Have you been closed off from the Open Water?
Do you class yourself as a fair-weather swimmer and avoid winter dipping?
Here are a few tips to ensuring that you and your kit are ready for the warmer temperatures.
The temperature will not feel the same as what you last remembered it to be – unless you’ve been actively participating in regular cold showers at home, the water will feel remarkably different to what it felt last summer.
I would strongly advise you recap acclimatizing to cold water, remember the key steps in ensuring that your body is equipped to deal with the cold water. Can you remember how long it took to get your body properly acclimated to the conditions, how long did you stay in the first time you went in, was it a matter of seconds or minutes? How did you then build up your body’s tolerance to being in the cold water for longer periods of time?
Have you or anybody you swim with got an accurate way of measuring the water temperature? I myself always carry a thermometer with a probe on so I can measure the temperature for a few minutes before I get in (usually while I’m plucking up the courage to get in!). Quite a lot of social media pages also post the water temperatures for various venues which can help – just be wary of people saying “it feels like 14°” as what does that feel like! Likewise, some people may be trying to be supportive and say things like “well at 6am this morning it was 10°” but what has happened during that day, could anything have affected the change in temperature?
If you are wanting to start acclimatizing your body, I would start with cold showers on a morning. Start with something simple like a 20 second blast of cold water and the end of your normal shower, keep your head away from the cold water as this in the first instance will not be nice! Stick with this for a few days, or however long it takes to be ok with it. Slowly but surely begin to build up the tolerance of time in the shower – it is at your pace, no-one else’s. There are no set processes for how long it will take but, you will get there!
This, by no means will be a certain way of acclimatizing to the temperatures of the rivers, seas, lakes or ponds that you may normally swim in – but will certainly aid in the body understanding that it is ok!
If you are a wetsuit swimmer, when was the last time you checked your equipment? Have you had it out of the garage, shed or cupboard since your last summer swim – does it still fit?!
I would take plenty of time to thoroughly check over my wetsuits to ensure that there aren’t any holes, nicks or grazes that could hinder any future swims. If so, there are certain people able to patch repair them for very reasonable costs. Or, if you are feeling brave enough – tackle it yourself. YouTube has plenty of ‘how to’ videos that have proved many positive results!
I would also take time to rinse out the wetsuit before the start of the season, make sure this is with fresh water, no soaps or anything that could potentially degrade the neoprene.
If you have any comments, please feel free to get in touch on my various social media channels.
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