I'm absolutely ecstatic!! Swimming is back!!
The day outdoor leisure reopened, Alfie and I went down to the Lake armed with our Swim Secure dry bags to face the 9°C water. For the first time in over 3 months, we walked towards the dock in our togs buzzing with excitement. Wetsuit wearers and spectators couldn't believe we were going in the lake "basically naked" and remarked we were "mental".
It seemed as though the last few months we had spent acclimatising to the cold were about to pay off. We waded past the ducks and dove into the water, skin tingling in the ice water. The excitement grew and grew as we flew through our first lap.
This was it, the beginning of our training.
Afterwards we quickly changed into warm dry clothes and wrapped ourselves up in our Swim Secure Luxury Bobble Hats. Both on a 'swim high', we were hooked on swimming once again and began to search for somewhere (slightly warmer) to swim.
Alfie, Mark and I need to build up our mileage over the next three months to increase our strength and endurance for Windermere. Luckily, two local lidos are open so we booked up a few sessions. We'll try to build our training plan around the availability of sessions. (Swimming has got very popular the past year!)
Our first session back in the pool felt very slow and 'ploddy'. To regain the feel of the water we swam an easy 2 km in the 17°C pool. By our second swim, we had both shaved 10 minutes off the previous 2 km time as our swimming proprioception returned. It's amazing how quickly it comes back to you! We will continue to up the distance in the pool and begin to train more and more in the lake once the water has warmed up a little and we can stay in there for longer without wetsuits.
Even with the past few months of preparation and land training - It very much feels like we're starting from scratch! Using our combined knowledge and differing expertise, Alfie and I have written a plan to make sure we're training effectively and maximising the benefits.
Over the next 3 months, we aim to sleep for 8 hours a night to help our bodies cope with the increased training load and help us recover effectively. Sleep is very important, especially as we train, as our bodies synthesise protein to help grow and repair muscles overnight. Similarly, to increase protein synthesis, Alfie has introduced Mark and I to protein supplementation. After a swim, we now drink protein shakes to increase muscle protein synthesis, helping us recover and repair our muscles. Consuming protein post-workout has even been shown to decrease muscle soreness!!
As well as this, we're placing huge emphasis on eating nutrient dense foods and taking our daily multivitamins. With our high training load it is important to keep our energy stores replenished and make sure we don't have any deficiencies. This will help keep us energised and hopefully prevent us from falling ill. We can't afford to get injured or ill with this little time left to train!! I have become the Queen of energy balls, making sure everyone is getting enough protein and carbohydrates to fuel our training! (Bit different to our weekly cakes last year, although I'm sure these will make a reappearance soon!)
Other things we are doing over the next 3 months is giving up drinking (who would have thought Alfie would agree to this!) and making sure we stay hydrated through other means. Hydration is a key element of any training program as not only is it essential for normal body functioning, it keep joints lubricated and flushed waste products such as lactic acid from muscles reducing risk of injury.
We'd love to say hello if you see us training!