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Speedo Says...

Training after a break by Poppy Dinsey

Lifestyle blogger Poppy Dinsey talks about getting back in the pool after a break.

Lifestyle blogger Poppy Dinsey talks about getting back in the pool after a break.

In my first Speedo blog post, I talked about my love of swimming and touched upon my open water swim challenges from last summer, so you'd be forgiven for thinking I've been in the pool every day since then. Alas, that hasn't really been the case. At all. I probably swam no more than ten times between my last race in July and Christmas last year, despite having a pool membership and claiming to 'love' swimming..

Why? I'm one of those people who sets silly training targets. I'll pledge to swim an hour a day, every day, go great guns for a bit, then skip a few sessions, get cross with myself and give up altogether. If I'd have just aimed for three manageable 30-minute swims instead, I'd no doubt have been in the pool all winter.

Goals, motivation and more

Naturally it's easier to train when you have a goal, so last year my immense fear of failure in the open water races meant that I trained religiously. Once I knew I could swim confidently (relatively confidently!) in race conditions, the fear that got me to the pool at 7am just wasn't there. My confidence actually made me lazy.

Luckily, though, I have a pretty good goal for 2014 - I got engaged on New Year's Day and will be getting married in October this year. And I have to say, my wedding dress fears are greater than any wetsuit fears I've had! I know how toned I got when I was swimming regularly last year, so I really want to ramp up my swimming this year for weight loss as well as for general fitness.

I feel bad to admit this in Speedo territory but I was actually planning to run to shape up this year...

I still wanted to swim 'on the side' but I wanted to take up the challenge of running as my main cardio exercise.
Two fairly feeble runs later and my neck and back were in agony - not normal muscle soreness that you'd get after a workout, but proper, full-on pain. I spoke to a few trainers, and my doctor, and the unanimous advice was: "stick to swimming". We all know that swimming is one of the safest forms of exercise there is, but I didn't really appreciate this until I tried something else!

I called my lovely coach, Kerstin, who had trained me for the open water races, and enlisted her help again. It's great to be working with her in the pool – you definitely swim harder and faster when someone is watching and timing you!

First day back swim nerves

I worried about my ‘first swim back', as if it was the first day back at school after a long summer. I thought I'd forget how to breathe, like you'd somehow forget joined-up handwriting between July and September. But luckily it wasn't too terrible! Actually, I loved every second of it.

Because of my weight loss goals, we worked more on interval training rather than technique.

This was what I swam in my first session back – perfect if you're after a 30-minute plan that will get your heart rate up!

  • 150m warm-up (50m front crawl, 50m backstroke, 50m front crawl - all at a pretty good effort)

  • 150m legs (50m breaststroke legs with float, 50m backstroke legs, 50m front crawl legs with float)

  • 4x100m sprint with 20 seconds rest between

  • 4x50m sprint with 15 seconds rest between

  • 4x25m sprint with 10 seconds rest between

  • 150m arms (with pullbuoy and paddles)

  • 100m cool down (I did 'Old English' double arm backstroke, because I love it)

I swam faster than I’d expected, which boosted my confidence massively and I'll be swimming with Kerstin once a week trying to improve on my times. But to keep up the training when I'm on my own, I've got the Speedo Fit app, and I’m going to set myself the challenge of swimming the Channel :-)

I love being able to record my swims easily and see how far I've swum each week. Feel free to add me as a friend if you've got the Speedo App (you should definitely download it, it's free!). My username is PoppyDinsey. The more friends I have on there, the more motivated I'll be to keep going!

In my next post, I'll talk about my favourite training aids (you can see some of them above) and hopefully update you with good progress! Look out for it, Poppy.