12 hour swims, six swimming pools and 7 days… Bridgwater swimmer takes on Ocean’s 7 Challenge. Sounds impossible right?...
Social is Sustainable - Greg Kyd
I have found myself bouncing from challenge, to event, to competition and this has been my motivation for exercise. I’ve always said that I need something to train for. After my 36 hour swim two years ago, I took time out of training at all. I had trained hard. I trained alone. I was very focussed. This is never sustainable.
I had been taking the same approach when I set up my latest challenge. I like to train alone as this is when I train hardest, with no distractions. There is no socialising. There is a bit of a buzz that you get from getting home from a session completely knackered, knowing that you are the only one to get the benefit of training so hard. I’d go to bed with muscles feeling ready to cramp. It was hard, it was lonely and it mentally toughened me to take on the dark places, which threaten to swallow you, during the challenges such as the one I have set up. I love the challenge, this motivates me, but I don’t see myself training the way I do without always having another challenge. This isn’t sustainable. I needed to re-think things. I needed to learn how to enjoy just exercising, without any end goal or agenda. Now I do.
One of my weekly highlights comes on a Sunday morning, when my girlfriend, Becky, and I head out onto the Quantocks for a run. Some days we will run five miles and head back out for a few hours of walking, some days we’ll run fifteen miles or so. I love the scenery and I love the company. This is enjoyment. It’s not training as I recognised it. But it’s training that will always feel sustainable and; I’m still working hard! Instead of having to drag myself out the door on days I feel tired from training the night before, I look forward to the fresh air and conversation, no matter what.
So, it’s time for me to see if I can extend the enjoyment of my training. Rich Hill, who will be a massive part of this challenge, is a good cyclist as well as swimmer. I will plan on him getting me out on my bike. We regularly share ideas on training, so will look to do a little more together in the pool and the gym too. Becky and I will continue running regularly and do some circuit training in the mornings. I will still do some solo training. I believe that, when preparing for my challenge, there is some value in forcing myself to push through some pain thresholds alone.
For those looking to start something new – don’t go it alone. Find something that you enjoy and others who enjoy it too. Surround yourself with great people who can provide you with motivation. This may be a friend, a partner or a family member. It could be someone who you meet at an exercise class (you know there is a mutual interest). Do activity that you look forward to and can become a part of your life. Sure, time might be tight, but you can make time if you want to. When you do, you’ll be exercising regularly and it will be sustainable.
I will, once more, be tired of my old style ‘training’ by September, but I’ll always be looking forward to the next Sunday morning.
This article was written by Greg Kyd. In September Greg and a friend Rich Hill are embarking on an epic swim challenge, where they will be swimming hte equivalent of the english channel each day for seven consecutive days. Their aim is to raise money for two great charities - Wooden Spoon and Ichtyosis you can support them by donating on their Virgin Money Giving page.