Name; Naomhán O'Connor Journey So Far...
How is it your training going? /How you are feeling about your achievements?
My training has been going well - I've been doing the land training - running, cycling, and yoga/pilates, as well as swimming in the sea 2-3 times a week. I'm loving the training, loving how much fitter I'm feeling generally and I'm taking at least two of these training sessions each week as "fun" sessions, cos for me it's mostly about feeling good about myself.
How/where have you been training?
I've been swimming in the sea with the Brompton Belles and Beaus Dippers (in Bangor, NI), my usual swimming crew. The sea is starting to warm up, which we're all appreciating as most of us swam through winter, so the sea feels almost warm now at a toasty 9-10C! I generally run and cycle locally on the Comber Greenway, which is very close to where I live, although a few weeks ago I decided (on the suggestion of some of my swimming crew) to cycle the coastal path from Belfast to Bangor followed by a swim in the sea... this path turned out to be much more "off-road" than I'd expected and definitely challenged me more than I had thought it would! Thankfully I got a lift home afterwards as there was no way I could cycle back again after that. I also do yoga and pilates in my house via Zoom, but hopefully studio classes will start to open up again soon!
Any tips/ lessons along the way
Don't do a 22km off-road cycle before getting into the sea! My muscles seized up and I had awful cramps afterwards... Perhaps obvious to people more experienced in this area than me, but in future I'll swim first, then cycle. Mostly, I've found it really great to have a few friends who are also doing the training - even if we don't always train together, knowing that we're all training helps to motivate me as I know I'm not alone in doing it! However, the most important thing for me is to enjoy the training. If I focus too much on beating personal records or hitting certain targets, I get stressed out about it and it stops being fun for me. If I'm enjoying it, that's a win for me.
I'm also feeling somewhat intimidated by the distance some of you are swimming!! I'm generally swimming 2-3 times a week in the sea, averaging 1km in 20-25 mins, depending on conditions.
Can't really stay in much longer than that as I get too cold and I swim strictly in skins only, no neoprene at all, which is perhaps a bit stubborn of me but after a winter of swimming skins only, I'm not going to start donning wet suits and neoprene now!
I'm basically just doing what I enjoy - swimming in Belfast Lough at Bangor (can't swim in Belfast cos its a port) and doing yoga/pilates once a week and running once a week.
I did get into the pool last night for the first time in a few years and I was SO SO SO SO SO SO BORED. I don't know how I used to do it, but I was dying to get back into the sea, the longest 30 minutes of MY LIFE.
Also, I hadn't realised how much the sea provides buoyancy - I felt like a waterlogged piece of wood trying to move through the pool water!