as quite a few of my friends will be taking part. It will be a grand opportunity to have a good catchup with quite a few of my fellow swimmers from around Europe and a few others but, seeing as my swimming jaunts are becoming more and more international, I have been looking further afield. One that has taken my fancy is Swim The Island -off the Italian coast. By no means a long swim at 6km and a 2nd swim at 1.8km but it looks like it is a great venue – and I have not swum in the med for a while. We will also use this trip to catch up with a few friends in Italy. My support team will be thankful that they will not need to kayak for me for this one so Cocktails on the beach I suppose. Just as long as I get handed a cocktail as I emerge from my swims.


When I do thes little adventures, I do like to make it not all about me. I am fortuneate to have an ability that can be used to do some pretty extreme swims. I am aware that many people, for one reason or another are not.

All I can Hope for is that I can turn my swims into a vessel to raise much needed funding for a plethora of charities out there

This year, due to personal circumstances, my attention has been piqued by a charity called SANE – a mental health Charity. I chose this, because this terribly misunderstood affliction has a whole lot to answer for in my life and anything I can do to bring focus to this and raise awareness to help anybody suffering with it I am truly glad to be in a situation that I can.


I will put in the hard work, all I ask you is to click on the link below and donate something, anything.

About the author

Ameteur Endurance athlete and marathon swimmer Having taken up marathon swimmng in 2008 with the challenge of the English Channel, I then continued on to Cycle up Britain, Kayak across Scotland and run a few marathons. None of those held the draw that marathon swimming held so in 2014 I was back in the water to Swim the longest swim in Switzerland and then, in 2015 I opted to take on my biggest swim to date. SCAR challenge.- 4 lakes in 4 days with distances Ranging from 6 miles to 18 miles.

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