Welcome to the crazy world of Ice and winter swimming, yep you’re certifiable.
Here are a few tips to help you get started and make the cold water more enjoyable and safe for you.
Winter swimming shouldn’t be taken lightly, the cold water saps your strength much faster than you would expect. Temperatures below 10 degrees deserve respect and a gradual acclimatisation process is essential. Ideally you should have been swimming throughout the summer without a wetsuit and working slowly down the temperature scale as it drops. Your swimming time, and distance covered in cold water may also drop, this is normal. Clawed fingers and the inability to turn your arms over are all good signs you’ve been in to long, you should have finished your swim long before you get to this stage. Keeping your swim fitness up in a pool over winter will maintain your overall fitness level and help you achieve your distance in cold water.
Find a winter swim club to join with experienced open water swimmers to swim with, they’re usually friendly and you’ll be welcomed with a shiver and a slice of cake. Their experience is well worth a few minutes of your time, learn from their adventures, it may make your journey more enjoyable.
Never swim alone in open water, especially cold water over winter. If you are in open water make sure its safe to do so and you have permission, there may be hidden dangers that won’t be obvious. Be bright be seen, wear a bright coloured swim cap and avoid areas where there is boat traffic.
You may be tempted to drop into a nice hot shower after your cold water swim, we don’t recommend it, warm up gradually and naturally, its safer and will reduce the stress on your heart. Slow and steady is safe.
Warm loose clothes are essential, lots of layers. if possible lay them out in the order that you’ll put them back on, its much easier when you are cold to have everything laid out ready.
Nice warm woollen hats to retain heat and help in your recovery.
Warm drinks are essential, hot chocolate, warm ribena or soup are all good recovery drinks. Try and avoid tea and coffee unless its decaffeinated.
Cake / Chocolate.
Essential after swim recovery foods. if you’re on a diet reconsider winter swimming now, its not for you.
If you’re looking to join a group and having problems finding winter swimmers to swim with drop us a line and we will put you in touch with winter swimmers in your area.
Enjoy your winter swimming and don’t forget to join us at the IISA GB winter championships in February, its open to everyone and promises to be a fantastic weekend.