My Christmas and New Year break was spent in the Canaries with my family. But rather than lounging on the beach with a cold beer, I put in some serious training, both in the sea and on the land. Virtually every morning was spent either running along the promenade, or swimming in the Atlantic - sometimes both! Indeed, on Christmas day and New Year's day I was heading out into rough seas, accompanied only by a high visibility emergency flotation device and curious seagulls.
The average sea temperature for that time of year is around 15-16 degrees C. I had no way to check what the actual temperature was, but if the seasonal norms held true, that will equate to the same conditions I can expect on my Channel swim - though perhaps without the warm sun and clear skies. My longest holiday swim was in the region of 6-7 km, according to a map, and took 2 hours 20. Whilst this is only a fraction of the distance I will need to swim on the day (around 42 km), it was a huge mental milestone for me - knowing I could achieve this, out on my own in the Atlantic, quite some way off shore, and battling against the waves.
My focus now returns to distance swimming and acclimatization to cold(er) water again. The Hampstead Lido is currently just eight degrees C. This morning I managed 45 minutes, albeit with wetsuit gloves and boots to ensure the freezing extremities did not drive me out of the water.
The training continues. We are now in the 'Year of the Swim' !