November feels like a bit of a neglected month. It’s not December, the month of Christmas madness or January, the month of resolutions, fresh starts and general depression at it being damp and cold with a couple more months of that to deal with. Lots of people do a dip a day in December or January. The bright colours of Autumn will wane leaving only damp, grey and wind for November (and maybe a few comedy ‘taches care of Movember). Maybe February’s similar in its neglectedness.
Clearly 2020’s adding a new twist to this damp grey month. In an attempt to rectify that I’m going to do a dip a day in November.
This is no extreme winter swimming challenge. No this is as easy as I can make it.
Over the last few years of year round swimming I’ve learnt that my body can’t cope with swimming every day in winter. Much like a honed athlete understands the importance of rest days within a training schedule so too I’ve learned that sometimes my mediocre body needs a day off. When I tried to do an outdoor swim every day one December I had to abandon ship part way through thanks to a chest infection.
There’s much hoo ha and some evidence that swimming outside can boost your immune system but it can also be quite a strain on your body. That strain is a good thing but as with anything if you over-do it there’ll be consequences.
Re-warming after immersion in cold water is no easy task for the body to deal with. I’ve learnt that it can just tip me over the edge into being poorly if I’m already a bit on the edge of a winter bug. So some days I’ll sit it out.
For me outdoor swimming but particularly winter swimming, is about understanding what your body can cope with. It’s good to push it and achieve more than you thought you could but also good and almost stronger to say “it’s OK, I’m done for today”.
With that in mind my dip a day in November is going to be just that, a dip. I don’t have to swim, I don’t have to immerse my whole body. Some days I will swim, possibly clad in a ludicrous amount of neoprene but I will also be accepting dipping my feet in some outside water as a “dip”. The kid’s old sandpit that’s in the garden full of rainwater is going to be an acceptable dip spot some days.
I’m hoping this is going to force me to go outside every day and get some fresh air in what could otherwise be return of Lockdownitis. I’ll post some evidence on Instagram and facebook everyday. It’ll give me something to do and hopefully raise a smile on other’s faces.
Today’s dip was supposed to be just a foot dip. It was torrential rain when I went out but the rain eased as I got to the stream so I managed a full dunk. Let’s see what tomorrow brings.