Meet a member in lock down – Gillian

After a 20 year break from swimming, followed by a number of years where I had either not trained or been very inconsistent with my training, I had seen the inevitable decline in my race times. I decided to re-join Spencer in August 2019 with the idea of regaining my fitness and improving my times. It was the best decision ever and through Steve’s challenging and fun programme I re-discovered that love of swim training. Finally I am starting to see the times go back in the right direction. I am now hooked and a regular at most of the Spencer training sessions each week. 

Can you remember your last swim session?

At my last training session Steve joked see you in a few months. He was, as ever, correct.

How are you coping with being out of the water?

In reality, over the last few years I have had a number of breaks from the pool as I let injuries, work and life get in the way and I guess this is just another set-back in my swimming journey.

What do you miss most?

I miss chats before training sessions, the great coaching, doing the set I am told to do without having to think about what to do, trying to keep up and endlessly watching that pace clock.

Do you have a daily fitness routine?

I have moved from swimming to running. I am a very slow runner, I am not even sure I can use the word runner, but in the absence of a swimming pool and pace clock the treadmill is a reasonable substitute. It appeals to me to set a pace and keep going. I never watched ‘game of thrones’ and so am working my way through the box set whilst running. I try to stretch most days and get in four run sessions a week. I use pyramids to keep me going whether that is 1k, 2k, 3k, 4k, 3k, 2k, 1k to get my 10 miles in on long run days or increasing the gradient of the hill/speed on interval training days. I then do Steve’s gutbusters pyramid on the three rest days! I also have a very small smallholding so plenty of weight training, whether it is manually bashing fence posts in to make goat paddocks, building polytunnels or moving barrow loads of chipped wood and compost around the place.

Any recommendations for team mates?

This period of lockdown will end, I will try to remember some of
the things I have liked about this time and incorporate them into my life.

Which competitions have you missed/will you miss and how will that affect you?

I managed to swim in the GB 1500 which was in Swansea a few weeks before the GB championships so I was very happy and lucky to hit my long course goal for this year before everything was cancelled. My fitness was really picking up and I was looking forward to the rest of the GB events in Sheffield and had hoped that in such a fast pool I might set some long course PBs. I will treat it as a bonus if we get a short course season later in the year. I had also hoped to try open water for the first time ever, maybe with that being outside, I will get the chance.

How is your partner/family/housemate coping with you not swimming?

They now remember what I look like.

What are you most looking forward to when you can get back in the water?

I am looking forward to seeing everyone, finding my starting point and just building the swim strength and fitness back up one session at a time.

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