It’s that time we’ve all been craving… Spring. We’ve seen out the wintertime, at first grateful for the refreshing crisp in the air, but eventually missing our baggies, booty shorts and sundresses. Swimming tends to be a little trickier during the colder months of the year, unless you have a very caring pool manager or maintenance team, ensuring the temp isn’t too hot or too cold – always just right. Which isn’t always the case.
Ah, spring. How we have missed you in our lives.
We shed a gentle tear as we packed away our summer clothes, replacing them with coats, gloves and beanies. Wrapped in far too much clothing, we tended to miss the impact of the extra calories we had been gratefully consuming, as our instinctual nature went into hibernation mode.
5 am morning swims, runs and cycles were almost impossible to get out of bed for (well, for a lot of us, we simply refused to get out of bed), which made our clothes a little snugglier – something we pretended not to notice, even though we were dead set on our summer bods. Getting in and out of the shower was an activity we all dreaded, getting out of the bath was delayed for a few hours as we kept topping up with warm water and don’t even get me started on sitting down on the toilet seat.
Before the colder seasons, we promise ourselves that we won’t let ourselves go, that we’ll avoid the heavy, comforting carbs, and absolutely intend on ensuring our Netflix binge time gets replaced by loads of calorie-lowering activities. And we totally mean it. But then, things change.
The sun comes up a little later. The sun goes away a little earlier.
A combination of a marginally diminished opportunity for vitamin D and the cold crispness gradually eats away at our motivation and eventually our mind convinces us that we’ll definitely start tomorrow… or the next day… or even the next. Until the season of excuses melts away as the sun arrives earlier and leaves a little later.
The leaves are now a glistening green, with silvery sunshine reflected by the morning dew, captivating the senses as our body adjusts to the extra sunlight and most welcome added degrees. We may be sneezing an extra few times a day, but it’s totally worth the couple extra Allergex’s to keep the hayfever away.
Blossoming flowers and growing leaves, signifying a new start, encourage us to make the most of the season of opportunities. Our bodies hungrily gobble up the extra sunshine and we organically start feeling the dopamine – the motivation neurotransmitter – fill our souls as we hit the streets again, jump up on our saddles or dive headfirst into the calm, crisp and clear waters.
Tell me a better place to in spring than the water. I’ll wait.
Coaching at a gym, there is no doubt that members are making the most of the warmer weather as the battle for lanes is on. And I can totally understand the desire to dive right in and escape the warmer weather.
There is very little worry about the water being a little too cold, as the chill when you hit the water is most welcomed by your body, and enables a smooth and easy rhythm during the set. Plus, a little less water is leaked out through sweat, meaning you don’t dehydrate quite as quickly as you do in warmer water.
Indoor swimming is nice, but it’s not quite as good as an outdoor session. Better yet, an outdoor session in a dam, lake or sea.
This is also the season when the little button on your device urging you to log an open water workout becomes a little more enticing, and a training session in a nearby dam, lake or sea is more doable. Swimming against the natural current is also great strength work, and swimming with the current is amazing for pacing. Plus, you may be lucky enough to spot a critter or two as you move through the open waters.
But swimming in spring is so much more than just training…
It’s all about the love of water, appreciating every moment in your element.
It’s the water volleyball with a group of friends, while the barbeque (braai) nearby sends scintillating smells of lamb chops up into the sky as a patio full of family and friends urge on the Springboks against the mighty All Blacks.
It’s the Marco – Polo – Marco – Polo with a younger sibling, who sneakily opens an eye, not quite relying only on the sound of your voice.
It’s the game of sharky sharky, as a single swimmer manages to break through a group of desperate human sharks to reach the other side and celebrate delightedly.
It’s the backward drop into the deep blue sea, and slowly descending 18m+ below the surface to bump into an overly friendly potato bass with spots lighting up across his scales and a turtle nonchalantly nibbling on a chunk of coral, drifting effortlessly with the rolling currents.
It’s the rinsing off of babies full of sand in the sea, after successfully completing a sandcastle straight out of a Disney movie, watching their love of the sea grow, and feeling completely a part of it.