Tag Archives: Wetsuit

Sinking not swimming…

7 Feb

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 look out 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 teh 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: https://www.justgiving.com/TamsynandStuswim/

Weekend round up

2 Mar

It’s been another hectic weekend, where I’ve managed to cram in an awful lot and have no idea how I’ve managed it. I’ll try to keep this post briefer than the last one, but brevity is not my forte!

A while back, I answered a Triathlon Industry Association survey and was informed this week that I had won a pair of tickets to the Triathlon Show. As I already had quite a lot of activities planned and booked, I decided to go on Friday evening after I had finished work, as it was on until quite late. I was concerned that the traffic might be bad, but I thought the show was likely to be quieter than at the weekend. Fortunately, I was proved correct as there were very few people there by the time that Stuart and I arrived.

On arrival, we were given a goody bag with various samples in it including some Powerbar gel shots that I like, a nuun hydration tablet and some men’s shower gel


There were a lot of wetsuits and swimwear on sale. I’ve only ever worn my own 2XU wetsuit, but I’m perfectly happy with it, so I didn’t spend long looking at wetsuits. Stuart bought a new pair of goggles as he only owns one pair. I would have liked to look at goggles, but as I wear prescription ones, there would be no point. Maybe one day I’ll have laser surgery.


The Zoggs stand was in a prominent position near to the entrance and there were a couple of endless pools. I would love to have one (especially if I could have it set up with video cameras, so that I could analyse my technique). These were being used for demonstrations when we arrived, which was quite interesting, but as I already have many technique points to work on, I don’t think there are many other things that I could pick up on right now!

I was surprised at how few bikes were on display. We went to a local triathlon show in Bournemouth a few months ago (organised by Primera, a local bike store) and there were more bikes on display there. Stuart would love to have a new bike, but none of the ones that caught his eye had prices on display, which is never a good sign!


We hadn’t been at the show for long before we were accosted by a company called ‘Sport Stiks’ who sell number transfers, which are apparently ‘classier’ than a number written on with a marker pen. I agreed to have a number put on me in return for the chance to win a watch. I didn’t win and I learnt that the transfers are just as difficult to remove as pen (I had to do parkrun with mine on as I couldn’t scrub it off). The transfer didn’t work on Stu as his forearms are too hairy – within an hour it was impossible to read the number!


After we browsed some of the unusual swimwear that was on offer (do adult men really wear multicoloured holographic swimming trunks?!) I said to Stu that I’d really like the BlueSeventy swimming costume that I saw at the London Triathlon Expo. We found where the BlueSeventy stand was and I was pleased to see that the swimming costume was in stock.


It’s really striking and attractive, although it has a much lower back than any of the other swimsuits that I own. I think I may lose a few pounds before I wear it in public!

We also spent a while at the Alton Sports stand. You may have noticed that in many of my running photos (and all of my cycling pics) I have one of a selection of headbands on. Almost all of them are made by Bondi bands. I find them very comfortable and like the fact that they keep my ears warm, as I am prone to earache. The slogan below caught my eye, so I decided to treat myself to a new one:


Katherine had given Stuart and I stern instructions that w were to bring her back a present. I dithered about buying her a swimming hat with a Portuguese flag on it, but then thought a Bondi band would be a good choice. I couldn’t find one that said ‘Will run for CAKE’, but I thought that the one below perfectly demonstrated that Katherine isn’t picky as long as there’s some reward in it for her!


(I gave the headband to Katherine at parkrun, where she declared it as perfect for keeping her hair off her face when running. Unfortunately, by the time I saw her after the run she had already lost her gift. She had taken it off after running and thought she might have dropped it. She rummaged in her tights (where she stores her gloves), but couldn’t find it there, so we assumed that someone must have picked it up. Fortunately, when Katherine got home she found it in the sleeve of her jacket!)

The next item that I selected at Alton Sports was a new running belt. My belt is a couple of years old now and has a few problems – the only pocket that my phone will fit in is ripped and one zip won’t open, so it’s not much use. My friend Teri highly recommended her iFitness belt, so I thought I would get one of those. It has toggles for a race number, 6 loops for gels and a stretchy neoprene pocket that will fit my phone. (I never used to run with my phone, but now that I’m blogging, I’m trying to take a few more photos to make my posts more interesting).


I also bought a couple of bottles that fit onto my belt. This will make it more flexible than my current belt which has four hard plastic bottle holders.


I’ve tried running with an adidas race belt that Stuart has, but it hasn’t worked very well for me – I found that it was difficult for me to drink from the bottles, so I didn’t drink enough. I tried the new belt today whilst trying to do a long run and it seemed perfect. I carried one bottle and found that it was comfortable didn’t rub me at all (I had bad friction burns from Stu’s belt).

After we had finished investigating the main hall, we went upstairs and found out about a few triathlon holidays and races. There was one that caught my eye – the Midnight Wo/Man Long Distance Tri that takes place at night. It appeals to me as it’s on closed roads and it’s unlikely to be hot at night, so I’m less likely to overheat… but I’ve signed up for enough this year, so I’ll put it on my list of races for future years.

The last stop was the basement where the masseurs and nutrition products could be found.

Tucked away in a back corner was a shiny silver stand of Jack Oatbars.I tried a piece of a cranberry one and thought it was delicious. I then started chatting to the rep on the stand, who was impressed that I had already heard of the brand and followed them on Twitter. I then mentioned Chris Collins, which got me a free bar – thanks, Chris 🙂


The next stop was at the ShotBlok stand where I tried a few samples and then selected three packs of cherry with caffeine, one of tropical fruit and one of strawberry. That should be enough to get me through my training and marathon!


I was then lured in by the High5 stand as I like High5 gels. I bought a goody box with £23 of products in it for £5 – not a bad deal!


Finally, just before I left, I made a bit of an impulse purchase of a bike box. It had an impressive review in 220 Triathlon and was reasonably priced, so I decided that it would be a good buy. (I’m hoping to take two triathlon holidays this year, so it will be used twice).

Originally, I intended to do my long run on Saturday, but I was tired after my late night, so I decide to run for fun for a change.  It was a beautifully crisp and clear day with just a hint of frost.

IMG_1972  IMG_1974

As I’ve been overheating whilst running, I just wore shorts and a t-shirt, which was comfortable. As you can see, it wasn’t a fast run, but the lack of pressure meant that I enjoyed the run far more than most of the runs I’ve done recently:


It took me nearly 30 minutes to do 5km, but I enjoyed a chat with Teri. Despite finishing in position 392, there were over 100 people behind me!


In the afternoon, I used a voucher that I had for Sweatshop to buy a new t-shirt.


It fits well and is really comfortable. A bonus is that it matches a pair of purple shorts that I have but don’t wear very often!

I also managed to fit in an opticians appointment, where I was pleased to learn that my eyes are healthy and my eyesight hasn’t changed and I finally managed to get my hair cut. I’ve gone for a slightly different style, although as most people only ever see me with my hair tied up (or I’ve got on a swimming hat/bike helmet) I don’t expect many people will notice. Now I just need to hear back from my doctor.

CC6 at Wilverley Plain

CC6 at Wilverley Plain

Today I knew I had to fit in a long run and I also wanted to do the final cross-country race of the season. In the end, I compromised. I picked up my friend Tim who I haven’t seen much recently, but who got me through the toughest parts of my first marathon. We then ran the CC6 at our own paces before meeting up afterwards with Sarah (another club runner) for a ‘long run’.

Tim, Sarah and I after our run

Tim, Sarah and I after our run

Originally, I wanted to do 20 miles, but I’m trying to be realistic about what I can do when I’m not 100%. I also know that it’s harder to run long after racing and the terrain for the cross-country race was tough – not only was it very hilly, but it was also muddy and slippery almost all of the way around. In the end, our run totalled about 12 miles. In the past, I might have been disappointed with that, but I need to be kinder to myself.

IMG_1989 IMG_1988 IMG_1987

So, overall, it’s been a busy weekend, but I feel much more motivated that I’ll be able to get back on track this week with both training and blogging 🙂


19 Mar

I organised my possessions into my panniers as best I could before leaving work yesterday, so that there would be plenty of room for my new wetsuit in its box. I cycled across town to the Post Office, but when I got there the door was closed. It looked strangely abandoned, so I wondered whether it had been relocated to another building. I then carefully read the redelivery note and saw that it closed at 5pm on Mondays and Tuesdays 😦 I was so disappointed – receiving my wetsuit was going to be the highlight of my day, but I was denied that excitement.

I got myself ready for running as quickly as possible and grabbed my session plan (“One, Two, Tree” – sprints with Group B) before heading out to my training session with Lordshill Road Runners. I made it just in time to leave with the group. We did a few warm ups and drills before a sprint session. I then came home and sat down to analyse my stats from the last few runs I’ve done. I was delighted to note that my average cadence was 94 – this is the best average that I’ve managed since I started wearing a Garmin foot pod. I’d love to know what my cadence was when I did my PB. I’d also be interested in learning what my cadence was before my running holiday and starting RunCamp.

My interest in cadence is because this morning’s RunCamp session was all about cadence and running tempo: http://www.runcamp.co.uk/blog/2013/03/18/Tempo-Training.aspx. We started off having to run to a metronome at 160bpm, before moving on to 170, 180 and 190 bpm. It was so difficult running at 160bom – I never want to try that again. The higher bpms were much easier with 190 being my preference… although 180 felt like what I do with my group. We also did a lot of hopping, again. Despite ‘improving’, I still find that this gets my heart racing more than any other exercise!


The parcel!


Trying on my new wetsuit!

After RunCamp, Stu drove me to the Post Office to pick up my wetsuit. I was so excited. I didn’t allow myself to open the box until we got home… but then I had to try it on straight away. I managed to squeeze myself into it without any problems, but zipping it up was soooooo difficult. Fortunately, removing it was easier. If timing for initial dressing and preparation for a triathlon were included, then I would fail before even starting! I now have to seriously think about whether I can do an open water swim.

So excited about this week

18 Mar

I have decided that I need to blog little and often to keep on top of things, and am trying to start that way today. Hopefully, this will also generate more discussion around my blog posts.

The first challenge that I had today was whether to go to the Post Office before work. I ‘accidentally’ ordered a wetsuit on Friday and Wiggle must have sent it immediately as Royal Mail tried to deliver at 10.30am on Saturday morning, when I was still enjoying some post-parkrun socialising. I’ve had to look at the ‘sorry we missed you’ slip for a couple of days and am desperate to lay my hands on my new toy… However, the weather was foul this morning and I had to reattach my panniers to my bike before swimming, so I thought I’d better leave it until this evening. My other concern is that it is described as coming in a large box – how large? Will it fit in my panniers?

Eventually, I decided that I had better go straight to the pool and spend some time thinking about when to collect it. My rational side says to drive to the Post Office on the way to training, whilst my impetuous side tells me to cycle there on the way home… Knowing full well that I’ll want to try it on as soon as I get in. (I’m hoping that the fact I’ll look like a big fat seal in it will encourage me to keep up the healthy eating!!!)

Swimming this morning was great. The pool was relatively quiet, with only two other swimmers in ‘my’ half of the pool. One day, I’ll graduate to lane swimming, but at the moment, I can’t swim fast enough or straight enough, and I need to take breaks too often!

Today’s break through was freestyle breathing. I had been puffing out air to a count in my head (that matched my arms), but I spent the session trying to exhale continuously until my head came out if the water. It was then easier to breathe in, but I think I was swimming more slowly. Unfortunately, I can’t check on my progress as the pool clock still isn’t working.

Has anyone got any tips for improving my breathing whilst swimming?