Sunday, 29 November 2009

The masterplan...

With Christmas fast approaching and Lanza getting closer by the day I though it was about time I laid out my race / training plans from now till then, partly because you guys might be interested and partly because I need to know myself...

Ironman Lanzarote is on the 23rd of May (25 weeks yesterday) and despite me having several equally important races after that it will be approached as if it was the one and only 'A' race of 2010. The only way to give something truly 100% is to give it truly 100% so I'll start thinking about the Outlaw on Sunday the 24th :)


December 26th - Chevin Chase (entered) - A super hilly seven mile cross-country race, I've done it quite a few times and never quite got it right. This year I'm really keen to do well and confident that a number of XC races in the build-up should see me good. Best ever result was in 2007 with 45:59 and 34th out of 814.

January 24th - Brass Monkey (entered) - My favourite half marathon of all time, I've run it for the last five or so years and broke 80 minutes there (first and only time) with 1:19:35 for 37th out of 1,280. As with all my 2010 races I've got no time (outcome) goals but expect to hit the start line in my best ever condition ;)

February 27th - March 7th - Lanzarote Training Camp (to be confirmed) - Like 2009 I'm keen to find some winter sun and a few of us are looking to sort a self-supported Ironman camp, nothing's confirmed yet but something like 500 miles of cycling, 50 miles of running and several open water swims should fit nicely into a well organised week.

March 14th - Yorkshire Road Club 10 Mille TT Champs (to be confirmed) - My newly joined road cycling club have their ten mile time trial champs early in the year and what better way to get focused and fast ;)

March 27th - Big Cow Duathlon (to be confirmed) - Having just spent the weekend with our great friends the O'Neills, Jevon seems to have found a suitable compensation to missing my favourite duathlon in the world (the spring Ballbuster, we'll be in Lanza) with this nice 4.5k / 16k / 4.2k effort. I'd not normally travel for such a short event but with a great looking cycle sportive the next day it could make a great weekend of training...

March 28th - Team MK 100 Mile Sportive (to be confirmed) - Following the previous day's max heart rate uber-sprint I'll be looking to jump onto the road bike and give it everything over 100 miles of rolling English countryside.

April 4th - Circuit of the Dales Hilly 50 TT (date and entry to be confirmed) - This super hilly 50 mile time trial has been going for over 50 years and boasts past winners such as Chris Boardman and our great friend Carl Saint, it was also my first ever TT back in 2006. It's a good 20 minutes slower than a fast course but with a pb of 2:32 (compared to my 1:58 for a flat 50) and having recorded my first ever DNS there this year I've certainly got unfinished business ;)

April 25th - London Marathon (entered) - I've done run London five or six times and having passed on it this year I just couldn't resist sticking my name down for 2010. It's only four weeks from Lanza so I'll not be having a go at my pb (2:49 in 2008) but again I should be in my best ever shape so it'll do for my last and longest training run and a nice 2:58 will give me 'good for age' entry for 2011 & 2012.

May 23rd - Ironman Lanzarote (entered) - This is it, possibly my last ever official mdot race and I intend to go out in style. This year I finished in 10:20:20 and 89th out of 1,052 male finishers... in 2010 I'll be stronger, faster, lighter and will certainly race harder... watch this space ;)

Other than that I'll be doing XC races for my running club on the 5th of December, 17th of January and 31st of January and for my tri club on the 20th of December, 10th of January, 31st of January and 21st of February. I'll also be racing parkrun whenever possible and slotting in plenty of long training rides and the usual mega-brick bike/run sessions with Mr Ben G ;) Not to mention competing against my wonderful wife in #winterswim (we're level on points at the moment) and running hard every week with Dave 'Mad Dog' McGuire.

Sounds good?

Finally... today's picture is courtesy of Martyn Loach and is from a brilliantly organised hilly ten mile running race that H, Jevon and I did this morning. I'm not sure where I came but I gave it everything and managed a slight negative split on the two lap course to finish in 64:36... onwards ;)



We've just returned from a weekend with our very good friends The O'Neill family. In the past our days together have tended to be training fests... days are spent toiling on our bikes, running up random hills for miles and even competing with Jevon's youngest daughter Alice in the pool. This weekend was a little more leisurely...well for me. In fact I'd go as far to say I had a lazy weekend which was great but I'm feeling a little like Tinkerbelle (see above pic) their rabbit, their large cute cuddly rabbit) as in so well looked after, kept warm and cosy while the weather's rubbish outside and a little over indulged!

It's always great to get away for the weekend especially when it's to spend time with lovely people who are on the same wavelength. I had planned to run on Saturday while the boys went out for a long ride but was way too warm and cosy in a house full of life with two teenage girls springing around and the company of Jevon's wife Fiona. How could I resist the luxury of a boy free day! Thankfully the fact that we had all entered the Pednor 10 mile race held today (Sunday) and only just round the corner from them meant I didn't need to feel too guilty...until curry was ordered in and scoffed before we hit the cinema room in their house, and then copious amounts of chocolate were consumed whilst watching 'Burn After Reading', a rather odd Cohen Brothers film. Curry, film, chocolate, what great fuel for race day I thought.

This morning arrived and a little down on our usual 8hrs kip we peeled ourselves out of bed for an early breakfast. Having eaten enough chocolate to keep me going until next Christmas I didn't really need any more food but I threw down a bowl of cereal and off we went into Pednor in the rain to see what our little legs were going to do. Jevon's plan was to take it easy round the course (2 x 5mile loops) and if his calf or back started to give him jip he was going to can it. 2 miles in and I could hear the little bugger (actually big bugger would be more accurate) and there he was, running strong which is remarkable considering their 80mile ride the previous day coupled with his running niggles which have prevented him from getting out on the road. I felt okay, my legs felt strong but I felt a bit sick and so on the hilliest section Jevon was no longer at my side as he ploughed up the steepest section of the run. I managed to keep him in sight and caught up on the first downhill section but with his easy first lap plan still in play he got even stronger on the second and left me for dead as he hit the 5 mile mark. A small field and no one around made it a little difficult to not switch off, and a few times I had to remind myself I was in a race not bimbling round Pednor house hunting! 73mins later on an undulating course and 3rd lady home it was over, time to hit Starbucks and top up that already full sugar level!

A weekend of indulgence with friends and my husband and a race to boot, wonderful. Thanks guys.

This weekend coming I was looking forward to hitting parkrun and seeing how close to the 19/20min mark I could get but I'm going to have to wait ANOTHER week as our cross country race falls on Saturday, so it'll have to wait until the 12th before I can see if I've got a tiny bit faster... I've got people to catch!!!

Time for bed, I've now got a weekend's worth of chocolate to sleep off... I could be some time!

H. x

Daily pix still here and here.

Sunday, 22 November 2009

Easy as ABC... and sometimes D!

Having legged it round the Leeds Abbey Dash 10k this morning in a close to pb 37:51 (H also ran a 'close to pb' time with 41:45) then chilled out over a celebratory coffee with some great friends and training partners we popped home for a quick change into our Sunday best in time to sit down for the annual Yorkshire Road (cycling) Club (YRC) Christmas luncheon at 12:30. As last year we had a great time in great company, our friend Carl Saint was guest of honour having won the World Tricycle Time Trial Championships earlier this year (well done mate) and we spent a few hours surrounded by amazing history and heritage... today's photo was first awarded in 1899 (yes, that's 110 years ago) for winning the YRC 12 hour time trial champs with a distance of 192 miles!

That finished at around 4.30 and with our running club's equivalent event due to kick off at 5.30 this evening at our favourite Indian restaurant in Leeds we've nipped home to grab a couple of things and I thought I'd take ten minutes to start the week's blog ;)

Time's up.... back in a couple of hours...

Wow, what an amazing evening! In total we had 29 runners competing in the Abbey Dash this morning and 40 dressed up smart at the Aagrah tonight. We're only a little running club but what we lack in size we more than make up for in commitment, enthusiasm and laughter. It's something I've been involved in since moving to Leeds in 2001 and despite the best efforts of our hosts to stick the proverbial spanner in we've gone from strength to strength over the years and with 2010 just round the corner are looking forward to exciting times.

I was planning to waffle on about something boring like how I classify my races into A, B, C and D categories and what each of those means (hence today's title) but having spent the entire day in the company of more inspirational people than I ever knew existed I'll save that for another day...

For now I'd just like to say thanks to everyone who motivates me every single day, most of whom probably never realise it. I'm fortunate enough be involved with quite a few different groups of people, who are interested in two things... 1) achieving exciting things and 2) helping others to achieve exciting things. It's got to the stage where I seem to know quite a few people with this same positive outlook on life and it seemed that all of them were either running the Abbey Dash this morning or standing at the side of Kirkstall Road as we all went by. Running the 5k back into town from Kirkstall Abbey there seemed to be a constant shout of 'go on Tom' and with every one of those I found the strength to turn it up just that little bit. I was really going for it today and got myself in a bit of a zone but believe me I heard every single shout and they absolutely made the difference.

Most of the people I hang out with now didn't know me when I was in my twenties but believe me when I say that parkrun, Run Club, LBT, this blog and even the exciting new #winterswim have changed my life more than you could possibly imagine... and if you've been part of any of those great adventures in even the smallest way then I owe YOU a massive THANKS.

See you next week,


Today I'll be mostly 'Dashing'...

'Tis early-ish o'clock and I'm writing this now because today must be our most eventful day in our social calendar and there will be no other gaps left available apart from the one where I fall into bed when we get in tonight.

In an hr and 45mins I'll be legging it up Kirkstall Road and back with a few thousand other folk to see what my little legs can run 10km's in. I actually have no idea. I know I've been running shortish 20mins for Parkrun but could I sustain the same effort for double the distance? Errrrmm....not if you want to see me cough up a lung. SO, I'm quite excited to see what I do have, I guess I'll know in 2.5hrs!!

I've had another mixed bag of training this week. As you know I've had laryngitis and to accompany that I've had the most annoying tickly cough known to man. The throat thing...not a problem, no pain, no flu symptoms, just strained and poorly vocal chords. Cough... more of a problem. Coughing fits in the middle of the night for nothing other than that bloody tickle. So another week of fairly light training but my treadmill session on Tuesday evening's is still progressing and I'm really pleased with how that's going. I swam really well on Thursday with my fastest set of 200's and that feels great to be getting faster. I'm just having to take a few steps back before heading forwards again. I thought I'd overcome the whole throat, cough thing until I woke myself up at 2.30am this morning with yet another annoying tickly coughing fit. What's a girl to do?! I feel absolutely fine which is great. I've had another two extra rest days and hope that that's me and illness done :) No more cough I say!

It's our running club awards ceremony tonight which I'm really looking forward to. The club has gone from strength to strength and we see newcomers all of the time. I'm really looking forward to seeing our sea of red and white Virgin Active Road Club running vests today and then celebrating our year of running with them all tonight, we have an awesome bunch of mixed abilities and personalities, fantastic.

Right, I've got much to do and time waits for no man... time for me to get this head and these legs prepared for 41+mins of pain... I'll keep you posted.

Daily pix still here and here...

H x

Sunday, 15 November 2009

Stop...and Go!!!

After five years of training for Ironman and gradually building our bodies to be strong enough to cope with regular 20+ hour weeks of solid training it's easy to see why you can become blind to the stresses and strains your body still has to go through even though you become mentally and physically immune to the demands you place upon it day after day, week after week.

When I first started training for Austria in 2007, it was a slow build. I was stressing my body little by little and seeing how it could cope with the longer sessions. The same for Tom too. Eventually we hit this year with the ability to train really hard and really long without injury or illness and compete in two Ironman events within 7 weeks of each other. A great testament to how well our bodies had adapted over time to the necessary demands. And also great testament to how we treated our bodies in terms of nutrition and sleep to allow those injury few years to happen.

A comment left on Tom's joint blog last weekend however, has really given me food for thought this week. Our good friend Gabriel commented on Tom's lack of injury... 'You don't seem to get injured like me which helps me back off the workload when I am nearing my limit.'

It's made me think an awful lot about how I felt this year and what I could have done to have improved my perfomances, afterall my training was as consistent as one would hope and I suffered no injuries, neither did Tom. But did the fact that we allowed our bodies to soak up high volume day after day, week after week actually work against us in some way as opposed to for us?? Would a few days of enforced rest due to the odd snivel or tight muscle have allowed a few more extra recovery hours to give us that extra bit of 'zap' that I feel we both lacked this season?? Interesting words me thinks and Gabriel's comment has truly hit a note for me.

On Sunday evening while I was working last weekend I started the hideous process of coming down with gastroenteritis. On Monday I was forced to lie on the sofa in my dressing gown for fear of not being near a loo. On Tuesday I was 'fixed' and trained, did a light swim in the am and then did my harder treadmill session followed by run club on Tuesday evening. On Wednesday I had to fit my longer run in early in the morning due to work commitments etc and so I ran 13miles. I thought I'd had a 24hr bug and was amazed that I had woken up on Tuesday feeling so fine, albeit a little 'empty'! Off I went and trained hard on Thursday too. However, on Friday I had the beginnings of a sore throat and on Saturday morning I decided not to train. By yesterday afternoon I started loosing my voice and now as I type this I'm practically mute. Time for me to think about Gabriel's comment. Is this enforced rest the thing that is going to give me my zap back? Laryngitis is a viral thing I think and god only knows where I've picked it up from but actually I think I'm happy I have. Monday's gastroenteritis was the first time I've been ill this year. Nobody likes being ill (especially not the athletic type) but I do think there are nuggets in Gabriel's observation) and I'm hoping this means my body is not as strong as it was over the beginning of the year and the result of that will mean I come back a little fresher. I see that I should have given my body more time to recover from the stomach bug on Monday before resuming training as usual but that's the typical old Ironman in me. I'd be interested to know what you think? Do you never get injured or ill allowing you to never back it off? Or do you suffer from the odd niggle or snivel but always come back stronger? Answers on a postcard...

Today's post is a joint blog because the true 'writer' in the Williams household is in the middle of writing a feature for Triathlon Plus. Tom's just had his first piece published in this months edition and it's fantastic to see his great skills on the published page! Here's to many more :)

Time to take my silent voice out for a stroll in the woods for some fresh air. I haven't trained for two days which would usually make me grizzly and unbearable to be around. Gabriels' off the cuff remark appears to have worked wonders, but if I don't come back like Usain Bolt there'll be hell to pay ;)

Happy Winter training guys.

H x

Daily pix still here and here.

Sunday, 8 November 2009

The year ahead...

With H off doing her 'luvvie' thing this weekend in Northumberland (she's shooting stills on the latest ITV drama) this is going to be somewhat of a joint blog. Tim posted a great question on my last entry so I thought I'd try and answer it here by way of a season plan of both of us...

Lets start with H... regular readers will know that Hels has put Ironman to bed and will be focusing mostly on running. She really wants to work on building her photography business and with that comes a reduction in the time available to train. This season she averaged around 20 hours per week with plenty of 25 hour plus blocks thrown in for good measure but for the 09/10 season we're planning to half that volume to around 10-15 weekly hours. Rather than seeing a corresponding drop in performance levels she'll be looking to hit around 8-10 hours running per week and fitting in swim sessions and the odd bike when time allows. Although her multi-sport performance will likely drop she should be able to knock off a few long-standing run PBs. It's unlikely that H will do any triathlons next year but that will depend largely on how much bike she gets in over the winter, she's been super busy at work recently so may well only get out a couple of times per month. We are aiming to keep a minimal level of cycling in her programme a) as it's a great way to build leg strength and muscular endurance with minimal impact and b) we haven't ruled out the odd duathlon or maybe tri in 2010. There will however be plenty of swimming, simply because she really enjoys it and having gone from a non-swimmer to sub six minutes for 400 it would seem a shame to stop. November and December will be treated very much as training months and although there will be plenty of road and XC races they'll be trained through. Her first 'A' race is going to be the Brass Monkey half-marathon on January the 24th, probably followed by the Silverstone half in March and then the Virgin London Marathon on April the 25th. In between those there will be a load of smaller local races to keep the competitive fires burning and of course there will be regular outings to our very own Leeds parkrun. At the moment we're not looking past London for H... one of the great things about running is that with the exception of a couple of super popular races there's no need to plan your season years in advance. She may look to do an autumn marathon but with plenty to choose from we can leave that till after London.

What about me?

The question that Tim posed was 

"I'm interested to hear your plans for next year involving the Outlaw. Specifically since you'll qualify for Kona at Lanzarote will you train/peak for the outlaw and race it or use it as a training day or a long swim bike?'

Firstly, thanks for the vote of confidence mate :) Despite the title of our blog Kona is no longer the driving force for me that it once was, yes I'd really love to race there, but events of this year have reminded me that it really isn't the holy grail that it's made out to be (for age-groupers at least). Although I would be disappointed if I missed the cut again, my final season of Ironman certainly won't be judged, be me at least, on whether I get to the Hawaii or not. I wouldn't even call it a goal anymore really, my focus for Lanzarote is to get to the start line in the best shape of my life and execute the best race of my life... I'm determined to focus on the process this year rather than the outcome. The Outlaw will receive the same treatment, as will a third (and final) Ironman if it happens. I do definitely intend to give the Outlaw everything in terms of training and racing ;)

I've always wanted to race a UK based Iron distance event but having spectated at IMUK several times I certainly don't have enough faith in the organisers to deliver an event deserving the five months of blood sweat and tears that it takes to get there. To be honest I'd given up hope but then up stepped the guys at One Step Beyond with their new 'Outlaw Triathlon', I just couldn't resist the opportunity to race an event like this in what will hopefully be really great shape (I'm confident that their ability to deliver an event is somewhat better than their ability to choose a decent name for an event!). 

So, with the Outlaw well and truly on the schedule that left me with Ironman Lanzarote on May the 23rd, the Outlaw on August the 8th and possibly Hawaii on October the 9th. That obviously makes three Iron distance races in a season, yet having done 'just' two this year I found myself blown to pieces come September and having to pull out of the Vitruvian for fear of exploding! So just how do I plan to survive 2010?

Having spent a large amount of time reflecting on my performances this year two things have become clear 1) I was very fit and 2) I was very tired. I pretty much PB'd from start to finish all season... half-marathon in January (1.19), Ballbuster in March (2.55), Olympic tri in June (1.59), Pool Triangle TT in June (29 something), 50 mile TT in June (1.58) and Ironman in July (9.28)... so the fitness was clearly there. But, and this is a big BUT, for the majority of those events I felt pretty knackered and certainly someway short of 100%. On thinking a little clearer I think I can trace the majority of that tiredness back to a four week period between December 08 and January 09... H and I got married on December the 13th, which although was without a doubt the best day of my life was also pretty tiring both physically and mentally. We then hopped straight on the plane to Miami and by the time we hopped off at the other end I'd developed as bad a case of sickness and diarrhea that I've ever had. A couple of days later I'd recovered and proceeded to log a good 40+ mile week of running and a few hours of swimming in the heat and humidity of South Beach before flying back on Christmas Eve, doing a long ride on Christmas Day and then the Chevin Chase (7 mile XC race) on boxing day! In the blink of an eye we touched down in Lanzarote on January the first and kicked off 2010 with 26 miles of swimming, 500 miles of cycling and 75 miles of running in the first ten days! To be honest, looking back at that lot it's a wonder I survived to tell the tale! Still, my fitness was clearly improving and a week after landing back from Lanza I broke 80 minutes for the first time over 13.1 miles and it was game on. Unfortunately, that massive month put me in a state of fatigue that 400 hours training over the next 20 weeks was never going to let me recover from.

The biggest lesson I've learnt from all that and something that I am determined to focus on this coming season is to not put myself in that hole in the first place. Full-on Ironman training is not something that allows much space for recovery and come January I'll be giving it absolutely everything for 20 weeks, at the moment I'm feeling really good and will be prioritising sleep, food and rest over training to make sure I stay that way!

So that's the first cause of my fatigued dealt with, what about the second. What really pushed me over the edge was two Ironman events in seven weeks with no time allowed for proper recovery... the week after Lanza I trained for five hours, but the week after that it was 25! By the time I crossed the finish line I'd been going hard for seven months since the aforementioned hole digging process! Now, if you're going to perform to your highest ever level, you have to be prepared to follow that up by being the tiredest you've ever been, and that's fine... unless you've just booked a slot to the world Ironman champs and have to do it all again in a couple of months! To be honest, I think had I made it to the Big Island this year I may well have ended up doing serious long-term damage to myself. Unlike the Vitruvian I wouldn't have pulled out and looking back I actually breathe a sigh of relief that I wasn't given the opportunity to nuke myslef!

I've just outlined a schedule though to three great Iron distance races in the space of a few months so how will I a) be able to perform well in all of them and b) survive to see 2011? (Which I think is the main point of Tim's question... sorry if I'm going on a bit)

Well, despite pre-season concerns over doing two Ironman events in seven weeks I actually felt that racing in Lanzarote was beneficial to my performance in Switzerland. I basically didn't really take any rest between each race, therefore not allowing my body to slip into recovery mode as with only a few weeks to play with there probably wouldn't have been time to wake it up again. The problem, as I've just stated, is that having done that successfully (in terms of race performance) there was nowhere left to go and my season was effectively over... this year I may well have (if I'm lucky) one final Iron destination. Fortunately however there are eleven weeks between Lanzarote and the Outlaw and those extra 28 days should allow time to recover properly from the first race yet still have time to build things up for the second. So the gap should look something like...

Weeks 1-3 - active recovery and a gradually building volume of something like 5, 10 and 15 weekly hours.

Weeks 4-6 - a return to my standard 20 hour basic week and hard work across all three disciplines.

Weeks 7-9 - some 'race pace and above' focus and a couple of big sessions plus the odd race.

Weeks 10-11 - taper time!

In terms of Outlaw performance I'd probably rather they were closer together, but in terms of carrying on the season that extra four weeks should make all the difference.

It will then (if selected) be nine weeks from the Outlaw to Hawaii, of the three events Kona is probably my lowest priority in terms of performance, just being there will be pretty special. I will of course be approaching it as I have every Ironman I've done though and aiming to go out in style ;) I'll probably leave it until after the Outlaw to decide the best schedule for those nine weeks depending on how I'm feeling. At half-way between seven weeks and eleven weeks it could go either way i.e. keep the tempo rolling or back off for a couple of weeks and build again. Although I don't really mind how I feel directly after Kona as it will be 'pipe and slippers time', I've got no interest in sticking myself in a hole that could take years to get out of.

Anyway, hopefully that's answered the question? 

In brief... all three will be very much 'A' races and approached 100%, by not digging a big early season hole I should avoid ever reaching a state of deep fatigue and by allowing a few weeks of PROPER recovery I should be able to peak for events two and three.

How hard can it be? ;)


Sunday, 1 November 2009

#winter swim

I fear that I might be about to create a monster! A week or so ago I was chatting away with my great Iron-buddies Ben and Ove and looking for a little motivational nudge to ramp things up over the winter came up with the idea of a handicapped swim competition between the three of us. Me being me though I couldn't help posting it on Twitter and Facebook and within 24 hours was receiving messages of interest from people I'd never ever heard of from all round the world! So, here we are then, I'm a little pushed for time this evening but promised I'd get some details out by the morning...

The bottom line...

Swim 400 metres as fast as you can by midnight next Sunday and Tweet the time using the hashtag #winterswim. All updates regarding the competition will be Tweeted by me via using the hashtag #winterswim.

The details...

One of my all-time favourite training quotes, which I heard whilst listening to one of the great IM Talk podcast series, is that athletes should 'train as hard as they can consistently train'. There are two key words in that sentence and these, in order to importance, are 1) consistently and 2) hard. Ironically these are two things that most people typically fail to achieve between November and February (inclusive), preferring to waddle through the winter months with the odd splash in the pool, an occasional cafe ride and perhaps a couple conversational jogs to get them out of the house. But... as my Ironman compadre Mr Jevon O'Neill keeps reminding me... 'Champions are made in the winter'... but, and this is where it's at... only if they train consistently... and hard (not hardly)! So, I'll leave you to your own devices re the bike and run but the  chances are you're a triathlete and if so there's an even greater chance that your idea of a winter swim is 5 x 100 with fins, paddles and a pull buoy (read lazy boy) so for the next four months prepare to become a swim champion!

When we're talking swimming, 'little and often' just doesn't cut it, 'hard and often' does however so from this point on you'll be required to swim a max effort timed swim at least once every two weeks. We'll work in two week blocks, which for those of you a little slow on the social networking uptake means you only have seven days to swim your first timed effort (400 TT) which will then act as your baseline time from which swim number two will be measured.


The initial base times must be submitted by midnight on Sunday the 8th of November (UK time) and will consist of a max effort 400 metre swim. Once base times are submitted, many already have been, they will be converted into a percentage of the current Olympic record for that person's gender. This figure will then become your handicap and subsequent performances will be measured against it. I will then host these somewhere on the internet (to be sorted this week sometime) so that they can be accessed at any time by any of the entrants. The person who improves the most, in relation to their best previous performance, each time will win the most points (not decided how many yet) and whoever has the most points at the end of the season will earn the right to call themselves the CHAMPION! Note: I've already had a few 'that's unfair' moans... the bottom line is if you do a flat out timed effort every other week from now until April I pretty much guarantee you'll arrive next summer in the best swim shape of your life and if that isn't a bargain I don't know what is!

Dates and deadlines...

Oct 26 to Nov 8 - 400 metres (baseline time)

Nov 9 to Nov 22 - 100 metres

Nov 23 to Dec 6 - 400 metres

Dec 7 to Dec 20 - 200 metres

Dec 21 to Jan 3 - 400 metres

Jan 4 to Jan 17 - 800 metres

Jan 18 to Jan 31 - 400 metres

Feb 1 to Feb 14 - 1500 metres

Feb 15 to Feb 28 - 400 metres

'Bonus events for the Bonkers'

Mar 1 to Mar 14 - 3,800 metres (Ironman distance)

Mar 15 to Mar 28 - 400 metres

Mar 29 to Apr 11 - 10,000 metres (Olympic OW distance)


  • Swims can be done in any type of pool and you are welcome to change from one swim to the next i.e. from short course to long.
  • ALL swim aids that would not be permitted in an Olympic final are deemed illegal, so certainly no flotation devices, paddles etc. If someone could let me know if Mr Phelps would be allowed a Wetronome or similar device in 2012 then we can make a ruling on those little fellas.
  • All correspondence must go through Twitter under the hashtag #winterswim - if you don't know how to do that then Google it, it's not rocket science and I don't have time to utilise the many different forms of messaging available.
  • Times must be tweeted under #winterswim by midnight on the final Sunday of each block, late efforts will not be accepted.
  • As we've already said, this is all about consistency throughout the winter, once enrolled any missed swim will result in immediate disqualification from the entire competition - you have been warned!
  • Late entries to the competition will be accepted, although you're first event will only act as a base line time.
That's about it for now, please forward this to as many people as possible, #winterswim is a fully inclusive event, handicapped in favour of novice swimmers and designed to keep all of us on the freestyle straight and narrow until the sun once more shines!

See you in the pool,