Wednesday, 10 October 2012


September, the first month of my new plan, the month I should be gung ho, ready to commit and the most enthusiastic.  Well, that is has been a challenging month on a personal level.  My job at the Olympics came to an end after two and half great years.  With lots of goodbyes, everyone going their seperate ways, there were quite a few drinks that needed attending!  Not the best start to training, but some really good parties:)  This coupled with some very difficult nights due to the kids deciding that now would be a good time to stop sleeping through the night have seriously impacted my ability to train.

I finally managed 1 cold water swim at the end of the month - just over an hour and a half in 11c, distance was around 5-6km ( couldn't swim in a straight line so not exactly sure!), not bad considering I haven't done any open water training since swimming in Dover harbour in June.

As for my strength training, i have done that exactly ..... er.... Zero times, yup not once!! How bad is that, but I do have an excuse, it's a rubbish excuse, but it makes me feel better. I fell over one evening whilst roller blading back from the station (great time saver), slipped on a wet surface and landed on my bum and right hand, really painful. I thought (in fact still do) think I may have done more than just sprained it. I left it a day to see if it would get better by itself, it did a bit and didn't seem to hurt to badly when I swam, but I couldn't put any downward pressure on it, so push ups were out of the questions. Absolutely no reason why I can't do sit-ups, squats, skip etc, but I just couldn't get it into my routine. Must try harder next month!

Tuesday, 9 October 2012

The Plan

Now that the current Channel swimming season is all but over I look to next year and 'my' season.... I can't believe I am now properly in the lead up to my swim!

This has been a tough year as my life has been consumed with working at the Olympics. This combined with a young family has made training a little tricky. I have managed to maintain a good base, but my enthusiasm has waned somewhat. However, my fire has been well and truely stoked by the fact that I am into the last leg and the end is almost insight. Well I have finally arrived at the bottom of the mountain and just need to climb to the top now!

I have sought advice from various quarters, trying to determine what a training plan should look like for a successful swim. It has been surprisingly difficult to get this information as no one wants to commit to a winning strategy, as I guess there isn't one! After all, we are all different. Another piece of advice I have followed is not to 'waste' money on a coach.

So, I have taken all of this advice and combined it with wisdom from Penny Lee Dean's book Open Water Swimming and used it put my own plan together. Is it the right plan? Is going without a coach the right move?? Well I will be able to tell you in a little over 10 months time...

Below is the first 4 months of the plan, which takes me to the end of the year, as I started this in September, just didnt getting round to posting the info up then!

Firstly the overall plan for the period: 

I have used Swim Smooth’s CSS pace for testing and training against. If you are not aware of CSS, here is their explanation

Below is my monthly test set:

CSS Test (3km)
FC 600
Pull 400
2 x 200
4 x 100
4 x 50
Cool Down - 200

Also, an explanation of the Red Mist session can be found here

For the long swims I use a wetronome to set my stroke rate to ensure that I maintain an even pace throughout.

This is a more detailed look at a typical training week,

The focus of the trainig is 2-fold:

1)Work on increasing my pace (see previous post 'The need for speed')
2)Work on increasing endurance and distance swims

I plan to swim in the open water as late into the year as possible, for the long swims, so that I maintain my tolerance to the cold water.

Here is my strength plan;

The aim is to do this 2/3 times per week:  You will note that I am not using weights in this plan, I am just using my own body weight to build endurance and strength. The reason is pretty simple, I need to build my training into my family life, spending hours in the pool and the gym is just not feasible!

I will try and post a monthly update on how the training is going and comment on what works and what doesn't.