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  • Darren Watson

Knowing when to ease off when you feel like you can't!

Updated: Jul 30

It's late afternoon as I sit and write this blog. I'm contemplating on whether or not to go out for a gentle jog or get on the rower to keep my fitness up. I'm also conscious that I've 24 days until my swim window opens and can't really afford to get any injuries or discourage any current niggles from healing.

This week I've had to have a break from swimming as my shoulders still haven't fully recovered from Windermere. I tried a few sessions in the pool after we got back home to keep up the training, but there was still some discomfort so I knew I had to resist the urge to push on. Instead I booked a sports massage, focusing on my shoulders and lower back, which seemed to loosen up the stiffness somewhat.


At lunch I got in touch with Keith, my swim coach, to talk about Windermere and about the swim next month. Keith is coming with us on the boat, which I'm really pleased about. I mentioned about my shoulders aching towards the end of the swim, and how they still haven't quite recovered as yet. I wasn't sure if it was incorrect technique or general fatigue. Keith reminded me that I've tried to cram in a year or so worth of training into 2 months after not swimming for nearly 2 years. Since early June I spent 2 weeks on an intense endurance swim camp, qualifying for my Channel swim attempt, followed by a 2-way Windermere swim. His advice - well, I need to slow it down now, and recover. Get out swimming, but keep it relaxed. Which is what I plan to do.



This week the Olympics finally started after a year delay. I can imagine the athletes having to taper off on their training last year only to build it back up for this year, something they wouldn't have been prepared for. I feel I've been in a similar situation as I was supposed to swim the Channel last year, however I had to re-schedule as I just couldn't train enough because of the pandemic. I had signed up to do the swim in 2017 and started to increase my swim distances up to 2019, with the intention of getting my final prep swims and qualifications early 2020 to be ready for August that year. Doing it this way, I could ease my body into the distances and stresses it would need to endure and therefore would be less likely to suffer injuries.


In late February 2020 I knew my plan was in jeopardy and in March, when we went into lockdown, following the cancellation of my training camps I knew it wasn't going to happen this year. Living up in Scotland I really couldn't get into the water until around May as it is brutally cold. I'd essentially have to start cramming in a lot of training in 3 and a half months, which I had no idea what impact that would have on me. My only saving grace was that I'd kept up my fitness by running, rowing and cycling so it wasn't all bad!


With a few more days of relaxing and recovering, I aim to go to one of the nearby Lochs and get back swimming, keeping it steady and focusing on my technique.


So, did I go for a run or row? Yeah, I went for a run. I just can't rest, but at least I didn't have to use my arms too much!

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