Sport Relief Swimathon Blog

Psychologies’ editorial intern Laura Reynolds starts training for the Sport Relief Swimathon – by going swimming for the first time in over a year


Sport Relief Swimathon Blog

I’m still here after my first Sport Relief Swimathon challenge blog post (link to:, and good news! I’ve not yet drowned or given up. Admittedly, I’ve not become the next Rebecca Adlington either but I’m having fun. Naturally, getting active had to form a large part of my training, but my main problem was finding time. Working seven days a week, time to actually visit a swimming pool is somewhat limited. But I had a plan. I spoke to Rob Robson, swimming psychologist at SwimPsych [link to:], to ask him if I could train without actually going swimming, hoping he would make suggestions for other exercises, such as running. But he saw straight through my half-hearted excuse for putting off my training (until this point, my excuse had been needing to speak to Rob, as I couldn't possibly start training without his expert advice. Even as I was dialling his number, the panic kicked in as I realised I could no longer use this one). After a few minutes chatting with him I meekly admitted I could find the time if I was motivated enough. We debated the merits of early morning and late night swims. A morning swim ‘gets the swim out of the way and is a good start to the day’ but requires more self-discipline, said Rob. He talked me through the Transtheoretical model of behaviour change, and we established that I was in the Contemplation stage, which is when you have made tiny steps in working towards creating a new behaviour. In this instance, my tiny step was contacting Rob for help. The next stage, Preparation, involves doing things that will contribute to making a regular change, such as swimming (which, by now we were both in agreement, I did have time to do.) So, I found myself in a swimming pool for the first time in 13 months, and to my surprise, I quite enjoyed it. However, after a few lengths, I was surprised how exhausted I was, and realised how much training I am going to have to put in before my 2.5km challenge in March. I now have a training programme designed by Olympic swimmer Ellie Simmonds, and bags more determination now that I’ve remembered how much I enjoy swimming. The first step is always hardest, and for me that was getting back in the water. Sport Relief 2014 events take place across the country on 21–23 March 2014. For more information, visit their website. If you are taking part, tweet @PsychologiesMag or let us know on Facebook using the hashtag #SR14.

To sponsor Laura, visit: Laura is a freelance writerWhen she’s not writing, she can usually be found under a pile of magazines, blogging here [], or watching wildlife documentaries

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