In this post, UK-based MySwimPro Ambassador Rob Flood (@cosmicflood 🇬🇧) shares how MySwimPro is an integral part of his swim training and how it will be important to use in his recovery from his heel injury.
HI, MY NAME IS ROB:
My name is Rob Flood (Floody), I live in Preston, about 40 minutes from Manchester (UK) and have been here for 4 years now. I live with my lovely wife Becky and our 3 children, Caleb who is 6 and twin girls Grace and Isobel, who are 3 years old. Previously I lived in Reading, near London and I am originally from Dublin so have moved around a bit.
I started swimming back in May 2012 as part of a charity challenge for the company I was the working for. Myself and a team swam the distance of the English Channel in a local pool. From memory I think we swam 50 lengths of a 25m pool, which at the time was a lot for me. I learned to swim at a young age but never really looked it as a way to keep fit. I used to run and have completed several half marathons and 10K events, but having previously played football (soccer) regularly, I had a number of knee issues. I had several operations to remove cartilage and was told that I would develop osteoarthritis in my knees. It was only after completing the swim challenge that it made sense to swim more to lessen the effects on my knee.
After this, I swam maybe once or twice a week and have steadily built up my swimming from there. In April 2014 my wife and I decided to relocate to the Northwest and it was at this time that I really started to get into my swimming as a way of meeting new people. I was now swimming in the pool 3-4 times a week, mostly first thing in the morning. The tough part was that I was never swimming to a plan and it was just a case of getting in and swimming for an hour or so.
WHY I LOVE SWIMMING:
My swimming went to the next level after my best friend and I decided to enter the 2016 Great Swim 10K event on Lake Windermere. I had never really swam in open water before this, apart from maybe at the beach. I knew that to complete this it would take some serious swimming both indoor and outdoors. So over the next 6 months I got my first wetsuit and hit the open water as much as I could, thankfully there were some great facilities around me and a number of events close to hand.
I completed the 10K swim in just under 3 hours and this has been my greatest achievement to date, even without any really specific training programme in place. Subsequent to this, I have completed other events including 3.8K swims in various lakes in the Lake District, a 4K swim on Lough Lene in Ireland around the great Turgesius Island and a number of smaller night time firework lit swims which are spectacular.
I have and do still suffer from mental health issues–depression and anxiety, and it’s only been a year since I have been able to openly discuss the issues I have had. I know that swimming has helped immensely with this.
“No matter how or where I swim, whether its an event or just a splash around in a lake or river on a day out, I feel relaxed, like the water washes out my worries and gives me an inner sense of calmness and makes me feel energized. It puts the important things in focus and on the longer swims, I sometimes feel that I am disconnected from whats going on around me.”
It has also brought me to places that I would never have visited and my family are always by my side experiencing the atmosphere together, which brings me a sense of joy. I believe this is why I love to swim and why everywhere I go, my swimming bag comes with me as you never know when you may get the opportunity to have a dip.
MY TRAINING SCHEDULE:
Up until my recent injury (which I’ll get to below, keep reading!), I was swimming 3/4 times a week, normally 2 pool swims and 2 open water swims (when the temperature allowed). The pool swims were used for interval and technique training and this is where MySwimPro has really benefited me.
When I first started looking at putting some constructive training in, I had a printed sheet of paper at the end of the pool in a plastic bag, which after a few lengths would be ruined by the water and hard to read.
“Having the workout on my wrist makes perfect sense and has helped me be more specific in the sets that I plan.”
This year my goal was to be able to complete a sub 1-hour 3.8k swim and I managed this on June 3, 2018 at an event at Lake Ullswater. My plan going forward was to improve my time as well as increase my distance swims as I was and still am hoping to complete the 10.5 mile length of Windermere next September.
HOW I TRAIN WITH MYSWIMPRO:
MySwimPro has enabled me to be more focused when getting into the pool to complete sets. My previous method of using a piece of paper in an A4 wallet or trying to remember sets just wasn’t working and I’d normally end up just swimming random lengths.
“With the data on my Apple Watch, it’s so much simpler and it makes the workout more enjoyable, even though the workouts I have been using have been pushing me more and more. With recent updates including SWOLF, the analytics give me a great overview of my swim and how effective slight changes in stroke can change how efficient I am swimming.”
I love swimming with my Apple Watch. I used to just swim with the integrated workout tracker, but have found MySwimPro to be much more detailed. Since I predominantly swim freestyle, I have used the built-in Freestyle workouts and this has introduced me to a number of great drills including the zipper and fist drills–the videos are a fantastic.
The more I used the app, the more confident I got of setting up my own workouts and this has been invaluable as it gives me a variety that I never really had before. It’s so simple too! I found that doing this gave me the flexibility to introduce my own drills that I found useful. I have used the app on several different ways too, from just recording distance open water swims using the GPS Feature, again this is great and simple to use.
On September 7th, 2018 I had an accident which caused multiple fractures in my heel bone. I had surgery on my heel on September 24, and am currently resting up at home with my lower left leg in a cast.
Until the accident, I had never really been off my feet for a prolonged period of time. Following knee surgery, it was only a matter of days, but it’s looking like I am going to be non-weight bearing for a full 12 weeks and then it’s a long process of building up the confidence and muscle to walk again.
This really has caused severe implications to me and my family. I am a very independent person and now have to rely on others to do everything for me. I can’t leave the house without getting someone giving me a lift, and I have to keep my foot raised as much as possible to keep swelling down. I can’t play outdoors with my children or chase them around the house, and I can’t swim… this injury really has been a humbling experience for me.
At this time my training is very much on hold but luckily for me many of the people who I have been in contact with through Facebook have used swimming as a method to build strength back, so I am hopeful that when given the go ahead, I will be back in the pool for swimming or perhaps even walking to begin with.
I have just started to do seating/laying down strength training using resistance bands hoping that I can continue until such time when I am back in the pool. I know when I do get back to being able to swim, that MySwimPro will be invaluable because I can use it to rebuild up on where I left off, it may not be anytime this side of Christmas but I am hopeful and remain positive.
“My advice would be to try to stay positive, try to focus on what you can do and not what you can’t do.”
This has taken me nearly 4 weeks to realize, but I can lay on the sofa and do leg lifts, I can lay on the floor with my legs up on the sofa and do sit ups… reminding myself that I can, rather than I can’t is important. Push forward but remember to listen to what your body tells you. Don’t push it harder that you can manage.
I would also recommend surrounding yourself with amazing friends and family. I’d like to just thank my wonderful wife Becky. She has taken on a lot since the injury, having a full time job and looking after 3 kids pretty much solo. She really is my rock and so positive about everything that has happened, there is a long way to go but I know we will get through. Also my friends a family, thanks for your help and messages of support!
Just yesterday, I watched a film called Kim Swims about the Kimberley Chambers challenge to swim from San Francisco bay to the Farallon Islands. Kim was only given 1% chance of walking again after a freak accident left her with acute compartment syndrome in her right leg and she was only minutes from amputation. She has since managed the Oceans 7 (being only the 3rd woman to do so) and is one of the most successful marathon swimmers in the world.
The video is so inspirational and although I may not swim the feats that Kim has, if I can fast forward to October 2019 and have completed the Windermere One Way then I will be a happy man.
Thank you Rob for sharing your experience! We wish you many years of pain-free swimming, and good luck on your road to recovery!
Want to train like Rob? Track your swims and get swim workouts on the MySwimPro app, available on iPhone or Android. Take 20% off ELITE COACH with his code: ROB20. Click here to start your free trial!