Very recently, I completed the 2014 Sport Relief Swimathon 1.5 kilometre front crawl in the Zaha Hadid-designed Olympic aquatic centre! Having never learned to swim the crawl prior to December 2013 (and considered myself a bit of a swimming novice), I’m left with a ridiculously satisfying sense of achievement, like some sort of Viking conqueror! Swimming on such an infamous ‘stage’ to face my challenge was a powerful experience and I would totally recommend anyone who’s considering taking part in a charity fitness event to sign up for it next year; you’ll be (more…)
During my recent blog trip to Morocco, I forced myself to wake up early everyday and go for a refreshing, active morning swim in the Kasbah Tamadot’s gorgeous pool. Given that I’m now less than one week away from jumping into the vast Olympic Aquatic Centre to swim for Sainsbury’s Sport Relief, I’m taking all the last-minute tips on board that I can; to that end, whilst in Morocco, I went to work with these Speedo Biofuse Power Paddles (which look like vast dolphin-flippers worn on your hands) to help maximise the energy and drive that I generate from my shoulders and arms. I learned ALOT!…
As I build towards the Sport Relief games, yesterday I attended a ‘Swimathon Masterclass’ led by swimming legends Karen Pickering (4 x World Championship Gold Medallist) and Duncan Goodhew (Olympic Gold Medallist). For those who’ve been following my ‘Sport Relief posts‘, you’ll know that I’ve been splashing away in the pool since October learning to swim the front crawl to raise money & awareness for the fabulous Sainsbury’s Sport Relief Swimathon on March the 23rd 2014 at the epic Olympic aquatic centre!
Demonstrating my nascent and highly amateur swimming skills to two world-class, decorated athletes was massively daunting, but fortunately Karen and Duncan were so approachable, sympathetic and very generous with their sage advice – and luckily, quite patient too! I got to sponge up some fascinating tips on how to improve my technique from perhaps the best-qualified teachers in the sport. One of my favourite vignettes from the class came just before we jumped into the pool for the first time, when Duncan pointed out if we’d been lying next to the pool on a sun-kissed holiday, we would certainly be appreciating it’s glorious opalescent colours, the elegant reflections on the water, the mesmeric way it creates beautiful rippling; “just think about that for a second before jumping into the pool, and appreciate it“. That really struck a chord with me; in an active life, the ‘London’ pace tends to rush us through without affording us time to just stop, breathe it in, appreciate what’s there, and then enjoy it more fully. Click to see more of their pearls of wisdom…
I’m still splashing away in the pool, learning to swim the front crawl for the fabulous cause that is Sainsbury’s Sport Relief, kicking off on March the 23rd 2014 at the epic Olympic pool. Anyone can take part and if swimming isn’t your cup of tea there’s also the cycle / marathon . You’ll be getting fit for 2014 (the classic resolution) whilst raising money for some of the poorest in the world. Why not sign up?! Check it out HERE!
You might notice that whilst I’m rattling on about swimming, I’m not in a pool in these pictures (shot outside the newly re-opened Kenwood House, just at the top of London’s Bishops Avenue, aka Billionaires Row). Yes, it’s hard to swim through air, but this post is actually about training the small stabiliser muscles that comprise the shoulder; it’s usually these smaller ones that are susceptible to strains in the pool, and are often neglected when you train in the gym. To build them up and prevent injury, there are a few simple exercises you can do with just a trusty resistance band…
As per my previous post here, the Sport Relief Swimathon March 2014 is just around the corner and I’m burning off my early dose of mince pies in the pool – whilst raising cash for an awesome cause! ‘HOW ARE YOU GETTING ON WITH THAT, FAYA?’ I hear you ask? Well, one minor setback is that I can’t swim… the front crawl (which is the mandatory stroke)! Thankfully, Charlie to the rescue! She’s a fantastic and painfully-tough swimming coach who also happens to be a sports therapist working with Watford Football Club, & will be coaching me all the way into the Queen Elizabeth Olympic pool.
This post contains a ‘Progress Report’ from week 1, as well as the BENEFITS OF SWIMMING, as I see it. As the months go on, I’ll be blogging about my aquatic experiences & fitness tips/tricks along the way, as well as running through the stretching routines, land training, injury-prevention exercises, nutrition, etc. (more…)
I’m thrilled to announce that I’ve been asked to take part in the first ever ‘Sainsbury’s Sport Relief Games’ next year, running from Friday 21st to Sunday 23rd March 2014. I think it’s such an awesome way to combine fitness with a very charitable cause, and represents a great goal or milestone date to aim for (which I always find a massive help with my fitness targets!)
The three fundraising events they’ve got scheduled are 1) the Mile, 2) the Swimathon and 3) the Cycle. You can run, swim and/or cycle your way to raising cash at around a thousand venues up and down the country. The Swimathon (my chosen event) takes place in the landmark Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park, (THE venue of the London 2012 Olympics) where I’ll be swimming for a good cause – so ecstatic!
PROBLEM: Since I can only swim the breaststroke and not the required crawl, (oh dear!) the swimathon is going to be a huge challenge! But I’ve always wanted to learn and this is the perfect opportunity. Let the training commence! The great thing about this charity is it doesn’t matter how sporty or fit you are, there’s something for everyone to choose from and whatever event you pick every mile counts, because the money raised will be used by Comic Relief to help transform the lives of some of the poorest and most disadvantaged people both in the UK and around the world.
So why not sign up!?! It’s half price until mid Jan, and after the indulgent festivites around the corner – I’m talking about Christmas and New Year’s eve celebrations – surely this event comes at the perfect time to add some energy and focus back into your workout routine. Getting into a healthy cycle, knowing that every run, every swim and/or ride is for a tremendously important cause, that’s part of the fun on this one!
March is just over 4 months away so I’m starting my training now and hopefully by the time I need to jump in the Olympic Pool I’ll be able not only to crawl but also complete the full length in a decent time. I’ll keep you updated through the blog, Twitter and Instagram on how I’m getting on and what I’m learning through my training. HERE I GO! 🙂