Saturday, 9 May 2009

What I learned today...

I went over to Bosworth again this morning for 7am (which means leaving at 6am), ready for a good couple of hours. I managed 9 laps this time, which I was really pleased with. But because the weather hasn't been so good, the water was much colder than last week and by the end of the two hours, I was really cold and finding it hard not to keep thinking about it. When I was done, I scampered into the changing rooms and layered on my clothes, then ducked into the cafe to get a hot drink and catch up with fellow tri club members. But by the time I sat down, I was shivering really hard, much to the considerable hilarity of everyone else; I think this just confirmed what everyone already thinks about me doing the whole session without a wetsuit, and it's very hard to make a convincing case for the joys of wetsuit-less swimming when you can barely hold a drink without spilling it. But this - getting used to the cold - is all par for the course. Every time builds my confidence a bit and I think I'm doing okay with it overall. As I was standing at the shore preparing to get in (definitely the hardest bit), I was trying to find a positive way to think about it, and settled on needing to trust that it would be okay - that my body will take care of itself. It all sounds a bit hippy-ish, but I really feel like that first moment - of the shock of getting in, is, ultimately, an act of trust... that the shock doesn't last, that the body adapts, that it will be okay. This really helped.

But this isn't the most important thing that I learnt today... In fact, I made two big mistakes that I ended up paying for all day and that I really need to work on. Firstly, I didn't eat when I got out, and just had a hot chocolate instead, and waited until I got home (2 hours later) to have some breakfast (although I did have a bagel as I was driving to the lake). I realise now that this wasn't enough and that the timing was all wrong. I don't think I have really been taking into account the extra energy used by swimming in cold water, and I spent most of the afternoon in an energy slump and feeling sleepy and deflated. I had a big lunch, but this was too late and the damage was done. I was also trying really hard not to go back to bed (I always feel guilty going to bed in the middle of the day), but this meant that I ended up just sitting around watching DVDs, mooching around online and dozing in my chair, so the day just sort of dribbled by without me really doing anything useful (and certainly without me doing any of the exam marking I'm supposed to be doing). So, today I learned: (a) that I need to take some kind of recovery bar / drink / food with me for after my swim; and (b) that I should probably just go back to bed for an hour when I get home to catch up on lost sleep and restore myself. Hopefully, this will set me up for a more productive afternoon, and perhaps more importantly, will help me to recover properly for a long Sunday swim as the season progresses.


  1. Sorry if I interrupted your mental preparation today. FYI I always have breakfast before early morning training, for me this consists of 2/3 weetabix, cold milk & sugar on top. Today I microwaved breakfast which I feel helped warm me from the inside. Warm porridge is an alternative which in the past I've found works as well. May be worth a try.

  2. By the way I wasn't laughing at you, I was lauging with you. I was in a similar uncontrollably shaky state & that's with a westuit on & 30minutes less time in the water. I have to eat & get a hot drink when I finish those sessions but I can't do the sleeping in the day thing.
    We'll get there, we've still got 89days for things to get warmer!

  3. Nice Blog, just found it, thanks for linking me you should have told me so I can add yours...will sort in next day or so...good luck