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Taking A Break!

Ian's Intervals help Cheryl's countdown to open water adventure

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    Breaststroke, Other Thoughts
23-Feb-2017 /  written by Cheryl Cross
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Taking A Break!
“ The Strel website suggests you should be able to swim about 2.2 km per hour (the course being a couple of swims a day of around this distance). And there’s my first obstacle – how do I know how fast I swim? I’m going to have to find out. "
The Cold Water Swimming Championships took place at Tooting Bec Lido a few weeks ago and I (Cheryl) was lucky enough to win a prize (I didn’t go near the water – it was a raffle prize!) - a Strel swimming holiday in the Montenegro fjords. 
 
It was meant to be! I was chatting with a friend, saying I would never challenge myself to do a swim trip like that. “But if I won it, I’d have to do it and that would be good.”

The Strel website suggests you should be able to swim about 2.2 km per hour (the course being a couple of swims a day of around this distance). And there’s my first obstacle – how do I know how fast I swim? I’m going to have to find out. 

I have to confess a slight aversion to public pools. Clocking up lengths, counting, timing. It’s not what swimming’s about for me - I’ve been spoilt by our little haven of a pool at Croft Farm where we teach. But I can do this, of course I can. Just go to the pool, swim for an hour, count the number of lengths and then I’ll know – if I’m close to 2.2km per hour.

Trouble is, it seems I’m not your average multi-tasking female and can only do one thing at a time. The pool was only open for an hour slot – perfect – I wouldn’t need to check the time at all, I could just count. I’d got to 11 when I realised I was counting strokes and still on the first length! By length 5, I wasn’t absolutely sure it wasn’t length 7. By somewhere around 24 I’d lost count too many times to bother continuing counting. “I’ll just see how easy it is to keep going for an hour”. It was easy but I left the pool with no idea of distance or speed. 

I tried once more, with the same outcome, before admitting to myself that I’d need Ian’s help with this. When he was serious about training, 25 years ago (!), I spent time in the pool with him and his swimming friends. I’d do my own thing but was aware of them checking the Speedo clock, all setting off together for so many lengths, all stopping and looking at the clock waiting to go again, even checking their pulses to see if they were using appropriate effort. To me it seemed like a lot of faff but I understood it was because they were ’training'.

Ian took care of the clock and the sums, all I had to do was follow. A comfortable breaststroke. We completed so many sets of so many metres with so long a pause between. Ian offered to show me how to write that down, which I didn’t think necessary. 

The conclusion – “You’ll be fine”!

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