Training for a Winter Endurance Event 2013

Lottie and I were invited to swim the Endurance Event at the 2013 UK Cold Water Swimming Championships held in London in January 2013.  Here’s our training diary!  and here’s how WE DID IT!

19th January 2013:

  • Iona back and both girls did 500m sea swim at 7°C
  • Beautiful calm green water but biting cold wind

18th January 2013:

  • Lottie 500m sea swim
  • Iona away

17th January 2013:

  • Lottie 500m sea swim
  • Iona away

16th January 2013:

  • Early swim as Iona travelling to Birmingham today
  • 500m at 8°C

15th January 2013:

  • Day off for Lottie and Iona

14th January 2013:

  • Cold sunny day with icy and quite strong NW wind
  • Choppy sea, 8°C
  • John from the village shop bravely swam to the training bouy and back with Iona
  • John training for an Iron Man challenge
  • Lottie did running instead

13th January 2013:

  • Lottie – day off
  • Iona did a 0.5km sea swim then a few extra minutes of lazy swimming
  • Flat calm sea

12th January 2013:

  • Iona – day off 
  • Calm beautiful day, hardly a ripple on the sea
  • Lottie did yet another fast sea swim of 1km, making her total for this week 4 miles of winter swimming, 14 miles of running and 14 miles of dog walking.
  • Lottie will have a well deserved day off tomorrow

11th January 2013:

  • Another beautiful sunny cold day, sea temp 9°C
  • Lottie did a fast 1km sea swim
  • Iona did 0.5km then swam about aimlessly looking for wildlife and doing water running exercises
  • Time in the water – 25 mins

10th January 2013:

  • Gorgeous sunny frosty day, clear green water
  • both of us did 1km sea swim (Lottie much quicker than I)
  • Temperature 8°C but the warm sun made it seem warmer

9th January 2013:

  • Superb chilly swim in fresh water Loch Choille Bharr
  • 20 minutes at 6°C
  • Afterdrop not too bad, certainly less than two weeks ago
  • Special Note: Iona got a black mark for forgetting to bring a flask and Lottie was reprimanded for her ungainly exit from the water.

8th January 2013:

  • Lottie did a distance training swim – 2km  in 48 mins at 9°C
  • Wetsuit was deployed for this
  • Iona managed, with difficulty, a 0.5km  dusk swim in 18 mins

7th January 2013:

  • Iona – day off for trip to Glasgow
  • Lottie did 1km in 24 mins at 9°C
  • Very calm but very drizzly

6th January 2013:

  • Lottie had a day off
  • Iona 30 minute sea swim at Scotnish
  • 9°C, slight chop

5th January 2013:

  • Calm conditions, mild southerly breeze, 9°C
  • Both of us did 1km in the sea
  • Lottie 23 minutes
  • Iona 31 minutes

4th January 2013:

  • Visiting spa with Colin; did a 17 min sea swim in front of the hotel then entered the jacuzzi!
  • Sunny day!!!!
  • Lottie did a 35 minute, 1 mile swim in her wetsuit at 9°C
  • Conditions: calm with a glimmer of sunshine
  • SPECIAL NOTE: Lottie is training for long distance swimming, hence the wetsuit today

3rd January 2013:

  • Both of us did 0.5km sea swim
  • Iona’s swim took place in near darkness – very atmospheric

2nd January 2013:

  • Lottie 1km, Iona 0.5km
  • Misty mild day, sea temperature back up to 9°C

New Year’s Day: first swim of 2013!

  • Trip to Ormsary to swim with other club chums
  • Very cold 10 minute sea swim at 6°C
  • Lovely food and log fire at Matt & Kirsty’s

Hogmanay 2012: last swim of 2012!

  • Great 0.5km training bouy sea swim with Lottie
  • Weather unsettled with fierce driving rain showers, wavy water
  • Temperature feels lower – maybe 8°C? – cold hands…
  • Time 17 minutes (Iona)
  • Unpleasant changing conditions, Swift Swimmer and Daisy got terribly wet waiting for us
  • SPECIAL NOTE: to mark her spectacular achievements in long distance swimming Lottie has jointed the British Long Distance Swimming Association.  WELL DONE LOTTIE!!!

30th December 2012:

  • Club swim with Lorna, Diana, Ewan and Mairi (a brave girl, who jumped in!!)
  • Rough windy weather with big waves
  • Assaulted by ferocious hail storm which STUNG our bare skin quite painfully
  • Nevertheless a rejuvenating and enjoyable 12 minute swim

29th December 2012:

  • Large audience for our swim whom we had to ignore on exiting the water as speed of changing is of utmost importance
  • Raw day and difficult mentally to get into the water
  • Good 0.5km swim
  • SPECIAL NOTE: a commendable effort by Lottie, who has not swum for 5 days

28th December 2012:

  • Mild day with squally SE wind driving waves across the bay
  • Took Colin to the swimming pool for his daily dip
  • Headed straight over to the jetty and as I slipped in I saw our little otter scamper across the jetty and dive in beside me
  • 0.5km swim to training bouy and back; 20 minutes; no further sign of the otter apart from a fish jumping high out of the water

27th December 2012:

  • Fell asleep on the couch with Daisy, knocked out by the heat from the woodburning stove!
  • i.e. No swim today either.

Boxing Day 2012:

  • Trip to a local spa with my brother Colin (who has recently had hip surgery)
  • Lounged in a jacuzzi for 20 minutes
  • DEFINITELY not counted as “cold water training”!

Christmas Day 2012:

  • A quick dip in the sea, wearing a Santa Hat!
  • Hardly to be counted as “training”!

Christmas Eve 2012:

  • Beautiful 0.5km sea swim in quiet rolling waves

23 December 2012:

  • Fantastic training bouy 1km sea swim in challenging Force 5/6 westerly
  • Completed by Duggie, Iona and Lottie
  • Note: Lottie now spending a few days away; Mrs Nesbit has offered her services as chief coach in additional to her duties as nutritional advisor

22 December 2012:

  • Double training bouy sea swim 1km at 9°C
  • Observation: it is not a good idea to leave oneself only 10 minutes to get ready for a Christmas Lunch out after this activity

21 December 2012:

  • Lovely mild mid-winter solstice sea swim – 9°C
  • Lottie did an impressive 1Km double training bouy swim
  • Iona managed a quick 7 minute dip

20 December 2012:

  • Miserable raw day, easterly wind, cold drizzle
  • Lottie couldn’t face it, but Iona forced herself to do a “dip” which means halfway across the bay (7 minutes)

19 December 2012:

  • Iona was working so did not swim
  • Lottie did swim and, after some difficulty getting in, says she enjoyed it.

SPECIAL NOTE:  Now, Lottie forgot to note something extremely serious – the fact that Cold Water Swimmer Iona Barr neglects her nutrition and is in danger of not competing in the Endurance Challenge to the best of her ability.   Mrs L Nesbit (Diploma in Home Economics and Graduate of the Constance Spry School of Cookery and Flower Arranging) has decided to hold an Extraordinary Meeting of the Sound of Jura Swimming Club.  She is extremely concerned by Ms Barr’s relaxed approach to pre swimming sustenance and calls on all Club members to take her to task.

18 December 2012:

  • Bored with swimming to and from the Training Buoy we headed into the outer bay towards the beautiful Wild Rose – a 35ft wooden yacht built by Duggie (she does not in anyway resemble his now famous hot tub!) As Duggie was pottering around us in a dinghy surveying the sea bed with his new depth sounder, we felt quite happy to be so far out.
  • A stunning swim on one of the most beautiful days since we started training for the Endurance Event. Pleased with our efforts but still a little concerned that we haven’t yet had near zero temperatures like the Lido folk! Soon after Christmas we will head for a high fresh water loch so remote that we will need to take Duggie’s Greenland satellite phone!

17 December 2012:

  • Lottie in for 24 minutes doing a 1km dash; Iona away for the day
  • Water temperature still far too hot for the Nationals – hovering around 8°C
  • A lovely swim in crystal clear water and little wind

16 December 2012:

  • HOT TUB DAY  – our Christmas Swimming Party
  • 10°C, sunny and calm
  • 13 swimmers attended, half wetsuited, half not
  • Lottie and Iona each did a 1km plus other short swims to cool off

15 December 2012:

  • Chilly SW wind with choppy slappy waves
  • Great 1km sea swim in 8-9°C
  • Lottie 25 mins, Iona 32 mins (getting slower, oh dear)
  • Observation 1: Iona found her black & white spotted “onesie” to be ideal post swim apparel, and old person’s velcro slippers completed “the look”
  • Observation 2: Lottie pretended not to know her
  • Observation 3: No afterdrop – we think our training is working.  Or maybe it’s just not cold enough?

14 December 2012:

  • Rest day (ie cooking dinner for 10 people and/or 2 hour dog walk plus 3 hours hard labour in the garden)
  • Preparing for a 30 minute swim in the sea tomorrow

13 December 2012:

  • A satisfying training session. Despite a grey and raw day, Goose Point was beautifully atmospheric in the mid winter light.
  • Sea water temperature hovered around 6C. Swam for 15 minutes and dressing quickly, with an almost perfect selection of clothing, meant no dreaded afterdrop.
  • Recommendations: Push ourselves a bit more and swim here weekly for 20 minutes.
  • Grade: 3 (cold but okay)

12 December 2012:

  • Slush lapping up against the jetty at Tayvallich and a baltic wind from the North East but at Carsaig the water was a pleasant 9°C
  • Lottie did a quick dip followed by jetty changing practise
  • Iona (after much hesitation) swam to the training bouy and back (15 mins) with enjoyment, followed by a jetty dash (cycling home in a bathrobe)
  • No cold feet, hands or afterdrop

11 December 2012:

      • A thrilling sea swim – 1km an easily achievable distance in temperatures ranging from 6-9°C



    • Iona took 30 mins to do this distance, Lottie about 25 mins



    • Observations by Lottie: No dreaded afterdrop due to layers of nordic thermals, Sarah Lund jersey, and Royal Marine warm up exercises! But she must light her woodburning stove before leaving house for swim



10 December 2012:

  • Loch Coille Bharr – temperature 5°C
  • A very testing training session despite being one of the most stunningly beautiful days of our swimming year.  We felt certain the water temperature had dropped but thermometers said otherwise. “Digging deep” during the 18.5 minute swim, and particularly afterwards to avoid the dreaded “afterdrop”, was definitely in order.
  • Commendation 1:  Iona managing to drive sedately home (at 10mph) despite unnerving and involuntary limb movement.
  • Commendation 2: Lottie managing to get face and head in the eerie pitch black water and thrash about Freestyle
  • Action: Iona to take dietary advice from Mrs Lavinia Nesbitt (Club Nutritionist) with the view to eating a full Scottish breakfast before training sessions.  Junior Member to awaken her owner at 7am SHARP until Endurance Event is over.
  • Action: Lottie to find her camping mat for getting dressed and stop complaining about having to stand barefoot in icy mud.

9 December 2012:

  • 20 minute swim with Lottie, Fraser and Duggie
  • water temp 6.5°C
  • Gusty force 3 westerly into the bay, good waves
  • boys got out early to prepare hot drinks + snacks
  • Lottie’s dressing afterwards not 100% so slight afterchill, dogs sprayed with hot tea
  • Last swim by the Polar Bear before he goes on holiday

8 December 2012:

  • Atmospheric dusk swim by Iona
  • 20 minutes, water temp 6.5°C
  • Injury – grazed knee (making sure I stayed within my depth in the darkness for safety, kept grounding)
  • Cycled home in my bathrobe, no afterchill

7 December 2012:

  • An exhilarating 20 minute swim in a gusting Force 7 Northerly;  water temp 6.5°C
  • Tricky low tide and significant wind chill factor
  • Nice to be accompanied by our Canadian Polar Bear and to have the Club President and Junior Member keeping a watchful eye on us
  • Lottie’s first attempt ever at flinging off swimming gear and getting dressed at the jetty went to plan.  Post-swim clothing much improved:  included Swedish underwear, a Norwegian jersey (as worn by Amundsen 1912),  Primark fleece tracksuit bottoms (ca 1989).  However souvenir Red Army hat too itchy
  • No afterdrop!
  • New-post swim treat of marmite toast and Ovaltine (for the Polar Bear add two large slices of toasted cheese with onion and two pots of tea).

5 December 2012:

  • 15 minute swim in Loch Coille Bharr
  • 5°C
  • Weather sunny, calm, frosty
  • Injuries – Lottie sustained a gashed leg after striking a submerged branch
  • Result – cold toes and hands; achieved distance/time comfortably; slight afterchill in arms
  • Lottie requires to work on more suitable kit and improve dressing time
  • Iona to remember flip-flaps next time

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