As you know if you’ve been here before, I’ve just started training for the Great North Swim in June next year. I enlisted a personal trainer to help me achieve my goal, and he has written me a simple exercise programme to follow. I will be having some PT sessions after Christmas as well, but this seems a good place to start.

I was actually a bit scared of asking the trainer for advice, I mean I hardly look like the sort of person who is into exercise. But he has been great so far, he knows what he’s doing and he hasn’t judged me by my size, which a lot of people tend to do. Unfortunately he says that I can’t just swim to train, I have to do gym work too. I used to enjoy the gym but lately I’ve only been swimming. I don’t really know how it happened, it just did!

Here is my training plan, there isn’t a lot to it, but it is designed to build the muscles I will most use for swimming and also my stamina.

Day 1: 2 x 1/2 mile swim, aiming for 25 mins each, with a 5 minute break between.
Day 2: squats using a step (under my bum!) 20 squats, 1 minute rest and repeat x6, followed by a steady pace 1/2 mile swim.
Day 3: 45 mins cross trainer, 30 seconds as fast as I can, 2 mins at a steady pace. Allegedly this should be 200 and 150 on level 5.
Day 4: chest press 15 reps, 30 seconds rest, repeated x4, lat pulldowns 15 reps, 30 seconds rest, repeated x4, followed by a steady pace 1/2 mile swim.
Day 5: swim 2 lengths sprint then 2 lengths at steady pace, repeat “as many times as I can until I’m shattered” – that’s the actual wording on the programme – for up to an hour.
Days 6 &7: rest days.

He is also planning to talk to me about nutrition which should be useful, I will hopefully be able to combine his advice with Slimming World. The programme looks pretty good, I have only done the first two days (I had Monday-itis this week and didn’t make it at all on Monday morning), the swim was fine – it’s a time and distance I can manage ok – and I have had a couple of people in the last few days ask me for swimming advice so I must at least look vaguely as though I know what I’m doing! I did the squats and swim this morning, well, most of it anyway. I had more rests in the squats than it says – a short one in the middle of each set – and I still only managed four sets! My legs were like jelly afterwards too, but I felt great for what I’d done – and then I did my swim, and used mixed strokes since I had the pool to myself. Tomorrow is cross trainer day, which I’m approaching with a certain amount of trepidation. But I know that if it’s difficult in the beginning it will get easier, and my final goals will make the work worthwhile.

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