I contemplated calling this blog ‘Swimming in the Rain’ but wasn’t convinced everyone would get the musical reference. Instead I have named it after an awesome song by old-school Australian rock band called Silverchair ( much more straightforward…). The shimmering, steaming image of a heated pool on a cold winter evening makes me think of this song and I often have it running through my head as I complete my laps.
A friend and I swim together every Thursday evening. We originally started swimming together when training for our first triathlon back in February when it was HOT, long summer evenings and warm air meant going for a swim was easy to get motivated for. We swam in the Newcastle baths and the water didn’t even really feel cold. I found it invigorating and always felt great after a swim. The first time I swam though was the first time I have done laps in several years, since I was a kid really. I had to stop for breath every couple of laps (50m pool), it felt really strange not being able to breathe exactly when I wanted. Quite similar to yoga really, timing breaths for movements. Our training went well though and before long we were doing 20 laps in a session (1 km). We still had breaks though and challenged ourselves to do 6 in a row before the triathlon. More recently I did 14 in a row and could have kept going really but stopped for a chat.
Luckily, we kept up our motivation and have continued swimming through winter. I think if we hadn’t started in summer it would have required a lot more motivation go in winter. It is HARD when it is dark, cold and raining to decide to go for a swim. It has rained several times and we can no longer go to the baths because they aren’t lit when we want to go. Can’t say I’m too disappointed though, the council pool we swim in now is heated, the baths are not. So, on a 15 degree (celcius) evening, we are jumping into a 27 degree pool. When you look at the water you can see it steaming in the evening air and the rain drops make patterns which reflect on the bottom of the pool as you swim. Last time we swam there, my feet actually felt that tingling burning feeling you get when you get in a hot shower or bath and have cold feet. When you think about it, swimming is the perfect rainy day exercise, you’re already going to get wet right?
Things I like about swimming:
- Its great exercise
- It has minimal impact on joints and muscles – no risk of taking a tumble (aka, MTB riding)
- That feeling of gliding through the water effortlessly I sometimes feel when I get into a good rhythm
- I can get out of breath but don’t feel like I’ve run a marathon or climbed a mountain
- It is very therapeutic I feel. Back and forth with only your thoughts for company, following the black line in a sea of cooling green and blue. Actually I decided on my blog post title during my last swim.
- Catching up with my mate
- The hot shower afterwards
Things I don’t like about swimming
- Sharing a lane with someone faster than me who overtakes during a lap.
- Seeing a band-aid in the pool. Has only happened once but BLERK
- Stripping out of my warm clothes at the side of the pool and walking out into the rain to jump into the pool
- The first jump in and shock of cold that sometimes follows (depends on the day and pool temperature!)
- How dry and tight my skin feels after. I do have some awesome Arbonne wash though which helps after a swim.
- Forgetting how many laps I’ve done
All in all I thoroughly recommend getting out there and lapping it up. To start out (especially in winter) I recommend finding a heated pool! You’ll also need goggles (which don’t need to be super fancy), comfortable swimmers, a nice big fluffy towel, thongs for the showers and a plastic bag to put wet things after you’ve swum. I also recommend changing out of your wet clothes before driving home. Nothing worse than sitting on a wet car seat the following day!
So, next time it is raining and you can’t get out to do your run/ride/whatever, go for a swim instead. No excuses!