The open water season is now here! It’s cold, it’s wet, it’s windy and it’s great for training to swim the Channel!
After a month delay due to the weather to open water season is finally under way. I am now training at Box End Park twice a day, it is a fantastic location to train at and it’s very popular for triathletes as well!
The temperature has been very cold as the latest cold snap refuses to move. I find that this cold weather can really affect you even in a wet suit, and I have seen many swimmers cutting short their training sessions due to the cold temperatures! The last session was about 13 degrees however, if you take into action the cold air temperature and weather conditions of strong winds and rain and even at times hail! It has been a challenge!
The worst part of the cold temperature that affects you is shortness of breath, the feeling that your feet are about to snap off from your legs because they are that cold, and adjusting to the temperature. The most painful bit is the first 15-30 minutes where the ice cold water hits your face, this feels like someone is slapping you in the face over and over again. It is a horrible feeling!!
The un-seen main factor that affects you is the concentration; in the cold you lose concentration very quickly and for open water swimming slighting is critical! This is a skill that many swimmers first really struggle with. Imagine trying to swim with your eyes closed for a few lengths you tend to go all over the place and in the open water swim longer as a result. When you lose your concentration you may forget to keep slighting as often or pull towards one in your strokes. The end result is you start swimming wide of your target line. This adds on time and effort to the swim.
If you remember that nice sunny day last week, the water temperature went up to 15 degrees and I grabbed my chance to test myself without a wet suit, I was the only person to do so and it was a great feeling! My current wet suit puts a lot of pressure on your shoulders as you swim so naturally It was a feeling of freedom! No wetsuit, no indoor pool chemicals affecting your skin, swimming in the great outdoors!