Sinking not swimming…

Cartoon about having laser eye surgery

This year I need to focus on my swimming. A month of 2015 has gone by and I’ve really not achieved very much yet. If I’m going to complete the Scilly Swim Challenge, I’m going to need to start pushing myself soon.

I have to be able to swim a mile in 40 mins (consistently), which is just under 25 mins per km. My average for January was 26:32/km which isn’t good enough. I also only swam 2.8km in the whole month*. That’s the least I’ve swum in a month since I got my Garmin 910XT at Christmas in 2013. I’ve already swum 2km so far this month, so I should be able to surpass my January achievements.

*Maybe I should cut myself a little slack as I wasn’t allowed to swim for most of January as a consequence of having laser eye surgery in December.

cyanide and happiness laser eye surgery

I’m trying to work out what I should do as training for the Scilly Swim Challenge – I’ve got 30 weeks (7 months), but in that time, I need to train for: my cycling trip to Japan, Southampton Half Marathon and Ironman Dublin 70.3.

I’ve had a look at various training plans online:

The recommendation seems to be that I need to swim at least 15-20km a week. As a minimum, I want to be able to swim 6km in one go, so I’m going to need to get myself to the lake for a lot of open water swimming. However, the lake doesn’t open until April and I know that my lungs really dislike me being in cold water.

If anyone can recommend a training schedule (either online or a book), I’d love to hear from you. I’ve read plenty of training plans for iron distance swimming (3.8km) and for 5km swims, but there’s not a lot out there for the distance I want to do.

Several of the sites that I’ve read whilst looking for information have said that cycling and running won’t really help with swimming, but that Pilates or yoga will. I’ve not been able to go to yoga for a year now, but I’d love to go back. One of my yoga teachers has shared some short practices online. This one, yoga for neck and shoulder tension, is a nice five-minute practice:

If you enjoyed that, Laura has a YouTube channel, so you might want to subscribe.

I’m also on the lookout for a new wetsuit. My 2XU wetsuit has done me well for the last couple of years, but it’s now too big for me, so I’m searching for something that fits me better, to get me through the 2015 season (and hopefully beyond!) I know that it will come down to what is available in my size, but I’d love to hear your thoughts on different brands and models.

If nothing else works, I’m hoping that this TED Talk by the completely awesome long-distance swimmer Diana Nyad will inspire me to get back in the water more frequently. It’s called ‘Never, ever give up’:

Stuart is doing the Scilly Swim Challenge with me. This event will take both of us out of our comfort zone, so we’re hoping to raise some money for an important charity (Chestnut Appeal for Prostate Cancer) along the way. If you’d like to sponsor us, please visit:

2 Responses

  1. Congrats on such a great goal!

    I started swimming with a local masters swim club last year, and it has made an incredible difference. Without have to dish out huge amounts of $, I get coached swim workouts 2x per week (which includes stroke correction, etc). As race season gets closer I’ll still need to add in an extra endurance swim that I do on my own, but as far as training plans go, I’ve gone from dreading swim time in the pool to actually enjoying it, and I’m still not fast but I’ve improved lots and am much more comfortable/efficient as a result.

    As for wetsuits…I bought the DeSoto T1 last year, and I love it. It is reasonably priced, 2-pieces (bib-john bottom and separate top), super buoyant, and actually comfortable. It’s designed specifically for swimming, and your shoulders aren’t anchored by your crotch (ha, sounds funny to say it that way, I guess it could be better explained by saying that because the top isn’t attached to the pants, you don’t have the same pull downwards on your shoulders as you do in a traditional wetsuit). And the tops and bottoms can be sized differently (to fit you specifically). That’s my 2 cents on wetsuits (doesn’t hurt that it comes off like a dream, too).

    (and 70.3 Dublin, eh? I’ve looked at that one as a possible future destination race – I’ll look forward to your race report!!!)

    cheers! 🙂 Emily

    • Hi Emily. Thanks for the advice 🙂 I’ve had a look into masters swimming and have found that there is a club that does two sessions a week in Southampton. Frustratigly, their website has no information about the cost on it, so I’ll have to get in touch with them. I probably won’t do anything until after I’ve run Southampton Half Marathon, but I’ll start stepping up my training in April and some good coached sessions after that would be good for me.

      I’ve now had a look at the De Soto website. A two piece might suit me as my bottom half is definitely bigger than my top half. I might keep an eye on ebay as there don’t seem to be any UK stockists and import charges are extortionate 🙁

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